Manchester’s Dub Phizix has come a long way since his first forays into making d&b music at the turn of the millennium. He’s played all over the place and collaborated with d&b’s elite (like Marcus Intalex, Loxy, Stray and Skeptical), bringing his dark, minimal and somewhat aggressive sound, along with a love of crisps and all things mundane, to a slew of top labels such as Exit, Creative Source, Samurai and Commercial Suicide. We caught up with him to chat all sorts from milkshake flavours to Manchester’s music scene.
Easy mate, tell us a bit about yourself firstly, what occupies your time other than music?
I spend a lot of time moaning about things which aren’t important and eating crisps. I also watch a lot of football and have a weird fascination with films about the cold war.
Your bio states Chocolate wouldn’t be your first choice of milkshake flavour, what’s number one?
Erm….probably banana but I’m not really a milkshake kind of guy. Milk is the greatest drink in the world though!
All about strawberry! And what’s wrong with sushi?
Haha, I dunno I’ve never eaten it but isn’t it raw fish?
I guess when you put it like that…. Culinary choices aside though, can you talk us through your path in music to where you are now, when did you first get the bug?
I think its always been there to be honest, I think its in everyone in some capacity. Even if they don’t want to make it, everyone likes some style of music. Some of us maybe more than others to the point where we have to be involved in it. That’s just me, I couldn’t really do anything else.
If you had to live with only three albums for the rest of your life, what would they be?
The Beatles – Rubber Soul
Photek – Form and Function
Brian Blade – Perceptual
Your bio talks of producing a variety of styles including music for BBC and Nokia, what other styles of music do you make?
Well when it comes to that kind of stuff I’ll make anything, a job will give me a brief so it’s just music by numbers.
In terms of my own music I’m willing to try anything. I’ve done some house and dubstep bits with DRS and my mix of Skittles – Dot2Dot has just come out. I suppose thats broken beat if anything. I do plan to experiment with different tempos in the future though.
I’ve read you run a studio up in Manchester, again working with a variety of styles, how long’s that been going and can you fill us in on it a bit?
Yeah I’m doing it less and less nowadays but for years I’ve done recording and mix work for people. I made it in a business around 2006/7 and ran it from above Sankeys Soap nightclub in Manchester. I’ve had some great artists through the doors including Jehst, Pete Simpson, Fallacy, Jenna G, Marcus Intalex, Broke n English, Virus Syndicate and loads more. Its something that can be great fun when the right people are there such as the list above but there is the opposite side when someone wants to record nine mixtapes in an hour and they’re all about shanking man in the face. It was a great experience though, certainly from a technical perspective
Do you find having this connection with other styles of music, rather than keeping your head buried in d&b, helps keep your own music fresh?
Definitely! If you only listen to the music you make I don’t know how you can innovate on it. I try not to listen to d&b at all. Obviously when you work in it, its unavoidable but I would always try and look for another style to listen to if I’m just putting music on. Like you say, it keeps your own ideas fresh.
Manchester seems to have churned out more than it’s fair share of d&b talent over the years, do you think it’s incredible musical culture and heritage in the days before, and the early developments of, electronic music is something that’s transferred over and really continues today? Do you think Manchester has had a heavy influence on your output?
Yeah I think you can hear that in the music from here and I hope you can hear it in mine. There’s a strong musical identity in anything that comes out of Manchester and there’s a lot of pride in the city for what came before. There’s also the fact that it isn’t a huge place so most of the musicians know each other in some capacity.
A track of yours that killed it this year was The Editor with Strategy of Broke ’n’ English on the vocals, how did that link up come about? Have you known each other a while?
Yeah we’ve known each other for years but aside from me working on the Broke n English stuff, we never made any music together. I’m kinda glad though as I’m really pleased with how Editor turned out. I’m not sure that would have happened in that way otherwise.
If you could collab with any artist, in d&b or otherwise, who would it be?
Burt Bacharach. The greatest songwriter who ever lived.
How do you find inspiration comes about and what’s your process of building a track? Do you tend to start with drums?
It’s hard to say really, usually its just some kind of musical idea. That could be anything at all from a sample to a vocal, a synth line or even just a pad. I find if I write all the drums at the beginning though it doesn’t come out right. I try and write the drums for the b-line and vice versa.
What releases are you really excited about from other artists?
Well Skeptical’s Blue Eyes EP is one of the best releases of the year for me, thats just come out. Also Enei and DRS – Obsession is a wicked tune.
What’s coming up in the world of Dub Phizix, both in terms of releases, projects and sets?
Well next up is Scum on Commercial Suicide. After that is Marka/Rags on Exit. In the new year is Codec/Candyman on Critical and loads more stuff on labels such as Samurai, Innerground, Soul:r, Exit and Dispatch.
Before the end of the year I’ll be playing in Manchester, London, Bristol, Leeds, Liege, Bratislava, Vienna and loads more. Check my Facebook page for more details.
You can also catch me on Fabio and Grooveriders show on Radio 1 later this month.