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When I asked Dominic Knight if Dirty White Fever fitted within the genre of heavy blues, his response was, “We’ve never done too well being defined as a genre.” Although “most people say” they come under that banner, he prefers hip hop blues or, more uniquely, breakbeat blooze. As a definition, Dominic says, “It does exactly what it says on the tin.”
Speaking with Dominic on the day of the official launch of Europe’s Yes/No campaign, I complement the band on their 2015 election day drive around the streets of London in a white van. The initial idea was to tour polling stations but the audience of old biddies and mothers with children was a little inappropriate for a good old political rant. So Dirty White Fever found an audience outside a busy London train station. Laying out a Vote Green banner, Dominic played the riff to ‘Pariah’ to a young, voting audience.
I asked him, Yea or Nay for Europe? He admitted he has not been paying much attention and was “more inclined to stay in.” Our conversation covered the fundamental point: the Europe decision is not being made clear enough by politicians and, subsequently, journalists and the media. I admitted I would vote to stay in for the only reason that I hate change. The outers are far too verbose about their opinions. The public simply don’t understand their point. The crucial reason for staying in, says Dominic, is the open border policy, which is good for musicians.
A sense of community echoed throughout our conversation. Dominic is “up for devolution”, giving power to smaller communities. Politicians like the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas (MP in Dominic’s Brighton Pavilion constituency and described by him as a “babe”) work very hard on the frontline to help communities. Living in Brighton, Dominic has experienced the migration issue and has joined Lucas in Calais as a charity volunteer.
In an interview with BackstreetMafia, last year, Dominic offered an insight into the meaning of the band’s name, Dirty White Fever: “The name in itself is torn from the most vicious and degrading acts unto indigenous peoples throughout history, perpetrated by a predominately white, civilized, religious society, which includes the Spanish invasion of South American cultures – The Dirty White Fever that spread across the world, tearing down sustainable ways of life, destroying deeply spiritual connections with the earth and erasing generations of history and tribes from the face of the planet, be it through disease, greed or just outright hatred and genocide for that which they did not understand.”
Their politics goes well beyond their name. The Dirty White Fever duo are community minded, donating proceeds of their single ‘7.83HZ’ to Amnesty International. Their breakbeat blooze is unique within the community of heavy blues, a community against project fear, ignorance, bigotry, and racism.
Find out more about Dirty White Fever:
Photo cover by Jo Wells