Recently you might have heard the term ‘Dubbage’ being bandied about on London pirate radio station Rinse FM, mainly stemming from the shows of the Circle camp, Gumbo and others. In March 09 the term seems to be gaining considerable momentum and is being referenced on forums, mainly in the form of the question ‘what is Dubbage?’ Ever curious about genre mutations, I was keen to find out more about it. I got in touch with Circle over MySpace and a few messages back and forth turned into this interview with Tippa.
This is actually funny because all of a sudden everyone is asking us! We only started saying Dubbage because we felt the type of House we played was different from the other new rising stars of the scene. Now everyone has just started calling that style Dubbage and is referring to it as a new scene, or a new thing but it ain’t. It’s just a name we call it to separate us from the funky scene.
So what is Dubbage?
If I could sum up a Dubbage track in words it would be a Deep House track that has sounds which could make it borderline tech, or has sounds and depth as a Dubstep track would have but sounds like House. It’s more beats… simple beats but with intelligent sounds. I was having this conversation with Geeneus the other night as well. He was playing me tracks off his new album and was asking me what genre I reckon it would fall under. They weren’t funky cause they were well produced and production was on point, and it wasn’t typical soulful House as it was too techy and dubby. Then we both looked at each other and said 'Dubbage'! It’s long winded, and I confuse myself at times when trying to explain this to anyone but in a nutshell, I believe this is it.
So who’s making Dubbage right now?
Producers making music which could be classed as 'Dubbage' from London, who are closely linked to Circle are: Geeneus, W Beeza and IC. If a scene were to progress from this name or term, then these guys would be the front runners. IC is a part of Circle and his stuff will be pushed more on the shows. WBeeza gives us all his tracks before anyone else and his stuff is proper on point, as is Geeneus’. Gee will produce stuff across the board though but his Gypsy Woman refix would definitely be classed as Dubbage.
Geeneus - Gypsy Woman Remix
Is the name necessary? Some people would say it’s all just House.
It’s not necessary at all but if something’s said, people are tickled, innit? They hear something they like or hate as a phase and will run with it. It then spreads like wildfire and all of a sudden everything is placed in a genre or a new one is created. It’s fucked really…it’s like gossip: you plant a seed, whether it be intentionally or not and it spreads. At the end of the day people will say it’s all House but funky is something different which is why people’s ears are standing up to it. It’s something fresher, more exciting... it spins away from House, its meaning, its beliefs, what it stands for. See that’s someone from Circle giving funky props but it’s not for us.
Is Funky something you want to distance yourself from?
We have said that we won’t be playing any of the current new stuff that is poorly produced and sounds like grime. We have also said that we won’t be associating with events that solely push that side 100%, yeah our names do appear on flyers and events that play funky, but do we turn up and play funky, that’s the question. The funky scene is good for the youngers. but they have to control it somehow to go in the direction they want. When we all first started playing there was more of a mix with House and the tracks that were classed as funky was not as grimey as they are now. It was poorly produced but not as bad as it is now which is why we have concentrated on playing more House than anything else and within that we have concentrated on more of the beats side of things than the soulful stuff. Now the olders of the House scene will play soulful, but when you go to their events they’re dead out… stiff.
What about Circle events? What’s played?
When you come to Circle events (Yellow / Format) we play beats - House - but beats. Most of these wankers in funky think we play strictly US. Where they fucking got that idea from is bullshit. All they need to ask us is where the music comes from and we will tell them. Bugs in the Attic, Restless Soul, Aphrodisiax, Freerange, Wbeeza, Geeneus, IC etc - loads of UK and European stuff. In fact the majority is UK and European but they think it’s US. Why?...because they haven’t educated themselves on the music they play or where it originated from. We have never ever said that we hate, we won’t play or that funky is completely shit.
Remember, if it weren’t for DJs like Supa D, Angie B, Footloose, Kismet there would be no funky scene. When the first funky tunes started being played 3-4 years ago these were the DJs that first played them on a certain station. When producers like Invasion Records, Tadow, Lightfinger/Fingerprint, Dubplate Wonder and Apple first started making that new sound, they were the DJs that got it out there for them.
Do you like much Funky then?
Funky tracks have crept into our sets. One or two tracks still get played. We love Hardhouse Banton’s Sirens, Crazy Cousins’ Do you Mind, Geeneus's As I etc. There’s a small percentage that is well produced and sounds really good but there’s more shit than good and that percentage after 3 years ain’t got any better. If anything the sound has changed again and maturing into some next grime ting with 10,000 MCs all chatting nonsense. You’re seeing it now, failed grime DJs and MCs jumping on the bandwagon.
Another ‘genre’ that’s been mentioned in relation to House recently is Wonky (Not to be confused with the post-Dilla hip hop sound). Circle made ‘Say no to Wonky’ t-shirts – is that to do with the grimey House thing?
Ha ha ha! Ok, this is the god’s honest truth: we/Circle were all on radio, someone messaged us or something, or we were talking between ourselves on the mic and someone was saying ‘what do you call Grime Funky?’ and someone said ‘Wonky’. Again, something unintentional that people heard, took on board and started crying about it. So much so that it got back to us and made us laugh. It was a joke but they took it serious and had a cry, certain producers acting like pussies, ringing certain DJs and crying to them, which got back to us hence the t-shirts we printed up. It was our way of saying 'fuck off you cry babies.' We don’t even wear those t-shirts. There’s no need, it was a joke; the kids got upset, big deal, deal with it, innit? As far as I’m concerned, it’s done with but people still refer to Grime/Funky as Wonky. We never told them to. They heard it and ran with it… another seed… go figure!
Where do you think the current UK House thing will go?
There are two roads this generation can go down in terms of the new House sounds. The non funky road which is slowly developing into something new, or the ever changing funky road, which is now seeing a change with the MCs jumping on board. Whichever road you take or prefer it’s exciting. People from the funky side will say that the road we defected to is boring. That’s their opinion, and I personally won’t bite anyone’s head off for that. We expressed our opinion on where Funky’s going, so it’s only fair everyone has an opinion but don’t start crying about it – that’s long.
How far can Dubbage go?
The thing is I actually do think it will lead into a sub genre. For some reason over the last couple of years a lot of people follow and listen to a lot of our opinions and take it as gold, when sometimes it's just our personal opinion… it means nothing really, but people see it as 'well if Circle say so, then it must be so' and it ain’t always, or should be like that. But it’s good I suppose. It shows we’re actually influencing a lot of the younger heads which is why I think this Dubbage thing will lead into something big. Imagine that, something we were just messing with as in a different name actually turns into something.