With a 'Fabriclive' mix hitting stores this month, Manchester D&B man Dub Phizix's star is only going to shine brighter
Phizix doesn't do many interviews. He doesn't release a huge amount
of music. Until this month he's never delivered an official DJ mix.
But when he does pop
his beady peepers over the parapet of a constant DJ schedule, it's
wise to pay attention.
been this way since his debut on In
in 2010, but he really
off, two EPs deep into his discography, with 2011's Marka.
Bashing down sub-genre boundaries with the subtlety of a sledgehammer
(alongside Skeptical and MC par excellence Strategy), he's since gone
on to carve a reputation as a DJ who plays tunes you won't hear
anywhere else. Case in point: this month's Fabriclive 84. It's much
more than a straight-up DJ mix; over 50 per cent of the 40-strong
tracklist is unreleased. 12 of which are his own. It's the first new
material we've heard since "Buffalo/Bounce' which was released
over a year ago.
all this ammo in the bag, and the entire drum & bass scene paying
attention, you have to wonder why he's held back so much.
he flying the flag for jungle's infamous dubplate-drilled quality
control filter? Or is he like one of those kids in school with a big
bag of Monster Munch who won't share a crumb?
a well-publicised love for crisps. But no, the reason you don't see
him bashing out the bangers goes much deeper. Get to know!
dubplate culture important to you? You play stuff I have never
some ways, I guess. But it's more of a personal thing. Quality has
be over quantity. There are plenty of things I DJ which aren't quite
ready for release."
of a harsh self-critic thing than a dubplate thing?
That said, when you're talking dubplates, Marka
both treated in that way. We held them back and wanted people to try
and search for them. That only works when you got the right tune,
though. Markawas a very different tune, and I was pretty new as well so it was a
big deal for a lot of people."
didn't have a label for it at the time?
We were just experimenting, making music and seeing where it went. It
was a lot freer. Nothing to answer to, no expectations, no feeling
that I had to make the right tune to keep you relevant. I was just
you think it set the benchmark too high for an early release?
set that benchmark in my own head. Everything has to be at that level
since. Plus, for some people it's the only Dub Phizix tune they know,
they've come to see me so I've got to play it. I wouldn't change it
for the world, though: it was a massive stepping stone in my career
and got people listening. So maybe yeah, it would have been nicer to
have a few more releases out before Marka.
But it doesn't matter, when you have a big tune, people always want
to hear that when you play. And many people, including yourself,
expect you to have that type of success with every tune that follows.
You're constantly in danger of compromising your creativity."
album can usually express a wider creativity so people know there's
more to you than the Marka sound.
did start to write an album! But when I sat down and listened to it
all I realised the music doesn't necessarily correlate to make an
album. A bunch of tunes doesn't make an album, you know? So I
scrapped it and the Fabriclive mix came along instead. They don't work
in the context of an album but they work in the context of the mix."
consistent voice of Manchester works well in the context of the mix,
too. The voices of Skittles, DRS, Strategy and Chimpo and that poem
at the end of the mix...
it is important to have that representation. We're all mates before
we're colleagues. If we weren't making music then we'd still be
knocking about together. The poem is by a guy called Matthew David
Scott. I don't know him that well but the poem was on a documentary
about Manchester that we'd been interviewed for: Four
To The Floor.
When I heard it I thought "It's great, this". I wanted some
poetry on the mix anyway. John Cooper Clarke or someone. I love the
way it ends with "What's next?' It leaves you with a question,
and it's a question I ask myself when I'm in the studio all the time.
It's a question Manchester always asks: of its musicians, of its
mentioned John Cooper Clarke. You never stray too far from humour
just want to have a buzz! Drum & bass can be very serious at
times. If that's your thing, fair enough/ But it's not ours. It would
be fake of us to be all screw-faced in our pictures. We want to
entertain people. People come into music as an escape from whatever;
that's how I came into it. So if we can make people laugh as well,
buzzing. The only thing we take seriously is the music itself. That
said the magic word. Let's wrap up with a crisp game. If you tunes
could be crisps, what would they be? Starting with Marka...
cocktail, because some people like it and some people hate it. It's
been around for too long and a lot of people are sick of it. It's too
popular for its own good!"
salted because Fox is dead old! He's about as old as that flavour."
buffalo flavour innit. I've had them in America a few times. Well
a dead posh flavour? What crisps would the queen eat? Caviar? No, no,
lobster-flavoured crisps. They're well nice, too. Yeah, lobster."
84: Dub Phizix
is out November 20