Saturday, April 7, 2012
Bristol Brightness: Dub Boy Interview
Tim "Dub boy" is a DJ / producer raised in Bristol, UK, as it is named, he has a lot of special Dubs with top Reggae/Dancehall artists on his and current top Riddim makers and mashing-up tunes with his consistent taste of Dancehall / UK bass music.
He is also leading current Reggae / Bass music scene in Bristol with his crew Ruffnek Discotek, their legendary party Monster Bass ( 2008 -2010 ) had brought not only well known artists like The Bug or Mala also brought fresh and edgy talents of those years like Heatwave, Lil Silva, Lady Chann, Mr. Benn and many more ( some of those became big name currently ) with less known Mungo's Hi-Fi's full soundsystem at the time.
We had an interview with Dub Boy about his music and his beautiful hometown and the top Regggae/Bass music city Bristol.
What music and kind of club parties did you grow up with?
Well when I was a youth I used to see punk bands and go to reggae dances. I wasn’t really into clubbing… whilst everyone around me was obsessed with drum n bass. So I went out on my own a lot! But it was a great education. It gave me an eclectic and open minded approach which I’ve always expressed through my own music and parties. I was very lucky to be able to spend my formative years surrounded by a great period in Bristol’s musical history. There were some wicked parties back in the 90’s.....
Who was your favorite Djs or artists and venues in Bristol at the time?
Well at that time I was into More Rockers, Portishead, Aspects, Strangelove, Gary Clail & On U Sound stuff, Third Eye Foundation… stuff like that, and Bristol reggae soundsystems like Qualitex & Unique Star. Of course Bristol has a worldwide reputation for its Drum n Bass output, but I was never part of that scene. I always preferred the edges y’know? And in a place like Bristol, where subversion is pretty easy to find, I always found things to interest me that were a bit rough around the edges ha ha.
There were some wicked dances I used to go to at Easton Community Centre, Maze, Powerhouse, Trinity Centre, Thekla, Blue Mountain and gigs at the Louisiana & The Fleece. Yea they were good days, there was a lot of freedom compared to now. There was also a really big underground techno & punk scene, it was all a bit ‘dogs on strings’, but it made for a lot of mad warehouse parties. Not really my thing but it all helped create a bit of an outlaw feel to the music scene at that time. Ashton Court festival, which was a community festival that stopped a few years ago, was also amazing during the 90’s…. I remember one year seeing Spiritualized & Portishead there. That was a real jewel in Bristol’s crown at that time and reflected how different groups of people mix so well here.
How did you start DJing?
I got into Djing late! I used to play in bands as a teenager so never learnt to mix like all my mates who were into DnB. It’s a funny story ….. we all call Bristol the ‘Big Village’ because it’s small so you get to know people quickly. I used to buy records in Rooted Records (RIP). One day I was in there the guy behind the counter said to me, “I’m sure I’ve seen you in my street”. Anyway it turns out that was Peverelist, who was living with Pinch. I had already begun attending Pinch’s early Context parties cos I wanted to check this new ‘dubstep’ stuff that was coming through. This was early 2005 I guess. We’d been living next door to each other for a year without realising! After becoming friends with them they start telling me… “Tim you’ve got all these great records, why don’t you get a pair of decks”. So with
their encouragement, I get a pair of decks at the ripe old age of 25 ha ha.
A week later Pinch knocks on my front door and tells me he’s putting on a party on the Friday and would I like to play? So I’m saying, “I can’t DJ… I’ve only had decks a week!”, but he tells me not to worry and I should do it. Anyway, it turns out this party is the first of his legendary Subloaded parties and I’m playing on the same bill as Kode9 and Plastician. Not a bad first gig eh? Of course I loved it…. Properly had the bug ever since. So my DJ career is all thanks
to Pinch & Peverelist…. I have to pay my respects to them.
In terms of music scene, what is difference between Bristol and London?
( or other cities in UK )
Well Bristol is a very compact city. It’s easy to get around and the geography of the place mean people mix. So different musical scenes and cultures are always interacting and that gives it it’s personality I think. This is a trait that you can see all the way through I think…. The Wild Bunch are probably the best example of this. In other cities things
seem a bit more polarized.
Bristol is a very close knit so people are usually really supportive of each other. Other cities perhaps don’t have that characteristic in the same way Bristol does. There is healthy competition for sure but it makes for a strong musical scene as people are always collaborating, sharing music and pushing themselves. Although being Bristol it’s all done at
a slow pace….. there’s always tomorrow ha ha. I also think Bristol music doesn’t jump on trends or get caught up with hype, we do things on our own terms. And the cider plays its part!
What were you thinking about Dubstep when it exploded in Bristol.
Excitement! I picked up on dubstep in 2004, and of course living next door to Pinch & Pev I got to hear plenty of it. Those days were so exciting…. A lot of us came through at that time. This is when we started our Ruffnek Diskotek parties. I saw dubstep as part of the soundsystem culture we already enjoyed in Bristol, and we wanted to join the jots between dubstep and jungle and reggae, which were our collective tastes. In 2005 most club nights were pretty much strictly one genre so we felt we were really doing something different at that time. We had all worked really hard to push this sound we were so passionate about and the larger musical lineage it was part of. It brought a lot of people together at a time where scenes had become a bit split in Bristol. Dubstep dances brought together people who were into DnB, Techno, Electronica and Reggae. There was something for everyone, a sense of
endless creative possibilities and a real buzz in the air (and a lot of ganga smoke). It was great to be part of that. It’s different now of course, but on a personal note I think dubsteps lasting legacy is turning on a whole new generation in Bristol to soundsystem culture.
Who is Bristol's new talent ( Dj, Producer, MC ) should be remarked?
Gorgon Sound (aka Kahn & Neek), Tenja, Evermoor Sound, Atki2, J-Man, Hothead and Jus’ Now are all doing exciting things. Between them those artists are making dub, ragga, juke, house, jungle, funky bashment and soca….. and of course blurring the boundaries in-between them. Only in Bristol!
Please recommend some Places ( shop, restaurant, whatever ) in Bristol
Idle Hands for records, Tobacco Factory Market on a Sunday morning for Bristol’s best Jerk Chicken, Ashton Court estate for a picnic, The Apple for a good pint of cider and Cosies for a night of pure Bristol vibes.
You have many of your dub, remix / mash-up tunes when did you start making music?
It’s quite recent really. Djing is my passion, and that’s how I’ve built my reputation, so it’s been a natural thing to add more and more dubplate specials to my bag, and more edits & mashups. The motivation is to create weapons for yourself! And now that’s naturally leading on to production. Myself & Atki2 released a tune called Tigerflower on Idle Hands in 2010, which also got included on Punch Drunk’s ‘Worth The Weight’ compilation. He was on the buttons, I was playing basslines on my guitar and tapping out rhythms, that’s how we wrote it. The tune did well and seeing people react to that got me inspired to learn how to start producing. You know I’m in no rush…. I got into Djing late anyway so I’m happy to let this music thing take its natural course, everything happens when it’s meant to. Like anyone genuinely in love with music, it’s a passion for life, so longevity is
the key. If the quality is there, things will be fine.
A lot of UK bass music producers tend to make deep, dark and hard type of tunes in its whole history. but your music sounds happy, light, wide and flexible, the result it sounds fresh
and different from others. how did your taste become like that?
Yea that’s true. I’m not into dark, moody music really. I like bright music, with melody, hooks, catchy lyrics to sing along to…. And I love riddim, y’know music that really gets your hips moving. That’s my tastes so it’s only natural that my DJ sets and my own music is going to reflect that.
Deep, dark music is important, it reflects a natural human emotion and this is what music is about. It’s all things to all people. You’re not going to listen to me if you want a reflective, intense soundtrack to your evening. I’m about fun… I’m about Friday night and you’ve just been paid and you want to dance, and release the stress from working, and have
a good time! I think I’m quite a happy, positive person so perhaps that is reflected in my tastes.
Are you planning to release more tunes?
I certainly hope so. I just have to keep on creating and keep my standards high and hopefully everything will follow.
What are you planning this summer and rest of this year?
This summer will be busy with festivals. I’ve had the good fortune to play some fantastic festival shows in recent years and this year looks to be as enjoyable as ever. I’ll be playing Outlook, Boomtown Fair and Womad amongst a fair few others which I’m really looking forward to. They’ll be plenty of gigs I hope, our Ruffnek Diskotek parties in Bristol, and
I’m planning on finally starting a Ruffnek Diskotek record label as well this year. It’s long overdue!
What is your impression of Japanese Reggae/Bass music things?
It looks brilliant! What I love about listening to reggae music for so many years is always hearing the message that the music is universal. And now we can see the passion for this music and the soundsystem culture all over the world. Everyone has their own personality and expression of the culture. UK, Japan, Germany, Mexico, Sweden, France, Jamaica, Italy, Switzerland ….. everyone brings their own flavour into this universal musical culture. It is hugely inspiring. Man, I love watching those Mighty Crown YouTube clips! And the dancehall queens. And the interest in Bristol! The passion you guys have is so strong. I have promised myself I will visit one day!
It needs to be said he is excellent mix maker as well his mixes and more music from his soundcloud, check Dub boy hypes!