10 years after his last Clipz release, 21 years after first Clipz release, Hugh Pescod returns to his original drum & bass alias with brand new music. It starts with Down 4
One of the biggest names to come from the second generation of Bristol D&B titans, and a huge influence on the jump-up sound during the 2000s, a Clipz reboot has been anticipated by fans for what feels like aeons. But with Hugh’s bass house provocateur Redlight alias becoming such a big success it never seemed likely that he’d return to the jungle trenches. Until 2017…
After his first Clipz sets in over a decade at events such as Run All Day and Hospitality In The Park, Hugh stopped ruling out a return in interviews and even teased snippets of classic jungle tracks he’d been making on his socials. Then last year he told us he had an album’s worth of tracks and wasn’t going to stop making jungle bangers until he had enough of his own unique plates to play a whole set.
But don’t go expecting these plates to sound like the Clipz you know from the 2000s. This isn’t a throwback, there will be no updates on bangers like Cocoa, No Games or Start The Car that bombarded the scene 15 years ago. This is about returning to the sound and spirit that inspired him to make those tunes in the first place. The return of Clipz is a whole new thread and a whole new take on one of the most important, foundational musical movements the UK has spawned.
The one thing that hasn’t changed is his forthright, give-no-fucks stance on his craft and his focus on capturing the moment and vibe. This attitude not only super-charged his ballistic basslines back in the day, but also drove him to become Redlight and take a giant leap from the relatively small drum & bass scene where he was in the premiership to the oceanic house scene where it’s so much easier to get lost in the noise. Now it’s stoking the fire of a brand new chapter for Clipz (among various other projects and aliases he has) and he’s teamed up with iconic rave photographer Gavin Watson for the artwork. Here’s how it came about…
This is a whole new chapter and a salute to your roots, right? Your original influences that set you off on this path…
Yeah totally. I guess the first sound that got you into this is the one that grabs you strongest. It’s what you remember the most. And that was the mid 90s for me. 94/5/6 especially, the years when I was raving and clubbing the most and really getting into it. And this was the sound. It’s reincarnation of how I feel about that music and my interpretation of it for 2020. It’s from the heart, I’m not trying to be anything I just wrote these tracks in the middle of the night last year, inspired, reminiscing.
Did anything in particular inspire these late-night sessions?
A couple of people around me were like ‘you’ve got to do some Clipz again, you’ve got to get back on the drums again’ but mainly I just fucking love early jungle drum & bass. That’s what I wanted to hear, that’s what I wanted to make. I wanted to get into that mindset of when those tunes were made. They weren’t made over months, they were made quickly. I saw Andy C a while ago and I asked him how long Roll On took him to make. He said ‘four hours’. That’s what I’m talking about. Capturing the essence and finding that vibe.
Yeah you’d have a session. No total recall on the mixing desk. You have to get it done in the time you have.
That was it. You tried your best to get a tune out of the session. You were capturing energy.
Did you apply any kind of ‘short session’ challenge while making these tunes, then?
Yeah I made them quick. The aim was to not overthink things and just catch the vibe and it worked. I’m sitting on loads of tunes. But for now I’m only releasing a few. The rest I can play out so I’ve got an hour and a half of music I really want to play. All with the early Dope Dragon, early V, early Ram vibes. All that era. Philly Blunt. Vibes like that but tunes people haven’t heard before.
Yeah you teased us with that in your last Redlight interview.
It’s taken a while but I’m almost there now. I’ve done a few sets now and they’ve been fun. It’s had people scratching their heads a bit, though, because it’s not the jump-up they might have expected.
But, like the jungle sound was what lured you into this, that original Clipz sound was the first sound a lot of the next generation of fans wanted to hear.
For me, personally, I want to explore the sound that got me into raving, music and being a musician. I don’t want to redo that or go over old ground. I want to do something else.
Yeah you’ve never stood still in your career, you’re always trying new things, new aliases…
I’m just keeping it moving. I’m not saying this new Clipz stuff is massively forward-thinking by the way. But I know it fits the time. People just want to have a rave and have fun and get away from the world at the moment whether that’s to jump-up, jungle, bassline, whatever. It’s that type of music made with that type of vibe to just let loose and stop giving a fuck for a few hours.
Yes! So it starts with Down 4…
Yeah it starts with that and I’ve just done a remix of Koffee’s Toast. Then there’s a track with a few very special features on. I’m loaded up and as long as it’s received well then you’ll hear it. If it’s not I won’t bother because what’s the point?
Nice positive outlook there. I know what you mean, though. That was the message from the last interview: we live in a time when it doesn’t matter if people don’t care. Just move on.
Exactly. It’s all good. This is actually one of a few things I’m working on. I’ve got a project with Unknown To The Unknown at the moment with DJ Haus, I’ve got the Redlight stuff which I’m about to release a mixtape as. It’s nice. I’m not putting my eggs in one basket. I’ve got freedom to create. It keeps things refreshing and exciting. You never feel that everything is relying on one project, you’re just bouncing between the vibes making music you want to dance to. That’s the idea with dance music, right? It’s not about ‘shit! Is my tune better that that man’s?’, it’s about capturing energy and sharing that with people.
Amen! So this could potentially lead to an album?
There’s an album worth of work there already but I don’t know. I’d only release it under the right circumstances. I made an album’s worth of music to play out, so it’s not necessarily made to be heard as an album. I’m just not over-thinking it. There’s no expectation in my mind, there’s no pressure from myself like ‘I’ve got to do this, I’ve got to do that’ I’m just having fun and making music I love. And it’s cool, there’s been an interesting scope of people playing some of the bits, Andy and Bryan are playing the Koffee remix and peeps like Ben UFO and Seb Chew are into it also, as people want this vibe at the minute it think. It’s great. This has been around so long everyone has a relationship with it no matter what part of the music they usually exist in. Drum & bass never dies does it?
I was talking about this to this incredible photographer Gavin Watson. He took a lot of iconic photographs during the early rave era and skinhead movement. His book Raving 89 is a fucking classic and we’ve licenced a couple of pics and he does the artwork for the singles. Even he’s like ‘I fucking love drum & bass’. He’s seen it all, right from the start, he’s still there now and he still fucking loves it.
Tell us about his photos you’ve used…
He’s just a legend mate. We just hit him up and he was well up for it. He’s just coming out with these stories from the time. He’s the real deal. And for us that’s perfectly the vibe we’re going for. He was just like ‘we were at the rave and I had a camera and took some photos’. I get that completely; it’s just how we were with the music. You’re harnessing the energy of what’s going on around you. It’s not overthinking, it’s not trying to be clever. That’s what Gavin was doing, that’s what I’m trying to do now. Let’s see where it goes…