How did you start your research?
“My family heritage is Jamaican and I’ve had a lifelong interest in roots reggae, but I’d never researched it in a professional capacity. I wanted to understand what dub music makers and fans thought about the genre, because this is contested history: there’s not one right definition of dub.
The first person I spoke to was Chris Lane from Fashion Records, a very influential label in British reggae music history. He directed me towards various record shops specialising in reggae , which you can find right across the city, from Soho to Dalston. And it was Chris who suggested I should go and speak to the owner of Supertone Records in Brixton.
“I met Wally Bryan in Supertone Records; he has proved pivotal in the research. The first thing he said was: ‘I’m not going to speak to you unless I can tell you my entire life story.’ I’ve done a series of ten interviews with him, covering his childhood in Jamaica and working with early Ska musicians such as Prince Buster, through to his arrival in the UK in the early 1960s, up to today, all through music. He was there for the birth of reggae music, to see the invention of ska, to see dub emerge. Speaking to Wally and hanging out at Supertone I realised these aren’t just record shops, they’re community hubs, and they keep community history alive.”