All Articles
All Articles
CULTURE

Sound System Culture

A new tome from One Love Books tells the story of the scene, from roots in Jamaica to its popularity in Yorkshire

by Gavin Lucas
on 01 July 2014
Sound-System-Culture-Book-01a.jpg Sound-System-Culture-Book-01b.jpg

Mention sound system culture to anyone in the UK and they'll probably associate it with Notting Hill Carnival, the annual two-day celebration of Anglo-Caribbean culture on the streets of West London. However, a new book published by One Love Books this month,"Sound System Culture, Celebrating Huddersfield's Sound Systems," tells the story of sound system culture in the UK from its roots in Jamaica to (somewhat surprisingly) the market town of Huddersfield in West Yorkshire, which became a stronghold of the British scene during the 1970s and '80s.

Sound-System-Culture-Book-06.jpg

The book is the brainchild of Mandeep Samra—a historian and sound system enthusiast based in Huddersfield—and is actually the final element of a bigger project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England. As a whole, it includes a touring exhibition of photographs and oral histories (recorded by Samra and her team) of key people involved in the scene from the 1960s onwards.

Sound-System-Culture-Book-04.jpg

“The [project] grew out of a fascination and appreciation for sound system culture,” Samra writes. “While never an insider of the scene, I always had an interest in sound systems and around five years ago I first had the idea for this project but did not know where to begin. One day I was talking with my boiler man, Michael Royal, who revealed that he had been a sound operator for Duke Warrior, a Huddersfield-based sound system active in the 1970s. Two people, who on the surface shared little in common, found a connecting thread in their interest for sound systems... As I began meeting more people with first-hand involvement in sound systems, a sense of the importance of the project grew.” With a foreword by Paul Ward, Professor of Modern British History at the University of Huddersfield, the book has been lovingly put together by Samra who worked closely with designer and editor Al Fingers of One Love Books, as well as a number of researchers.

Sound-System-Culture-Book-07.jpg

The book's main text has been written by Huddersfield-based sound system operator, Paul Huxtable, who does a great job of contextualizing the development of sound system culture in the UK within Caribbean immigrant communities. The text runs alongside impressively researched content that includes a wealth of previously unseen archive material and anecdotes from the people that helped establish Huddersfield as the reggae and sound system capital of the North of England—from builders of top quality and custom amplifiers and PA systems like Mat Mathias of Matamp, through to Sound System owners and operators including Stephen Burke of Earth Rocker Sound System, Danman of Iration Steppas, Yagga Roots of Earthstrong Sound System and dozens more. To perfectly illustrate the lively and creative scene, 47 color and 29 black and white photographs round out the hardback tome.

Sound-System-Culture-Book-Heartige-Hifi.jpg

As well as his writing duties, Huxtable also built a beautiful sound system using locally manufactured parts specially for the project. Named the Heritage HiFi system, it toured with Samra's Sound System Culture exhibition, and is made up entirely of locally manufactured parts; from the Vintage Fane 18” bass speakers, 15" mids, compression driver and bullet tweeters, to the vintage Matamp amplifiers and mixer—all made in West Yorkshire.

Sound System Culture is published by One Love Books and available online for £20.

Images courtesy of One Love Books

The CH25 is a showcase of creators and innovators from a broad range of disciplines who are currently working to drive the world forward.

Marcus Weller

Using technology to turn motorcycle helmet design on its head

Read More
I was taken aback both by the number of people that doubted it, and by the equally large number of people that got behind it

Sabine Seymour

A future where smart clothes are as ubiquitous as zippers

Read More
In the future you will not buy a piece of 'functional' clothing without SoftSpot

Leopoldine Huyghues Despointes

The young filmmaker and non-profit founder who just wants people to follow their dreams

Read More
I feel confident and ready to accomplish so much more, the movement is on

Jonathan Sparks

Reinventing electronic music by inventing multi-disciplinary instruments

Read More
Recorded music is becoming so cheap, so the value of music is now in live performance

Vanessa Newman

Redesigning pregnancy for the post-gender generation with Butchbaby & Co.

Read More
I want my customers to feel comfortable and unchanged, in that becoming pregnant didn't take away from or compromise their identity

Matt Kenyon

Fusing art and technology to disrupt concepts of corporate America

Read More
I want the work to live in the world and circulate, so it can generate more dialogue

George Arriola and Monohm

An heirloom electronic for the post-smartphone era

Read More
We agonized during the design process as all hyper-obsessed craftspeople should

Dan Barasch + James Ramsey

A quest to make the future brighter—underground

Read More
We both share a passion for groundbreaking technology and a shared love of New York

Cynthia Breazeal

How an emotional, empathetic robot named Jibo stands to revolutionize communication

Read More
The thing that's so provocative about social robots is that it's fundamentally a community technology

Pauline van Dongen

The Dutch designer blazing the wearable technology path

Read More
I’m fascinated by concepts of change, movement, energy and perception; since they are closely related to the way we experience the world

Tal Danino

The bioengineer who’s programming DNA to fight cancer

Read More
[Manipulating genes] is very new, people are just learning how to program these organisms

Meredith Perry

How searching the Internet helped a 22-year-old invent wireless electricity

Read More
It’s not about where the information is, it’s about how you use the tools

Tarren Wolfe

The next-generation appliance making kitchens greener—literally

Read More
Our goal is to provide food for everyone in the world, and the best place to start is in our very own community

Joshua Harker

Pushing the boundaries of sculpture with intricate 3D printing

Read More
My intent was to explore and depict the architecture of the imagination, to interpret and share forms evident in the mind’s eye

LaToya Ruby Frazier

Documenting the slow, troubling change in Braddock, Pennsylvania

Read More
I am not a journalist, I am a conceptual documentary artist using my visual expression for building narratives that are unseen and unheard

Melissa Kushner

Addressing the needs of orphans and vulnerable children in Malawi through microenterprise

Read More
Poverty is complicated, there is an increasing temptation and pressure in the development space to oversimplify things

Kathleen Supové

The NYC performance artist who’s radically reinventing the piano recital

Read More
I like pieces that are virtuosic, that show off the piano and what it can do, and are awe-inspiring

Corinne Joachim Sanon

The chocolatier bringing social change to Haiti and bean-to-bar chocolate to the world

Read More
Seeing the poverty surrounding me and the lack of jobs and opportunity bothered me

Lulu Mickelson

A civic leader bringing change to NYC through design

Read More
Human-centered design is one of the many tools that we can use to better engage the public

Sarah Kunst

The entrepreneur single-handedly changing the landscape for women in tech

Read More
People who live on a planet that is half women but can never seem to find any when they need one, I have solved your problem

Kegan Schouwenburg

Revolutionizing orthotics through 3D-printed insoles

Read More
What orthotics do is they effectively change the geometry of what your alignment is like

Douglas Riboud + Justin Guilbert

How a mission to create great coconut water led to a whole new way of doing business

Read More
We’ve made a conscious decision to be as transparent and honest as we can, and let people decide for themselves

Roxie Darling

From un-shampoo to transgender identity, the NYC colorist boldly defining the next chapter of hair

Read More
Hair color is as much a science as it is a craft

Eelke Plasmeijer

The locally driven restaurant that’s upending Balinese food culture

Read More
We really try to keep things simple and let the produce do the talking

Alex Kalman

The tiny museum in Manhattan that’s redefining museums

Read More
The mission is to put this small simple and powerful tool into the hands of as many people as possible
Loading More...