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Growing up on breaks, garage and hip hop, Gold Dubs is now very much a staple part of the jungle scene than from where he was watching on the side lines growing up. From mixing on vinyl at an early age of 14, he may not be an original pioneer but he has definitely earned his stripes.
As well as having worked with A-list international artists and released music on top-tier record labels, Gold Dubs also sits on the board of directors as one quarter of the ‘Born On Road’ collective/label (alongside Aries, Kelvin 373 & Stivs) where they not only release top draw music but also tour the worlds clubs/festivals showing you exactly how it should be done.
For this weeks Jungle Special show, I interview him to showcase one of our shining stars and to talk about things that matter.
First off thanks for your time out, I know you have been incredibly busy these last few months, can you just recap how 2016 has been for you and what you have been up to?
No worries, always a pleasure! Yeah, 2016 has been pretty good, from what I can remember, seems like it’s gone in a flash! Lots of up and downs but generally loads going on and quite happy with the output, especially as far as the label and our individual releases have gone.
We have had a load of shows over the year and played on some amazing stages at some great parties and iconic festivals, as well as that I’ve done a UK & Dutch tour supporting UB40 which is always loads of fun switching up the style a bit to cater for a different audience but still with my own spin on it, and trying to keep it party and dance floor vibes.
For the people that don’t know… how did you get the DJ name “Gold” or also known now as Gold Dubs?
Hair dye went wrong = bad nickname which over the years became Gold.
Talking about dubs, the dubplate culture used to be something we all remember with fond love. Now with promo’s, how important do you see the exclusiveness of new music and people’s expectations?
I don’t really see it’s changed much, it’s just the format is different and while it was great to have a dub cut to plate that maybe you and a small handful had I feel that the new culture has opened the door a lot more and made it a lot easier for artists to get across to labels and put their music out. Also, we all still have tracks no one else has. But we don’t have to spend time, effort and money to cut them. I think it’s much better, i’ve cut plates in the past, played them once and wash’t happy with them.
Now we can tweak things to suit without breaking the bank, and to be honest I think that’s why the competition is so high at the moment, the grade is at the top and peoples mix downs are so clinical, if you haven’t perfected your mix, it’s probably not gonna cut the floor.
You see yourself as a bit of a Tom Cruise. You mentioned in an interview once you would be a cocktail waiter if you wern’t in the music industry. Just for the record, Miami, Thailand or LA?
Haha, Ouch.. don’t know if that’s the person I’d compare myself too! But yeah, none of the above, Antigua!
What’s your current preferred DJ set up when out?
I’ll play on anything as long as it’s Pioneer!
You have a new track coming out on Serial Killaz called Bad Boy Deya. Can you tell us about the Cheshire Cat link up, and how you work vocals in your music?
Chesh is wicked, absolute vocal don and one of the nicest guys you will ever meet! He’s actually an old family friend and used to live on the same estate as my Uncle. I have worked with him on a few projects in the past like the track we did with Chopstick Dubplate, but I didn’t do any of the vocal engineering on that, I had just made the riddim with Aries and Jacky. So when we got round to getting in the studio it was loads of fun. Managed to lay down about 10 ideas in a session then see how I could work them into tunes. I then began to rewrite the tunes, and work the track around the vocal. I’d like to think of myself as a quite versatile producer, and I think Chesh really complements this with his ability to change style in a heart beat. We have a load of different styles on the go and I’ve been working with a few choice producers to really bring the project round nicely. So we’re currently finishing up our EP for Serial Killaz and are really looking forward on dropping some of the tracks. It’s a Birmingham ting ennit!
What have been your most memorable gigs this year?
Far too many to mention, but the Born On Road show we did this year at Boomtown on Sector 6 was off the chain! Full family with Skibadee and Gardna on vocal duties on a lush stage in front of thousands of ravers with the sun blazing. That said, I do love a more intimate setting too. I just love playing music. Always love playing at PST in my hometown too as it’s always such an amazing intimate vibe there. The Ruffneck Ting night we did earlier in the year was one of the best nights I’ve been to/played at in a long time, BIG shouts to Jinx, Dazee and K-Jah. The label is on fire at the minute!
And your most memorable of all time?
Again, so many to pick from. Always love Glastonbury, really enjoyed my sets there over the years in the Common. I’ve played some great festivals across Europe too, love Fusion Festival in Germany, and also really enjoyed playing the Hard Rock on the beach in Ibiza. UK events has to be either Rumble in the Jungle in Bristol, Eat Your Greens in Liverpool or anything at PST in Birmingham. If you’ve not been yet, put it on your bucket list. Nothing compares!
Studio talk : What are your favourite synths?
Love Serum at the moment software wise then been getting more into my hardware, love the Moogs voyager and slim phatty and my Korg.
Do you have a preferred BPM you like to start tracks with?
Not really, I work all over the place and love just making groves on the Maschine by Native Instruments, I reckon it’s one of my most used toys in the studio. It’s a great way to be in the studio if you’re not really in the most productive place, I’ll load it up with samples and just make loops, sometimes under a time limit, make a loop in a minute then just move on and do another. Then when you listen back there might be one or two really good ones, I can then change the bpm up or down to make it fit. Also a great method for remixes, just drop the audio in and skip though my pre made groves.
What tips for studio mixdowns can you give the listeners?
Use your ears. So many people get distracted with lights and even just reading the screen, I always find it’s better to start at a low volume, otherwise your ears will naturally compress things. Try to go in straight too, Smoking and drinking may be helpful at creative times, but in my opinion doesn’t help at all when it comes to mixing. If that’s your thing, then do it last for that final listen, have a smoke or a drink then check it again. But don’t get caught in a loop. Also, take a break! There’s nothing more useful than stopping, giving your ears a rest and getting on with something else for a bit then coming back to it. Also, A/B your track with a track you know kills it in the dance. But at the end of the day, everyone will give you advice. I think the key is listen and take from it what you want and just do your thing.
The “We Love Jungle Awards” are open again for voting! What newcomers do you think have come through this year that you are supporting?
Off the top of my head. Loving Kumarachi, Think Tonk, Version, Leaf, Westy, RMS & Dcision, Rahmanee, Dubtime, Section, Agro & Galvatron. Then there’s a load of other people causing waves, though might not be what you would class as ‘newcomer’ material. People like J-Man, T>I, Fleck, Hybrid, Lost City, Benny L, Jinx, Vytol, Verdikt, K-Jah, Upgrade… too many to mention though, I could go on for days!
If you were stranded on a desert island and you only had 1 tune to listen to over and over again forever, dnb or jungle, what would it be and why does that music mean so much to you?
At the moment i’d probably pick MC dynamites new tune ‘My Sound’ because it samples so many classic tracks and would constantly keep me smiling and not going too insane! Though the one tune that still takes me back to day dot every time I hear it has to be Deep Blue ‘Helicopter’. Just love the rawness and simplicity!
Jungle is a big family but who are your closest family members?
Ahhh man, too many to mention. And I hate the fact i’ll remember 20 more after I leave. Not just talking the artists either, we have some amazing followers who turn up all over the country and beyond! And of corse a massive shout out to the promoters who really keep the sound alive as well!
What’s coming up in 2017 for you?
Super hyped about 2017, so much going on. I’ve got my debut ep on Serial Killaz with Cheshire Cat. Am just finishing up my next ep for Run Tingz. World tour with UB40, some big dates in the pipelines for our Born On Road imprint. I’m also looking at launching something slightly more alternative of my own to cater for the more ‘bashy’ releases.
Looking forward to the We Love Jungle Awards and any positive comments for it?
I’m full of positivity for it and even if I don’t get nominated, I will still support it 100%. BIG shouts to the guys at Jungle Jam for making it happen, think it’s long overdue and just makes me sad we have so many people hating on the whole thing, but allow it. Whatever you do you will get haters so just keep it forward and positive.
If I see you out, what are you drinking at the bar?
Depends what day it is!
Any shouts and thanks?
Massive shouts to all the artists keeping us all on our toes, all the ravers who put in countless amounts of hours on the road yet always put in 100% on the dance floor, the promoters for keeping everything alive!
Also massive shout to my Dog for keeping me company and constantly making me take those much needed breaks in the studio.
Interview By Aliina Atkinson (Missrepresent)
Gold Dubs Soundcloud
Gold Dubs Twitter
Interview can be listened below and starts at 1 hour 13 mins into the show.