Flying the flag for UK dub and reggae for well over a decade now, Gentleman’s Dub Club are renowned for their explosive live performances and this Saturday, October 27 they’re bringing their feel-good vibes to Leeds.
On the cusp of releasing their new album ‘Lost In Space,’ with new single ‘Stardust’ now available to buy and stream, there’s plenty going on for GDC and we caught up with them to discuss it all.
Firstly, thank you for taking the time out of your business schedule to sit down with us for a while for a catch up! You’re now halfway through the UK tour that will be your last live dates for 2018 – can you name a couple stand out gigs from the last 10 months that will stick in your minds way past 2018?
The first one that springs to mind is a couple of gigs we did in La Reunion, which is basically a tropical paradise just off Mauritius in the middle of the Indian Ocean. We had never even heard of it before because it’s very remote, but being able to go there and experience the island life for a few days was really something special. The shows were really well attended and we were treated very well: those are the sorts of gigs that make all the travelling worthwhile! We also found out that the volcano on the island had erupted so we got up at 6am, drove for 2 hours and hiked for 2 and a half hours to go and see it. It was truly one of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen.
Your 2019 will be starting with a bang as you release a new studio album called ‘Lost in Space’ – who came up with the theme for this one and how?
Lost In Space is a real accomplishment as it’s almost completely collaborative, which in the past has been difficult to do given everyone’s schedules and musical influences. We decided together that the next logical step from Dubtopia, our previous album, was to blast the band into outer space! Everyone has a fascination with the idea of vast unknown galaxies, science fiction, and on a hobbyist level with things like astrophysics and astronomy so it was really fun coming up with concepts for songs. It was all based on the idea of searching the galaxy for the ultimate bassline, and travelling together through mad intergalactic capers!
You are renowned for your electric performances on stage, which in turn create some electric crowds on the dancefloor – what tracks from your back catalogue are guaranteed to get the room pumping?
There are certain tracks that are guaranteed a great response: High Grade is the obvious one, and we’ve developed it over the years to create the ultimate impact when Matt hits his trumpet solo at the end, that’s when people really lose their minds! More recently tracks like Music Is The Girl I Love, Gridlock and Dancing In The Breeze have everyone singing along, and it’s been great to see tracks from Lost In Space like Stardust, Light The Fuse and Turning Back going off, with people joining in on the choruses even though they’ve never heard them before.
As there are a number of you in the band, eight is it? Is it hard to come to an agreement creatively when putting together a new album or do you each bounce of one another without conflict?
As I said earlier Lost In Space was a collaborative effort, and was loads of fun to make. We’ve honed our writing technique over the years, to the point where we’re all respectful of each other’s ideas. As a producer I have the task of pulling everything together and creating a focal point for everyone’s writing, so it’s really important to encourage everyone to bring their ideas to the table. You never know where the next banger’s going to come from.
That first day when you head into the studio with a mind to start a new album, how does the day go? How was it for ‘Lost in Space’?
The writing process for Lost In Space was an absolute pleasure. We hired a cottage in the middle of nowhere in mid-Wales: no phone signal, no-one for miles around and some of the most beautiful natural landscapes in the UK, so a perfect place to lock ourselves away and focus. The first day if I remember correctly we made a massive fry-up, got the laptop out and started firing ideas around. Once we’d fine-tuned the choruses, we then took them to the barn, where we had our instruments set up. We then jammed on those ideas and recorded everything, and then in the evening we picked through the best bits and fine-tuned them a bit more. This was the procedure for the whole record and it felt really comfortable. It’s easy to get tangled up and frustrated with writing but if you keep the momentum and maintain some sort of structure it’s difficult not to come away with something decent.
As some of you are from Leeds/used to live in Leeds, can you give our readers any inside tips of places to go to hear some unsigned/underground music?
The best place to hear new music for us was Simon Scott and Mark Iration’s Sub Dub at the West Indian Centre – they would book international artists like The Twinkle Brothers, OBF and King Shiloh, as well as UK artists like Jah Tubby’s, Mungo’s Hi-Fi, Aba Shanti-I and of course Iration Steppas! The Brudenell Social Club always booked up and coming and established artists, so that one is well worth a look.
How about your favourite place for a pre-gig meal?
The Corner Café is a staple for us, great curry! We used to go to a place called Moorish in Hyde Park as well, not sure if it’s still open but if it is, it’s well worth a go.
And finally, what gems can people expect to hear at your gig in Leeds this week?
We’re going to be playing some of our more established tunes but also as I said earlier, we’re doing quite a lot of new material from Lost In Space, as well as a fair few tracks from Dubtopia…we can’t wait to get stuck in!
Gentleman’s Dub Club are playing at Leeds Stylus on Saturday October 27. Tickets: https://www.ticketarena.co.uk/events/Gentleman-s-Du-7
Pre-order Lost in Space: http://lostinspace.gentlemansdubclub.com/