DBR UK: Rough Cut
‘It’s one of them tunes you pull out at 5am when its time to go in and dark it out… ‘
AMEN to that!
DBR UK have created something strewn through the Rough Edges album which sounds like it’s been sustainably sourced, measured, analysed and fused together: long sessions deeply absorbed in the lab, long nights of scrutiny in the workshop, and much burning of the midnight oil. Guests – including Skeptical, Structured, Slippy Skills, Gremlinz, Ahmad, MC Fokus and Amanda Seal – have filed in and seamlessly laid down their parts. And so now it’s here, so we spoke, including an interesting filmic twist AND an exclusive track premiere.
Hey how’s it been, what are you guys doing right now?
Dan: Good morning DNBA, it’s all good over here thank you.
We’re all just waiting for the reaction to our album dropping on Friday 4th December… today.
So a mix of emotions including nerves excitement and anticipation. BUT if you mean what am I literally doing then I’m just at work trying to fill out this interview on the sly without my boss catching me… ha ha.
The album is great and as someone who goes pretty much all the way back in beats my reaction is that this is down to earth and totally sane. It’s made from the soul and smashes it.
Craig Carl Dan: Thank you, Glad you like it.
Craig: We wanted to make something that reflects what we are about in styles of music we produce and DJ, it would have been easier for us just to go down one route with our album, but wanted to showcase our versatility.
The title Rough Edges is about our music, as it is not smoothed off and has rough edges, As in, its not always perfect.
First off tell us about the title of the tune with Skeptical and the tune itself… mysterious.
‘Hexton’ was actually the last track to be finished for the album, we’d spoken with Ash/Skeptical a few times about it and with time running out I needed to pull my finger out and get something started. It’s mad because the whole album took nearly 12 months to make and the deadline was getting closer and closer so the pressure was on.
Having said that, it came together pretty quickly, sometimes things just write themselves, this was one of those tracks, I just went with the flow. Once I was happy with the groove and track I sent a clip to Ash, he was feeling it straight away so I just bounced out the stems for him.
Skeppy done some work to it in true Skeptical fashion and sent it back, again I went in and added some more subtle bits and sent back to him and within two or three weeks it was completed.
And the name?
The name has a number of meanings for us, Hexton is halfway between Luton and Hitchin, Me and Carl are from Luton, Dan, Ash from Hitchin, Also Ash and Becks got married in the summer and funny enough it was in Hexton. So that nailed it for me.
For people new to you where do you guys operate from and where do you produce?
We operate out of Luton and North London, Music wise all of the music is created in Luton at Craigs or Carls.
Quick switch here: we’re in the BEST and WORST time for D&B right now, discuss.
Carl: Worse time for D&B for me is all the clubs closing down in London I mean it’s been so many in the last few years… Not good.
But however D&B has been at it’s best in 2015. So much good music has come out this year trust.
‘Dark Alley’ is a killer, filthy… is the title and atmosphere inspired by any experience? I mean D&B is street music after all!
Craig: Every track I write is taken from an experience I’ve had, whether its something I’ve seen on TV, or something I’ve experienced in real life.
‘Dark Alley’ was taken from when I was going home one night and all the street lamps in the street was off and for anyone who know’s of the estate I live on in Luton its full of little alleys.
The track is a dark roller, influenced from the 90s as for me that was one of the best eras. ‘Dark Alley’ is one of them tunes you pull out at 5am when its time to go in and dark it out.
Big fan of Amanda’s voice, it’s in the proper spirit of D&B, totally love the way she ‘sits’ in the mix too…
Craig: We met Amanda through a friend of a friend.
Me and Anthony/Structured had been working on a few tracks at the time and thought they could work well with a vocal over it. We showed Amanda a track and instantly she vibed off it. That track turned out to be ‘Salvation’.
Originally that track and ‘Time Will Tell’ wasn’t going to be included on the album as they was lined up for a EP release with Dispatch but after discussing it with Ant, we all decided they would work on the album.
Structured is a very close friend, we go as far back as the 80’s. Anthony used to be an MC back in the day – MC Lydon – so we’ve always worked together when he used to MC on our sets.
It’s been nice to watch the progression of him as a producer, so when we was asked to do the album for Dispatch Anthony was the first person I told outside of the DBR walls.
We make a lot of music with Structured so he always had a good chance of making the album. I think in total we submitted 8 tracks from us and him, 4 made the album and the other 4 will make up a joint EP project for Dispatch.
Now a personal fave is here, the mighty Ahmad! Can you tell us about the linkup?
Carl: Daniel/Ahmad and I always talk via email. He has always sent me beats for me to check and see what I think… and of course he has a great sound. One day I was working on this beat for the LP Daniel has hit me up at this point can’t remember what for but for once I sent him a clip of what I was working on he reply back I would love to work with you guys on a beat.
So I just bounced and sent the stems to Daniel and said Yeah do your thing and get it back to me then before we knew it Arrakis was born.
It was a nice vibe creating that track with Daniel. Since then we have done a next track called ‘Grinding Teeth’… keep your ears out for that one in the near future.
Also Gremlinz is here, this is what I meant when I mentioned the best parts of D&B: artists like Gremlinz, Amanda and your other guests here, how did it all come to be that they all worked with you?
Carl: Again like Ahmad the same sort of thing happen with Gremlinz. I hit Gabriel up one day saying we are working on a project with Dispatch and would like you to jump on this beat I’m on. Gabriel was at work at the time and said to send a clip to his email and will hit me later.
Next morning I had a reply back from Gabriel saying he is on this beat and will add his part. So sent over stems and this is how 2 Shots come about.
Take us into ‘Man Hunt’? Love this.
Craig: Big up! That was made about three years ago, it’s the old skool vibe that got me back on this one and had to get it finished. Carl: I think this track was ripped apart a few times before we got it right. Like Craig said it was made a few years back.
I was in the mode of good, gritty film and telly territory when I considered the ‘Man Hunt’ title so was wondering what are some tips of film/drama/directors you dig, maybe five things that disturbed or freaked you out a bit?
Dan: Well my top five films have to be:
City of God
Wolf of Wall Street
Juice… got me into turntables and DJing.
Quite dark and sinister in places with many twists. But most of these films are based on truth with a bit of Hollywood drama.
The guys will agree that the traits and values expressed within all these films are values we stand by as a group and when it comes to producing tracks and the people we work with.
What’s something you’ve learned in the last few years. Anything. Production, in music in general.
Be thankful. Be happy. Work hard.
Any shouts DBR?
Big up the whole Dispatch Family, out to Ant and Alex for making this all happen and a big thank you to everyone who featured on our album.
Big up Structured, Skeptical, MC Fokus, Cern, Gremlinz, Ahmed, Slippy Skills and everyone who is supporting the LP….
Love you all… and of course out to all our fans.
‘Demolition’ (featuring Slippy Skills) Premiere