Two Metalheadz soldiers interview each other in the latest edition of the ‘Vs.’ series.
Debuting on MC GQ’s aptly named Emcee label back in ’06 with a pair of collaborations made alongside Breakage, it was clear Jubei had something fresh to offer a then ailing genre. One of the finest practitioners of the half-step sound that has come to define comtemporary DnB, Jubei’s steady stream of releases soon caught the attention of Goldie, who snapped him up for ‘Headz back in 2010. His sound has continued to evolve since then, with the best example of this growth to be heard on 2012’s ‘Say Nothin”,on which he dropped down to 140bpm and teamed up with baritone badman Flowdan to devastating effect.
Finding his imagination captured by breakdancing culture in the mid 80’s, it wasn’t long before young South Londoner Bailey was inspired to try his hand at DJ’ing. A gradual love of the emergent sounds of early DnB eventually followed, as did gigs in pretty much every kind of setting imaginable, with his growing talent leading to slots at Metalheadz nights way back in ’95. Bailey never looked back, and he’s been with ‘Headz ever since as they’ve grown from cutting edge outsider to arguably one of the most seminal labels in British dance music history. With a level of skill on the decks that many can only dream of, he’s built up a rep as a pillar of the scene without a single production credit to his name. Now to be heard spinning on Ministry of Sound after a decade on 1xtra, Bailey’s passion for the music burns as bright as ever.
Taking turns to grill each other before they hold it down in Room 3 at the Playaz Easter special on Friday at Fabric, the pair talked memorably traumatic flights, potential non-musical careers and the joys of cleanliness.
Bailey Interviews Jubei
Bailey: It’s been a long time since I’ve spoken to you. You’ve just got the album out the way, ‘To Have and Have Not’-what’s next for you?
Jubei: Obviously in the long term I have another album to write for Metalheadz, but in the immediate future I’m working on another project with Flowdan, we’re going to write another four track EP.
B: How did you hook up with Flowdan in the first place?
J: Basically I hooked up with him via Goldie. I’d heard him on a couple of tracks and then I wrote the instrumental for the ‘Say Nothing’ track we did together and I said to Chris Ball who was the label manager at the time that I wanted to get in touch with him. As it happened Goldie knew DJ Target, who was Roll Deep’s DJ, so he hooked us up that way.
B: So you’ve obviously been DJ’ing for a while now and had releases on Metalheadz and other labels-are there any tours planned or anything like that?
J: I’ve just come back from doing quite a big tour actually. To promote the album I obviously went all around Europe, but then I also went to Japan and played Tokyo, Hiroshima and Sapporo on Hokkaido-the north Island, then I came back to the UK and then I went to Hong Kong, Singapore, Perth, Melbourne, Sydney, Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin then I went to Beijing and then home. That was like my ‘Australasian’ tour and that took about 6 weeks in total to do and I only got back about three weeks ago. So at the minute I’m staying at home (laughs).
B: You used to live in London for a while, now you’re back in Newcastle right? Why’s that?
J: What I was paying to live in London gets me so much more up here. Rather than having a shared flat in London with some friends, I’ve got like a house here. Other than the main bedroom I’ve got space for a studio in another room and my girlfriend’s office and we’ve got a garden and stuff. It allows me to have studio space and my own sort of home-rather than renting and then having to get studio space elsewhere in London. I kind of just wanted to get away (from London) to finish the album. I realised in order to get everything done I needed to breakaway and knuckle down a bit more. So it was a mixture of all of those reasons really.
B: When you’re not doing the whole music thing and that, what are you doing?
J: Ummm cleaning and cooking (laughs) Anyone that knows me knows that I’m quite obsessive compulsive about cleanliness especially around my house. When I get back from a weekend of gigs on Sunday I’ll assess the situation, then Monday I’ll just to work, y’know what I mean? Like getting the duster out, doing the ironing, the hoovering all that.
Other than that…cooking. I do a lot of cooking, I’ve got a lot of recipe books, I watch things online and go to the supermarket. Everyday I make food-its not like throwing something together, I go a little bit overboard every single day. It’s like practice y’know? I find it quite therapeutic, because its the only thing I think about when I’m doing it.
B: Are we potentially looking at another occupation for you here?
J: I dunno, I don’t think I could handle being shouted at by someone in a kitchen. It looks pretty gruelling. I think that would take the fun out of it for me, if someone was going-‘we need four halibut in two minutes!’.
Jubei Interviewing Bailey
J: Can you tell us something really embarassing that’s happened to you recently?
B: Nothing really exciting apart from falling asleep in the party before my set (Jubei starts laughing) I did a USA tour and it was gruelling…7′ o clock, 9′ o clock, 11′ o clock in the morning flights all one after the other and it just got to a stage where I couldn’t keep my eyes open, so just before the set in I think maybe in Toronto, I had to be woken up before I went to go and play.
J: What, were you on the stage?
B: Nah I was in like a little VIP area-there was loads of drink there, loads of people passing by, people could see us. I couldn’t help it man I just passed out.
J: I’ve passed out a few times in a club before…
B: This was the second time…I did it years ago in San Francisco and the promoter woke me up when I was sleeping in the chair in the corner.
J: What’s the most traumatic flight experience you’ve ever had?
B: All of them are traumatic! (both laugh)
J: Yeah I know what you mean.
B: Usually coming home and its the last two hours before you land and you just wanna get off. Between the last 4 to 2 hours of coming home is the hardest part of any flight. You can bring all the gadgets in the world-I could have flown for like 12 hours and its always those last few that go the slowest.
J: No major like turbulent ones where you thought, ‘this is it?’
B: Strangely enough I remain calm when there’s severe turbulence or any kind of drama going on…there is a story in fact-it wasn’t too traumatic, but when crises arrive I just deal with them at the time. There’s a story that people might know of from years back, when I was touring with an MC to America. I didn’t realise that this MC actually happened to a Heroin addict-
J: Oh shit…
B: Pretty heavy shit, y’know what I mean? So he was having all these spasms and shit on the plane and I didn’t know what was going on. When we landed we went straight to hospital and then I found out later on, but he was just throwing up and everything, it was quite a heavy, heavy situation-if you really wanna get deep in it (laughs). They shall remain nameless-for those who know, they know.
J: Do you have a bucket list? If so what’s on it?
B: Well I’m still waiting to go to Brazil-I’m still trying to work that out. Loads of people have been there to DJ and considering at the moment there’s so many great like new young producers coming out of there and I play quite a lot of their stuff-I feel that its a part of my DJ journey that’s missing at the moment.
I also want to start up a record label again, but I want to take a different approach. I want to do Drum n’ Bass tracks, but also take the same acapella and use it on different versions-so when you release it there’s a style for everybody.
J: So what like some House, some Garage, a bit of Dubstep?
B: Yeah all of that stuff-maybe even a commercial version. That’s the best way of spreading an artists name and that’s what we’re looking to do eventually is harvest, take artists and harvest them. I’m actually in the middle of planning a trip for an X Factor star to come over from America and do some work-so its all in process at the moment.
J: If you weren’t doing music, what would you be doing now Bailey?
B: Well I was at college studying to be an electrician originally. When I was young my stepfather had loads of speakers and stuff, I sort of wired up speakers and took things apart to see how they worked. So I actually went to college where I was supposed to do a three year foundation course and two year national diploma, but the music sort of took me away from that. I became way more interested in music and the club scene. Maybe if I’d stayed at college I would have become an electrician…I know that people come with stupid answers like, ‘yeah I’d be in jail’, or shit like that, but not in this case. I was a good lad studying at college, still very interested in geekery and that’s what I could’ve been doing.
J: You could’ve had your own little fleet of electricians under you, a little empire!
B: I think in some ways it was gonna be music related anyway….when I was younger my mum would have these parties at the weekend where she’d get the disco light out and invite her friends over and there’d be music and I’d have to stay in my bedroom of course-god knows what debauchery was going on! (laughs) But yeah, all joking aside eavesdropping on the music at those parties would’ve been where my interest in music came from…
J: Talking about record labels as we were before, do you have loads and loads of untitled DATs?
B: I have more dubplates as a matter of fact, obviously I knew these guys pretty well. It got so deep with Optical and his music, that when he went to compile ‘Virus Vaults’, he called me up for some of his own tunes (laughs). I think cos they didn’t understand how talented they were back in the day. They would smoke loads of weed, lose loads of DATS on the floor, do a roller here, do a roller there. To us it was a big deal. That particular period, ’97, ’98, ’99, they were knocking some smashers out. So yeah its more about dubplates than DATs to me. I’m know for having lots of versions of big, unreleased tracks and there’s people at the labels that know I’ve got a passion for it and every now and then one of them will reach out to me and say, ‘yo, do you want this’. So when I do a Metalheadz set I’m just smashing it with unheard, unreleased versions, like ‘Angels Fell’ and all these Optical things, y’know what I mean.
J: I guess part two to that question is can I get a copy?
B: (both laugh) VIP Bizzle! Yeah its on lockdown basically, I put a lot of work into it, a lot of phonecalls. As a matter of fact even though I’m a DJ, I’m a still a big fan of the music. Its not just a job. I can never have enough music. After having a lot of it on vinyl, I’ve now moved to Serato and I’m looking to get it on MP3, so I’m calling a lot of the labels to see if they can sort me out. In fact the other day I met up with Rob Playford from Moving Shadow and he gave me a shit load of DVD’s and stuff they’d put on the iTunes store. I’m a collector, I’m a serious collector.
Bailey and Jubei play Room 3 at Friday’s Playaz Easter Special at Fabric. Buy tickets here.