Asian Dub Foundation have just finished a successful tour playing their critically acclaimed live soundtrack to the 1995 French cult classic film, La Haine.

Music-News caught up with guitarist, composer and song-writer, Steve Savale (aka Chandrasonic) to discuss the band and influences.


You’ve had a long and successful career writing, recording and performing in ADF. What are you most proud of?

Steve Savale: At the moment I am massively proud of our live soundtrack to La Haine which we first did in 2001.We've just done a largely sold out tour with an enhanced version of it and even snagged a great review in the print copy of the Times, which hasn't happened for a bit. The project hasn't dated and still feels innovative ,especially the way we're doing it now. Feeling blessed!
Check out the Times review here.

Which are your most satisfying ADF recordings and why?

SS: I think the first three albums still sound very fresh and unique. It's a fact of life that a band is usually at its best on record in it's initial years. Having said that our two biggest tracks came a few years after those; "Fortress Europe" which is - sadly - continually topical and "Flyover" which is probably the most universal tune we ever did and kind of defines the Jungle/punk hybrid which I think we kind of pioneered looking back on it. The last album "More Signal More Noise" was the first album for a while to consistently match the drive of our early work in my view.

Was there a defining moment when you realised you could have a career in music, and did you deliberately set out on that course?

Never had one of those. To be honest if i'm not involved in performing or some kind of highly-involved artistic activity I get depressed, simple as that. It feels like i've never had a choice, and I'm sure there are many others like me in that regard.

How do your songs generally evolve? Do they start with a political message/theme, a beat, a rap, a riff, or does it vary?

Usually a beat, sometimes a riff. The lyrical ideas are usually written separately and then adapted to the music.

Do you have many unfulfilled ambitions for ADF or yourself?

With the new La Haine show we've been playing instrumental sets after the film has finished and that has launched us on a very interesting new path so out of the blue we've got a whole load of ambitions connected with that! Personally my main ambition is to make sure my youngest son is OK , plus i'd love to be a screen writer for a sci-fi TV show.

The success and sustainability of ADF appears to be founded in honesty - create the music you want to create, in the way you want to create it.

What other elements have been instrumental in its success? You've very perceptively nailed the main thing there, i'll refine it a bit. Like a good teacher you should learn how to get the audience to understand what you're doing, but you should never sell out to them and do what you think is expected of you. This is the problem in the world of view numbers and hyperstats, younger musicians always feel they need to play to the gallery. I always say to people in the classes I sometimes take it's better to have 90% hate you and 10% think you're the best thing they've ever seen than to have 100% say you're okay and "I liked it when you did that song I know".

What inspires you most with ADF? The production of great songs, the live audience reaction, or striving to make a positive socio-political impact?

Anyone who judged what they did on "socio-political impact" would be doomed to disappointment I think- how do you quantify that? I'll take the first two thanks.

Are you at ease with your popularity being largely overseas and have you consciously tried to match that popularity in the UK?

That's always rankled a bit but I suppose we're by no means the first. That's why this mini-tour of the UK we've done with the film and the reaction has been so life-affirming. But having said that we've always been instinctively internationalist and we play on gig circuits that most UK acts don't get near, so we shouldn't complain!!

What pleases and/or frustrates you about the shape of music in this country?

Massively, massively pleased with the synergy between the Grime Scene and the Labour vote at the last election. ADF was always about music being part of a general mobilisation of youth- it happened! The frustrating side is what I said in response to Q6, plus the economic conditions that underlie that (especially housing).

Who are your musical influences, and how have they inspired you?

For me at the moment it's The Fall, The Fall and the Fall. Has there ever been another band so consistently good over such a long period of time taking in Phillip K Dick, Ballet, the avant-garde, electronics, hip hop, breakbeat, and STILL sound like the best fundamentalist rock n' roll band there ever was? I bought "Totally Wired" when it came out as a teenager and never looked back.

Which current artists inspire you?

The stunning 47 Soul , a group of Palestinian exiles who are unbelievable live. EVERYONE MUST GO AND SEE THEM. NOW! Check them out here. All of ADF agree with this one.

ON TOUR - BUY TICKETS NOW!

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