The Dynamics started not as a cosmic collision between shiny stars of music, but probably like most bands, between friends. Between parties, cafes, they met and started talking about music. Some would do a radio show, while others sang in groups already, and some would be in Lyon, France for completely other reasons. Despite the huge differences (culture, language, etc), they shared some fun times, and some sparkly jams at parties, and became tight friends.
The real genesis of the group happened at the ‘Funk in the Forest’, a free (kind of) party/festival that some common friends had organized in ‘Forest of the Black Stable » (Noirétable) in middle France. They had some bands come down from England to play, and Mr Flabmasta, from Boston, was running the live system for the groups (which incidentally was destroyed that weekend). Steve Levi from Bristol, was MC for the festival. Bruno “Patchworks”Hovart (Paris) was spinning some tunes one night, and on one simple dub skank, Levi was getting the crowd going, doing some verses. He was joined by Mr Day, who belted out the lyrics to Dylan’s ‘Lay lady Lay’ on top of the chords, joined at the end by Mounam with an African vocal fresstyle that knocked everyone out. Flab, who was running the PA, started playing with guitar effects like delays, fuzz, reverb with the sound from the mixing table, and the microphones. Voila, The Dynamics first gig. Very rough, very raw, but enormous, at least that night.
After that, slowly over the next year, they decided to actually do something with this, so a series of singles were released, covers of songs that they liked, in a sound they all adored, rocksteady soul dub: the very successful debut 7inches (Big Single Rec) of their covers from classics “Move On Up” by Curtis Mayfield and “Seven Nation Army” by The White Stripes. They recorded the songs quickly with quite primitive home studio gear, but they caught the ear of DJ’s. They started playing at local bars, student parties. They got on the big stage quickly on a fluke in 2004, playing on the roof of the Cannes Palais de Festival, sharing the stage with High Tone, Soulwax, Arrested Development, and Stereolab.
Quite quickly emails started pouring in from all over the world from people looking for their vinyls because they heard it at such-and-such party. Organizers asking for them to come play at festivals, clubs, etc… Friends would come back from overseas and say ‘hey man, I heard your song at a bar in Dublin! ». With that momentum, they finally released a first LP, « Version Excursions” (Big Single/GrooveAttack/2007), made of stunning covers produced by Bruno “Patchworks” Hovart (Mr President, Mr Day, Uptown Funk Empire,…), and rapidly reached a very wide audience way beyond the reggae scene.
Following “Version Excursions” (20.000 copies sold), the Dynamics’ Sound-System spent 2 and a half years touring. The live show was perfect at the time for playing and traveling. They once tried getting sponsored by a low-cost airline they took all the time, because they could fit all the gear in carry-on. The company refused. The ultimate low cost dub sound system. Exemplified by one gig on the mainstage of the Sudwest Festival in Portugal, playing directly AFTER the Chemical Brothers and Goldfrapp. (!?!) As the CBro’s decended the stage with 3 truck trailers of equipment, the Dynamics climbed on with a laptop, analog synth, and a bag full of 20 year old guitar stompboxes.
This portability allowed the group to play in many many places, which was a dream come true. Hungary, Turkey, Japan, Poland. Small tiny intimate clubs in Bratislava, Dresden, Berlin, Hamamatsu. Completely surprising parties in Stockholm, London, Vienna, Madrid, Sofia, Athens, and Istanbul. Famous international festivals such as Glastonbury & Lovebox (UK), Reggae Sun Ska & Garorock (FR), Fringe Festival (IRE), Debaser (SE), Sudwest (PT), Popkomm (DE), Path of Peath (IT) and many more…. Media-covered shows in Paris, Tokyo, Warsaw and Italy and stage shared with famous artists such as Peuple de l’Herbe, Toots & the Maytals, Lady Gaga, Pete Doherty, Caravan Palace, Snowboy or Talvin Singh to name just a few. But most unforgettable are the handful of amazing characters they met on the road, and some of the backstage jams after their shows. If you meet them, ask them to tell you about one.
However, it was not all rosy. Touring so much is hard on the other aspects of life, and the group had been on the road so much that they hadn’t time to record new songs, and a difference in needs and objectives led to one of the members leaving the group. They needed to take some time to re-evaluate the direction of the group. They all loved music, and wanted to continue, but wanted to release their own proper songs, to move way from being a ‘cover band’ (Although few consider them as such, because of the complete transformation and reworking of the original songs.)
So after 3 years of non-stop touring the group took a hiatus, and decided to explore different directions. The album is unique because it is essentially the work of many: 4 different producers, 4 different studios, but one team. This allowed them to try things that were not possible for the first… Massive horns, big sound, full bass, sound-bending, open space.
The group is really excited for the release of this disc, because it is full of songs that they have been working on live that will finally be available. Of course, like everyone, they are aware of the dismal state of the music industry. But they are optimistic because playing live is one of the only ways to sell discs, and they love playing live!! 3 singers (Levi, Day, Mounam) machines (Flab) and the Dub Libertines (Raph-bass, Chris-drums). Today, The Dynamics present their 2nd long-player called “180 000 Miles & Counting”. Without Patchworks, their longtime friend and original member, they brilliantly provide an album which can be described as more personal, adventurous, varied, loyal to their love of Soul, Reggae, and Dub… all the while toying with Afro-beat and Zydeco.
From « Shibuya Crossing« , evoking their time in Japan, to other titles like « Do the Dance« , « Downtown Barking« , or « International Soul » paying homage to the characters met during and after their numerous concerts, most of the album has been naturally written as the travel book of their great live adventures. « Bring Me Up« , « Show Me« , and « I Know She Cares » bear witness to more intimate stories of lovers accepting the consequences… And in this morose economic climate, they poke fun at human behavior faced with the power of greed with the cover of the O’Jays’ classic, ‘Money« .
With this rich and genuine sophomore effort, The Dynamics are ready to continue their journey, and share with the public their new live show. “180.000 Miles & Counting” will be released by Favorite Recordings in September… Stay tuned!!
- Laurent Garnier (club DJ & Radio DJ): « Excellent — Full radio support … »
- Roughtrade : « This is a more personal, adventurous, and varied album, but one which remains »
- Simon Harrison (Basic Soul Radio Show): « This is one album for soaking up the sunhine – ACE »
- Erik Schneider / DJ Erik The Red (Giant Step (Director of Music Marketing)): « Been fiending for some new Dynamics music – diggin this album!!! »
- Ben Cox (Stop.Look.Listen.): « Already one of my albums of the year! Money is a sure-fire hit. Will be giving this serious rotation. »
- Jeremy Sole (KCRW): « More fiyah from Dynamics… always a sureshot, indeed! »
- Soulist (What The Funk): « More rough than the other album it’s a good surprise .. Loving the ‘Money’ cover! »
- DJ Moar (Trad Vibe): « J’adore Miracles »
- Jazzamar (Jazzmin Records): « Great album as always, full support. »
- Oliver Korthals (Mojo Club / Out Of Spectrum @ www.byte.fm): « In September the album for this year’s summer which did not happen. So a little sunshine later this year. Great cover versions which deserve the name! Dynamics make well known tunes sound something extra. Here and there a bit more tempo and it would have been perfect. So it’s just a fantastic album! »
- Mike Chadwick (Jazz FM, DJ): « On first very quick snippets listen sounds brilliant, can’t wait to hear it all. Good choice of covers as usual and original music sounds interesting »