Behind the Scenes - The Untold Story of the Dub Flash

Selector Dub Rogue

Dub Flash has always been a one-man-project (plus support from many friendly people). My name is Ralf Wunderlich aka Selector Dub Rogue, the Sample Recycler and I am from Berlin, the heart of Europe. As a youth, I was the bass player for 5 Fremde und der Zauberer W. Since the mid 90s I recorded mixtapes and tried to produce Rap and Dub music in my Oakfield Rooftop Studios (which was not a real studio). In 1998 the Dub Flash adventure started. You can read about that in the timeline below. At the end, it is all history.

Aside from Dub, I have two other layers in my life: football and work/studies. I studied philosophy, psychology and media studies at the University of Potsdam, published two books and wrote a couple of articles. I worked for a health insurance for several years, but this was not my world. Since 2015 I am a fulltime football coach in Finland. It is a tough and lonely life. Do not do it. I am a lone wolf who enjoys green forests, blue lakes and white clouds in the sky. I seek peace and quiet, but this is difficult on this planet. That is why I dream of the Andromedub Galaxy. I don't know one single person from there who is not nice.

Through the Years - The More or Less Precise Timeline of the Dub Flash

1991

Probably the most important year of my life. I was 14 and by unbelievable luck, I heard a live show from Gary Clail ("There's something wrong with Human Nature." he shouted and I was like "whaaaa... wait, that explains a lot") on a pirate radio station which happened to be transmitted to my walkman during a school trip. Unfortunately they didn't announce the artist correctly, but a whole new world opened up to me and I fell in love with Dub music. It was love on first listen, but it took me months to find out - by another unbelievable coincidence - the name of the artist I had heard. I tried to explain to my father what I had heard and one day we stood in front of a record shop and there was this black cover with a face taped in bandage and huge speakers surrounding his eyes in the window and my father said "Look, this is the artist you described to me" and I was like "whaaaa... how can... this... I mean... whaaaa?!" Needless to say, it was exactly the right album: Gary Clail "The Emotional Hooligan". If this was not destiny, then I don't know what destiny could be. Soon after, my father brought home Dub Syndicate's "Stoned Immaculate" LP. That was the beginning of the rest of my life.

1993

I think that I had my first DJ gig in 1993, but I am not 100% sure anymore.

1994

Around this year I started making dubwise mixtapes as Dieb in Dub, the predecessor of Dub Flash.

1998

In late 1997 I taught myself HTML 1.0 and in May 1998, the original Dub Flash website went online. It is (and will forever be) the first website in the history of the internet that was about Dub music. Later this year, the first known name of the reggae scene found me through my site and got in touch: Jah Warrior. He offered me some ideas for my website and I listened.

2000

My website became the Dub Information Portal [check the remnants in the archive] with reviews, photos, sound files, news, interviews, a small forum, a huge link directory, polls, a newsletter, a guestbook, an event calendar, an artist and a label profile directory (!), some small videos (back then this was a difficult thing to do), at some point I also tried a live chat function. I even started a Discography-service, but then Discogs came (I am a member since almost day one) and saved me a lot of work, because I did everything on my website manually. Can you imagine? With time passing, I received a lot of e-mails and I would often spend my whole evenings after work just replying to inquiries. It was crazy and eventually got out of hand. Only with the introduction of Web 2.0 and people being able to make their own websites or join places like MySpace, things eased off for me.

2003

In 2003, I partied the 5th Dub Flash anniversary. I made a big winning competition and got musical donations [photo] from various supportive people. From Dubcreator came a special present: a song produced for me. The name (what a surprise): Dub Flash. He said that I can release it if I want. And that's how later this year, my record label saw the light of day. Yes, it was as simple as that.

2004

When the label business kicked off, I immediately got contacted by various other labels, artists and distributors and I eventually realised that due to the lack of specialised webshops for this music genre, I have to make my own one if I want to sell my records. I therefore opened the Outer Space Dub XPress (even though this name was only retroconnected at some point). I also started as a small distributor and made cool deals with people from all continents (is the Antarktis an own continent? Then not all.) The shop and distribution grew bigger and bigger every year.

2007

During my exchange studies in Finland, I made an internship for the newly found alternative radio station Oi fm. Part of this were two own radio programs. One of them was the Dub Mash, a weekly one-hour (sometimes two) show about Dub music. The show was one of the most successful programs and I continued producing shows for them when I was back in Berlin for quite a while. For the last years, the shows are produced just every now and then. You can listen to all shows in the show archive.

2009

What was missing so far was my own sound system and there was no chance for me to get my own one. Lack of money, space and knowledge were the main reasons. In 2005 (yes, four years earlier, it's not a typo) I met selector Dub Pipe, a very friendly man from Cologne who played selections which suited my taste more than any other DJ I have ever heard. It was just natural that we would team up. In 2009, Dub Pipe finally completed his sound system. For reasons I don't remember the name MoonBass Hi+Fi was chosen. A great name for sure. Our crew was called Boba Fat Warriors (or something something dark side). Apart from Sound Padawan Dub Rogue (I) and High Moff Dub Pipe, there were Operator Count UppE and Comic Relief Dub Wing Pilot BenJahJahmin Binks (I'm not 100% sure about these crazy names anymore).

2010

Around 2010, my webshop and distribution was pretty much a fulltime job and the whole thing got a bit out of hands, especially as I got a normal 9 to 5 job again. At the end of the year sales suddenly plummeted massively from one day to the other. It was a shock. I still don't know what happened, but I know that I lost customers to other newly founded webshops. In 2011, after a couple of months with almost no sales at all, I took it as a sign that it is time to stop the shop. For the following years I sold my rest stock on Discogs. There are still a few (apparently unsellable) records left.

2012

Even though it got quiet around the name Dub Flash I was still active as part of MoonBass Hi+Fi. We hosted several bassweight Dub parties in Berlin with international guests like Dubateers, Charlie P., Paul Fox, Imperial Sound's Dan-I, Mellow Vibes, Intergalaktik Sound or Trulaikes.

2016

My life changed drastically for a couple of times during the last 6 years. Most changes unfortunately not for the better. My 30s mostly sucked. I wasn't able to focus on Dub Flash and eventually almost forgot about it. Luckily, there were others who remembered, some even nagging me about new releases. The occassional guest DJ set at some party reminded me of the joy this great project brought me for almost 20 years. Living in Eastern Finland now, it was refreshing to see that the people here know nothing of this music and were just amazed when I played sets on some small parties. It reminded me of my beginnings in the mid 90s. Therefore I got Dub-fever again. Also, when my 70 years old father asked me why he cannot find my songs on Deezer and all I could reply was "What is Deezer?" I realised I had to get active again. ;-)

2017

Finally, I did what many people have asked me to do for years: I put the complete Dub Flash Records catalogue up for digital distribution. Now everyone can get every tune easily and without using phishy sources. At the same time, I relaunched the website and well, basically also the label. There are a couple of new (digital) releases in the make right now. Dub Flash is still alive and kicking. Next year is the 20th anniversary. Just sayin'...