King Tubby’s sonic innovations in his studio and on his sound system King Tubby’s Hometown Hi-Fi fashioned one of the most influential legacies in popular Jamaican music, yet his contributions risk being obscured with each passing year. In 1989, Tubby, 48, was robbed of his licensed firearm and gold chain, then fatally shot in front of his Kingston home; the killer has never been found.
Following his death, Tubby’s family turned away from the music industry. “Tubby’s family got scared after he died and from my personal reasoning with his daughter, none of them wanted to continue on in music, including his brother in Miami who is also a technician,” says Scientist, who apprenticed with King Tubby as a teenager. Like his royal mentor, he graduated from gifted electronics technician to renowned dub mixer.
“King Tubby was the first to use to use the mixing console as an instrument; in dub, the engineer becomes the composer, the arranger, the performer and the artist. If a producer has engineering skills, he can create a dub track, but if he does not understand the set up of the console, then he can only take it to a certain level,” Scientist shared with Billboard in a phone interview from London.
A dub icon in his own right, Scientist has released numerous albums with such futuristic titles as Scientist Meets The Space Invaders and Scientist Rids The World of the Evil Curse of the Vampires, the latter performed in full by Scientist with the Roots Radics Band at the Dub Champions Festival in New York City, 2012.
Scientist brought his superb live mixing skills to the UK’s Glastonbury Festival in June, and he's doing the same at various dates across Europe and the U.S. this summer, as authentic Jamaican dub seeks to claim its deserved prominent position within the crowded electronic music landscape that it helped spawn.
“Dub has a triangular structure and if you know how to access that structure, you can create mysticism within the listener’s mind,” notes Scientist, offering technical acumen indicative of his name. “It lives longer than the straight [original] cut because the listener never hears dub the same way twice.”