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IRIE. I like to start this IRIE interview by giving a Big Up to Savvas, the founder of Dubophonic NetLabel, for introducing IRIE Magazine to you. Dubophonic hails you as the most active Cypriot artist in the reggae scene. How did you first get introduced to reggae music, in particular dub reggae?
Med Dred: I grew up in Brixton and that area was the first area where the Jamaicans would settle when they came to the UK, to London in particular. That was their area which is highly concentrated. It was like a mini Jamaica. They had their own market, their own food. And of course, their own music playing everywhere… like on every corner, in stores, even people selling mix tapes.
There was an excellent record shop that was there called Red Records opposite Brixton Tube (metro) station… I think it’s still there. Even inside the tube, the underground station in Brixton… as you’re leaving, on your way out, there was a reggae vinyl shop. I was always hearing the sound. It’s not like I was doing it then. I was listening to mainly underground music and that was always embedded in the back of my head. That big bass line, It was like everywhere I went I would hear that melodic bass line.And you would remember that bass line. It wasn’t just some boom that you would get in hip-hop like an 808 kick. That’s how I got into the music.
IRIE. What genres of music were you exposed to as a child?
Med Dred: At home, my dad was a big Elvis fan… which is black music. It comes from R&B. A lot of reggae came through there as well by influence. He was in to that. He was one of those Mods. There were two groups cruising the UK in the 60’s, the Mods and the Rockers. The rock music guys and the Mods that were more into modern and the rock & roll music. They weren’t into the heavy stuff. So my dad rode a moped. He had that Elvis Presley hairstyle, I remember his pictures.
My mom loves the Beatles. All that bluesy stuff. I even found in my dad’s vinyl collection Perry Sledge’s “When the man loves a woman”. My dad has a big collection of vinyl singles with the first pressings of the Beatle’s songs and many R&B classic number ones.
My mom loves Abba and the Carpenters. They love all that Swedish pop. The eurovision sound. For me, all that music was in the background. I was always with my headphones on, in the kitchen scanning the radio for that underground sound like hip hop and reggae. I tried to get into what they were listening to but it only lasted a few months. I really like Michael Jackson. I’m a big fan of his music.