V Dubz, Enamie and Y-Zer form the collective Girls Take Action (GTA) and have been killing it on drum and bass sets for years. Recently they have collaborated together to bring out a brand-new liquid tune titled MIND. The track is all about raising money for the mental health charity of the same name. To mark its launch we caught up with the trio to talk all about the new track, what it’s like being back and their plans for the future.
How’s it going? What’s it been like being back out there after lockdown?
V Dubz: It’s pretty good to be out of lockdown and getting back down to business. Last Friday was mental doing a set with Lady Leshurr at a DubSon event which is a brand I’ve been building with Macpherson . That was gonna happen before lockdown and then we had to sort of put it on the back burner. After that we did not know what was going to happen with it. When everything opened up again, we went back in to see if Leshurr was still up for doing it and she was. It was good getting back out there.
Enamie: My first night back was actually with the London Garage Orchestra, which is the little bit that I do on the side alongside the drum and bass. I work with MC Kie and Blue Lion Band, and they all form the London Garage Orchestra. We performed at Glastonbury and Boomtown just before the pandemic. Our first gig back was at The Fox and Firkin in Lewisham. It is a lot smaller and a lot more intimate, but definitely one to remember as it was the first setback. It was a really good vibe to be fair.
And I played at Bestival. That was huge. It was actually the biggest crowd that I’ve played to yet. Playing to a crowd like that was amazing. I came on just after Craig Charles, which is legendary in itself. I just want to say how grateful I am to get to play to a crowd of that size again at a festival and especially after the lockdown. It just seemed like nothing had ever happened. It was amazing. Hopefully the rest of the year will prove to be the same.
Y-Zer: It was getting to the last lockdown and I was itching, like I’m sure every other musician was, and I was thinking how much longer can it be without us performing? But it’s been good. One of the tunes that I did during lockdown with Traumatik has been going on tour. So it’s been nice to do some cities that I’ve never done before and some venues that I’ve never done before. I’m very grateful.
So what made you want to bring out this tune and raise money for MIND?
V Dubz: It’s funny because for me, obviously, I’ve been DJing a long time and production came quite late on. There were various people I’ve got in the studio with to get lessons from and it was actually Jayline that I was working with for a good year. We created the GTA anthem with the girls and that came out 2018/2019. Off the back of that I was quite interested in trying to make a liquid track. I asked the girls, should we do it for MIND? It’s about the mind so let’s do it about mental health and let’s just give it away to MIND and give the money to them because everyone really does suffer with mental health. It is really rife in the music industry.
Y-Zer: And what a time to do it with lockdown it just doubled up.
V Dubz: Exactly. So I just thought why not? The girls were up for it. I know so many people in my friendship group that suffer with mental health. Even myself from time to time, I have suffered from it. I’m sure I can speak for everyone.
Y-Zer: Yeah, definitely.
V Dubz: It meant a lot to me that this charity does deserve to get some money because they do really good things for mental health. So it just makes sense. Everyone’s taken a bit more notice now of mental health and taking it more seriously.
Y-Zer: I think when you’ve been locked down and had nothing to do but think it’s on the rise, isn’t it? It’s the best thing to contribute to. Every penny is going to mind, and every stream is worth money. Whether that’s iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, it does circulate money. So it literally takes two minutes. Go on, click on the tune and money will go to charity. It’s so simple, just do it. There’s no excuse to get on it.
V Dubz: We’re just really glad we could do a project like this for such a good charity. We hope that we manage to raise loads of money for them.
So when was it you guys started doing stuff together?
The GTA anthem was the first track but we’ve been doing our sets since 2014. We went from this massive crew of gals, doing radio shows to stage shows. We were like we need to make a track and it was New Year’s Eve actually, I remember was playing Raveology New Year’s Eve. I wanted something to open with. So it started off as just like a dub with Enamie’s hook at the beginning. Then I was like let’s make this into that proper anthem and get us on the track. It was the first track we’ve done together and it never actually came out properly. You can only see the video on YouTube. But, I am going to be releasing that track both the vocal version and the dub version because it’s actually one of the most popular tracks I’ve got on my SoundCloud. It was stupid not to release it.
Then this felt like a natural thing. Like the first track was very jump-up and all about the vibe; you know what we’re bringing in. This one needed to be about something completely different. It wasn’t about us. We wanted to highlight that everybody feels like this from time to time. That’s where the inspiration for the video came from as well.
Y-Zer: Spot on about the anthem. The day that the video was actually shot was insane.
Enamie: Yeah, a lot of people turned up.
Y-Zer: Yeah it was all our nearest and dearest as well. Trying to get the younger generation involved. It just worked man, it was good.
Let’s talk about this track, what was the inspiration for the mix up in tempos between yourselves Y-Zer and Enamie?
Enamie: See I think with drum n bass I’ve noticed more recently that there’s a lot of people that do a slow tempo and there’s a lot of people to do a fast tempo. I think for this tune in particular it was good to show that element of drum and bass. In that it will be sped up a little, and also slowed down so that everybody can kind of be mindful as to what we’re saying. So people can find it a little bit easier to listen and relate to rather than try and concentrate so much on a lot of sped up words.
Y-Zer: Yeah on the flows.
Enamie: Just slowing it down to be a bit more mindful of people listening.
.Y-Zer: For me I like flows, my thing is flows. But when you’re speaking, on a tune, you’re trying to actually relay a message. You have to break it down a bit more, hence why one of my verses was single time and the other was double time. Even though the other was double time, it was not as intellectual as what I would put on say a jump off track, or roller track, etc. As soon as you can make music that connects to an audience then someone’s going to listen to it and you’re winning. Nine times out of ten liquid does just that naturally. If you show a jump-up tune to your mum’s mate they’re going to put it into that kind of box that people don’t like, unless you’re really into drum n bass. But when you put proper vocals and a message on a liquid tune, you can normally show it to anyone and people can appreciate it.
Let’s talk about the beat then V Dubz, what was the inspiration behind more of a liquid tune considering you’re better known for jump-up?
V Dubz: I do find as you get a bit older, you do tend to like different things. I’ve always loved liquid. I think even if you go back to when I was playing vinyl, I was always dropping some form of liquid. I just wanted to make something that meant something and that sounded nice, but had a bit of hope in it. I put some ideas down, and again big up Jayline for helping me finish it. I’m still learning, even now as anyone would say. I’m still learning more production, mixdown and stuff like that. I just wanted it to be nice. I think Y-Zer we actually got you to do the hook one day randomly when you came around.
Y-Zer: Yeah, I remember you messaged me and you were like I’m in the studio with Jay and we’ve got this sick concept. You sent me the body of the tune and it was way from complete. As soon as I heard those chords, my brain was like tick tick tick. So I wrote a hook and the next time I was in the studio, I laid it down and you worked on it from there. And it just worked man. Naturally when I hear a tune like that, with chords that instantly bring lyrics to my head I am normally talking about what’s going on in my head. It’s all about the mind, so I referenced the word mind and it just kind of grew from that really.
How long did it take to put the track together?
V Dubz: To be honest with you this track has actually been made for a very long time.
Y-Zer: We have just been waiting for the right moment.
Enamie: We put a lot of thought and effort into the video shoot. We’ve got a completely different concept to what I think anybody has done recently or what I’ve seen in drum and bass. We’ve used two very amazing actors and I’m hoping that will kind of bring to life a bit more of what we were trying to get across in the track.
V Dubz: Yeah big up Gareth and Mason, you’ll see them in the video. They did such a good job. I feel everything happens for a reason and for whatever reason, it’s taken its time to be complete, but it feels the right time. Everything feels right. The video we must have done three times. It had to be perfect. It wasn’t about us, there’s literally about a two second clip of me. Obviously the girls are in it because they’re telling a story, but I think the video is brilliant and I can’t wait for people to see it.
Y-Zer: Yeah it is a very good video.
Enamie: Yeah it’s a very good video and pulls on your heartstrings.
So have you played it on any sets yet, what’s the reaction been like?
V Dubz: I’ve mixed the instrumental in like a mix that I’ve done but nobody got the tune.
Y-Zer: No one’s had the chance, there were no events going on and we were not going to waste it at a sit down rave. I remember that you actually played the vocal version at one of the Rough Tempo parties in between lockdowns, but apart from that no one has heard it.
V Dubz: I like to keep things a little bit exclusive. I’m a bit old school like that. Just everything happens for a reason. Now’s the time.
So now let’s talk about your plans going forward then?
Enamie: My plan for the rest of this year is to continue working with the Blue Lion Band/London Garage Orchestra and MC Kie. I’ve been doing a lot of work with different brands. I’ll be doing an event with them one at Halloween. I’ve got a Pic n Mix coming up on Thursday for a birthday event. I’ve actually had eight consecutive weekends of bookings since the end of lockdown. So it’s just been hectic, but I think October quietens down a little bit for me. It has been amazing to be back but it has been a little bit overwhelming, as I’m sure it has for everybody just trying to deal with having such a huge break and then having everything flying back at you. But at the same time it has been absolutely amazing. I wouldn’t change it for the world. There’s something with Camo MC and MC Zee. We’ve got a few tracks that are in the pipeline at the moment. I won’t give away too much on them. They’re going to be massive when they are out and extremely different, to say the least.
Y-Zer: It’s been crazy getting back with bookings. It has been a bit overwhelming. I’m getting used to that lack of sleep again and the mileage on the roads, which is insane. I think everyone was hoping that when it does come back that it picks up nicely and it did, but it will quieten down. I think loads of events are on at the moment. It’s getting to the end of the summer as well. So it’s just about enjoying that really but for the future what’s coming up, I’m currently working on a four or five track EP named ‘doing it differently’. I’m about halfway there. Since bookings have come it’s taken a bit of a backburner due to my throat just being raspy and then not being able to record on the weekends. It’s all there, it’s written. So I’m excited to drop that one and just roll on with the bookings really. I’ve got a few features coming up and some stuff coming out, which isn’t even drum n bass.
V Dubz: I’ve been basically just in the studio all through lockdown. I made quite a few good tunes that have gotten some really good feedback. Ray Keith is loving what I’m doing at the minute, so is DJ SS. I’ve just been practising, working on my sound down and working on my mix downs. So I’m focusing a lot on the production. I’ve just joined UMC artist management, as well as doing all the GTA stuff. I’m focusing a lot on what I’m doing as well. Plus, I’ve got the Dubson brand and we’ve got loads of big plans for that this year. I’m just enjoying being back. I’m absolutely loving life being back behind the decks. I absolutely can’t wait to get my tracks properly finished so I can play them on a massive sound system.
V Dubz, Y-Zer & Enamie – Mind is out now. All proceeds go to MIND Charity. Support: