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Dub Phizix

Meet the Manchester D&B producer behind 'Fabriclive 84'

2015 Nov 10     
2 Bit Thugs

With a 'Fabriclive' mix hitting stores this month, Manchester D&B man Dub Phizix's star is only going to shine brighter

Dub Phizix doesn't do many interviews. He doesn't release a huge amount of music. Until this month he's never delivered an official DJ mix. But when he does pop his beady peepers over the parapet of a constant DJ schedule, it's wise to pay attention.

It's been this way since his debut on In Da Jungle in 2010, but he really took off, two EPs deep into his discography, with 2011's Marka. Bashing down sub-genre boundaries with the subtlety of a sledgehammer (alongside Skeptical and MC par excellence Strategy), he's since gone on to carve a reputation as a DJ who plays tunes you won't hear anywhere else. Case in point: this month's Fabriclive 84. It's much more than a straight-up DJ mix; over 50 per cent of the 40-strong tracklist is unreleased. 12 of which are his own. It's the first new material we've heard since "Buffalo/Bounce' which was released over a year ago.

With all this ammo in the bag, and the entire drum & bass scene paying attention, you have to wonder why he's held back so much.

Is he flying the flag for jungle's infamous dubplate-drilled quality control filter? Or is he like one of those kids in school with a big bag of Monster Munch who won't share a crumb?

Well, he does have a well-publicised love for crisps. But no, the reason you don't see him bashing out the bangers goes much deeper. Get to know!

Is dubplate culture important to you? You play stuff I have never heard. Ever.

"In some ways, I guess. But it's more of a personal thing. Quality has to be over quantity. There are plenty of things I DJ which aren't quite ready for release."

More of a harsh self-critic thing than a dubplate thing?

"Definitely. That said, when you're talking dubplates, Marka and Buffalo were both treated in that way. We held them back and wanted people to try and search for them. That only works when you got the right tune, though. Markawas a very different tune, and I was pretty new as well so it was a big deal for a lot of people."

You didn't have a label for it at the time?

"No. We were just experimenting, making music and seeing where it went. It was a lot freer. Nothing to answer to, no expectations, no feeling that I had to make the right tune to keep you relevant. I was just writing music."

Do you think it set the benchmark too high for an early release?

"I set that benchmark in my own head. Everything has to be at that level since. Plus, for some people it's the only Dub Phizix tune they know, they've come to see me so I've got to play it. I wouldn't change it for the world, though: it was a massive stepping stone in my career and got people listening. So maybe yeah, it would have been nicer to have a few more releases out before Marka. But it doesn't matter, when you have a big tune, people always want to hear that when you play. And many people, including yourself, expect you to have that type of success with every tune that follows. You're constantly in danger of compromising your creativity."

An album can usually express a wider creativity so people know there's more to you than the Marka sound.

"I did start to write an album! But when I sat down and listened to it all I realised the music doesn't necessarily correlate to make an album. A bunch of tunes doesn't make an album, you know? So I scrapped it and the Fabriclive mix came along instead. They don't work in the context of an album but they work in the context of the mix."

The consistent voice of Manchester works well in the context of the mix, too. The voices of Skittles, DRS, Strategy and Chimpo and that poem at the end of the mix...

"Yeah, it is important to have that representation. We're all mates before we're colleagues. If we weren't making music then we'd still be knocking about together. The poem is by a guy called Matthew David Scott. I don't know him that well but the poem was on a documentary about Manchester that we'd been interviewed for: Four To The Floor. When I heard it I thought "It's great, this". I wanted some poetry on the mix anyway. John Cooper Clarke or someone. I love the way it ends with "What's next?' It leaves you with a question, and it's a question I ask myself when I'm in the studio all the time. It's a question Manchester always asks: of its musicians, of its culture."

You mentioned John Cooper Clarke. You never stray too far from humour yourself, too.

"We just want to have a buzz! Drum & bass can be very serious at times. If that's your thing, fair enough/ But it's not ours. It would be fake of us to be all screw-faced in our pictures. We want to entertain people. People come into music as an escape from whatever; that's how I came into it. So if we can make people laugh as well, buzzing. The only thing we take seriously is the music itself. That and crisps."

You said the magic word. Let's wrap up with a crisp game. If you tunes could be crisps, what would they be? Starting with Marka...

"Prawn cocktail, because some people like it and some people hate it. It's been around for too long and a lot of people are sick of it. It's too popular for its own good!"

Never Been

"Ready salted because Fox is dead old! He's about as old as that flavour."

Buffalo Charge

"Well, buffalo flavour innit. I've had them in America a few times. Well good."


"What's a dead posh flavour? What crisps would the queen eat? Caviar? No, no, lobster-flavoured crisps. They're well nice, too. Yeah, lobster."

Fabriclive 84: Dub Phizix is out November 20

Follow Dub Phizix: Facebook / Twitter





Tags: D&B, D+B, drum & bass, drum n bass, Dub Phizix, Fabric, Fabric Live, Skeptical, MC Strategy, Skittles, DRS, Chimpo