Friday, July 30, 2010

Dirty Dubsters Interview and Exclusive Free Mixtape!

The Dirty Dubsters, aka DJ Obese and Jay Sharp, are redefining the word prolific with a seemingly endless stream of quality releases. Ranging from Swing/Hip-Hop excursions to disco-flavoured house outings and taking in plenty of jump-up Bigbeat Ska on the way.  You never know how their next track will sound – all we know for sure is it WILL rock a party.

We caught up with the pair to find out how it all began, where they're at now and what the future holds for the talented pair.

How did you guys meet, and how long have you been collaborating?

Jay: Myself and Barry met back in early 2006 out and about at some gig, where in a drunken state decided to set up a breaks night in Dublin, which is still going strong over 4 years down the track.

We found we were both interested in starting some production work and that we had similar tastes in music so we started collaborating in the studio. I moved back to Sydney at the end of 2006.

I returned back to Dublin in June of 2009. We kept in touch and had agreed to get back to the studio upon my return to Dublin in May 2009 when the Dirty Dubsters moniker was created. During the two-and-a-half-year break we had learnt and developed our production skills and switched from Cubase to Abelton Live. We found the extended break combined with new studio knowledge gave us a huge amount of creative ideas and better skills to put them to work in the studio.

How did your relationship with music begin? What music did you listen to growing up?

Jay: Growing up I was into mainly rock and a bit of Reggae I suppose, Led Zeppelin, The Doors, AC/DC, Bob Marley. I also played the guitar, which suited this music. Once I was 18, started going out, I got in to dance music.

This consisted mainly of house and techno flavours at first, but once I got my decks and began DJing in 2000, I started getting into Breaks / Funk / Reggae. it's really from then that my passion for Funk and Reggae began.

OBese: Growing up with my folks playing music in the house probably started things off for me. They had eclectic tastes. I remember hearing a lot of Marvin Gaye, Steely Dan, The Beach boys, Jimi Hendrix and some Bluegrass shite my dad likes!

My dad used to go to trade fairs with work and would bring back loads of cassette tapes and vinyls from all kinds of artists. He once brought back a Digital Underground album and other
Hiphop that he didn’t bother with.  I'd listen to them a lot and even began splicing my own ‘Mix Tapes’ using a dual tape deck when I was younger – Mad Skills!

My Brother would watch YO MTV Raps as well – I used to love watching videos especially with DJ’s cutting and scratching. When I was 14, I stole a Bob Marley tape off him while on holidays in Florida and found the perfect combination of Sunshine and Reggae. I since haven’t stopped listening to Jamaican music. I unfortunately don’t see too much sunshine in Dublin though!

When did you start DJing? And producing?

Jay: I got my first set of decks in 2000, a dodgy pair of Numark belt drives, but these were very quickly up-graded after six months to the standard 1210’s.

When I moved to Dublin in 2002, I started up a breaks radio show on Radio Nova 94.7FM, at the time I think there was very little in the way of breaks going on in Dublin, which I hoped to change. It wasn’t until 2006 that I started getting into the production side of things, I saw it as an extension to DJing, a track was like doing a mini 5 minute mix. It also allowed for more creativity and greater control over you sound / style of music.

Obese: When I was in my teens I too got a bogie pair of belt drives and hooked them up in my parents attic. I upgraded to Technics and started playing gigswhile living in Manchester. I was involved in a few nights while at university over there. After uni, I enrolled in a music production course learning how to use all the different programs. I wasn’t getting much time to practice so I decided to relocate and moved back to Dublin in 2006. I’ve since become quite the hermit and I’m in my home studio every evening / night, taking occasional breaks to promote the Break-Down and Breakology parties and play some gigs! My day Job tends to get in the way also.

What do you look for in records you play out?

Jay: I look for something that makes you move / dance, something that has a great beat and a solid funky groove. I tend to like big beats and big bass driven tracks, as I think this really works in the clubs.

OBese: Pretty much what Jay said. Lots of energy and something that’s gonna work the floor out.

What’s the best party you ever played?

Jay: Tonic in Kings Cross, Sydney Bank Holiday Sunday in 2008. It's a small club / bar that only holds about 150 people, but the place was rammed from like 8pm with a wicked up for it crowd, this was due to a huge dance festival that just finished up that afternoon. I played for about three hours rocking a big NuFunk party breaks set and a load of fat Reggae tracks that the crowd just couldn’t get enough of.

OBese: Probably Life festival in Ireland a few years back. We were playing in the Breakology tent, which had hundreds of people going crazy to our Break-Down band set up of DJs, MC , live drums, saxophone and flute.

I also have extremely fond memories of playing in any and all of the rooms in Magruders (R.I.P) on Thomas Street, Dublin. It was a lawless adult playground, the likes of which I’m sure Dublin will never see again. We played Bristol in May on the same Bill as Jazzie B, Jumpin Jack Frost, Mickey Finn, Navigator and the legend – Tippa Irie. The night is called Championsound, it's an excellent set up pushing all things Ragga.

How do you keep up the constant stream of releases, do you guys ever sleep?

Jay: We both have a huge passion for music, and can't get enough of creating new tracks at the moment. We both work on new material and ideas separately throwing together the basic idea and layout of the track, we then bring these into the studio to work on together to finalise the track. We have found this works really well creatively and we seem to have more tracks and ideas than we have time to finish them. We have managed to release a huge amount of work in the last 6 months with nearly 50 tracks under our belt and many more to come.

OBese: We’re not the types to spend too long bogged down on a track. I’m far too impatient for that. We have ideas ready before we go into the studio and we know how we like to execute them so things tend to get done in one or two sittings. Then they either go up on SoundCloud or get played in the car stereo to see what further tweaking needs to be done.

Tell us about your recent releases and anything forthcoming we should look out for? And any big gigs coming up you want to tell us about?

OBese: We’re about to start a 7” vinyl series called “Dirty Dubplates", which will be mainly Hiphop/Reggae tunes with voicings of artists we like such as Bass Nacho, Chip Fu, Jah Clarity, Whandah The Dainty Queen and hopefully some others. We’re reaching out to work with some really excellent vocalists / MC’s and it’s a lot of fun.

On the Dirty Dubster Digital label we've just put out a big four-track EP of Swing / Ska inspired NuFunk tracks, its due for release today. The tracks have been getting huge support and comments on our SoundCloud page, so we’re feeling really positive about this release.

As Far as gigs go, we hope to get back to the UK this year. We’ve a few gigs in Dublin. The Break-Down 4th birthday in November. Maybe even a party, as the opener looked like it was a belter! Fair plays boys.

How do you feel about new developments in production and DJ technology – Ableton, digital vinyl etc?

Jay: For us personally, Ableton has really helped us release our creative potential with regards to our productions. We started off initially using Cubase / Reason, which are both great packages but you really need a lot of technical know how to get the full potential out of them.

We found we were getting to bogged down in re-wiring channels etc. and loosing sight of the creative side of the production process. Abelton is so user friendly and a much more visual program, that suits sample-based type of production very well. And with a great bank of VSTs on board its potential really is endless.

And can you reveal a killer production tip to our readers?

Jay: I think the key to making good NuFunk tracks is getting the beats really fat, just listen to any A Skillz or Fort Knox Five stuff and you hear it in all of their tracks.

To get nice punchy fat beats, you need to layer up the kicks and snares, we some times have 3, 4 or more different samples behind a kick or a snare. Also make sure to have a separate channel for each of the samples so you can have the greatest amount of control over each individual sound.

For the kick we like to use a nice punch kick with a big deep sub kick, compress and EQ them to maximize the low-end. For the snares, we’ll use a few different snare sounds depending on the track add a tight kick and a clap to the snare also makes it nice and snappy and gives it a good punch.

Finally, always listen to the track on a number of different speakers / sound systems, good bad and indifferent to get a better feel for the sound and how different mastering techniques affect the over all sound of the track.

OBese: I like hi–cutting sub bass sound to isolate the very low-end to get that booming, rib-shaking effect for the clubs.

How do you feel about being able to reach out to people through the internet – is it changing the music industry for the better?

Jay: Of course, it’s brilliant. We’ve connected with a huge amount of people in the past year and without SoundCloud and Facebook etc, collaborating with some of the above artists just wouldn’t have happened.

What do you say to the haters who write off the NuFunk scene as ‘just another name for funky breaks’ or ‘just breaks bootlegs’?

Jay: I wouldn’t waste too much time with them to be honest but... What we would say to anyone not convinced is to get to any bar / club playing this kind of music and see how it works on a dance floor.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

Yeah, please check for our Digital Label: Dirty Dubster Digital on Juno and coming very soon to Beatport. Our label breakdown records – and link us on facebook: ‘TheDirtyDubsters’

Some quick-fire questions to finish with:

What’s your favorite sound?


Least favourite sound?

Trance, Hardhouse and all that other glow-rod and furry boots inspired Bo**ox

Okay, you’re stuck on a desert island, what luxury item do you take with you?

Jay: Solar powered MP3 player. Just gotta have the music, I think that’s one thing that will always be with me whatever I do.

What’s the last tune/album/podcast you put on your MP3 player?

OBese: Capleton’s Greatest Hits

Jay: Billie Holiday

What is your proudest achievement in life?

OBese: Jay’s wife Leah is about to give birth in August so I’m sure that’s gona top anything I have to say on this question.

And your biggest regret?

OBese: None really, maybe just that we didn’t get into the whole production thing earlier.

What do you think about the launch of

I think it’s a great outlet and promoter for the Nufunk scene. I think that Nufunk as a genre gets far too little credit. It really is about great booty shaking party music that spans and encompasses all genres. The more exposure sites like this give to the genre the better.

And finally, can you tell us about the exclusive free mix that you are offering our readers?

We have put together a cracking summer party mix of all our latest tracks especially for members. We have been rinsing out these tracks at a few of our last gigs and they have been going off like a storm. We hope everyone enjoys it.

This mix is a banger, it's been getting heavy rotation on the iPod already! The tracklist is below and as always, you can grab the free download in our exclusive Member's Vault over at the forum. See this thread for details of how to get in there and access all the exclusive content.
Track listing:
01) Dirty Dubsters feat. Chip Fu - Chant Down Babylon
02) Riddimwiser
03) Dibby Dibby Dubplate
04) Every little bad man Skank
06) Sound Clash
07) Dubsters Be Good to Me
08) Do What you Wana
09) Pull up to my Bootleg Baby
10) Afro Skank
11) Swing it Brother
12) Shotgun
13) Ganja Check
14) Ska Ska Ska
15) In the Summertime
16) Cease Fire Selecta
17) Dirty Dubsters feat Bass Nacho - Big Tings!

Funky Friday Round-Up

Blazing beats from this week's featured artists, the Dirty Dubsters, as well as a double whammy from Bombastic Jam and a cracking free disco edit by James DB.

Wiz zis funk you are spoiling uz!

Dirty Dubsters - Don't Mean A Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing EP

Blending crazy swing samples with fat breaks and skankin' dub stylings, this EP is full of unexpected twists and fist, floor pounding grooves.

As always the Dubsters hit us with heavy, heavy bass - serious wall-shaking bass, add to this a bucketfull of ragga snippets and some seriously groovy brass lines and you have a pretty heady concoction.

All four tracks are bangers, but 'Every Little Badman Skank' and 'Swing It Brother' are really floating my boat. This EP is out today, so don't delay - grab a copy right now.

Have a listen below and grab your copy exclusively from Juno.

Don't mean a Thing, if it an't got no Swing EP by DirtyDubsters

Fuzzbox INc - Once Again

Bombastic Jam is THE hot label this year and we've got a look ahead at a couple of their forthcoming releases this week.

First up, 'Once Again' form Fuzzbox INc is a trippy bigbeat tune with psychedelic swirling sounds and booming bass. It comes with a serious remix from Badboe, which plays with groovy Rhodes melodies over crispy beats. The second remix is from Busta, who can apparently do no wrong at the moment - the bass on this one is killer!

You can preview it below and then stake out Bombastic Jam's Juno page and wait for the release, which should drop on August 23rd.

BJ 008 Fuzzbox INc - Once Again by Bombastic Jam

Bad Monkeys feat. Gizelle Smith – No. 1 Fan

Slamming, skippy beats, funked-out guitars and seriously soulful vocals from Gizelle Smith, make this Bad Monkeys track a surefire winner. The brass lines that hit on the breakdown are incredible and the second drop will send crowds into a funk frenzy.

Basement Freaks, Quincy Jointz and DJ Franksen all step up on remix duty serving up a NuFunk banger, a floaty percussive number and a housey groover respectively.

Another quality release, but another one you'll have to wait for, this one should hit the stores next week (2nd August) so not too long to hold your breath!

Listen below and check the label's Juno page on release day.

BJ 007 Bad Monkeys feat. Gizelle Smith – No. 1 Fan by Bombastic Jam

Melba Moore - Standing right here (Make It Funky edit)

Finally this week, a delicious disco edit from James DB made live in one take using the loop function in Serato. It's a wicked track and it's free!

Listen and download below and if you like it, drop a comment for the man.

Melba Moore - Standing right here (Make It Funky edit) by James DB

Until next week, keep promos, press releases and other funky things coming to

Monday, July 26, 2010

Funky Friday Round-Up (Erm, yeah, on a Monday)

We're late, but it will be worth the wait - with bombastic releases from the Pig Balls crew, a mega tag-team release from Big M and future classics from Belleruche and Unifairfly. Oh, and there's a free track from Johnny Pluse too.

Various Artists - The Golden Pig Collection

The 10th release from Pig Balls is a biggie - more than 20 tracks from a diverse spread of artists, covering a wide range of styles.

From established NuFunkers like Nick Fonkyson and Pulp Fusion to emerging artists like tOtALcULt and Matty Blades, this compilation reads like a who's who of NuFunk.

Highlights are many on this album, but a few stand out.

Fonkysons strutting flute funk groover 'Da Pig Jam' is a wicked excursion to the limits of funk-hop, while Prosper's 'Piggy Korn Crisp' brings heavyweight bass into the fray.

Mustbeat Crew and MC Columbo head straight into dancehall territory with the wicked 'Pigs On Fire' and Ram Skank hotwires a truck full of bigbeat breaks and tears headlong into a van loaded with soulful vocals.

A compilation that celebrates and represents the diversity of this wonderful scene of ours. Get it in your crate, it's got something for every dancefloor.

Listen to a few hits below and buy it here.

PulpFusion & Jim Dunloop - Pig Adilly by Pig Balls Records

Totalcult - Pig Tok Rocker by Pig Balls Records

RamSkank - I Feel Pig Sick by Pig Balls Records

Tombee - The Pig Got Fresh by Pig Balls Records

Unifairfly - Rock To Rhythm

Out on August 2nd on Funky Mamas & Papas Recordings, this double-tracker from Unifairfly features great brass, super-funky guitars, great drumming and slinky bass alongside wicked hip-hop snippets - in fact all the elements of a wicked NuFunk release.

Have a listen below. We're not 100% sure where this one is giong to be available, but keep an eye on the label's Juno page for more details....

FMAP010 by Unifairfly

Belleruche - Clockwatching

Forthcoming from the Tru Thoughts camp, this hot slice of 7" action is a moody 60's soul number which showcases how tight and groovy this band really is.

Backed with an amazing cover of The Beat's 'Mirror In The Bathroom', this is another great release from Tru Thoughts. Head over to the label's site to bag your copy.

We've not got a Soundcloud preview, but someone had uploaded this appearance from the band on radio, in which you can hear 'Clockwatching':

Belleruche 'Clockwatching' 6music 05 July 10 by MrDenis

Big M Productions - Banging Artists

Last, but far from least this week - an enormous release from Big M (Release date 9th August), a label which has consistently released banging material.

On this latest 12" they are showcasing some amazing artists - combining the skills of Breakbeat Junkie, Hayz, CMC & Silenta and Ewan Hoozami into an Ep so big and heavy it will probably cause the moon to crash into the earth any day now.

Hayz' hotly anticipated Happy Mondays booty will finally see the light of day, blending 'Step On' with enough hip-hop snatches to bring it bang up to date.

'Drinking Song' from Ewan Hoozami is a snappy, brass-driven funk number with a bassline that sends shivers down your spine.

The Breakbeat Junkie once again shows he's a mark of pure funky quality with 'Front to Back' which takes a Stereo MCs groove and breathes new life into it with fat breaks and hiuge breakdowns.

We can't find a preview of the CMC & Silenta track, so you'll have to take our word for the fact that their re-rinse of The Temptations' classic 'Papa Was A Rolling Stone' is seriously banging business.

It hits the streets soon, so preview below and order your copy on August 9th here.

Twisted Lemon by Hayz

Front To Back by The Breakbeat Junkie

Drinking Song (snippet) by Ewan Hoozami

Finally a wicked freebie for you from man like Johnny Pluse, whose new album is still wrecking dancefloors across the globe. Grab his tough re-rub of Paolo Nutini's 10/10 below:


Keep the promos and press releases coming to

Make It Funky: DJ Spooky Talks About Remix Culture

When sampling first exploded in the late 80s and early 90s, the law was behind the evolution. But it didn't take long to catch up.
High profile cases such as Roy Orbison vs 2 Live Crew and Gilbert O'Sullivan vs Biz Markie soon put a stop to the 'open season' of sampling - putting lawyers at the centre of what would become a multi-million dollar copyright industry.

But the practice of sampling, remixing and mashing has not been stemmed by this tightening of the law - in fact it has mushroomed and as the tools became more widely available and affordable, anyone can now take parts of films, music and photography and reinterpret them to make something new.

This week in 'Make It Funky' we've got a talk by DJ Spooky, exploring the evolution of remix culture and looking to the future of the art form.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Slim - Interview and Exclusive Track from the Sly Players/Goodgroove Star

Head-honcho  of Goodgroove Records and half of the Sly Players, Slim has found himself at the forefront of the NuFunk scene. He talks about his journey, looks ahead to a future full of disco breaks and drops an exclsuive download for members.

Which came first, Goodgroove or the Sly players?

Goodgroove by many years, it was a clubnight way back in 1999, then became a label that reflected the music style on the night. The Sly Players were born from the label and wanting to push the disco breaks sound.

How do you split your time between the two?

The label and production run hand in hand, so the time merges into one, we are always working on new tracks and new releases.

What does the future hold for Goodgroove and the Sly Players?

Goodgroove is a mature label now so can afford to take some musical style risks, expect some dubstep and drum n bass. The Sly Players new work is mainly original sample-free tracks and we intend to take disco breaks to some big places, WMC is on our hit list.

What do you look for when signing music to the label?

The music has to be a gem, the original tracks on Goodgroove were all the best tracks for clubnights, DJ Wood - Eye No (our first ever release) was getting played by stacks of DJ's worldwide on CDR so we made it vinyl, it was as simple as that. It sold amazingly, so we found more gems from the DJ worldwide community.
What are you 3 top tips for any budding producers out there looking for their first signing?

1. Do something you would play in a DJ set

2. Get out and listen to music in clubs

3. Try something you haven't heard

Who is your favourite DJ?

Jazzy Jeff, i love the way he makes every club a big party.

Who is your favourite producer?

I have a lot of favourites, right now The Captain is on fire

How do you see NuFunk progressing in the next couple of years?

More towards disco, there is a crossover between the slower disco and funk breaks, new labels are filling the need for this.

Slim has shared an exclusive track with our members, which you can preview below. It's Umbo & Pip's remix of his track 'Turn You On' and it's sounding pretty sweet.

  The Sly Players - Turn You On (Umbo & Pips rmx) by

To get your mitts on this exclusive free download, head over to our brand new Member's Vault at the forum. You can't get in if you're not a member of, in fact the forum is invisible until you sign in.

Once you sign in, the password for the Vault is in the forum description. We've spray-painted it out in the picture below, but you get the idea:
And if you're not a member yet then get on it and stop missing out on all the fun-k HERE

Monday, July 19, 2010

Make It Funky: Oberheim DX

This week we've got some wicked samples for you of a classic rhythm box - the Oberheim DX, courtesy of 'Calvin Cardioid' over at the CL516 blog.

You should check out his posts here and here.

The DX was a cut-down version of the Oberheim DMX, using samples of actual drum hits to program rhythms.

Its tight, punchy sounds made sure the unit was widely used in early hip-hop by artists such as Run DMC and later featured in the kit list of everyone from New Order to Daft Punk.

Calvin has uploaded a set of individual one-shots from this beautiful beastie here.

He says: "Feel free to use the loops. (Creative Commons License - Please give credit.) Also, I sampled some single hits so you can load'em up in your own MPC's. These hits hopefully sound pretty thick. They are mono WAV's in 16 bit 44.1khz."

And there are some downloadable sequences here:
Sounds from Oberheim DX by Calvin Cardioid

And a couple more here:
Oberheim DX Free Loop 118 by Calvin Cardioid

Oberheim DX Free Loop 106 by Calvin Cardioid

Oberheim DX Free Loop 180 by Calvin Cardioid

Oh, and if you use these samples anytime, drop the man a line and thank him!

Friday, July 16, 2010 Launch Party - What A Night!!

Well it was one helluva party!

Featuring a host of DJs, hundreds of banging tracks, a great crowd of party people and a few too many pink cocktails - the launch was truly a night to remember.

The headline set from Denmark's king of funk Badboe was the cherry on top of a very funky cake - after sets from Hayz, Johnny Pluse, Chris Awesome, 101 Connection, Bubaking, Hong Kong Ping Pong, Kool Hertz and many many more.

It was also great to bump into people like B-Side and DJ Detta, simply there to enjoy the night.

If you weren't there, you missed out - but keep an eye out, because we'll be back. co-founder Hayz said: "It was an amazing night - thanks to everyone who helped make it such a success, including the staff at Lost Angel, the DJs - especially those who travelled from far and wide to be there and of course to the crowd who kept the party vibe going right to the end.

"After 1am the place had hit capacity, so it was one-in, one-out for the rest of the night. The cocktails were flowing, the beats were banging and everyone had a great time.

"We achieved our goal of bringing the Nu Funk community together for real - not just online!"

To give you a flavour of the night - here's a video featuring some of the highlights:

And here's a few pictures of the night too:


For more great pictures, head over to the Facebook page - and don't forget to add us to make sure you're first to hear about our next party!

Suonho - Interview And Exclusive Free Download

Producer and sound designer Suonho has been winning remix contests, DJing and producing cinematic, groove-laden funk tracks since the turn of the Millennium - but his days of bubbling away under the radar are numbered. Here at, we think 2010 could be his year to blow up!

He took time out to talk to us and drop a free download for members only.

How did you start out making tracks?

I started composing music and soundtracks since 2001. My entry into the cinematic world of music was creating some theatre pieces for “Il Teatro Del Sogno”.

After that I made a series of pieces for theatrical producions and then scored video for independent videomaker-documetarists (“Fonti” for Bluefactory), installations (“Sovraccarico comunicativo” under the multiple-name of Gianfranco) and readings (“Oltre il muro”, written by Alfonso Cimirro).

How would you describe your music? Is there a Suonho sound?

I have a cinematic style, which is strictly focused on the clash between evocative atmospheres conceived as environments, field-recordings reworked as concrete-noises and irresistible goroovy rhythms. It's music often enjoyable out of the original cinematic, it's meant also for dancefloors and brainfloors!

Suonho has been comissioned to remix everyone from the Bahama Soul Club to Bob Marley by a string of labels including Lounge Records, d:vision Records and Bar Grooves.

He also has a free track on the Budabeats netlabel, which you can check out here.

Check out a couple of his remixes below, including the Rapper's Delight version, which he is releasing exclusively to members through The Vault over at our forum.

You can't get in to this exclusive forum if you're not a member of, in fact the forum is invisible until you sign in.

Once you sign in, the password for the Vault is in the forum description. We've spray-painted it out in the picture below, but you get the idea:

Now, sit back, listen and enjoy...

Dan The Automator - Rappers Delight (suonho Remix) by suonho

In-Grid - Vive Le Swing (suonho ReShaked) by suonho

The Unforgettables - Aguas de Março (suonho Tropical Mix) by suonho

Acusmatic Group - Secret Lovers (suonho Motion Capture Mix) by suonho

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

What's That Sound? Black Market Breaks

A wicked documentary for you this week: Black Market Breaks looks at sampling culture and hip-hop - exploring different producers' approaches to sampling and digging culture.
Presented by UK hip-hop legend Mark B and featuring interviews with DJ Marley Marl, VIC, Dilated Peoples, Bubba Sparxxx, DJ Greenpeace, David Holmes, Tommy Koi of Mr Bongo Records, Andrew Mason of Wax Poetics & Jared from The Sound Library record store.

Watch it below, or download in audio form from here.

Until next time, keep your fingers dusty and your grooves clean.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Make It Funky: Plugin Round-Up

We've got some wierd and wonderful plugins for you to play with this week, some of which are modelled on vintage gear, others that come straight outta leftfield with a sound all of their own.

First we're going to look at a couple of VSTi that emulate the classic Mellotron - which famously featured on 'Strawberry Fields' amongst others.

Artifake Labs have two versions of 'Tron emulation. Their Redtron 400 features three violins, and eight-voice choir, flute, brass, string section and cello, each with loop on/off modes.

The Redtron MkV emulates one of the rarest Mellotron models, giving you access to what is effectively two Mellotrons working in tandem.

Both plugins are completely free and available from here. The developers also have a decent emulation of the Hohner Pianet N electric piano on the same page. Definitely worth checking out.

Elektrostudio also have a Mellotron plugin as part of their 'Oryg 10 Analog Pack'. It sounds pretty decent and allows you to blend the different voices into one another, which is a nice touch. The pack also contains the Rhythmus plugin, which emulates classic rhythm boxes, with samba, mambo, tango, waltz and rumba type patterns - great for getting some classic sounds out of, even if the full patterns are a bit naff.

You can download the pack, which contains 10 plugins, from here.

Some organ emulations are up next, starting with an excellent Hammond copy from Iliadis.

It's a pretty detailed clone featuring "Clean Sine Drawbars for 2 Manuals and Bass Pedals, 2 Percussion Oscs with the 9 "Standard" Harmonics, a Key Click Imitation, Vibrato/Chorus and Overdrive."

You can download it for free here, along with a superb rotary speaker emulation to complete the vintage effect.

For a slightly different take on the organ sound - veering into Doors territory, how about a Combo Organ emulation?

Combo V from Martinic is a fully-modelled (no samples) clone, with 32 presets and lots of tweakable controls. You can download it here.

Finally a versatile emulation, capable of everything from church organ tones to Farfisa sounds, how about the B8 from Autodafe? This is another freebie, available here.

Finally, we've got a couple of random percussion units for you to try: Shekrs from spacedad accurately captures the sounds of yoghurt pot, loo-roll and paper cup shakers, while Beatvox from Knobster is a beatbox/human percussion instrument.

Both are a bit madcap, but well worth checking out.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

An Interview with Jalapeno Boss Trevor Mac & Exclusive Track for Members ONLY!

As head honcho of arguably the longest-running NuFunk label, Trevor Mac has watched the scene grow and flourish whilst working with some of the most talented producers and DJs from the UK and overseas.

He took time out of his hectic schedule to talk to and share an exclusive free track with our members.

So, how did Jalapeno Records come about?

Jalapeno more or less grew out of the dying embers of Big Beat.

Skeewiff were signed to FSUK, which was part of Ministry, but they got dropped because they were touring a lot and running up a pretty big touring bill, which Ministry was picking up.

Thankfully Ministry said they could keep the rights to all their unreleased records – one of those was ‘Mucho Mambo’, which went on to sell around 3 million copies. They realise they could do this on their own.

So they set up Jalapeno, so they could release their music without some of those pressures that come from being on a label.

Before all this, I was at college with Elliot and Alex in Brighton. At that time I was working my way up in the music industry and was a marketing manager for a major label. We had always kept in touch, so they called me and asked if I could run the label for them, so they could get back to making music.

Is there a particular ethos to the label?

At Jalapeno we want our music to be successful, but there is no pressure to follow the latest sounds or fashions – this meant that Skeewiff could explore their loungey, funky breaks thing.

That whole Nu Skool Breaks sound was becoming quite hard. I know it was sometimes billed as funky breaks, and some of it – the kind of Finger Lickin’ style of breaks – does have funky elements to it, but it’s quite tough music.

So we’ve suffered a bit from not knowing what to call it. In the last year people have started to call it NuFunk. If everyone had left funky breaks as funky breaks, then we could have just called it that, but really that sound became something else.

Whilst a lot of newer labels in the scene are releasing big sample records, mash-ups and bootlegs, Jalapeno seems to be moving away from that sound. Was that a conscious decision?

 Ultimately I’m looking at building artists. I love big cut-up sampled records, they’re great to play out and DJ with, but I like to see artists writing their own music – that gives us something to build on.

Sample records are great fun and they can really rock a party but we don’t want to invest a lot of money in a band only to have EMI or one of the other majors come along and say: ‘That’s our music, we own that’.

Kraak & Smaak had a lot of samples on their first record. In fact ‘Squeeze Me’, which has been one of their biggest sellers, had a sample in it. Even though Ben Westbeech sang an entirely original song over it, EMI took 75% because of the sample. And that was a result, you’re lucky if you can talk them down to 75%, you’re lucky if they don’t just say ‘that’s our music’ because of a sample.

We want to see originality because the technology is getting simpler and for a laptop DJ it isn’t a big step between playing out beats in Ableton and creating a cut-up sample record. I mean, that’s great, but it’s not something we’d want to invest in.

What recent releases on the label are you excited about?

We’ve got Dr Rubberfunk’s 3rd album. His first two were released on his own label GPS. I pitched him for his second album actually but he wanted to keep it on his own label. By the time it came to his third though, we’d kept in communication and he said: ‘You know what, I don’t really want to do the label bit this time’.

So we signed him a couple of years ago and now the album is out. He’s a very musical guy. His first album had a lot of samples and cut-ups, the second album was a mix between that and more original stuff and this third album is all original.

Obviously it’s great to have successful releases, but for us we don’t see it as a disaster if we put out a record and it only sells 500 copies. As long we the artist thought it was a great record, we thought it was a great record and the people who bought it thought it was great we’re happy with that.

The tracks that come out on the label are pretty diverse, but would you say there's a particular Jalapeno sound?

They all loosely fit together. If you see Jalapeno you know roughly what you’re going to get. It goes from proper funk records like Dr Rubberfunk through to people like Kraak & Smaak who are making quite big electronic records but they all loosely have that Jalapeno sound.

Beyond that, it’s just stuff we like, what we hear in the office and suddenly think ‘we need that’. Soopasoul was like that. Danny had his own label and I picked up one of his tunes in a record shop. I thought it was amazing so we called him and talked and got him on the label.

Nowadays Jalapeno is quite well known so a lot of people send us stuff. That takes a bit if the work out of the A+R aspect, going to live gigs and trawling through Myspace. We get to hear stuff from agents or managers who will play us something they think we might like.

That’s how Smoove & Turrell came to be on the label – through their agent.

One recent release that caught our ear here at was Tape Loops Vol. 1 & 2, how did that come about?

That’s actually an alias of Skeewiff. They are very prolific and it’s hard to keep on top of everything they’re writing. They’ve set up their own library music company and they’re writing stuff for that all the time – the film and TV music licensing people in the UK and US really love their sound so it makes sense.

They had this album of reggae stuff, working with Finley Quaye on some tracks, which I heard and thought it was really good. I told them that I had to sign some for commercial release.

They got to know Finley through someone they work with who was a part of Finley’s live band and it just went from there.

What have you got forthcoming on Jalapeno that we should keep an eye out for?

Basement Freaks has already got one release on the label and we’re planning on doing an album with him this summer. Also Max Sedgley’s album is dropping in summer too. Kraak & Smaak’s next album is nearly done.

We’ve got a Beekeepers album – which is Parker & Boca 45. It’s a side project for both of them, Parker’s got loads going on at the moment and Boca is doing very well in the States, but they’re moving towards it becoming more of a live band. They work well together and they’re going to be playing Glastonbury this summer – dressed in full bee-keeper costumes, like the West Country Daft Punk.

We’ve also got a good turnout at Glastonbury this year: Smoove & Turrell, Dr Rubberfunk, Beekeepers and Jalapeno Soundsystem are all playing.

The NuFunk scene really seems to be taking off at the moment, are you excited about that?

I don’t know whether we strictly fit under the NuFunk banner, because a lot of the scene is based on cut-up and samples, but I’m glad there’s a name for what’s going on and with providing a focus for it, it’s a good time, an exciting time.

There’s a lot of cool people around the world supporting and playing this type of music, some great labels doing their own thing, making everything from real funk to club records that people really want to play. There’s some great DJs, from selectors like myself to really great technical DJs who can really wow the crowd with their skills.

It’s a big eclectic sound, people can experiment a bit, play what they want. It’s a good time for the scene.

Tell us about the exclusive track you're sharing with our members.

It's a track by Radio Trip. When we heard their album 'Music Heads' we signed it straight away. It's full of samples, but it was so inventive and had such a strong sound that we knew it would be great on Jalapeno.

This track is a remix of their tune 'Lonely'.

Radio Trip - Lonely (RT Remix) by

We reckon it's a banger: tweaky acid and glitched-out vocal samples over relentless beats.

To get your mitts on this exclusive free download, head over to our brand new Member's Vault at the forum. You can't get in if you're not a member of, in fact the forum is invisible until you sign in.

Once you sign in, the password for the Vault is in the forum description. We've spray-painted it out in the picture below, but you get the idea:

Get the latest Jalapeno releases on Junodownload, and don't forget to check out their mighty compilation 'Jalapeno Funk Vol 2' - a rollercoaster ride through the freaky funky world of Jalapeno.

Funky Friday Round-Up (One day early!)

Hot releases this week from the Tru Thoughts camp, Renegades of Jazz, Umbo & Balatz and DJ Mischief plus a feelgood feast of free funk from Jazzy Jeff and Mick Boogie.

We're dropping the reviews early this week so we have all day tomorrow to prepare for the launch party!

Natural Self - My Heart Beats (Remixes and Versions)

A bit of a mixed bag this one, but there are some gems on it.

The bass-heavy YULT remix of 'The Shock You Heard' is a moody, subby hip-hop shuffler with some amazing synth sounds and bass that could rupture organs if it fell into the wrong hands.

As the sunny weather continues and the outdoor gigs keep coming, everyone needs a nice stash of ska to keep the crowds smiling, and the Prince Fatty versions of 'Midnight Sun' deliver in spades. The awesome vocals are underpinned by groovy instrumentation and rolling percussion with a bouncy, irresistable vibe.

Natural Self's own remix of 'All Static' rolls along with great percussion grooves and some head-spinning glitchy sounds before dropping into a rich analogue bassline and crispy, almost Garage-esque drums.

As alway with Tru Toughts releases, this one laughs at pigeonholes and pushes boundaries. Maybe not peaktime material, but packed full of amazing music nonetheless.

We think this one's out in August, but to keep you grooving in the meantime, check out this free remix by Natural Self of 'Feelin' by Sweet Breeze.

<a href="">FEELIN- NATURAL SELF REMIX by Natural Self</a>

Renegades of Jazz - Karabine EP

Better known as one half of Mash & Munkee, David Hanke has injected some serious groove into this solo project.

Dusty, jazzy vibes, incredible keys and upright bass lines marry with frenetic brushed snares and dreamy horn lines on this EP, which features remixes from Dusty and The Uptown Felaz.

The title track is probably the strongest, but the tight drums and cheeky sampling on 'Apple Sauce' give it a hot flavour all of its own.

Listen below and buy here.

Karabine EP by Renegades Of Jazz

Umbo & Balatz

Pure party disco funk now from Umbo & Balatz.

The original is incredible, but there are some top reworks on this release too. Valique Boogie adds some rolling synth bass for that Italian vibe, while Zamali adds some epic breakdowns to build the party vibe.

DJ Kid Stretch's remix however, is pure FIRE. Strong breaks and blazing cowbells drive the track, while he creates a filtered disco vibe that reinforces the strengths of the original. Brilliant, brilliant track.

Listen to the original below and buy on Juno.

Umbo & Balatz - Disco Thang by Timewarp Music

DJ Mischief - Flaming Chestrug

Upping the tempo for a straight banger from DJ Mischief now, 'Flaming Chestrug' is a flute-driven funk workout with great soul squeals and horn stabs.

It's backed by the deeper, slower jazz-hop vibes of '1986'.

Listen and buy these great tracks on the Juno player below:

Saravah Soul - Cultura Impura

Blending Latin and Afrobeat influences into a heady cocktail of danceable, head-nodding funk - Saravah Soul's new album has to be heard to be believed.

Listening to this album feels like being a special guest at an incredible, exclusive gig. The band are tight, the grooves are strong and each track is a masterpiece in its own right.

Standout tunes include 'Milk & Mangoes', which blends cool funk instrumentation with the unusual, but infectious twanging sound of the Berimbau Viola.

'Se Da Do' opens with sweet African chants before dropping into a bass-driven groove that builds and builds under goregeous vocal performances from Matheus Nova.

If you're looking for a sun-soaked, upbeat album suitable for both barbecue soundtracks and sweaty, after-dark grooving then look no further - 'Cultura Impura' is it.

Have a listen to a couple of preview tracks below and buy over at Tru Thoughts.

Saravah Soul - Mussum by Tru Thoughts

Saravah Soul - Milk and Mangoes by sopedradamusical

Johnny Pluse - How Much For The Monkey

Just space to remind you that Johnny Pluse's album has dropped this week and he's about to embark on his promotional world tour.

Check an interview with a man himself here, our revie of the album here and see his tour dates below, kicking off with a set at our very own launch party tomorrow night at the Lost Angel:

July 2010
9th ………………Lost Angel, London, UK ( launch party).
23rd …………….The Secret Garden Party (The Remix Bubble), Huntington, UK.
31st …………….McCormack’s, Trim, Ireland (Album Launch Party Act 1).

August 2010
01st …………….Lynch’s Motor Bar, Trim, Ireland (Album Launch Party Act 2).

September 2010
04th ……………Brownstock Music Festival, Essex, UK.
18th ……………Funk Deluxe, San Diego, California, USA.

Mick Boogie & Jazzy Jeff - Summertime

An amazing freebie for you this week, from the crates of Jazzy Jeff & Mick Boogie, 'Summertime' is the perfect funky soundtrack to a sunny day.

Uplifting, feelgood music all the way, check out the tracklisting:

1. Summertime Intro

2. Kool & The Gang: Summer Madness (Live Version)
3. Kool & The Gang: Summer Madness
4. Quincy Jones: Summer In The City
5. Ahmad: Back In The Day
6. Ice Cube: It Was A Good Day
7. Roy Ayers f/ Mary J Blige: Everybody Loves The Sunshine
8. Pharcyde: Passin’ Me By (Ffej Remix)
9. Jay-Z f/ Babyface: Sunshine
10. Ramsey Lewis: Sun Goddess
11. A Tribe Called Quest: Find A Way (Ffej String Edit)
12: Bush Babies f/ Mos Def: The Love Song
13. Jodeci: Get On Up
14. The Commodores: High On Sunshine
15. J Dilla f/ Dwele : Think Twice
16. Erick Sermon f/ Marvin Gaye: Music (Mick’s Marvapella Edit)
17. Bernard Wright: Who Do You Love
18. LL Cool J: Loungin’
19. A Tribe Called Quest: Hot Sex
20. Main Source: Live At The BBQ
21. Nuyorican Soul: Nautilus
22. Pharcyde & Sublime: Summertime
23. Fresh Prince and Jazzy Jeff: Summertime Remix
24. Michael Jackson: I Can’t Help It
25. De La Soul: Breakdawn
26. Musiq: Just Friends
27. Carl Thomas: Summer Rain
28. Faze-O: Riding High
29. Dionne Warwick: Walk On By
30. Skee-Lo: I Wish
31. Black Moon: Who Got The Props
32. Frankie Beverly and Maze: Before I Let Go
33. Nu Shooz: I Can’t Wait
34. Montell Jordan: This Is How We Do It
35: The Roots f/ George Benson: Breezin’
36: Fresh Prince and Jazzy Jeff: Time To Chill
37. Biggie: Can’t You See
38. James Brown: The Payback
39. En Vogue: My Lovin’
40. Bobby McFerrin: Sunshine Of My Life
41. Fifth Dimension: Let The Sun Shine In
42. Mos Def: Sunshine
43. Nine: Whatcha Want
44. Otis Redding: Sittin’ On The Dock
45. 2Pac: I Get Around (Mick’s String Edit)
46. Zapp: Computer Love (Terry’s Mirage On The Water Mix)
47. Seals And Croft: Summer Breeze
48. Jay-Z: Dear Summer
49. Weldon Irvine: Morning Sunrise

So pour yourself a long glass of something cool and get your download on here or here.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

What's That Sound? Edwin Birdsong

Deeply funky Edwin Birdsong played keyboards and organs with a deft touch and an inimitable groove - making him a hot pick for samplists everywhere.

You may be aware of Daft Punk's wholesale rip of his track 'Cola Bottle Baby' - if you aren't you'll either be impressed by their breath-taking audacity or disillusioned when you hear this:

Edwin Birdsong - Rola Cola

Daft Punk - Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

The break from the Chemical Brothers 'Morning Lemon' is also an Edwin Birdsong riff, taken from his track 'Rapper Dapper Snapper' and pitched up to energising effect.

Chemical Brothers - Morning Lemon

Edwin Birdsong - Rapper Dapper Snapper

Until next time, keep your fingers dusty and your grooves clean.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Make It Funky: 150MB of free samples for readers

We've had a great response from some of the samples and resources we've shared over the past couple of months, but this week, it feels like we've outdone ourselves.

We've been delving into the crates to find some awesome samples for the producers amongst you. Some may be familiar, some are a bit more obscure, but they all come dripping with funky flavour.

We are proud to present the ' Sample Pack: July 2010', containing nearly 150MB of free samples including breakbeats, percussion hits and loops, instrument samples, vocals and full grooves - all recorded from vinyl and presented as 24bit 44khz WAVs.

It breaks down like this:

29MB (19 Files) of Drums and Percussion including bongo lines, claps, snares, breaks and unusual stuff like finger cymbals.

68MB (25 Files) of Instruments and Grooves taken from some of the hottest funk, soul and disco tracks. Includes stabs, flute lines, guitar lines, bass and full funked-out grooves to chop and play around with.

52MB (15 files) of vocals including hip hop snippets and cool spoken word phrases.

Hey, we're not saying it's everything you need to produce a track, but combine these samples with your own arsenal and you've got a recipe for some banging beats.

We've uploaded to a bunch of places, so choose your favourite host and get busy. Hit us up if you notice a broken link.