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RPM: Vital Sound

Vital Sound has been playing all styles of reggae for 20+ years, from dub to dancehall.

Over that time he has promoted and DJ’d at various parties in East London in the early 00s in venues like Cargo, 333 and original Dragon Bar when Shoreditch was in its prime.

When not playing tunes, Daniel is a music writer and photographer for magazines like Knowledge, Touch, LoDown and Riddim.

He’s also a member of the infamous @wheelupsoundsystem and currently hosting two radio shows on @realrootsradiouk and

Check out his mixes:

Show some love, follow 👉 @vitalsound_

Each week we will be taking a dip into the crates and minds of some of the digging scenes most prolific collectors.

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What were your earliest musical influences?

“My dad playing The Specials and Prince Buster in the car on holiday as a little kid. When I was 10, I got into Hip Hop when I saw Run DMC walk down the steps in the shell toes which led me to Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, BDP, De La Soul, NWA, Gangstarr, Tribe, Wu Tang in the ‘golden era’. Discovered the joys of Acid House and raving in 1990 as friends started getting decks and buying the 12’s and I loved the whole culture of sharing the mixtapes.”

Name one institution that changed your life musically… and why?

“1. Early 90’s I started getting into dub via Lee Scratch Perry and King Tubby and then experienced Jah Shaka Sound System at the Moonshot Community Centre in Lewisham in 1993 which showed me what reggae was supposed to sound like and that changed my life. The music had so much power and you could really feel it deep in your soul. To this day it’s still the best dance I ever attended.

  1. I moved to London in ’95 and was lucky to be 10 minutes from Blue Note in Hoxton so I went to Metalheadz every week and got to experience that ‘moment in time’ vibe and all those new tunes being dropped on dubplate for the first time. Doc Scott was my favourite DJ as he had all the tunes and never ever clanged a mix (which many of the others did). My friend worked behind the bar so drinks were only £1 for us which was a bonus!”

7, 10, or 12 inches?

“I have about 2,000 7’s so that is the biggest part of my collection by volume but I have a soft spot for 10″ as its the original dubplate size so aesthetically I like the 10″ format the most.For UK dub / steppers it is still a popular format so all my 10″ are pretty much that style of music.”

Strangest place you found a record?

“I used to work in the office of a music department at a university and shortly before I left one of the professors offices they showed me their vinyl collection from the 80’s that they never played any more as they just used CDs and digital for the lessons. As a leaving present he said I could help myself and take anything I wanted. He had some great reggae albums but also things like Never Mind The Bollocks by Sex Pistols in mint condition so I took as many as I could carry without taking the piss…”

Favourite record labels of all time?

“Two of my favourite producers sadly died in 2020 – Bunny ‘Striker’ Lee and Bobby ‘Digital B’ Dixon. and their labels were a rock-solid guarantee of musical quality for 70’s roots and 90’s dancehall music respectively, and they are responsible for so many classic tunes that really stand the test of time and
still sound great now.”

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