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!

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