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Dreadzone live in Athens, June 2007
Dreadzone live in Athens, June 2007
Background information
OriginLondon, England
Years active1993–present
Dubwiser Records
MembersGreg Roberts
Tim Bran
MC Spee
Earl 16
Leo Williams
Chris Compton
James Bainbridge
Past membersSteve Roberts
Dan Donovan
Chris Oldfield
Ben Balafonic

Dreadzone are a British electronic music group. They have released eight studio albums, two live albums, and two compilations.


Dreadzone were formed in London, England in 1993 when ex-Big Audio Dynamite drummer Greg Roberts teamed up with Tim Bran, who had previously worked as a musician and sound engineer for Julian Cope and who has done production work for artists including London Grammar, Birdy, and the Dutch duo HAEVN. The name Dreadzone was suggested to Roberts and Bran by Don Letts.

Bran and Roberts signed to Creation Records in 1993 and released their first album, 360°. They were soon joined by bassist Leo Williams and keyboardist Dan Donovan, also formerly of Big Audio Dynamite. Throughout 1994 they developed a reputation as a live act and released the limited-edition live album Performance, and in June of that year they opened the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury.[1] During these early years, their backing vocalists included Melanie Blatt and Alison Goldfrapp. The following year, the band signed to Virgin Records and released their second studio album, Second Light.[2] In 1995, Earl 16 joined as a vocalist, singing on the single "Zion Youth". Dan Donovan left the group.

In January 1996, the group had their first and so far only Top 40 hit in the UK Singles Chart with "Little Britain",[3] which reached No. 20. The song sampled a line from the 1968 cult British film If.... – "Britain today is a powerhouse of ideas, experiments, imagination".[4]

John Peel championed Dreadzone on BBC Radio 1, and cited Second Light as one of his favourite albums of all time.[5] Tracks from Second Light also dominated Peel's Festive Fifty in 1995, and the band recorded six Peel sessions between 1993 and 2001. In 1996 they supported Oasis at the Loch Lomond and Knebworth shows. In 1997, they released their third studio album, Biological Radio. A track from that album, "Dream Within a Dream", appeared on the soundtrack to the film The Saint.

Between 1998 and 2001, the Dreadzone sound system hosted the Dubwiser club night at Notting Hill Arts Club. During that time Roberts and Bran set up a studio together and recorded and released their fourth album, Sound, which featured Brinsley Forde and MC Spee. In 2000, MC Spee joined as a second vocalist. The album was released on the independent Rufflife label.

In 2001, Ben Balafonic joined, replacing Tim Bran. During the following years, Greg, Ben, Spee, Earl, and Steve Roberts recorded and released the fifth studio album, Once Upon a Time, in 2005, on the independent Functional label run by Biff Mitchell. The band also recorded, along with Leo Williams, the Live at Sunrise album released on Functional. In August 2006, Balafonic left the group. On 26 October 2006, Dreadzone guitarist Steve Roberts, the brother of Greg Roberts, died.[6]

In 2007, the band were joined by new members Chris Compton and Chris Oldfield (DJ and lighting designer) and returned to touring. In 2007 and 2008, they played gigs and festivals across the UK and Europe, and signed to a new management company in 2008. In 2010, the band released their sixth studio album, Eye on the Horizon, on their own label Dubwiser.[7]

In 2011, a compilation album was released by Dubwiser Records entitled The Good the Bad and the Dread: The Best of Dreadzone.[8] That same year Greg and Leo were part of the Big Audio Dynamite reunion tour playing shows and festivals in Europe and USA.

In 2012, the band recorded their 7th studio album in Mick Jones' studio with Tim Bran back in the fold co-producing and playing. James 'Bazil' Bainbridge joined the group, replacing Chris Oldfield. In 2013, a new album, Escapades, was released. in the same year, Dreadzone celebrated 20 years as a band with a short film about their history. A single, "Too Late", featuring Mick Jones, was released.

In 2016, a new album was recorded, and released as Dread Times in February 2017, and included contributions from Don Letts.[9]


Dreadzone on stage at the Band on the Wall, Manchester, 7 December 2012

Studio albums[edit]

Other releases[edit]

  • Performance (1994)
  • The Radio One Sessions (2001)
  • Live at Sunrise (2006)
  • The Best of Dreadzone – The Good The Bad and the Dread (2011)[8]
  • Presents Dubwiser Volume One (2019)


  • "The Warning" (EP) (1993)
  • "The Good, the Bad and the Dread" (1993)
  • "Dream On" / "House of Dread" (1993)
  • "Fight the Power" (1994)
  • "Zion Youth" (#49 UK, 1995)
  • "Captain Dread" (#49 UK, 1995)
  • "Maximum" (EP) (#56 UK, 1995)
  • "Little Britain" (#20 UK, 1996)
  • "Life Love and Unity" (#56 UK, 1996)
  • "Earth Angel" (#51 UK, 1997)
  • "Moving On" (#58 UK, 1997)
  • "Crazy Knowledge" (2000)
  • "Believing in It" (2001)
  • "The Warriors" (2002)
  • "Once Upon a Time (in Jamaica)" (2005)
  • "King Dub Rock" (2005)
  • "Elevate" (2006)
  • "Iron Shirt" (2006)
  • "Mashup the Dread" (2006)
  • "Beyond a Rock" (2009)
  • "Gangster" (2010)[3]
  • "Too Late" (2013)


  1. ^ "Dreadzone.com". Archived from the original on 5 August 2009.
  2. ^ Colin Larkin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise ed.). Virgin Books. p. 396. ISBN 1-85227-745-9.
  3. ^ a b c Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 168. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  4. ^ "Dreadzone's 'Little Britain' - Discover the Sample Source". WhoSampled.com. Retrieved 13 October 2019.
  5. ^ Dennis, Jon (13 October 2005). "The Peel detective". The Guardian. London.
  6. ^ Dreadzone.com Archived 10 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "Eye on the Horizon – Dreadzone : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  8. ^ a b O'Brien, Jon (16 May 2011). "The Good, the Bad and the Dread: The Best of Dreadzone – Dreadzone : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  9. ^ McGibbon, Ross. "Dreadzone – Dread Times is a reminder of a great British dance and Roots institution. - Vanguard Online". Vanguard-online.co.uk. Retrieved 13 October 2019.
  10. ^ "BBC - The Official UK Top 40 Albums Chart". BBC.

External links[edit]