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Big Up Podcast 69 ~ Mungo’s Hi Fi

Big Up Podcast 69 ~ Mungo’s Hi Fi

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Mungo’s Hi Fi is a soundsystem based in Glasgow, Scotland which follows the original Jamaican sound system tradition for over a decade now. With a soundsystem that gained international acclaim and a set of selection skills that won over the hearts of John Peel, Jah Shaka and Mr Scruff, you know that we’re in good company. Mungo’s Hi Fi is constantly busy with touring, running their label or producing tracks. Their latest album “Brand New Bangarang” is a full on collab with vocalist Kenny Knots, a release which appears to be the first of many yet to come. Craig tells us all about it.


[toggle title=”Tracklist”]Mungo’s Hi Fi ft Kenny Knots – One Life to live (acoustic version) [Scotch Bonnet]
Hendry & Louis ft Pacey – Everyman Different (Mungo’s Hi Fi Remix) [Scotch Bonnet]
Mungo’s Hi Fi – Everyman dub [Scotch Bonnet]
Prince Fatty – Say what your saying ft George Dekker (Mungo’s Hi Fi remix) [Mr. bongo forthcoming]
Nanci & Phoebe ft Congo Natty – Notorious (Mungo’s Hi Fi remix) [unreleased]
Mungo’s Hi Fi ft. Kenny Knots – She got love for me [Scotch Bonnet]
Mungo’s Hi Fi ft.Wailing Souls – Bandits [dubplate]
Mungo’s Hi Fi ft. Kenny Knots – Sweet meditation [Scotch Bonnet]
Mungo’s Hi Fi ft. Soom T – I need weed [Scotch Bonnet forthcoming]
Mungo’s Hi Fi ft. Kenny Knots – so mi stay [Scotch Bonnet]
Mungo’s Hi Fi ft. Yellowman & Mr Williamz ram dance master [Scotch Bonnet]
Mungo’s Hi Fi ft. eek a Mouse – hire and removal [sScrub a dub]
Mungo’s Hi Fi ft. eek a Mouse – hire and trap [unreleased]
Mungo’s Hi Fi word sound and power dub [unreleased]
Mungo’s Hi Fi ft. Kenny Knots – brand new bangarang [Scotch Bonnet]
Mungo’s Hi Fi ft. YT precious diamond
Mungo’s Hi Fi ft. Lady Ann – sound get a beating [Scotch Bonnet forthcoming]
Mungo’s Hi Fi ft Cocoa Tea – we do the boggling [unreleased]
Mungo’s Hi Fi ft. Kenny Knots gimme gimme [Scotch Bonnet]
Mungo’s Hi Fi ft IBogle – bogle mad dub [unreleased]
Mungo’s Hi Fi your love [Scotch Bonnet]
Mungo’s Hi Fi rock inna dancehall dub [Scotch Bonnet][/toggle]

Interview by Jochem Daelman

Let’s start with an obvious one. You guys just finished the new Mungo’s Hi Fi album. How did that go?

The album with Kenny has been quite a while coming. The majority of it was done last year in a few recording sessions with some other tracks we recorded over the last few years. One of the bonus tracks on the CD was actually recorded around 2003. It originates from a lyric he performed in the dance the first time we ever met Kenny. One of the reasons it has taken us so long is because we have been concurrently working on quite a few other projects. This CD is the first one in a series of LP’s and EP’s with Soom T, Charlie P and YT to name a few.

Your music is obviously rooted in Jamaica. How do you feel about the modern, Jamaican music and all of its subgenres? How would you position Mungo’s Hi Fi in all of that?

We don’t follow what’s happening in Jamaica too much, there is a lot coming out and you have to sift quite hard to find quality. Our sound is influenced more by the 80s and even further back to Ska with regards to Jamaica. We are more interested in sounds coming out of the UK and the rest of the globe which is now grouped under the banner of bass music.

There are a lot of interesting digital reggae releases coming from outside of Jamaica nowadays, you got soundsystems and producers popping up all over the place. Saying that, we do are working on some tracks with modern Jamaican artists in the form of remixes for Major Lazer.

Soundsystems are a huge part of the dub and reggae culture. What do you think is the reason for a lot of crews out there to build their own soundsystem. Or what was yours?

A soundsystem is the ultimate way to hear bass music played, once you have heard a rig a club PA never sounds the same again. I think most crews who have a sound do it for the sheer love of it and it’s just great fun. Taking it down with a hangover the next day is less but it’s still worth it! With a soundsystem you can set up a club in a completely different way, with stacks and DJs/control tower wherever you like. You can even set it up in a space that isn’t a regular club and just put on a party. In essence it is all about quality sound and party vibes.

[quote]In essence it is all about quality sound and party vibes.[/quote]

The Mungo’s Hi Fi soundsystem made quite a name for itself, every DJ who plays it seems to fall in love with it. Enlighten us with your love-making secrets!

It’s not the size of the sound, it’s how you drive it! We are blessed with a big one and a tight crew, which in all seriousness is the most crucial element of a soundsystem. Everyone at Mungo’s/Scotch Bonnet is focused and works well together. We’re not only on the ball enough to run the sound and a stage at a festival, but we also look after everyone who’s playing it. We make sure they’re relaxed and enjoying themselves so they’re playing at their best for everyone’s enjoyment.

Another thing you like to do yourself is label management. How is the Scotch Bonnet imprint going? What are the (dis)advantages of running your own label?

We started Scotch Bonnet and our second label Scrub a Dub in 2005. It came out of our problems with the label we were on back then, they being a bit untoward on a license deal which got messy. At the time the business model of the typical record label was becoming less applicable and it seemed to make sense to run the whole thing ourselves.

[quote]At the time the business model of the typical record label was becoming less applicable and it seemed to make sense to run the whole thing ourselves.[/quote]

Most people do everything themselves on a computer nowadays, songwriters are now expected to be producers and engineers and vice versa. In that way it makes sense to control your own output, direction, publishing and even distribution to an extent. On the downside it does take a lot of work and it takes you into the office and away from music. We’re luckily at a stage of expansion, we have some great guys join the team to help us out.

If we think about the United Kingdom, London logically is the city that pops up. Glasgow on the other hand had Optimo, now there is Jackmaster and his Numbers label and you guys. That sounds pretty good and diverse at the same time. What’s the city like?

London is the obvious choice as the hub of music in the UK, but there are many other cities, such as Bristol, Leeds and Glasgow which all contribute to the UK scene. Jackmaster and Numbers are smashing it at the moment and not to forget Hudson Mohawke and Rustie are also Glasgow lads. Glasgow has a cracking music scene which is rich and diverse. We are spoilt with the amount of quality nights here. The reggae scene has become healthy in the last few years with soundsystems popping up all over and crews stepping up their game, not to mention Jamaican artists like the Abyssinians and Capleton passing through in the next month or so!

How is the summer looking for Mungo’s Hi Fi? Any tours planned, with or without the soundsystem?

We are constantly on the road both with and without the soundsystem and often playing individually in different places at once. In the next few weeks we have a Japan tour, Australia & New Zealand tours, shows from Dubai to Peru and all the usual UK and Europe gigs. The soundsystem will be going on its annual holiday to Outlook, Dimensions and Uprizing in Croatia and Slovakia respectively to work on its Scottish tan.

All right, that sounds like the best place to meet up again, see you at Outlook!

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