Welcome to our ongoing series of features in which we’re introducing you to the people behind Southampton’s growing scene. We’re be showcasing big, small, old, and new venues, promoters, collectives, and more from Southampton and the surrounding area. The features include quick chats and in-depth interviews with the people behind the brands as well as plenty of information, history, and details on what the future might hold for the various groups. If you’d like to be featured on SOTONIGHT then head over to our contact page and get in touch.
For this edition in the series, we would like to introduce Headsessions Soundsystem.
Headsessions is a Southampton based soundsystem that, since 2012, have been hosting nights dedicated solely to showcasing the sounds of reggae and dub. Soundsystem culture has been a deeply engrained aspect of the reggae movement since its inception and importantly its integration into British music culture. Generally made up of a group of DJs, engineers and MCs, soundsystems have acted as a platform for people to enjoy and explore the depths of the seemingly timeless sound. This is exactly what the crew at Headsessions are doing in Southampton.
Headsessions, a group of musically orientated friends who’s musical tastes are diverse but shared a common preference for the many variants of the Jamaican sound (Ska,Reggae, Rocksteady, Dancehall, roots and dub), started out by promoting big names such as Dub pistols and Reggae Roast in the city. As well as the city’s local talent (Eddy Rocksteady and The Uplifter). With the aim of establishing a strong scene within Southampton by hosting events completely dedicated to one sound, the 5 strong crew (Hack-It Dubs, DUBL-U, B1, REV and MC Rasdan) have brought their events (and their HUGE rig) to stages across Southampton.
Headsessions evolved into hosting their own nights that didn’t necessarily bring in the bigger names but could do their thing for a much cheaper entry fee. After realising just as many people were coming through the doors. The success of these nights for me, reflects gig goers curiosity into reggae music. So Headsessions are definitely supplying for a growing demand!
I caught Will from the crew to get some insight into the soundsystem.
Questions by Iggy Willats given in plain text.
Answers from Will given in italics.
Tell us a bit more about soundsytem culture and what it has done for the genre.
Everyone that runs a sound will know how much hard work it is, you have to do it for the love. we didn’t really expect how full on it would be before we built ours and its a constant learning curve, its great! Sound system culture is about all coming together to share the same love for music, heavy bass and a good old stomp about! it brings a different level to reggae music, its a completely different experience going to a sound system dance rather than to see a live band, and it is just what Southampton and the genre needs to push things forward!
Run us through the members of headsessions and what you all bring to the nights.
Headsessions is made up of a few core people but we have guest DJs such as DISORDA, and have very good links with other promoters that help with nights etc, such as SOUL 45, STEPTONE SOUNDSYSTEM.
- Dubl-U, Founder of the headsessions promotion company, selector/ operator/promoter/ booking agent for the soundsystem.
- Hack-It Dubs, Selector/ Operator/ Promoter. Without Tim involved we wouldn’t have a soundsystem!
- B1, Selector/ operator. the king of roots!
- Rev, Electrical genius! Helped build most of our speaker cabs and is the Dub Siren/ Delay master.
- MC Rasdan, the Mic chatter! Blesses the music with his Ghanian chant!
Everyone comes together for the nights, we need everyones help to make everything as good as it can be. This is a big operation and the more help we get the better!
What have been you the highlights of running Headsessions so far?
We’ve had some wicked gigs in last couple of years with some big names! one of the main highlights for me was having Macka B and the roots ragga band down to the talking heads and having to make them all dinner haha. such nice guys, would love to have them back again. Then theres Aba Shanti of course, Channel One Soundsystem, Zion Train to name just a few of the big ones! Playing SO:FEST last year was great fun and also the Hobbit Beach party, two great events that we can’t wait to do this year. its all about this year though, too much good stuff coming up…
Which sounds or artists have you guys been enjoying playing recently?
I’ve always loved Alpha and Omega and after recently purchasing a wicked dub of theirs, Rastafari, i just cant get enough of it! We like to try and stay as varied as possible but always try and stick to a nice roots vibe depending on the crowd. Got a few Jah Shaka productions which have to be some of my favourites at the moment. I like finding tunes that no one has heard and seeing the crowd reaction when you drop it!
Looking forward where can we expect to catch you next and what other big events have you got in store for the year?
We have a night of African Roots and Culture at The Talking Heads on the 21st of Feb with live 6 piece reggae band, Emiliyah and the mightyZ all stars, and have guest DJ DISORDA coming down so that should be good fun.
Were also starting our new monthly soundsystem night at The Cellar on the 1st of March with a United Nations Of Dub festival warm up party, then will be doing the first saturday of the month up there after that.
Blissfields Festival, Boom festival in portugal and a couple of other smaller ones we are waiting for conformation on. Should be doing SO:FEST again this year but with our sound system this time and hopefully the Hobbit Beach party. Mungos HIFI on the 14th of March will be wicked! Lee Perry on the 27th of March, boat party after party with ED Solo, were even doing a jungle set at a back to the 90s night. We were having talks with a venue the other day about possibly running a soundclash night every 3 or 4 months, will consist of 2 or 3 soundsystems in the same room which southampton hasn’t seen before and desperately needs! lots of stuff to look forward to and a very busy summer that we can’t wait for!
If you’re keen to catch southampton’s flagship soundsystem be sure to get to the launch of Headsessions’ new soundsytem night next month : Facebook Event.