Brief: The following is a dossier on the genesis and evolution of, and activities undertaken by, Dub Traffik Control, a notorious underground live dub project based in San Diego but with known desires to take over the world.Classification:
SecretSecurity Level: HighSubjects: Beau Lamontagne, Preston Swirnoff and Angelo Gastelum, all known members of Dub Traffik Control.
Beau Lamontagne—aka editor of underground music/culture magazine RE:UP, aka “Eddie Turbo” of the weekly Dub Dynamite club night, aka “Frik” of the vinyl-versus-laptop DJ duo Frik 'n' Frak—is often seen wearing a tweed hat and sporting a full moustache.
Lamontagne is typically armed with vinyl, mostly vintage dub 45s, and should not be approached when mixing music. Lamontagne reports meeting Preston Swirnoff, or at least coming into contact with Swirnoff's music, in a Mission Hills dive bar by the name of Bar Dynamite. A third party (code name: “Rashi”), a member of a musical group known as Tribe of Kings, is named as the instigator.
Lamontagne goes on the record:
“I met Preston through Rashi. He came to Dub Dynamite one night and dropped off his record. This [was] original analog San Diego dub. He makes it two blocks away, and no one does that anymore. So when I heard it, I was like, ‘Holy shit, who is this mystery in San Diego?'”
Preston Swirnoff—aka “Prince Zohar,” aka “Habitat Sound System,” aka “The Shining Path,” aka “Monosov Swirnoff,” aka “SeeSaw Ensemble”—is the aforementioned “mystery.” A fashionable man with a penchant for '70s garb, necklaces made of old Scrabble letters and leather Members Only jackets.
Swirnoff is a classically trained pianist and jazz man who's worked with the likes of Mad Professor, Tristeza, Aspects of Physics, Sleeping People, Charles Curtis, Joe Marillo, Mountain Home, Ilya Monosov and Duane Pitre. He is decidedly more notorious on the East Coast and overseas than he is at home.
Swirnoff helps run an underground/experimental recording studio and performance space in Golden Hill called The Habitat. Mass amounts of musical recordings take place there. Swirnoff acknowledges staying below the public radar until his introduction to Lamontagne.
Swirnoff goes on the record:
“When I'm in San Diego, I sort of lay low. It's a rough town [for live music], you know, but finally I was, like, ‘I should seek out these kids who do Dub Dynamite and are really into dub and have a crowd and represent.' I actually knew Rashi from years ago because we both grew up in the beach area, so we kind of re-linked up, and he told me I had to meet Beau. And he was right.”
Angelo Gastelum—aka “El Poeta,” aka “The Maximalist,” aka “Carlito Headset”—was brought into the crew through other means. A few years back, this Latino man with arms covered in tattoos—the most recognizable is an image of a floppy disc—was living in Tijuana but performing at a weekly showcase called “Borders Collapse” at the Normal Heights club known as Kadan. Lamontagne happened upon one of Gastelum's performances and was, he says, “blown away.”
Lamontagne goes on the record:
“It was kind of a slow night and they had really worked hard to promote it. It was kind of mellow and they were kind of bummed and Angelo just entered fuck-it mode, which basically is, like, ‘Alright, no one's really dancing, so I'm just going to go for it,' and he played the most amazing set.
“He got everybody up; the entire place started dancing. He had this headset on, and [his music] had a huge Tijuana influence with both the techno side and the horns side…. It was like the hipster Guero stuff but with the mariachi on top. And then he's just going alalalalalalalalalala into the headset and I told him, ‘You're the dub traffic controller,' and we took it from there.”
Gastelum goes on the record to confirm:
“Oh yeah, the Carlito Headset screamer.”
Summary: The first known performance of what thereafter became known as Dub Traffik Control can be traced to a 2006 show at Swirnoff's space, Habitat. With Lamontagne spinning dub tracks and Gastelum on the laptop laying down live electronic tracks, DTC, as it's often known, reportedly rocked the house. People responded by violently shaking their hips. Swirnoff was not part of the group at the time, but after the show, he says, he had no choice but to join.
DTC went underground again, resurfacing in 2007 to play the opening of new buildings at the downtown Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, an Acamonchi art opening at the Chicano art space, Voz Alta and the experimental live-music venue Kava Lounge, this time with Swirnoff improvising live vocals and instruments like the melodica, bells and percussive shakers.
This organization (code name: CityBeat) eventually became aware of DTC's existence when tracks from their album DUB ONE (A Rekkad Dem Play!) made it onto Samurai.fm, an international online radio station.
Status Update: By intercepting a video made by DTC documentarian Miguel Vega (aka “VJ Shikaku”), this organization has recently learned of a new DTC recording, a 12-inch released by BSTRD Boots, a Brooklyn label.
End note: The new album referenced above will reportedly be unveiled to the public at Kava Lounge, 2812 Kettner Blvd. in Little Italy, at approximately 21:00 hours (9 p.m.) on Friday, Feb. 15, 2008. Caution is advised.