SUMMIT DUB SQUAD is a five-piece band that brings together a musically and culturally diverse group of individuals who share a common love for positivity, diversity and unity. Summit Dub Squad mixes and mashes Reggae, Hip Hop, Funk, Punk and Folk into a danceable and very listenable genre they classify as High Elevation Sound Flavor. Flagstaff, AZ is the home of the band and the air up there at 7,000 feet is crucial to their elevated stylings - "the city too hot, I-Man gonna cool out, up on the mountain top!" This sky island situated in the Four Corners region of the Southwestern US is bound by unparalleled beauty and high desert culture, both of which make their way into the Summit Dub sound.
The crew's first big show was opening up for the late Joseph Hill and world renowned roots reggae super-group Culture in late 2006. The vibe was righteous that evening and energies of the Summit Dub Squad were released unto the world. That was the stepping off point and since then the crew has transformed from a turntable and drum machine-based project into a full-fledged stage band. The founding members, DJ SOE and B Dub, have worked together for close to a decade now, originally in the positive Hip Hop project GreenHouse Fresh Produce. After the other GFP emcees (Arek & Train) moved from Flagstaff, SOE and B Dub were eager to keep making music, and along came Dub Docta Paul with his bass guitar. The three lived together on Summit Avenue and the foundation for Summit Dub Squad was born. In 2007 Hunter E. RedDay joined the ranks. RedDay had toured with various reggae acts, traveling across the United States, playing percussion and now with the Summit crew he also plays electric guitar, flute and sings as well. Conor Bailie is just the drummer Summit Dub Squad needed, someone with reggae band history, deep musical knowledge, desire for progression and the ability to deliver a seriously solid beat. These five souls bring their individual styles together to create music that seems to transcend genre, blending hip hop with reggae, funk with dub, dance with listen.
In 2008 Summit Dub Squad performed at four Music Festivals across the Southwest (The Telemagica Arts & Music Festival in Jacumba, California, The Jerome Good Times Festival and Flagstaff Music Festival in Arizona, and The First Annual Mesilla Valley Feel Good Music Festival in Las Cruces, New Mexico). They play regularly in Flagstaff and have rocked shows throughout Arizona - in Tempe, Tucson, Sedona, Prescott, Jerome, Window Rock and Kayenta - and have also performed in Shiprock, New Mexico as well as in Telluride and Durango, Colorado. The crew has warmed stages for other touring acts such as The B-Side Players, Lyrics Born, Buckethead and On The One. SDS also played for “The Longest Walk 2” (a Native American and environmental rights awareness ceremony - the walkers walked from San Francisco to Washington DC) as it came through Flagstaff and was the headline act at Flagstaff’s 2008 Earth Day event in front of City Hall, rooting their sound in cultural and environmental justice.
In March of 2008 The Summit crew released their debut album – High Elevation Sound Flavor – in a Do-It-Yourself, independent style. The album was produced by the Summit Dub Squad and DJ SOE, who also did all of the recording, mixing and mastering. The album opens with the combination of didgeridoo and Native flute coming in over a tribal drum beat, which transforms into Hunter RedDay’s song “My Mountain Speaks” – a narrative from the Holy Mountain, the song gives praise to the Sacred Mountain of the West, the San Francisco Peaks near Flagstaff. “Here We Go” really gets the album going as the energy is increased with hip hop lyricism and scratches. From there the listener is taken on a journey in sound, from the reggae anthem “Waiting To Go” to the folk-infused track “Roots E” to Southwestern-style song “The Showdown” and on to the funky dub-hop sound of “Buried in the Tao.” And just when you think everything is going so smoothly, they drop an organic punk flavor in there with “ShakeDown BreakDown” – originally written by friend Lance Israel. The album swings through an impressive variety of sounds, features positive lyrics, uplifting rhythms, and also talented guest musicians. Several tracks (including the radio-played song “What’s The Difference”) showcase Rachel B. and her skills on the viola. Grass, as she liked to be called, was a full-time member of the squadron before moving to Chicago in the summer of 2008. Long-time friend and classical guitarist Brian David adds a unique island sound to “Midnite Dub” and Ama Ete’s voice graces “Irie Dub” with a lovely and mystical beauty. Along for the ride is a live version of “Conqueror” which has DJ SOE dropping the chorus from a Sly & Robbie record. A wicked dub version of “My Mountain Speaks” and the crucial “What’s The Dub” round out the album. High Elevation Sound Flavor is available on CD at the band’s live shows and various music stores in Arizona and California, and is also available for digital download on iTunes, Rhapsody, Napster and Amazonmp3.com.
The Squad is excited about the future, with many shows on the horizon and a sophomore album in the works. Album two is sure to show progression, and is scheduled to have even more special guest artists, including emcee Arek, a powerful horn section and lyricist Safi of Foot Solejahs. The plan is to use Flagstaff as the great crossroads that it is, taking “mini-tours” to branch out from their center; starting regionally in the Four Corners area and California, and eventually touring nationally. The crew is constantly encouraged by an ever-expanding fan base and all the positive feedback they receive from people at their live shows; the people understand that SDS is different from most: Summit Dub Squad has a sound unmatched by any, and an energy that vibes with all.
Peace + Love + Unity + Respect