Teebone: a name that you may not have come across over the years, but certainly a name that’s integral to drum & bass. Working his way up the jungle ladder from an early age, running various record labels and producing a huge array of hits across the scene, Teebone is certainly one of the scene’s unsung heros.
From his early jungle roots to his leap into UK garage, he created hysteria among label bosses with Fly Bi then went on to produce music videos for Pendulum and Shy FX. Videos like this…
With a lifetime of scene history and achievement we thought we’d catch up with him and find out plenty more…
Interview: Jamie S23
Riddim Track Records was launched in 1994 at the height of the jungle scene. What made you start the label?
It was way back in 1993, I remember being in The Paradise Club on the dancefloor and thinking to myself “I want to do more than just be a raver, I want to be involved”. It wasn’t long before I had a conversation with Dr S Gachet about production which then spurred me on to speaking with my uncle who worked as a sound engineer.
Back then it was all about analogue studio gear so big racks, outboards, synthesizers and an Atari ST. I was keen to learn it all and start creating all the sounds that were in my head. The studio we started producing in was above the legendary Renk Records which was a great inspiration. If anything though, it was just that I wanted to become part of the scene that I loved and express myself, starting a record label was the obvious choice for me.
How did you find out about the duplicate use of the name Subliminal Records? Any beef?
It wasn’t really like that to be honest, the Subliminal label was my good friend Dextrous’ label which, after the second release, became defunct. The money I made from the track Selectors Roll on Subliminal paved the way for Riddim Track Records and from then on we joined forces on many a track.
What’s your favourite tune from Riddim Track?
My parents were really into music, my mother was a singer and my father a DJ so I grew up around funk, soul and r’n’b. I think the other side of that is that sometimes I would hear a tune, for example an r’n’b track and think “I could sample that hook!”. It was really just about playing around with sounds and samples, taking parts from one track and layering it with something else.
The track did okay, I wouldn’t say it was our biggest seller – that was probably Shaolin Style, the first of the Collaborated Artists tracks released in 1996. Making those big basslines from the original jump up era was all about compression… Loads of analog compression!
Strictly Business features a very iconic sleeve with some of the producers dressed as 1950s gangsters, was this release put out to mark the end of the label? Any favourite memories from the photo shoot?
We all got together at the Trocadero in London to do this, it was taken at one of those dress up places where you can get kitted out in various costumes. You had the likes of DJ Rap, Randall and GQ all dressed up in full 1950s outfits for the album photoshoot – I have loads of old photographs from the day including loads of outtakes!
I think the album was the end of the label for me in many ways, I had invested heavily in the brand and although the label was a success, Strictly Business really didn’t receive the support I was expecting it to from DJs. Although it sold reasonably well, it was the backing in the raves that I wanted – real recognition.
What’s your all time favourite jungle track?
It has to be Deep Blue’s The Helicopter Tune, I still don’t think a tune has been released to this day that caused as much impact on the dancefloor as it did way back in the early 90s. I remember going to Telepathy at the Rex – the one with the old corrugated roof which shook when the bassline hit, hearing this tune for the first time and everybody in the rave going mad. It’s just a track that has so much emotion yet is so simple, I don’t really think Deep Blue had really anticipated what a groundbreaking tune he had made at the time.
Your work in the UK Garage scene is well know by true heads of the scene, did you use the alias Templeton Peck to distance yourself from the Jungle scene? What did it mean?
I chose the name Templeton Peck because of my love for the television show The A Team and the character Face, otherwise known as Templeton Peck. In a way though it was also to establish myself within the UK garage scene under an alias so that I could not only start a fresh but retain my roots in the jungle scene.
UK garage to me was all about making songs rather than instrumentals. To me it was really important to have previously put in the hard work in the jungle scene business-wise before crossing over. By business, I mean understanding how the music world operates; it was at a time when the major labels were showing real interest in the underground scene and having the confidence and knowledge to deal with this was extremely important.
Fly Bi was a massive track, did you ever expect it to turn into an anthem?
I didn’t really expected the tune to blow up as it did. When we made the track I was a resident at a club night called Liberty alongside MC Sparks and the idea to make a tune together just came about in conversation. When the time came to choose the beats and lay down some vocals Sparks brought along Kie and we chose the beat from 100’s that I had already put together. The track itself though was literally made overnight with the majority of the lyrics written on the spot.
We experienced a huge bidding war over the track from the likes of Polydor, Warner Music UK and Island Records and although released on vinyl via Rhythm Records, the track was eventually signed to Warner. The decision was made when Oxide & Neutrino went to the top of the UK charts with Bound 4 Da Reload, I received a call shortly after from Warner offering to outbid any previous offers and that, for me, marked the explosion of UK Garage into the mainstream.
Moving back up to date, what projects are you currently involved in?
Recently I worked alongside Jungle Mania for the 20th anniversary rave, filming the event and interviewing the artists. The video is available to view on YouTube here.
I am currently in the process of arranging two documentaries, one alongside Kool FM, the other with Ice FM. They’re both huge projects as they will breaking down both stations involvement in the jungle and UK garage scenes from day one with talking head style interviews from all those involved.
Music wise, I have loads going on what with the release of RDM (Reinforced Digital Music), a label focusing on all things jungle and drum & bass, Workflow – another label devoted to house music and Stone Village, my third label project which covers a wide range of bass music. I’m currently working with Kele Le Roc and Lifford, the vocalist from Artful Dodger’s Please Don’t Turn Me On.
UK garage seems to be making a comeback year on year, do you think this will actually happen to the extent of its popularity of the 90s?
People talk about UK garage making a comeback but what they don’t see or maybe understand is that UK garage is all around us but in slightly different styles and formats. It’s possibly evolved into something different right now but who knows what’s around the corner – the influence UK garage has had on many artists in the limelight right now is clear to see.