Dub Phizix (FABRICLIVE 84)
I was born in Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport to great fanfare. They had a parade outside and the Queen turned up in flares to cut my umbilical cord with a golden shank.
My dad was probably my main musical influence, mainly because of his record collection. I still listen to it now. He bought me a guitar for Christmas when I was 4 and I spent every day trying to replay what was on his records. My mum also has a great ear for vibe and feeling in music so I think that helped, but I didn’t realise that until later.
At primary school I had a teacher called Mrs Harling and she was probably the first person who made me believe I could have an actual career in music, so I owe her a lot. When I went to secondary school I never learned to read music (mainly because I think music is something you should listen to, not look at). Unfortunately they decided that meant I couldn’t do music as a subject so them lot can suck a fart. Luckily my mum and dad believed Mrs Harling so I got a lot of support in what I wanted to do.
When I was about 9 I had a job selling Christmas trees (I got paid in guitar pedals), and I got one of the little spikes off the branches stuck in my face. I had to get it taken out on Christmas day. I’ve still got the scar on my face today. My dad said I didn’t flinch when they cut open my face and that made him proud so he bought me the 4 track recorder I’d been after for ages. That’s where I started my studio and I’ve been ‘producing’ in some form or another ever since.
Early on I listened to a lot of blues music because that’s what my dad had. We used to go and watch his mate Norman Beaker, who has played with BB King, Buddy Guy, Jack Bruce, Alexis Korner, Graham Bond, Chuck Berry, Robert Plant and loads more, so all that stuff had a big effect on me. But my dad also had a lot of '60s pop music. I was, and still am, a huge Beatles fan, but I’m also really into The Yardbirds, The Loving Spoonful, The Rolling Stones, The Moody Blues, The Zombies, Georgie Fame, Cilla etc.
Later on that developed. Manchester music was booming at the time so I got into stuff like Oasis, Northern Uproar, The Stone Roses, The Happy Mondays and everything that went with it. I think it’s the groove-heavy stuff of the latter two that got me into d&b and breakbeat based music. At the same I had also got into hip hop and later garage, bashment, grime. So all that definitely had an influence on what I’m doing now.
I should also mention Paul Weller, the guy is a genius. My dad brought home ‘Stanley Road’ when it came out and it’s still definitely in my top 5 albums. I’ve had to re-buy it twice after I’d worn it out.
"it’s got 40 tracks, plus 3 acapellas on there. 22 of them are unreleased. Some from people who are known, some from people who aren't but I think should be." - Dub Phizix
I’m honestly not sure what my first project was. It was over 10 years from when I first used a sampler (after having the 4 track for years) till I had my first record out and I made all kinds of stuff for all kinds of people in that time. I ran a studio in Manchester for years, which is how I started my working relationship with the people I work with now. Skittles had the studio next door and I was working for Broke ‘n’ English, Fox, Chimpo, Jenna G, Virus Syndicate, Burgaboy and loads more. Unity Radio was also in the same building at the time and that’s where I started DJing years before.
My first releases though were on Ingredients Records. The first was a collab with Skeptical called ‘Fallen Angel’ and the second was a solo project called the Out There EP. Clive who runs the label put his faith and money in me and a lot of other new artists and gave us our first chance. He deserves a special mention because without him I wouldn’t be doing what I do now. Me and Skeptical call him dad.
Other important people were Fabio, L Double, Marcus Intalex and DBridge. Again, I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing without them.
LABELS & PRODUCTION:
I’ve had music out on Ingredients, Exit, Soul:r, Critical, Metalheadz, Hospital, Atlantic, Warner, MTA, Dispatch, Commercial Suicide, Estate, Stripes, Samurai and last year I started my own label called SenkaSonic. Remixes include Basement Jaxx, Charlie XCX, London Grammar, Sizzla, Skittles, DRS, Punjabi MC, Netsky and Dream McClean. My most notable production/engineering credits are probably for Skittles Poor With £100 Trainers and DRS I Don’t Usually Like MCs But… I’ve also given away quite a few bits over the years. All of that is up on my website.
I first played fabric early in 2011. It was a B2B with Stray for a Critical night and it felt like a real landmark for me, but by the end of the year I’d played 3 or 4 times. I think my favourite ever gig was in Room 3 with SP for Exit in the November of that year. It was a packed room and I had 3 or 4 years’ worth of tunes I’d been working on that no-one had heard. When people talk about that amazing feeling of playing music you made to a room full of people, I really felt it that night with pretty much every tune. I knew what I was going to play about 3 tunes in advance.
Even though it’s been a while since I played there, Room 3 has a great intimate feeling because you’re literally a foot from the crowd. People were leaning over the decks taking pictures of the names of tunes of the CDJs. The next month I played there again and I had to change all the names of stuff I wanted to keep a secret so they couldn’t do it. For about 3 months, my artist name on my CDs was ‘Phil fuckin Collins’!
Since that time, fabric has become like a second home. They can’t get rid of us till about 9am most times we’re there. It’s usually the cleaning staff who send us home! I’ve played all over the world but I honestly believe that the staff at fabric, right across the board are the best in the world at their job. That’s no disrespect to anyone else, it’s just fabric are that good. (P.S. Dave we really miss you and your shit jumpers!)
Nowadays I mainly play Room 2. I’ve played all 3 rooms but the stage in Room 2 is my favourite I think. Me and Strategy have a night there now called Dub Phizix and Strategy’s Well Good Do. You should come down, it’s well good.
I did the mix at home and spent months getting the tracklist, order and flow together. When I actually sat down to do it I realised how much music I wanted to include so it’s got 40 tracks, plus 3 acapellas on there. 22 of them are unreleased. Some from people who are known, some from people who aren't but I think should be.
It’s got 12 of my own unreleased tunes on there. Some are bits I’ve had for a while and not really chosen a home for and some are written purposely for the mix. Out of those, there’s collabs with DRS, Skeptical, Xtrah, Chimpo and Strategy. There’s specials of some tunes and features from Chunky, Strategy and Ward 21.
Well apart from this mix I’ve got the Basement Jaxx remix I mentioned earlier, that’s out any day now, I’ve got a single coming on Metalheadz. That’s something a bit different from what people are used to from me. I’m part of the Levelz collective in Manchester so I co-produced the next single from us alongside Metrodome, as well as some other bits from the forthcoming mixtape. I’ll be doing another release on my label in the new year which I’m hoping to be able to announce soon. There’s also a load of stuff that I can’t really talk about at the moment but it’s some exciting shit.
FABRICLIVE 84: Dub Phizix is out now.
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Photography by Jimmy Mould.