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Gentlemans Dub Club talk tour, new album and the worst aspect of touring together

Roots | Thursday 15th November 2018 | Rosh

So, how’s GDC doing, what’s your collective frame of mind right now?

We’re in the middle of the tour at the moment so it’s a big mixture of euphoria and fatigue!! Every gig so far has been absolutely mad, people are starting to sing along with a couple of the newer tracks from our forthcoming album Lost In Space, which is amazing considering we’ve only just learnt the words!! 

Great to hear that you have new material out, tell us a bit about your 1st single “Stardust” and why was this chosen as your 1st release from the forthcoming album?

We made Stardust during our week-long writing session in Llandrindod Wells, which is in the middle of nowhere near the Brecon Beacons. The whole Lost In Space theme was partly based on the idea of finding clarity in different levels of consciousness, and Stardust completely sums that up, so it seemed like a good start!

The video to Stardust is pretty “out there” and we are loving all the hypnotic visuals. We would love to know how the ideas for the video came together?

We wanted to do something super-psychedelic, so we called on Martin Jarrett - who is a visual effects wizard – to help us realise that without paying millions of pounds!! After-effects can be really time-consuming, so instead, we rigged up a projector with some mad backgrounds and let Johnny off the leash, ran it through Martin’s crazy brain, and the rest is history!! 

Over the Summer you guys teamed up with the Nextmen, how did that come about and how was it working with Don and Brad?

Those guys did a remix of High Grade with the Murderer Instrumental a few years back and we instantly wanted to collaborate. They’ve been smashing it in many different formats over the years so it really was a great privilege to work with such accomplished dudes. They were amazing to work with – being so experienced it ran very smoothly and because they’ve built up so many contacts over the years we were able to get people like Joe Dukie and Chali 2na, which was genuinely a dream come true!

2018 saw you guys bringing your live shows over the UK and Europe and beyond, what’s one of your most memorable moments on the road (either rude, funny, emotional)?

This year has thrown up some insane moments, most recently we went to La Reunion, which is in the middle of the Indian Ocean, to do 2 shows. When we were out there we found out that the volcano called Piton De La Fournaise had erupted, so we got up at 6 am, drove for 2 hours and hiked for 2 and a half hours to see it. It was one of the craziest things I’ve ever seen…WELL worth the trip!!!

You guys also played some of our favourite festivals this year (Bestival, Boomtown and Shalamba). Those 3 in particular must of been crazy right? 

Yeah, those three were probably the biggest UK festivals we did, and they came through with the goods!! We hadn’t played Bestival for a while and we got sunshine and a great crowd for that one. Boomtown we did a showcase of Pound for Pound with the Nextmen, Eva Lazarus, Gardna and Kiko Bun which was an amazing vibe, then Shambala was the last UK festival of the season so we went extra nuts on stage!!! That festival is definitely one of our favourites.

You recently played in Iceland, Tunisia and a little island in the Indian Ocean called La reunion. All 3 places are so different from each other, how was the vibe in each of those countries?

Yeah, I guess they are very different! Tunisia was amazing, we played in a place called El Kef in this big tent on top of a massive hill overlooking the border of Tunisia and Algeria. There’s mad history in that part of the world and the people were really warm and welcoming.
I already talked about our volcano experience, but La Reunion is basically a tropical paradise just off Mauritius. 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 rammed and we were really well looked after: those are the sorts of gigs that make all the travelling worthwhile!
Iceland we weren’t really there for that long so we didn’t have time to experience it properly, maybe next time!!!

You guys don’t seem to stop touring, you’re now embarking on the winter tour and have a host of dates coming up, how do you keep up and motivated when on the road all the time?

We’re very aware of how lucky we are to be in the position of regularly touring and releasing records: being able to travel, meet new people and see new places, and also for us to spend time together is really special. We’re a very close-knit group and we’ve been through so much together, so it’s amazing to experience all these things on the road. Plus the actual gigs themselves are usually absolutely mental!!

So, on the back of the last question, what’s your least favourite aspect of touring? 

Having to smell each other’s farts.

Tell me something from the UK sound system culture that you guys find so unique or special?

I guess the diversity you see in the music the UK produces owes a lot to sound system culture. The influence of Jamaican music has been a really important part of the UK’s output, especially in dance music – you only need to go to Notting Hill, Leeds or Bristol carnival to see it. UK genres like Grime, Drum and Bass and Garage all owe a lot to sound system culture and are part of what makes the UK such a force in world music.

Your good mate David Rodigan asked you to cover his Radio 1Xtra show, as you guys have “bags” of character how do you prepare for radio together, what was that experience like?

We’ve had good practice doing our GDCFM podcast, over the last couple of years myself and Johnny have hosted our own show with guests, features and our own brand of jingles, so going into the 1xtra studio was a bit like a way more professional version of what we’d already been doing! The setup in that building is absolutely incredible so it was a real pleasure covering David’s show, and one to tick off the bucket list for sure!! 

The album’s due out next year, have you guys finished recording or is there still some “finishing touches” to be added?

The album is good to go and we’ve already started playing some of the songs in our new set. The tracks have been really well received so we can’t wait until people can have them to themselves! 

Talk us through your new album, what are your most favourite tracks?

We’re still really buzzing off all of the tunes on Lost In Space, so it’s hard to pick favourites, but our latest single Stardust is feeling really good, we’re also playing Midnight Healing, Out Of This World, Turning Back and God Of War in the set and we’re looking to put a couple more in. There are slower songs on the record that we probably won’t play live but are equally as special to us as the heavier ones: look out for Ground Shakin’ and Walking Away featuring the legend Winston Francis. 

Being influenced by so many genres of music makes you guys quite unique and creative. Who are your biggest influences in other genres that have inspired you guys to do what you do?

I think like most people we listen to all sorts, in the van at the moment we’re playing some Joni Mitchell and we’ve just gone through listening to a load of sick Classic Rock like Led Zeppelin, Pearl Jam and Nirvana. When we’re getting hyped we like listening to stuff like Metal, Drum and Bass and Grime. This is all alongside a healthy dose of Dub, Reggae and Dancehall of course…

If you guys had a chance to introduce or change a current UK law, what would this be, and why?

Free up the herb, it’s a no-brainer at this point!

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