On DubConscious' spring tour, fans have options. The Athens-based dub/reggae band created "seed cards" — decomposable cards with a download code for their new album, NonViolent, that each include a message encouraging people to plant the card to grow wildflowers, helping to sustain a dwindling honey bee population.
Without bees, the world's food production system would collapse. Whether the cards' impact is more physical or symbolic, the idea falls right in line with DubConscious' touring philosophy.
"We have strong boundaries and ideals about what we want to do," says singer/guitarist Adrian Zelski. "We're trying to make a band work in a more karmically correct way."
Touring can be an economically tough for any band, let alone one with six members (plus guests). The challenge increases with DubConscious' commitment to avoiding petroleum (they seek out biodiesel fueling stations and print as few discs as possible).
The group recently signed to Sound Tribe Sector 9's 1320 label, and may soon attract a whole new audience. The band is learning Ableton, a live-performance computer program, made popular by groups like STS9, that triggers effects and allows bigger and fuller sounds.
"A lot of times we have to fill space with guitar and wah-wah because that's all you have," says Zelski. The new approach developed through conversations with STS9 guitarist Hunter Brown, and is seen as a bridge between the dub reggae and live electronica scenes. "Those two worlds can't separate," Zelski says.
NonViolent's opening track, "Unify," underscores the band's attitude. The jewel may be the title track, an instrumental jazz horn-laden version of a song the band retired six years ago.
With over 100 original tracks, Zelski says the family is strong in their shared vision.
"We want to go perform and have an impact," he says. "[Touring] is a great life as long as you balance it with some health and sustainable philosophy."
DubConconscious performs at the Pour House (1977 Maybank Hwy., 843-571-4343) with DJ Unya on Thurs. April 9. Admission is $10 ($8 adv.). Visit www.charlestonpourhouse.com and www.dubconscious.com for more.