24Our Music Interview: With the Dub Pistols (December 2017)
English electronic music band Dub Pistols have been making music nonstop for the past 20 years. With their 7th album out, the London group proves as riotous as ever, impervious to the passage of time, and ready to rock on.
1 / how did you first get into music?
I started running clubs in London after I came back from Ibiza in 1987. The scene was very small back then and from that I began to dj. It wasn’t until I first saw the Happy Mondays that I thought maybe I should start a band so that’s what I did. We were not that good but because I was a club promoter we got big crowds to our shows and the press seemed to love us! I was the singer and I just built it from there.
2/ how has your sound evolved over time?
The first Dub Pistols album “Point Blank” was really a collection of breaks tracks that I made for djing with. It wasn’t meant to be an album but we made the track “Cyclone” which was built around a Tommy Mc Cook sample and I asked a friend of ours TK from New York to rap on it. That track became a hit record in the UK so our label said let’s do an album, which is I did. It was the sound of big beat at the time which was massive with the likes of Fatboy Slim and The Chemical Brothers blowing up. We signed a deal with Geffen in America which enabled us to get bigger guest vocalist involved so we started concentrating more on writing songs rather than just dancefloor dj tools. Our second album “6 Million Ways to Live” was much more of a contemporary album in that we had moved away from making DJ records to writing songs and thinking about the album format. Over the years Dub Pistols mutated more into a live band and the dub flavor became stronger and stronger in our sound.
3/ tell us about your new album?
Crazy Diamonds is my 7th studio album and features guest vocalists, including Beanie Man, Cutty Ranks, Ragga Twins, Navigator, Earl 16, Seanie T, and UK rappers Too Many T’s. It has a strong reggae influence but done in our own style.
4/ what was your inspiration and how did you go about writing it?
A lot of my inspiration these days comes from playing live and djing. I also have a radio show so I’m constantly listening to new tracks and sounds. These experiences help me decide what kind of style I’m going to make. The writing process usually involves going into the studio, making a rough idea of groove with maybe a horn melody then inviting vocalists to come up with some lyrics, then building the track up from there.
5/ what are your main influences?
My main influences growing up where The Specials and The Clash. They got me into Reggae and the studio 1 sound. Later I got into hip hop through Beastie boys, etc. then later after the trip to Ibiza in 87, electronic music.
6/ what’s it like to be touring for this record?
We have been touring nonstop for many years now and the show has evolved into a really tight unit. We used to party hard all the time but now it’s more about putting on a great show. We have been playing to sellout crowds all over the world so I would say it’s been an amazing year.
7/ artists you’ve been obsessing over?
I think I’m over obsessing about artists. I would say nowadays its more about artists I respect.
8/ what’s next for Dub Pistols?
We have already started writing our next album and have a documentary about the 20+ years of the dub pistols called “What Could Possibly Go Wrong”. Our touring schedule is already looking as crazy as ever for next year so I guess it’s business as usual!
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