After what has been a busy year of touring, a new studio built and a string of releases on both of his labels we caught up with DJ, producer and label manager East End Dubs for a special MEOKO interview.
You’ve been very busy this year touring and running two labels, what else have you been up to recently?
It’s been a hectic year so far, but I’m not complaining, that’s how I like it. I’ve managed to finish my new studio, which took over 6 months. Completing the build, when being away 3-4 days a week was sometimes problematic!
Has the studio build been something you’ve planned for a while?
Studio time is very important to me; it’s where I spent most of my time to produce and organize my music; if I’m not on a plane, abroad or raving I’m there. The sound is spot on now and I now have the option to work 24 hours in a day.
You have been running East End Dubs since 2012 which has housed the majority of your output, how did the idea for this come about?
It all began when I start releasing some of the tools I made for my DJ sets, I thought I’d share what I believed was special with other DJ’s and it took off from there. I’ve been releasing music for over a decade now, although I have put out music with some of the largest labels, I prefer the independence of having my own imprint.
You established your second label Eastenderz in 2014 tell us a bit about this project and how it differs from East End Dubs?
The purpose of this platform is two fold.
1) It gives me opportunity work with some of my favourite producers such as Priku, Doubtingthomas and Patrice Meiner as well as providing a platform for young emerging talent such as Nami and Lizz.
2) This access is vital to encourage new producers in view of the deepening problems of the scene. We are on our 10th release now and every record is special to me. I do believe in every artist I work with. Eastenderz sound is ever evolving and I love that, it’s what makes the journey interesting.
Eastenderz has recently had its fourth showcase in Berlin, hosting Priku, Nami, Patrice Meiner & Georgia Girl how did this go and is this something you will continue to push in the future?
We are well settled in Berlin now, Kater is our home and we love the sound system there. We like the door policy and everything else about the venue is right. You need all the elements if you want to have a good party and that’s what we have there. The last party was the best so far; Priku and I played around 9 hours and the connection with the crowd was amazing. Because we have the venue for over 15 hours it gives us the chance of taking people on a journey.
Are you planning to bring Eastenderz parties to London ?
This is something we are currently working on, we were suppose to have our first showcase at fabric last month;but the week before our date the unfortunate closure happened. It’s a “watch this space” situation.
Both labels release on vinyl, often being pressed on a range of different coloured vinyl. For example the latest release from Itteetsu on Eastenderz is pressed on a limited splattered vinyl (a personal favourite of mine). Is there any particular reason behind this?
I do care a lot for the visuals and I like the records to look as good as they sound, we have started with splattered records and that’s how we carry on, this fits well in to Eastenderz profile. We have changed couple of plants until we get the quality I want but at the end we got there. I have tried to crate pleasure for your eyes and ears.
The beginning of the year saw you release volume six of your Tools Series on East End Dubs, are you planning any further releases this year?
The Tools series went more than I could have hope for but I’m moving on to the next stage now where I will be releasing a series of named EP’s, the first one is called Mind Over; It will be released in November. I’ve also been putting out some music on a whitelabel recently; a sort of secret project… Those who are familiar with my sound may know what it is. I might be back with some more of the Tools Series in the future, you never know!
You’ve got an extremely busy touring schedule how do you find the time to produce new material and run two labels?
I’m still yet to find that healthy work balance. There’s always something to be done however It’s my passion and although I love what I do it is not easy. I’ve been taking a few weekends off recently to catch up with some studio. I have a great admin team who handle all the necessary work that I find any excuse to avoid. It’s very important to work with the right people and I’m very lucky to find myself in this situation.
Does touring different countries have an influence on the music you play and produce? And if so how?
Yes; it does. Even though I hope that East End Dubs has it’s own unique sound, you should always play to crowd. You have to be versatile… You can be playing an 8am set in Berlin or a main slot in Italy; both will need different approach. Constantly travelling to different countries gives me the chance to experience different cultures; It may have some input in my music but I feel that the London influence is behind everything I do.
Which is your favourite city to play in and why?
Wow, what a difficult question? I’ve had so many great gigs in so many fantastic cities; it’s difficult to pick one out.
You recently played at Point which was based in a forest in East London, what did you enjoy the most about this party and why?
I’ve been playing Point parties for over a year now. Dean, the founder of Point is doing an amazing job and taking us back to where it all started. Playing in the middle of a forest was crazy, we only had a couple of decks, a mixer and a generator. I also played for them in a Vietnamese restaurant earlier this year which was unexpected. Playing at Point; perhaps gives me a glimpse at of what it use to be…
Do you think London’s clubbing culture can be saved by parties of this nature?
Huh, yes… If the establishment continues to close our clubs, it’s not going to stop us doing what we love. We are going to have to find more forest or go back to the M25.
What are your feelings regarding the closure of fabric?
fabric has been at the epicentre of my education in electronic music. During my studies, I worked behind the bar there, some 15 years ago… I’ve learned a lot from Craig Richards, he is the best resident DJ ever, I was lucky enough to play room1 and meet the amazing team behind fabric. Andy the Promotions manager of fabric was the first person to discover me. There is so much that I feel about this place that I can’t put in to words. It would be such a shame to see this iconic venue disappearing from the scene.
What are your views on the future of London’s nightlife and how do you think we can recover from the recent closure of one of our biggest nightclubs?
So much has changed last in the 10 years… Apparently 40% of all London night clubs have closed. I was lucky enough to play some of the legendary London venues such as Turnmills, The Cross and The End. I don’t think the scene in London will ever be the same again. Unfortunately I don’t think that the closure of fabric will be the end to this decline. It’s a shame we haven’t got a more vocal opposition to these closures. I feel that if it was made more difficult to change the usage designation of these venues; It would make it more difficult to change them into residential properties.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I get a lot of my ideas when I’m playing; if you ever see me in the corner of the booth singing a bassline into my phone, you will now know why! I have got a handheld recorder that I carry with me and I enjoy recording different field sounds that I feel I can use in my music. I listen a lot of Jazz at home; as a drummer I love complex drum rhythms.
If you could play a B2B set with any artist in the world who would it be and why?
I’ve been playing a lot of b2bs recently and I really enjoy them.. I’ve played a few times with Priku and an 8 hour b2b set in Germany; earlier this year with Archie Hamilton which was so good. I really like Raresh is doing at the moment; he is playing a lot more housy and would love to do a b2b set with him.
What was the first record you ever bought?
I don’t remember but I can tell you the last record I bought. Supermoon – Liric EP
You’ve had quite a busy year so far, are there anymore projects in the pipeline or upcoming gigs you want to tell us about?
Other than the “secret squirrel” project I’ve already mentioned; and that I’ll be revealing soon, we have some amazing releases coming up on Eastenderz as well as my own imprint. I’ve also done the music for a CNN documentary this year, which is due to come out in December… Touring carries on as usual in Europe and I’ll be back in the South Africa, North and South America for a couple of weekenders, so it’s going to be busy as hell but lots of fun.
Words: Mahala Ashley
MORE: East End Dubs