Dr Meaker have been powerhousing through enormous releases in recent times like a heavyweight boxer dispensing lefts and rights: ‘Music In The Night’… ‘Right Back’… and of course ‘Fighter’. Pow! And seems like 2015 had just ventured out, all fresh and starry-eyed, to be knocked sideways by ‘Freaks’.
It’s over to DM themselves to give us the lowdown on ‘Freaks’, their new label, the current Bristol vibe and to step in for the KO with a top six of D&B.
Dr Meaker I can only guess at how busy you are…
Yep been really busy so far. No time to catch a breath!
We’ve signed an album deal with Circus Records and our single ‘Freaks’ will be coming out on Circus on April 13. We’re working on the tracks as we speak and have some great vocal collaborations in the pipeline. I think it’s going to be an album we’ll all be proud of.
Freaks comes with some excellent remixes, including killers from June Miller (below), Low Steppa… but you guys have been remixing too?
We’ve also just done a couple of remixes for Preditah, ‘Selecta‘ on 3 Beat and also for Fox Stevenson ‘Sweets’ on Ministry of Sound so check them out as we’re really happy with them… we’re looking forward to tearing up the dance floor with them.
We’ve had a break from gigging but will be back on the road with the live act from May, starting with the Love Saves The Day festival in Bristol.
Lots else is booked so it’s gonna be a great year.
Now onto ‘Freaks’… the making of?
‘Freaks’ came about when me and Cappo D were doing a remix for someone and we decided the remix was too good to be a remix so we said ‘Let’s make it our next single for Dr Meaker’.
Lorna King wrote the vocals and we got Sharlene Hector from Basement Jaxx to give it the ‘zing’ it needed. We love it and it goes off when we play it live.
June Miller from RAM has done a wicked remix too so check that out. It’s been getting a lot of love from Fricton and Mistajam plus loads more DJs at Radio 1 and also loads of DJ’s in the D&B scene have been supporting, so big ups to everyone getting involved.
It’s one thing to ‘just write a tune’ but you get some serious attention, so does this affect how you write or do you just write as you always have?
I’m always looking to satisfy my soul because I know if I do that then everything else will fall into place.
There’s always gotta be soul in what we do. Saying that… I’m still waiting for that big TV sync deal! My old Peugot could do with morphing itself into a Merc sometime soon.
What’s your fave aspect of producing?
I love it when a beat and bass just lock together and you start to feel the groove. That’s the funk!
Sometimes I do find our music hard to mix and I’m trying to get the soulful vocals in there as well as making it sound big and punchy. I do enjoy the challenge but usually have cabin fever at the end of a mixdown. Every tune really is a mission, but it’s a labour of love.
Despite having all the elements ‘in place’ when a tune is ready to mix down – I feel like you don’t like to stick to a formula. It’s logical to assume that someone could get to that ready stage and start churning out ‘big’ tunes…
I rarely write the same sounding tune twice. I think it’s because when you’re searching for something you keep taking different routes and paths. I love to experiment and don’t like to stick to one formula if I can help it.
Live-wise, what can we expect from Dr Meaker… especially when people see you for the first time?
In a nutshell: energy, analogue synths, passion, a brass section, dirt, live drums, soul, live bass, Bristol’s best vocalists and wicked vibes!
Freaks Low Steppa remix
What music in D&B is hurting you? What tunes you checking?
I’m digging lots of different stuff. I don’t like the stuff that sounds like a faulty robot arm or food blender. I need to hear melody and a lot of stuff is lacking in melody. Even really simple melody hooks I love but I can’t stand it when it’s all sound design and no substance or soul.
I think my favourite tune this year, last year and probably next year is Hazard ‘Bricks Don’t Roll’. That tune just has the funk.
I’m also really digging Spectrasoul and in particular their tune ‘Always’. I’m into Voltage, Macky Gee and Bristol’s Ruffneck Ting and AFT Recordings are both putting out good stuff. V Recordings, Shogun, Hospital, Ram and 3 Beat are always putting out quality music.
What tune, any era or genre is in your head right now?
I just been putting together a remix and I got the Break remix of our tune ‘Right Back’ in my head.
And generally I’ve been listening to a lot of Kwabs. I love his angle.
What D&B changed you, as it were? Mindful that you are from the same town that produced Roni Size/Full Cycle, Reprazent, Breakbeat Era…
Yeah those guys did a lot for Bristol D&B and they were huge back in the day. New Forms defo inspired me. It was Fabio & Grooverider that really educated me and turned me into a believer and I was an avid listener of ther Radio 1 show for years.
Watching Grooverider DJing at Longleat on a Boxing night in the late ’90s was when everything clicked into place and it all made sense.
And here are six most important D&B tunes for me:
Roni Size ‘Brown Paper Bag’
Alex Reece ‘Feel the Sunshine’
Ed Rush & Optical Worm Hole album
Adam F ‘Brand New Funk’
‘Pacific 808’ (Grooverider remix)
Any shouts Dr Meaker?
Sending a big shout to everyone that has supported us over the ten years we been doing this.
We’re still only getting started and want to see people supporting our live show. Big up Circus records who’ve signed our next album and we look forward to you all hearing that later this year.