June 2014 - Do not call it Dub Step, don't
even call it "Dub Steppish", and
especially not when the term sounds like a
cuss to you. Call it Roots Step, for that is
the name of the unique sound captured in no
less than twenty-four chapters of the "Rootsstep
To The World" series released by Don
Goliath from his Berlin-based studio. With
the help of elders like U Roy, Trinity and
many others, his "Rootsstep Division
Recordings" label is ready to bring the
Roots Vibration to a brand new generation.
Are we? Time for an in-depth listen and talk
with the don himself.
Dubstep. Just saying
the word can get you into a long discussion
or even debate. Every one has an opinion,
every two disagree about everything two can
possibly disagree over. And, as with all
Dub/Reggae derivates, it can be kind of
really difficult to discover any Roots.
Dubstep. Not really something to check and
not really something to disagree over,
either. It's just not relevant.
Apparently it is. We have Mad
Professor's Ariwa Sound releasing
"Roots of Dubstep", an obvious
description of (DUB) Reggae. An obvious
statement as well from someone who actually
stood at the roots of UK DUB.
now we have "Rootsstep" music
straight from Berlin, in a rather large
quantity and consistent quality. Many
well-known vocalists have contributed, some
are so well-known that their contribution is
obviously voluntarily. We're talking names
like U Roy, Jazzbo, Kojak, Lone Ranger,
Trinity, Dillinger. They have all stood
before the microphone and voiced especially
for Don Goliath and his Rootsstep riddims.
Voicing like they have done for decades,
without any compromise in word or sound or
So, what is Rootsstep? What drove
these Founding Fathers of Reggae to
contribute to Don Goliath's sound? Mind you,
these are people that you do not tell what
to do. When they do something for you, it is
the result of their decision to do so. They
really can be considered as Elders for they
The best way to start is to listen
for yourself. However, it it is very
difficult to find reviews or articles about
the Don and his Rootsstep Sound. Just only
recently, the ORIGINAL DUB GATHERING Net
Label picked up some of Don Goliath's work
and a German blog wrote a review in German
but that's about it. So, chances are that
your discovery of this unique sound starts
HERE (ZIP FILE) for an MP3 mix
featuring Kojak and Trinity straight from
Don Goliath's WEBSITE
or (if your browser lets you) check out the
Yes, this is the sound of Rootsstep. It's
a sound that has all the musicological
elements of Roots Reggae while the overall
vibe has nothing out-dated or
"historical" if you will. This
could very well be described as 21st Century
Roots, Cyber Roots, or simply Conscious Contemporary
Reggae. This is more than merely a style by
a sound, this is a sound by itself. So why
not call it Rootsstep?
the conscious message of Rastafari,
skillfully delivered by voices too familiar
to not take serious, the music instantly
drops you into today's vibes dominated by
modern digital recording and mixing
technologies. In itself, once again it is
shown how Rastafari and Consciousness in
general transcends times and places as it
contains a universal message from the
Creator Himself. Who feels it, definitely
Unlike the Biblical giant, this
one Goliath comes with an uplifting message.
A message of righteousness and with songs of
praises to the Almighty. Just like all
conscious Reggae, that is. However, it is
the sound that is intriguing. This is a
sound that will appeal to an audience that
may not necessarily be drawn to your
Steppers Reggae or (DUB) Reggae in general.
This is a sound that seamlessly fits into
today's spectrum of electronic styles while
in the same time distinguishing itself from
the slackness and plain vanity or emptiness
"present" in too much productions
these days (including Reggae!).
Goliath started releasing his new sound
through a series of albums called
"Rootsstep To The World". At this
time, in June 2014, chapter 24 is released.
You don't have to make the math to see that
something is going on here and the fact that
so little is written about it all makes you
wonder. It makes you wonder so much that you
want to find out more about Don Goliath and
his Roots Steppin' sounds.
go to the Don and ask him some thing. This:
What Is Rootsstep and how did you come
up with this unique sound?
Don: First of all let me take out the time to thank you for this
interview and the article! I totally second your emotions on
you are saying above.
Now back to your question. I didn't invent this genre nor its name.
There were a few other producers around before I started producing my
own approach to it. As the name suggests
Rootsstep is Dubstep influenced
Roots or vice versa. That dates from Dubstep's early days though when it
still had a strong Reggae influence which it completely lost during the
past years, developing more and more rather Electro influenced sub
Anyway, so back in the days when I came up with my Rootsstep
style I found this name was indeed a good term for this music since it
basically is Roots music with a digital bassline sound. 90% of my
Rootsstep riddims are rebuilds of end 70s rockers riddims by the usual
suspects of that era, namely Tubby, Jammy, Scientist, Perry, Ruby,
Moodie so at the very core of all my Rootsstep productions there is
Roots Reggae. I therefore decided to spell it with two S, hence
Rootsstep, to underline the Roots influence/domination in my approach to it.
Well, the Don makes total sense here.
Just take the fact that the only mention of
Dubstep on this website is in reviews where
Dub tracks come with a "wobbly
bass" and that's about it. Then head
over to Studio
Dubroom where you can find links to
websites with samples and loops. Even when
you're not a producer, just browse and you
will see tons of "Dub" and
"Dubstep" sounds that even with
the biggest imagination have nothing to do
with the music that is the topic of the
In fact, this is where yours truly
discovered Don Goliath and his Rootsstep. On
a website where producers of the better Dub
and Reggae do find worthy material but
that's for another time and place. For now,
the big question is why there's so little
reviews and interviews about Don Goliath and
his Roots vibes. When in the eyes of many
-right or wrong- Dubstep these days has nothing to do
with either Dub or Steppers, his music most
certainly has, to say the least!
with a baby, bath and water comes to mind.
Something having to do with prejudice. Many
of us who have developed a strong love for
(DUB) Roots Reggae will also have developed
a strong prejudice against everything with
the name "step" in it, preventing
us from discovering sounds like Don
Goliath's Rootsstep. For one would be very
deaf not to immediately recognize the Roots
Vibration in his music, and you you do not
even have to know your classics if you will.
let's head back to the Don and ask him about
this. What does he say to certain voices
claiming that his Rootsstep sounds like
another style of Dubstep?
Don: I don't think my Rootsstep sounds like Dubstep at all and quite
frankly people who might say that don't really know what they are
talking about since if they had any clue about the musical genre Dubstep
(with all its sub genres) in our days they'd just know better. These
people just like to jump the train of the IMO narrow minded
Dubstepophobia which is quite common in some parts of the Roots
community as I found.
Now lemme tell you why my Rootsstep
definitely ain't Dubstep: First of "Dubstep" has become such a vague term since
there are so many, totally differently sounding, sub genres of it around
these days. My Rootsstep sounds nothing like any of
em. The only thing
my Rootsstep has in common with Dubstep is that I use digital timbres
for my bassline sounds, but who doesn't do that, unless you are into
acoustic music ;). All the other elements of my Rootsstep are Reggae
related so I'd definitly classify my Rootsstep as Roots music indeed.
Besides I don't know any Dubstep tune/riddim on which one could play a
Melodica solo ;)
Who can argue against that? When you
compare the Don's bass with some of the
basslines and sounds released on some Net
Label compilations reviewed here in the
Dubroom, the Roots is easily identified. In
fact, Rootstep is a lot more Roots than some
contemporary Dub releases. The mere fact we
have the word "step" incorporated
does not mean what many of us might assume!
why it is so good that the Original
Dub Gathering Net Label released a mix with
Don Goliaths music. That's why it is
more than late for this interview to appear
on the Dubroom. That's why many and many
more websites should start reviewing Rootsstep.
We're living in 2014 and there's a certain
technology and sound called digital. It has
been around for decades. It's time for
everyone involved in the promotion of
conscious (DUB) Reggae to start to promote
the sound of Rootsstep.
The sound of Rootsstep transcends
Reggae in the same manner Dubwise transcends
Reggae, meaning that a whole audience can be
reached that will not be reached by your average
straight-up Reggae tune. To leave an
audience unreached with the message of Roots
and Culture merely because of a four-letter
word is bizarre. Still, it appears very much
that this is the case because of the simple
fact is very difficult to find reviews,
interviews or articles about Don
We need to get back to the
Don and ask him how he would characterize
the overall (lack of) response in or from
the (DUB) Reggae community. His response:
Luckily you are wrong about the lack of response that I am getting from
the Reggae community. Lately there is a lot of support for my works from
either the more open minded Roots people, not getting scared off by the
"step" word alone ;), or the more conservative ones who realized that my
Rootsstep sound will integrate perfectly fine into any of their Roots
selections. This being said I am aware that the Roots community is known
for its conservative attitude in general so I didn't expect to establish
my works amongst Roots people anytime soon but I am confident that
sooner or later even Roots purists will open their minds/musical
horizons and let my music in, only to discover that it is so very close
to their beloved classics ;).
A confidence that could and should be
shared by indeed us, lovers of the better
quality Roots (DUB) Reggae.
been a long time since Jammy's released his
Sleng-Teng digital riddim and started the
debate as to whether music can come out of a
box or not. We've been there, done that. You
could even say we accepted how Dancehall
became synonymous with Hip-Hop/Rap,
indistinguishable synonymous. Rootsstep has
more Roots and straight-up Reggae than
Sleng-Teng and all Dancehall combined.
Rootsstep has more Roots than many
contemporary Dub productions. Strong Roots
produce strong fruits.
Indeed, we can be
confident that more and more people will
discover the sound of Rootsstep and when
they do, they can start right away with the
"Rootsstep to the World" series,
which currently has a 24th chapter after
it's humble beginnings.... only a year or so
That's the last thing we really need
to know. This is an enormous output,
considering that there's not a whole team of
engineers, players and producers using the
same studio and label but basically one
person running it all. What drives him?
ask Don Goliath: You've released like 100 riddims in different mixes since last year.
That's a statement from someone with a mission, unless you've
coincidently swallowed a drugstore's stock of ritalin. What is the
statement and the mission behind releasing "Rootsstep To The World" series?
Don: Hehe yea, well it sure ain't the ritalin ;). I wouldn't say I am on
a mission either I just looooooooove to produce music, that is all there
is to it really. There is not one other activity I love as much as
producing music so I spend all my free time doing it. I wouldn't know
what else to do really. I live for my music. When I have to do anything
else I tell myself "what a waste of time". All that counts to me is
making music really. I'm probably the biggest one-track specialist that
has ever lived lol. Besides my music there is only my wife, my
day job and movies in my life. And I luv it like that!
Music fills me up and
makes me happy it's my reason for living. That way I might probably have
to correct myself about that "mission" bit you mentioned.
Now when you ask for the reason to produce Rootsstep I can say that this
musical genre simply is my favorite one. I do like other genres as well
but heavyweight Reggae music is the one my heart is beating for so (with
a few ventures into other musical genres) Rootsstep productions will
always be my focus.
So that is what love for Roots Music can
do. That is the strength behind the enormous
output, the reason for the consistency both
in quality as well as in conscious lyrics.
This is why it is now possible to hear a
whole army of well-known vocalists from U
Roy to more recent ones inna Rootsstep
Style! And that's what easily can be
called a mission. A mission to, as the title
says, bring Rootsstep to the World!
Out of many, one good thing about love is
that this is something that always makes you
share. Love is not something to do by and
for yourself. Love comes from the Almighty,
the Giver of life and Creator of
everything-that-is and by nature grows,
especially with strong Roots. This can be
said about every true form of conscious
Roots Reggae music and therefore it can be
said of Rootsstep.
Nuff said, now play! ----> www.dongoliath.com