Interview: Gentleman’s Dub Club

This year, South London’s drum and bass authority Hospital Records is making their world famous events brand – Hospitality – even bigger. Set to bring some of the biggest, most exciting names in the genre to Finsbury Park this September, Hospitality in the Park is not one to miss. 

Ahead of the event, we caught up with Toby from Gentleman’s Dub Club to discuss live shows, dream collaborations and record collections…

Oliver: Hello Toby, how are you?
Toby:  I’m great thanks, I’ve just been in the studio today working on a couple of things.

O: Would that be a new album you’re working on?
T: We are indeed, there’s a few bits in the pipeline which we have to keep under wraps for now.

O: With the release of The Big Smoke last year I just wanted to ask what you were setting out to achieve with the album and what sort of sound you were looking for?
T: We all moved back down to London from Leeds after gigging solidly for over a year and a half. We found ourselves gravitating more towards the EP’s we had released on Kranky Records, Member’s Only and Open Your Eyes. That was kind of the idea really, to bring it back to the more rooty sound and have less electronic stuff going on to keep it more basic. But we still wanted to come in with some big choruses and interesting lyrics along with the dub effects you would expect from our live shows. We were really happy with the ethos of the album and working with Easy Star records was incredible as well

O: Do you have a favourite country you perform in that stands out above the others?
T: Croatia. We just came back from there after playing Soundwave festival which was wicked, it’s always great there, the sound system is always on point and we have lots of friends there. The organisation of the festivals and the people who go to them are outstanding. We have played in India as well a few times which is an incredible experience. The people out there are some of the friendliest people you will ever meet and they always look after us amazingly well. Reggae, Dub and the more modern underground English music is becoming big out there so there’s always a good reception to the music as its new for them. We went to California last year and that was just nuts. The scene out there is off the hook, there’s so many reggae artists doing the circuit. We played the Sierra Nevada music festival and it was just off the hook, I cannot describe how good it was. We were out in the hills in that proper hippy country environment and the music just suited the setting so well. It’s the first time we have been to America so it was breaking the boundary for us and an entirely new experience. We love playing across Europe and we played in Ireland a few weeks ago which was wicked.

O: The genre of Reggae and Dub is growing a lot more and it’s showing up more in the mainstream music scene. Do you see this increasing and Reggae becoming a lot more recognised in popular culture?
T: There’s always like a element of the genre that permeates in the popular music scene. You have the likes of Sean Paul and Shaggy bringing that Jamaican music into the pop music genre, as well as Rihanna. As far as Dub and Reggae is concerned it will only get bigger due to communication channels. People have such an easy access to music now that it’s a natural progression. It moves slower than the more popular genres because it’s not poppy and doesn’t have that sheen and packaging that pop music has, but it’s got that super dedicated following that we have seen with our audiences. It’s a slow and steady climb really and to have the people that love us is an amazing thing. I agree with you there; I can see it getting bigger.

O: Say you could collaborate with any artist of your choice, regardless of genre, who would you choose and why?
T: We’d love to get Horace Andy on a tune with us because he has the most incredible voice you’ve ever heard. We’d love to collaborate with someone like Björk because she’s crazy and she’d probably get something out of us that nobody else could. It would be unbelievable. Obviously someone like Damian Marley would be awesome because of what he represents and his lyrics are unbelievable and he’s just such a force of nature. Iration Steppas as well, if they could either appear on one of our tracks or even remix one that would be the ultimate for us. Somebody like Bon Iver as well, the way he constructs his music and the choices of people he works with just create the best sound. He’s just such a vision, it would be unbelievable to work with someone like that. There’s so many UK artists who we collaborate with who we are so proud to work with and have our name on records with the likes of: Mungo’s Hi Fi, Prince Fatty and of course Congo Natty. Natty is just an inspiration and his song writing / delivery is next to none. He’s an inspirational guy.

O: You’re given a DJ set, with no boundaries, what would be your perfect opening and closing song?
T: The Corruption of the Truth by Dub from Atlantis would be a perfect  opener. That is a big tune and is super atmospheric and it’s got like the  horns at the start then this creepy organ line that comes in and then the kick drum comes in which just makes it all go off. Last tune, The Bug ft Flowdan – Louder. You play that for you last tune you will get mobbed, I mean people will crawl over the decks to pull it back.

O: Which record from your collection would you say is your most prized possession?
T: The Big Smoke by Gentleman’s Dub Club! No, I’ve got Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd, The Beatles White Album. Irration Steppas on Tandori Space records and it’s called What’s Wrong? Featuring YT on one side then Too Much War with Dan Man and Mark Iration on the other side which is an amazing album. Vinyl just adds that atmosphere to an album and you can’t beat it.

O: Thank you for giving us your time and I am looking forward to hearing from Gentleman’s Dub Club in the future.
T: Thanks man, it’s been great talking to you!

Oliver Hope

Melissa Svensen

Melissa Svensen

Melissa, 22. Editor. Student, music journalist, probably talking about Blur or Bowie