At Outlook festival this summer, the eagerly awaited and imminent release of Jubei’s debut LP To Have & Have Not was signalled by ‘Jubei’ labelled champagne bottles on the Metalheadz boat party… I think as an indicator of something exciting stirring, this definitely set the precedent!
Jubei’s long-standing musical relationship with Metalheadz kicked off back in 2010 with his debut Headz EP Nothing Ventured Nothing Gained, and it seems from this point onwards through a string of extremely successful releases and collaborations, Jubei has become one of the most prominent and highly regarded artists in the scene.
To Have & Have Not finally dropped a few weeks ago, and after a long few months of being desperate to get my hands on it, I have to say it absolutely delivers! Drawing on a range of different styles, Jubei expertly cultivates beats of varying BPM. To Have & Have Not is an album encompassed of all of the technical intricacy and innovative flair we’ve come to associate with Jubei. Citing techno as a key influence growing up, Jubei’s work frequently references techno inspired industrialism. And in a similar narrative, To Have & Have Not is an embodiment of dark and mechanical vibes. Comprised entirely of the forward-thinking twists and turns that make each tune by Jubei an entirely compelling and engrossing musical journey, this is a well crafted album that I would highly recommend.
Here’s what happened when we caught up with him…
Hello Jubei, you recently released To Have & Have Not which I’m aware is the second single artist album to come out on Metalheadz, can you tell us a bit about when you first started getting into Metalheadz, and how the label and it’s music has influenced your work as an artist?
That’s right I am the second artist to release an album on Metalheadz and that’s something I am extremely proud of. I became a fan of Metalheadz when I started buying records, I think I was about 14 or 15. The label has had a huge influence on me over the years, it pretty much shaped my opinion on drum & bass from then until now.
Lets chat about the album, what were the influences and how did it come about?
I guess I was just trying to put something together that pushed me as an artist, it made me switch BPMs and push my knowledge of production further than previous releases, I wanted it to be the best it possibly could be for me at this moment in time. I think my influences can be heard in the album and it was simply a case of Goldie asking me to write an album for the label, at the time I didn’t think I was ready but that’s what made me take on the challenge.
A number of tunes on the album feature highly respected and hugely talented artists – if you could work with anybody in any genre past or present who would you work with?
I would love to do some stuff with someone like Dave Clarke, Jeff Mills or Boddika , Blawan. I love that really industrial, cold sound that techno offers in some of its productions. I think it would be cool to work with someone like King Tubby, Dr Dre or even Quincy Jones. Pretty broad spectrum of people & influences there really.
You’ve mentioned previously that genre cross-pollination is something that really inspires you, and the album really does vary in terms of tempo and style. Which musical movements would you say are exciting you at the moment, and are there any genres you would like to see merge and influence each other?
I really like some 140 stuff that’s around at the minute, some of the dubstep I hear sounds like what I do at 170bpm and I guess that’s why I get drawn to it. I love the whole Swamp 81 thing too, I come from a techno background so anything along those lines is always going to hit a nerve with me.
Coming from a techno background, what was it that made you go into drum and bass – was there a defining moment?
Yes totally, those two used to rule my world. Then I started to hear jungle on tapes being passed around school. The main thing for me was going to Lakota in Bristol to see Dave Angel one night, I lost my friends and ended up in the second room. Roni Size & Bryan G were DJing in there and that was the first time I had ever seen/heard jungle/drum & bass in full effect. I remember staying in there until the end, from that point on every time I went record shopping I left with more jungle than techno.
I’ve heard that thing’s kicked off for you as a result of MC GQ hearing one of yours and SP’s mix tapes – how relevant would you say mix tapes are now? And if you were starting up in the scene now how would you go about doing it?
That’s right! Im not sure the worth of passing a promoter a mixtape now as I am not a promoter. I know that there are a lot of enthusiastic people out there who really want to be a part of the scene, either by DJing, producing, promoting or setting up radio stations or record & digital labels and they all seem to just do it themselves. If I was to start again I think I would take the production route, wait until I was sure my music was good enough, then send to the labels I would like to work with, see what the feedback is then continue. it’s not easy and you will get plenty of knock backs, I did, but you just need to take the positives from them and keep going.
A few tech questions now, could you run us through your studio set-up? Do you reach for analogue or digital?
I pretty much run all digital, I have a couple of random hardware bits but they never get switched on I am afraid to say. I just run Cubase on a PC. Using all the plug ins I can get my hands on, I use a lot of samples and not so many synths. Little midi keyboard and the essential Mackie 824 monitors… basic!
What inspires you to sit down and write a song- are they any rituals you go through in order to gain inspiration?
I don’t have any kind of ritual, it’s usually just moods that help me. I have to be in the mood to start something. I find if I am struggling to get ideas down I will leave it for a few days as forcing things gets me nowhere. I usually get inspired after going to gigs or seeing good DJs create vibes in clubs or hearing new music things like that.
I’m aware that you don’t come from an instrumental musical background; you’ve helped Goldie engineer orchestral piece ‘Sine Tempus’ along with all your other brilliant music – really proving it isn’t essential, how do you feel not coming from an instrumental musical background changes your approach to production?
I am not entirely sure, I often wonder what it would be like to write music if I were pitch perfect or had an amazing ability to play instruments with ease. I seem to have done OK without any kind of training but that’s not to say I might not look into it when I get older. I would love to be able to play the piano properly.
In terms of interests outside of music, I’ve read in a previous interview that you have quite the passion for cooking, what is your signature dish?
I LOVE to cook. It is a massive passion of mine and pretty much every night I will attempt to try something new or perfect something I’ve been practicing for a while, its never simple come dinner time at my house. I cant think of a signature dish because after I think I’ve nailed something I move onto another one, at the minute I’ve been making Salmon fillets stuffed with spinach, onion, garlic & chilli tomatoes which is tricky as salmon fillets aren’t very thick, another is a simple one-tin roast dish of deboned chicken thighs, sausage & potatoes with rosemary, sage & garlic. It’s really simple but tastes amazing!
I’ve read that your first gigs were at illegal raves and in warehouses and skate parks – You’re going to be playing alongside Goldie, Ant tc1 and SP:MC in the Headz capsule at the Red Bull Revolutions in Sound, EDF London Eye event this evening, what have been your stand-out moments thus far as a DJ? And how do you feel about playing on the London Eye?
I can’t wait! Stand out gigs for me so far, I would have to say my album launch boat party at Outlook Festival in Croatia, playing Triangle Club in Osaka, Japan – there’s been loads but I am really excited for the London Eye. I was a guest of Goldie’s at the last one and that was amazing so to DJ this time around is very exciting indeed!