Dub-Stuy is a sound system collective and record label hailing from Brooklyn, New York. We pull together different styles, traditions, and modes of production to catalyze interest in sound system culture, a movement with strong ties to America’s music history but often forgotten as time passed. Dub-Stuy traces a direct link between the roots of sound system culture in Jamaica and contemporary bass and electronic music.
Focused around a custom-built 15 kilowatt system, Dub-Stuy powers a community and represents sound system culture for the 21st century.
This is our story so far…
2012 – A sound system to represent the culture in America
In October 2011, Dub-Stuy founder Quoc Pham, a long time DJ and selector spending his time between Brooklyn and Europe, attended Aba Shanti’s seminal University of Dub party in London. The vibes on the night energized him and left him convinced to do something that could bring the same experience to the U.S. east coast, where sound system culture had been declining since its 1980s heydays. The month before attending University of Dub, Quoc had co-hosted the Dub Invasion Festival in NYC, but he how understood that the best way to represent the culture was via a sound system, rather than just events. This idea was the seed for Dub-Stuy.
Back in NYC, Quoc spent the rest of the winter researching the specifics of building a sound system via online forums. In the process he met Jason, a local speaker builder recommended online as someone who might be able to help. Together the pair began to build what would become The Tower of Sound, a bespoke 15000-watt wooden sound system. By spring of 2012, the first version of the rig was fine tuned and tested, components refined. As the summer landed, The Tower of Sound was rolled out for its first shows: community events in Bed Stuy and a VICE Motherboard event in XX featuring hip-hop icons RZA and Large Professor.
It was during the creation of the sound system that Quoc met Jay Spaker, a local Brooklyn producer and vocalist. The meeting would prove to be another key event in the birth of Dub-Stuy, cementing a creative partnership that later gives birth to both the Dub-Stuy label and its lead artist: Tour de Force, a collaboration between Jay and Quoc. Bonding over a shared love of Jamaican sound system culture, roots and reggae, American hip-hop, and the modern evolutions of both, Tour de Force would be the sound of Dub-Stuy and the Tower of Sound would be its amplifier.
Dub-Stuy officially launched in October 2012 with a party at The Paperbox, featuring legendary American dubstep selector Joe Nice, NYC’s Matt Shadetek, and the UK’s Brother Culture. At the same time, Dub-Stuy moves into its first office in the heart of Bed Stuy.
2013 – From the old to the new, from NYC to the world
Following a successful start, 2013 was all about growth for Dub-Stuy. In March, we launched the Echo Chamber series of events where we invite guests from the international scene to Brooklyn. The first three events welcomed guests from France, America, and Brazil. In August, we followed this with a second event series, The Roots of Sound System, dedicated to the long and storied history of the scene and music. The first event in the series brought together two foundational NYC sound system pioneers: Downbeat The Ruler and Deadly Dragon. And then in September, as summer drew to a close, we hosted our first ever block party in Bed Stuy with special guests Ali Shaheed Muhammad from A Tribe Called Quest and Hank Shocklee from The Bomb Squad.
2013 was also the year Dub-Stuy made its mark in New York with a feature in Red Bull’s music magazine and a display of the Tower of Sound at their Roots of Dubstep event, which brought many of the scene’s pioneers to Manhattan. Throughout the year, the rig travels around the five boroughs showing that sound system culture is alive and well in the city.
Beyond events, we also start growing our local and international community beginning in the summer with the first Tour de Force track, ‘Pool Party’ featuring Jahdan Blakkamoore. Given away for free, the track would find its way in the debut Tour de Force album, Battle Cry, released the following year. Dub-Stuy Records launches in December of 2013 with the first official Tour de Force 12″, Old Time Love, released on vinyl and digital formats.
2013 Events: Echo Chamber I, II, II, Roots of Sound System I, Clifton Place Block Party, RBMA Roots of Dubstep party
2013 Guests: Digitaldubs, Roommate, 187 Sound, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Hank Shocklee, Dutty Artz, Tommy Far East, Downbeat the Ruler, Jah Wise, Deadly Dragon, Chinese Man, DJ DRM, Bakir, DJ Ceiba, Ranking Joe, Dub Gabriel, Ticklah, True Nature
2013 Releases: Old Time Love 12″
2014 – Sound out the battle cry
In January 2014, we host the second Roots of Sound System event with special guests Channel One from England. This is the first time the pioneering sound had performed in America and they receive a warm Brooklyn welcome despite the freezing cold. The event represents the theme of 2014 for Dub-Stuy: international expansion.
The label continues with the February release of Tour de Force’s debut album, Battle Cry, featuring a host of local and international vocal guests including the UK’s Brother Culture and Jamaica’s Luciano. Following an album launch at Echo Chamber IV, Tour de Force sets off on its first foreign tour with a string of dates in Asia for Quoc, Jay, and Brother Culture. In the autumn, Tour de Force is invited to France for the Telerama festival. This is a return home for Quoc, who was raised outside Paris, and sows the seeds for a burgeoning relationship between France and Tour de Force. Tour de Force Remixed is released in September with the duo inviting fourteen guests from the worldwide sound system scene to reimagine their debut.
For Record Store Day 2014, The Tower of Sound is setup at the Powerhouse Arena bookshop in DUMBO where it is used for the Dust & Grooves launch party, a celebration of record collectors. Quincy Jones’ classic album Walking In Space is played on the system to a crowd of families and music lovers. June and July see the last two events in the Roots of Sound System series featuring more legends: Shinehead, Ranking Joe, and Carlton Livingston. The year wraps up with one more Echo Chamber, this one looking to the present and future, with an international lineup of bass music producers and selectors: Om Unit from England, DJ Madd from Hungary, and Dave Q from New York.
2014 Events: Echo Chamber IV & V, Roots of Sound System II, III, IV, Dust & Grooves launch party
2014 Guests: Channel One, Alpha Steppa, Queen Majesty, Mini Mart Hi Power, Shinehead, Ranking Joe, Carlton Livingston, Jah Life, Om Unit, Dave Q, DJ Madd
2014 Releases: Battle Cry LP, Battle Cry Remixed LP
2015 – Back to base
After two years of growth and work, Dub-Stuy slows down in 2015 and regroups. The label diversifies with its first signing, DJ Madd. The Hungarian producer relocates to Brooklyn and joins the Dub-Stuy family with Kingdom, 12″ of forward thinking bass music.
Tour de Force continues ahead with the Back to Africa 12″ and expands beyond the duo of Quoc and Jay with a full live band featuring horns and drummer. In the winter, the band sets out for a French tour taking in six cities in two weeks. Before that, Tour de Force and Dub-Stuy land in Croatia for an appearance at the Outlook Festival – one of the leading events in the European summer calendar.
Back home, the next two installments of Echo Chamber leave a sizeable mark in Brooklyn. First with a spring clash made in Bristol between Gorgon Sound (aka Kahn & Neek) and Dubkasm, who bring dubwise and roots vibes as only they can. And then with an October show featuring Leipzig’s Jahtari, king of the 8-bit reggae sound, Jane Bee, and Adam Prescott.
2016 – Forward ever
Refreshed and ready to forge ahead, in 2016 Dub-Stuy relocates its offices to the Brooklyn Navy Yard and sets about expanding its label roster with two new signings, Dubamine and Bhukka, a new vinyl series dedicated to dancehall culture, and more events at home and abroad.
The year begins with a Brooklyn show featuring Poland’s Radikal Guru and Italy’s Numa Crew, a brand new 12″ from Tour de Force, and the official NYC launch party for the 2016 edition of Outlook Festival in May featuring Glasgow’s Mungo’s Hi Fi facing off against O.B.F from Paris. The summer sees Dub-Stuy take over Trans-Pecos in Brooklyn with the Backyard Hi-Fi series featuring food, music, and good vibes. Guests in the series come from all four corners of the world including Tommy Sunshine from Tokyo, Yaadcore from Kingston, Junior Dread from Brazil, Ghislain Poirier from Montreal, LV from London, and Max Glazer from NYC among others.
2016 closes with one last jam-packed Echo Chamber at the Paper Box featuring Quantic and Parisian dub master Moresounds. Alongside this is the second Dubamine release on the Dub-Stuy label featuring a remix of the classic Joker Smoker with a new vocal from Tristan Palmer himself.
2016 Events: Echo Chamber VII, VIII & IX, Outlook Festival NYC Launch Party,
Backyard Hi-Fi 2016 Series, Outlook Festival Europe
2016 Guests: Radikal Guru, Numa Crew, O.B.F, Mungo’s Hi Fi, Star Eyes, Dave Q, E3, Ghislain Poirier, LV, Yaadcore, Max Glazer, Junior Dread, Tommy Sunshine, Scratch Famous, Quantic,
2016 Releases: Soundboy Prayer 12″, String Up The Sound EP, Dub-Stuy Presents Punnany Riddim 2016 (2 x 7″s), Dub-Stuy Presents Dubvault Vol.1 & Vol. 2, Guns N Fiyah 12″, Joker Smoker 12″