INTERVIEW: Jah Wobble & The Nippon Dub Ensemble

Japanese Dub Tour, 02 Academy, Friday July 30th

Punk wars survivor Jah Wobble is “too hot to handle” for the “world music cartel”. But the man who earned his moniker from a drunken Sid Vicious is back on the road, promoting his new Japanese Dub album with a tour of 02 Academy venues and independent European festivals.

Following his acclaimed 2008 Chinese Dub album, Japanese Dub brings Wobble’s love for Eastern culture back in front of a Western audience. Married to Chinese-born guzheng player and harpist Zi Lan Liao, Wobble has been influenced by Eastern culture throughout both personal and professional lives.

“I’ve been exposed to a lot of the culture and I know a few Japanese players,” says Wobble, “For some time I’ve fancied having a crack at merging Japanese music with dub. There’s something unique and unmistakable about it.”

Stealing the show at WOMAD in 2008, Wobble is swapping the fire breathing and mask changing of Chinese Dub for a “high octane” stage show of Ikebana, or Japanese Flower arranging. Accompanying Jah Wobble on stage will be Takashi Sawano, the UK’s foremost designer of Japanese gardens and Ikebana master.

“He (Sawano) is the rock and roll of flower arrangers, he does these big displays whilst we play. He’s bit nutty,“ says Wobble. “It’s all done with a flourish, I believe he’s a martial artist as well. They’re massively complicated flower arrangements all over the stage.”

Recorded in five days, Japanese Dub combines traditional Shinto and Kabuki musical styles with Taiko drumming and “poinant, rather polite Japanese chamber music”. Featuring Joji Hirota (vocals, taiko drums), Keiko Kitamura (vocals, shamisen, koto), Clive Bell (shakahatchi) and Robin Thompson (hikaritchi, sho, shamisen) as The Nippon Dub Ensemble, special guests will also join Jah Wobble on stage at specific performances.

Fighting visa obstructions and a funding retreat from Anglo/Japanese organisations, Wobble’s own label, 30 Hertz Recordings, has been the sole financier of the tour.

“When you’re bringing artists over from a country who’s economy air fare is around £2000, you have to draw the line somewhere. We’ll have between six to eight or nine players on stage at each venue, but not each line up will be the same. Every performance will be clean but unique.”

Japanese Dub was released on April 6th. Jah Wobble & The Nippon Dub Ensemble will be touring the UK from mid July, playing at the 02 Academy in Birmingham on Friday 30th July.

For tickets and information on the show visit the 02 Academy Birmingham website at

For more information on Jah Wobble and The Nippon Dub Ensemble visit 30 Hertz Recordings’ website on