Just who is the man behind one of the most popular deluges of minimal house to emerge from the london scene in recent years? We take a rare interview opportunity with him to find out.
East End Dubs is a groove machine. You only have to compare the number of his releases that have flooded the vinyl market in recent years with the number of interviews online to see where the London based producers priorities lie. It’s fair to say he loves making tunes and divulging the details of his life isn’t so high on his priority list.
Opting for privacy over promo, is of course a tricky tack to take in the hussle heavy world of dance music. Many artists hate interviews and social media posting but do so reluctantly in the thinking that getting noticed in today’s industry usually means taking every opportunity that comes your way.
East End Dubs approach is very different. A less talk, and more action approach in the studio and DJ booth has yielded a busy DJ diary and he enters summer 2018 with an interesting mix of gigs ahead of him. While his musical ploughs a rhythm heavy minimal house furrow, he’s as popular on the lineups of tech house parties like Abode as he is playing parties like Fuse or clubs like Hoppetosse or Kater Blau in Berlin where he holds down a label residency. Amongst a spread of dates that cover the island, this Summer he will appear at DC10 for Carl Cox’s One Night Stand party series and Abode at Amnesia.
He owes his success to his music, a seemingly endless tide of DJ friendly dubby house. But just as important is his acumen and skill as a label manger. While his first release appeared in 2012 on a small UK label called Kote Records and he has made rare excursions on Infuse, Dogmatik Records, Act Natural and Metroline, these are exceptions to the rule.
The glut of his music has been released on his own family of labels, the self titled East End Dubs and sub label, Social. His Eastenderz sublabel, has become a highly sought after testing ground for new producers in minimal house, and many of the releases on his growing tribe of sub labels are coveted by the Discogs sharks and fetching high prices online.
While some producers usually graduate onto an album at this point in their career and others prefer the less is more approach, his next release on Social is another example of the producer doing things his own way. It will be split over three releases and contains over thirty tracks amounting to yet another overload of tunes that is likely to be snapped up by fans and sharks alike. It’s yet further proof then, that East End Dubs just can’t keep out of the studio.
Ibiza Voice: How’s life on the road?
East End Dubz: It’s been very busy recently. I’ve just got back from Australia and started off my summer tour in Europe. I’m playing three to four shows a week this summer. It’s set to be a busy one, just the way I like it.
We have been planning Ibiza since the end of last season. The idea was to play all the venues across the island. I’m happy to announce that we managed to achieve this. I’ll be playing Amnesia, DC10, Privilege, Sankeys, Benimussa Park and Eden. This is something I always wanted to do and I’m very happy that it’s happening this year.
I’m releasing my Social collection this year. 30 tracks split in two parts. Each part contains five records. The first part was out last week and the second part will be out later on the year. Also there will be a couple of EPs on my label’s Eastenderz and East End Dubs imprint.
We know very little about your as a person. Why is that?
Not many people knows much about me, that’s because I’ve been very careful trying to keep it that way. I want people to know my music and tour related things. Also maybe post some nice kebab photos every now again.
Why is privacy so important to you as an artist and how difficult is it to retain it when the music industry is so driven by social media and press?
I don’t think fans need to know my day-to-day life. I try to share as much as I can to do with my music and profile, but what is left of it is my own life and I prefer keeping that to myself. It’s always nice to share some personal things with your followers. But there is a fine line.
How do you draw the line on what you want to become public knowledge and what needs to remain private?
It’s simple, everything about music and tour goes out. And everything else private stays with me. I come from a family with very strong connection. I don’t think it’s necessary for people to know about my private life.
Moving to London was a key part of your development. Can you tell us what brought you to London and how the move changed your life?
I came here to study when I was a teenager and spent five or six years doing this and I was also DJing during this time. Going out week in, week out helped me to grow my knowledge and get into the scene as I believe London is the capital of electronic music. It had a great amount of input into my music. I couldn’t come up with this sound anywhere else.
You used to work behind the bar at fabric and the bar staff are very much part of the vibe at the club. They’re often dancing while they work or making a big noise whenever they're into a track. Can you describe what it was like being in that collective, getting to know the DJs perhaps or just what it was like to be able to soak up the sounds?
I did work there for a short while and had a great time, we had half an hour break during the night and I would go straight in the Room One booth and watch Craig Richards. Once he played a track from Thomas Brinkmann called ‘Olga’ and that was probably one of the moments that changed the rest of my life.
You’ve had longstanding support from Andy Blackett, one of the musical directors at the club. How did that come about?
Andy use to work at Ministry in early 2000s and they were looking for a new resident for Saturday Sessions night and I was picked by Andy after submitting a demo tape. I travelled around the world with the Ministry of Sound team and played at their showcases, warmed up in the London venue and played before names like Masters At Work, Danny Tenaglia or Erick Morillo. But later I realised it didn’t fit into my musical concept and we separated our ways with Ministry. Andy also left for Fabric.
What's the biggest challenge you've had to overcome in your life to get to where you are and how did you overcome it?
Moving in to this new lifestyle was the biggest challenge for me. I feel very comfortable behind the decks or in the studio but it’s not easy visiting three to four countries a week and flying six times a week. I thought I was going crazy last year when I did 16 shows in a month. I woke up in a hotel room and it took ten minutes for me to find out where I was. We get paid to travel and this is possibly the most difficult part of it, but I am getting better and better at it.
Your label has been a key part of your progression since the beginning of your career. Where has this DIY approach and knowledge of the machinations of the record industry come from?
I’ve been in the music business for 15 years now. I’ve managed to work on different levels like, production, label management, copyrights and so on during this time. All this knowledge came together to create the East End Dubs and Eastenderz projects. I wanted to create a platform for myself to put my own music out. I like to be in control of my own music and decide what to release, when to release and in what form.
You're a very prolific producer. What has been the key for you in achieving this rate of production?
Practice. I’ve been in the studio over a decade almost everyday. Sometimes I stay in there 12 hours, sometimes three days. I love it. You can’t force yourself to make music but I still have the same passion as the first day. I think passion is the key here.
There are so many producers now and so many releases coming out, cutting through the noise is so much harder to do and producing as a medium seems to have lost its shine in the music industry. Would you agree?
I think breaking through has never been easier before. You can open a record label in one minute and start releasing your music. There is no quality control therefore we have this huge pile of music sitting on the market. However if you make things properly and in a way that will stand out, I’m sure people will find you. I’ve stopped wasting time looking for music at digital stores. I spend more time in the record shops where you have a bit more quality stuff. I think it’s nice to be different in a market where everything sounds very similar. But music is a feeling, you can’t force to be different or to adapt the current sound.
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