Ant TC1 is tangibly excited about the new Dispatch Dubplate concept. Understandably. And it’s not something you can simply gloss over: it’s culture, woven deep with stories, people, places and time. So let’s not waste any more of the latter!
Ant, tell me about the overall concept of this new move on Dispatch?
The Dispatch dubplates in all their essence aim to capture – or at least mirror – actually owning a Dubplate yourself.
I wanted to bring back something special that was vinyl-related, something that looked good, felt good and sounded good, something unique. Hopefully make people keen to have a limited and unique piece of it too.
I wanted people to get a taste of the culture a lot of us experienced before CDs or CDJs or playing from any digital format even came along.
It has a unique look and feel? Blank stickers for eg?
When a lot of us used to cut dubs they’d ask us – at the chosen cutting house – if you wanted to have the labels stuck on the cut at all or on the outside sleeve, some people didn’t even bother with the labels so we’ve left people themselves the choice of what to do.
Everyone who gets one receives a sticker pack so they can stick the labels wherever they fancy really. Some artists used to leave the dubplates sticker-less so people in the crowd close to the decks couldn’t find out what they were playing!
OK straight off: as you speak, there’s some tantalising glimpses of the way D&B was, in a pre-digital time. This was a fusion of the traditional vinyl creation with D&B’s signature madness. So if someone was back in the 90s and were at a place seeing vinyl get cut, what would they see? Heated discussion, phone calls, impending plane travel stress… what?
The first thing that springs to mind is big queues just to cut one or two tunes! If you saw Grooverider there you knew you were in for at least a three or four hour wait and that’s just after him and him alone! He used to cut HEAPS!
Paul and Leon at Music House (Leon is Paul’s son) were the experts to see.
The guys who ran the machinery and tweaked the masters up ready for acetate cutting. Leon is also the brother of garage producer Wookie so I guess the music must run through the family veins.
There were some heated arguments yeah.
These usually started when someone heard someone cutting a killer track of another producer… Photek, Bad Company you name them. The arguments would start when ‘x person’ was wanting to cut the track they heard someone else cutting before them, they then had to get on the phone to the producer to get the all important ‘OK’.
Sometimes they got it, sometimes they didn’t and this led to some pretty rowdy rows. Leon and Paul were very much the gatekeepers of a lot of artists’ material and stuck to the rules on who had the permission to cut stuff and who didn’t.
Tell us more.
Dillinja for example didn’t really used to send DATs out: he always left them with the gatekeepers.
Much as I idolised Karl Dillinja back then I didn’t really know him so even though I didn’t get to cut his stuff it was a pretty amazing opportunity to hear something he’d made maybe a few hours earlier or the day before being busted out in a little North London hut to anyone else’s ears for the very first time.
That kind of thing was worth the trip alone and I’d say half the people I saw or met at Music House were just there for the vibes and a smoke ha ha. I’d always go down and cut some stuff, for example Future Cut and Marcus Intalex’s stuff so I always had stuff to take down there and cut.
If I came away with anything extra – and an inevitable empty wallet – it was always a bonus!
So the masters were on DAT? That’s Digital. Digital to vinyl. Bit of an irony! Also showing how people seem to always love vinyl as a mixing medium?
Yeah! Had the same discussion a fair bit of recent, I think it’s each to their own but to me when the decks work good, the needles are in good condition and you’re having a mix with some vinyl it still feels unbeatable to me.
(Check Ant TC1’s All Vinyl Dispatch Dubplate mix below… )
So to the series, let’s break it down on the music front:
For the first release there’s ‘The Formula’, and also the ‘Direct Approach’ and LOTS of producers here: Break, Mako, DLR, Hydro, Villem, Xtrah, holy cow how did it all come together?
When I got the remix I was already toying around with this release idea, for the costs involved I had to make sure the first release was big, I think we did it! Putting this one on there became a no-brainer. The response has blown us away so far. You should see what we have lined up for 003 and 004!
For the second we have Survival and also SCAR…
Again, kinda like the first I had to run with something I knew would be strong, with the response ‘Dub Soldier’ (original) and ‘Call to Arms’ (original) first received, for the re-rubs/VIPs of these it just felt like they were good choices and again these have flown out orders-wise so far.
Just like 001 has.
Can you explain, tying it all up what people will get with this… it’s all limited right?
Yeah sure is.
One of 300 on each release, hand-numbered and signed, sleeve stamped, two cm thicker inner label stickers plus bonus sticker pack, with nice brown Kraft card sleeve with an addition hard plastic outer protection sleeve.
Oh and the vinyl’s a nice and heavy 180gram too.
Last one: if someone simply didn’t HAVE a turntable or a total record player setup can you suggest a good solution? I feel a gap in the market here!
Hard to answer really, I kinda reckon most people will have one unless they’re mad on collecting and just want it up on the wall maybe! On a side note I’m keen to try those new Pioneer PLX turntables, if they’re any good I think they could go a long way in helping vinyl survive as a format more definitely.
More people enjoying playing wax will mean people buy it more and we’ll feel safe to keep pressing the stuff we love!
Ant TC1 image by Zoe Lower