Pdxindub is a mixtape label from Portland/Oregon, formed in 2006 with the aim to release mixtapes from artists and selectors based in Portland. The label has since grown to reflect an international family of musicians and DJs, with mixes full of tracks based around electronic dub and reggae music. Their artist roster longs from DJs and artists such as Alter Echo, Shockman, E3, Samizdat, Gulls, Hieronymus and Xoki, Daddy Long Legs, Saltfeend, and the label head Monkeytek, amongst others. Furthermore the label and people involved also incorporate elements of local labels like Lo Dubs, Tamarack Music, Boomarm Nation or Sahel Sounds. Under this umbrella of dub, Monkeytek also launched the sublabel PDXINDUBTING! in 2014 in order to release cassette LPs of original material from artists out of the pdxindub family. Their first catalogue number is the cassette LP Space Coast by the Danish producer Hieronymus. Label boss Monkeytek also works closely with other labels like ZamZam Sounds and Khaliphonic, sourcing out fresh and unheard material for special vinyl only releases. Beside his label work he is also a DJ and host, throwing sound system parties around his hometown of Portland. To back his mix of sounds from Portland's pdxindub we asked him some questions about his love for the tape medium and his musical heritage.
(Monkeytek/photo: Honeybones Photography)
Where and how did pdxindub start?
Monkeytek: Pdxindub started as a branch of a soundsystem night I was doing with some friends here in Portland and as a label for mixtapes of local selectors.
Can you describe to us the inspiration behind the launch of pdxindub?
Monkeytek: It was meant as a hub for dub-centric sounds and bass people.
What is your musical background and what was your musical intake when you were younger?
Monkeytek: I grew up hearing the music my brothers and sister listened to and that left a big imprint on me.
What qualities do you look for as a "curator” or “networker” of music?
Monkeytek: Vibrations. Huge vibrations and feeling.
Just recently you launched PDXINDUBTING!. On this sister label you will be releasing original material, what can we expect here in the future?
Monkeytek: We are working on TING02 and TING03 at present.
The medium is the message: the psychic of your choice, even for releasing new stuff is the cassette. Why did you choose it and what makes it special to you?
Monkeytek: Because I love cassettes and because tape sounds great! I like that you can put a tape in your boombox and hang out in the back yard.
Most people have banned their cassette players into their attics or closets respectively, if not thrown away. And only some older cars have one installed. So is it only for the aficionados?
Monkeytek: For me, this is a good way to get the job done without a lot of fuss and delay.
In the last years some tape labels built up and other labels released some of their output on tape, too. In some scenes it always functioned as a demo tool for new artists in others it's coming back. Is the younger generation more curious about physical media like vinyl and tapes or is it just nostalgia of older people that grew up on it?
Monkeytek: I am not certain why other people like it. Perhaps it is nostalgia, but for the youngsters obviously that is not so. Perhaps memories of some other lives? People like having something to hold in their hands and something to look at in more than two dimensions. Certainly, tapes sound better than digitally rendered music. I still don't care for digital as a medium as it's not real.
(Photo: Honeybones Photography)
How do you usually start with when working on a new mix?
Monkeytek: I gather a cluster of tunes that I love and play them.
What makes a mix special? What does a good mix need to be unique?
Monkeytek: Travelling... in dub.
Can you tell us some dub music secrets that the world needs to know?
Monkeytek: Listen to Dub music on a soundsystem with sufficient volume and bass capacity. Go to a soundsystem night or better yet, start your own!
Are you cautious about being put into a box/scene?
What is the biggest influence on your work beside music?
Monkeytek: The color blue.
Your city Portland, Oregon has a rich and vibrant music scene and heritage. Labels like Mississippi or Sahel Sounds blew fresh wind into the global music scene and bands like Dead Moon are legends in their own field. Do you get inspired by this rich diverse scene and is it important for all you do? And if so: how does the scene work together? What makes it special in your eyes?
Monkeytek: Everyone here who is involved in music knows each other on some level and there seem to be a mutual respect for what different people are doing. Sahel Sounds and Mississippi Records are great labels and great friends. I am inspired by these as well as Alter Echo, Ausland Schlage, Boomarm Nation, Strategy, Systemwide, Tamarack Music and, of course, Honeybones, Polygon, Lo Dubs and Zamzam Sounds family.
What old albums you rediscovered lately and what makes them special?
And what was the last track that sent shivers up your spine?
Monkeytek: Pale Rider: Smurf Hike. (soon to be released on PDXINDUBTING!)
Can you name us three albums that you'll absolutely never get tired of listening to?
What superpower would you like to have?
Monkeytek: Time Travel!
Who are your favorite heroes/heroines in fiction?
Monkeytek: Baron Münchhausen.
And who are your favorite heroes/heroines in real life?
Monkeytek: Linton Kwesi Johnson.
What are five words that would describe your personal fashion style?