Interview with Declan Kelly

Take a behind the scenes look at how Declan bought the project together charged with all the power and the passion from a roster of incredible artists.
In this video Declan talks about transforming the iconic Aussie rock hits of Midnight Oil into reggae anthems to working with Mad Professor at his London Ariwa Studios,
and collaborating with the many incredible artists including Emma Donovan, Alex Lloyd, Frank Yamma, Katie Noonan, Radical Son, Pat Powell, Tony Hughes, Tina Harrod and Stiff Gins. Declan also highlights the important work done by the project’s charity partner the Indigenous Literacy Foundation.


“In Diesel n’Dub, sought-after Australian musician and producer Declan Kelly has created possibly one of the most outstanding and important musical projects
Australia has seen.”
Bluesfest 2015

“The deep dub that Declan Kelly has cooked up works better than you can imagine.” Double J

Declan and EmmaDeclan Kelly & Radical SonBand in the studio

(L to R: Rob Woolf, Winston Stephenson & Declan Kelly / Declan & Emma Donovan at music video shoot / Declan & Radical Son in studio / Photos: Shane Rozario)

Diesel n’ Dub is a recording project bringing together a stellar collection of reggae/roots covers of Midnight Oil songs featuring well known Australian and International artists, set up to raise awareness of Indigenous literacy issues and in the process raise funds for the crucial projects being carried out by the Indigenous Literacy Foundation.

The project was set up by Declan Kelly who along with label Diaspora Music, have become officially registered fundraisers for the foundation. Kelly and Diaspora Music are committed to donating a fixed percentage of profits generated from sales and exploitation of the recordings directly to the cause on behalf of all the artists involved with the project.

When pulling together the project, Kelly was motivated by the strong parallels between reggae music’s social conscience foundations and the outspoken political activism in Midnight Oil’s songwriting. The concept draws influence from both the work of early Jamaican reggae singers who recorded dub versions of soul songs and, in more recent times, the work of The Easy Star All Stars who released dubbed out album versions of some of the most famous albums ever released – Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon”, Radiohead’s “Ok Computer” and The Beatles’ “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”

Diesel n’Dub calls on the songs of one of the world’s greatest socially conscious bands – Midnight Oil. Known to many Australian fans simply as The Oils, the band released 12 albums (and a few EPs), and along the way established themselves as one of the world’s most politically active bands, at the same time creating a highly unique and widely appealing rock sound. Their live shows were always infused with the rage needed to carry their many great messages to the crowd.

Says Kelly of approaching the project: “Having some of Australias great singing talent on board to sing and perform these influential and still relevant political messages in an authentic reggae style was the key to ‘nailing’ this project and raising awareness of the issues at hand. A number of fantastic Australian artists have committed to the project and members of Midnight Oil have also been very supportive of the concept. The Indigenous Australian community have always had Midnight Oil standing for their cause who, with tunes like Beds are Burning, have bridged a gap between white and black Australia and altered the mindset of the wider community, pushing for better conditions and acknowledgement as the first peoples of this land, a message which speaks internationally as well.”

Declan Kelly proudly heads up this project to infuse an albums worth of “Oils” songs with reggae stylings and powerful voices to convert them into authentic dub anthems and gems.