When we enter the home of DUB FX in Anjos, we are eagerly greeted on the steps by his “labradoodle’”, Obi. It is a common occurrence when entering the home of a ‘People of Lisbon’ that we are leapt upon by their pets. Hazard of the job.
Welcoming us into his home, DUB FX (real name Benjamin) explains that we can call him whatever we want, “Dub, Dubby” but jokes that he is most comfortable being called “Boo boo.”
“Boo boo” takes us through his bright kitchen and out to his vast terrace where we chat a bit about his origin stroy. He tells us that his parents are from Australia and Italy, and he spent his early years growing up in both countries.
DUB FX the musician – was born through street performing after he moved to Europe in 2006. Six years later he moved back to Australia and was able to buy a house with the money he earned through street performing.
You can tell by how he tells the story, that he is proud of the achievement.
When getting started with music, DUB FX dabbled in genres ranging from jazz to metal but after moving to Europe he decided to abandon those projects.
“I decided I was gonna do street performing, I’m gonna get inspired by traveling around the world living in a van and then I’m gonna write this amazing body of work and then go home and record it and get signed and become a pop star,” he says.
The plan didn’t quite go to plan, but things did begin to fall into place when a video of him busking went viral and was discovered by promoters from Kyiv, who offered to pay him to perform in their club. The show in Kyiv was sold out and to his amazement everyone in the crowd knew his lyrics and were chanting his name.
“I’d never had that before,” he shared, reliving the moment in his mind.
Standing in front of his computer monitor in his small but perfectly formed studio, DUB FX pulls up the breakthrough video, which now has around 40 million views. The video is quite modest by any standards.
“It could never happen again,” he says speaking of the lightning in a bottle moment.
We pass a wall with photos from his performances as well as of his wife and kids. DUB FX points to a picture of his wife taken during a time when she was into Bollywood dancing. Next, he points to pictures of his two children, Sahara and Kalila. “I always wanted to be a dad, so when it finally happened, I was relieved.”
Back in his living room, DUB FX is fooling around with Obi. He tells the story of how he met his wife.
“At the airport… we were both boarding the same flight from Melbourne to go to Newcastle to go to a music festival called Subsonic and she came up to me and was like, are you Dub FX?” It was clearly a moment where his relative celebrity status paid off in a life changing way.. “Yes I am,” was his reply to the girl he would go on to marry, proposing on stage no less.
Walking through Lisbon, we ask DUB FX what the biggest crowd he’d performed in front of was.
“I got invited to Woodstock Poland, and that was like 400,000 people in front of one stage, it was absolutely insane.” He offers some opinion on performing to audiences big and small. “You need to make big shows intimate and small shows epic.”
As we walk, we ask DUB FX why he came to Portugal.
He responds that he was living in Australia at the start of the pandemic. He wasn’t going to be able to leave to travel to Europe for his tour, so he and his wife decided to leave their home and move to Portugal.
“I love the weather, I love the food, I like the beaches, and I like the fact that I’m in Europe.”
He tells us the advice he would give someone who is starting off with music and wants to achieve the same level of success.
“If you want to become successful at whatever you do, you have to do it a lot.” DUB FX finds that “most musicians practice their technique more than they practice the performing side of things.”
When wrapping up our time with Dub FX, we ask him for some beatboxing tips. “Easy,” he says, “beatboxing is all about saying stuff under your breath and accentuating the consonants.” He shows us a few different beats that you can create with just the simple few words “born too clever, too clever, born too clever, too clever.” He makes it seem easy. We can attest to the fact that it is not.
And with that “Boo boo” blows us a kiss before he and Obi hurry across the street.
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*Kate Popielarcheck, 20 years old, was born in North Carolina, USA, and moved to the American coast to study Communication and Journalism. She always dreamed of studying abroad and wanted to do it in a city that was by the sea, but also dynamic – that’s how she found Lisbon. She chose Mensagem to do an internship, under the CIEE Summer Global Internship program.
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