True, along with local Balkan flavours, musical influences came from all over the world: ska, punk, reggae, electronic, hip-hop. Yet, there was no music industry, few concerts, and no space for cultural or political expression among the new crop of plugged in youth. In fact, the entire region was reeling from a deep moral and economic post-war stagnation. It was from this environment that Dubioza Kolektiv was born, and not quietly, but kicking and screaming, presenting no-go topics front and centre, and demanding to be heard. In doing so, they created a phenomenon.
For a quick rundown of the band’s history, their self- entitled first album DUBIOZA KOLEKTIV was released in 2004, and was instantly met with an enthusiasm not seen on the Bosnian scene since pre-war times. Next came the EP OPEN WIDE, this time featuring dub poet Benjamin Zephaniah and Mush Khan from Fun- da-mental. Then came their second full-length CD DUBNAMITE and this is when their popularity began to spread beyond Bosnian borders. By 2008, with the release of FIRMA ILLEGAL, their bold and uncompromising stand against the nationalist establishment elevated them to fame across the entire Balkan region. In 2010, album number four titled 5 DO 12 followed, and in an open snub to ultra-capitalist music labels and as an expression of commitment to their fans, Dubioza made the album available for free download at dubioza.org
It was around this time that Faith No More’s Bill Gould discovered Dubioza Kolektiv, and his label Koolarrow Records, picked up their fifth album WILD WILD EAST and introduced the band to the international stage with worldwide distribution.
APSURDISTAN was released in 2013, becoming a huge success with more than 300,000 downloads. Animated music video for the featured track “Kažu” was viewed 35 million times on YouTube and their Western Balkans tour sold-out arena-size venues. All of this, along with a relentless approach to touring, has brought Dubioza’s sounds to every corner of Europe.
In 2016, the band released their seventh LP album, HAPPY MACHINE, with guest appearances by Manu Chao, Benji Webbe from Skindred, Punjabi singer BEE2, Catalan ska-rumba band La Pegatina and trumpet player Džambo Agušev from Macedonia. The video for the album’s single “Free.mp3 (The Pirate Bay Song)” was featured on the homepage of the world’s most famous torrent site thepiratebay.org.
Another highlight was the video and the song itself – “No Escape (from Balkan)”. Their first US-tour followed, with a debut at SXSW and concerts in several North American cities in venues such as 9:30 in Washington, D.C. They were selected as No.1 band at 2016 Eurosonic festival, per European festivals votes.
PJESMICE ZA DJECU I ODRASLE, another album in their local language, was released in 2017, in combination with a feature documentary FILM ZA DJECU I ODRASLE that chronicled the band’s history and making of the album. “Himna generacije” and “Rijaliti” became instant hits with millions of views.
Following in the footsteps of their previous collaboration on the song “Red Carpet”, Dubioza kolektiv and Manu Chao teamed up for another power-house single ‘Cross the Line’, announcing their new album #FAKENEWS, which will be available at the end of January 2020. The album features guest appearances by legendary dub-reggae artist Earl Sixteen from Dreadzone, Soviet Suprem, Mexican band Los de Abajo and an exclusive appearance by Robby Megabyte, soon-to-be-famous Internet superstar robot. Songs are in English, Spanish and Google-translated French.
Over the years, Dubioza Kolektiv became the biggest band in the Balkans, with sold out shows in venues with 12,000+ capacity in Zagreb, Belgrade, Ljubljana, Pula, Rijeka, Split, Sarajevo, Sofia, etc. Besides the Balkan region, they played sold out shows in USA, Canada, and all across Europe: London, Amsterdam, Berlin, Dublin, Budapest, Oslo, Prague, Vienna, Madrid, etc. Band also performed at major European festivals, such are Glastonbury, Roskilde, Lollapalooza, Boomtown Fair and so many more. They set the attendance record at Exit Festival’s Fusion stage and played in front of half a million people at Pol’and’Rock Festival, where they received Złoty Bączek award for the festival’s best international performance in 2018, voted by the audience.
They toured and continue touring tirelessly, having over 100 shows per year. Audiences across the world recognised them as a must see live act.
Their history has shown: these guys don’t stop until they achieve their objectives. If you are looking for macho, money-and-ego driven posturing, you will not find it here - no MTV “rude boy” gangstas, no strippers or bling, no corporate endorsements from the international fashion industry. Rather, they take on traditional musical forms and enrich it with their unique perspective, which is delivered with a level of positivity that hits you like a blast of fresh air. If you are open to the experience, it could change your life too.