We Need To Talk About Jubei

2019 has been a good year to be a Jubei fan so far.

We’re not even three months down and he’s already released two heavyweight singles: Cold Heart / Little Dubplate on Exit this month and Redemption / Reality Check with Total Science on Metalheadz in January.

2018 was a prosperous year for Jubei appreciators, too; He dropped two massive collabs with Tyrone and Marcus Intalex. Prior to that, however, his signature glacial, industrial strength rollers have been a little thinner on the ground for most of this decade.

In fact since his 2013 album To Have & Have Not we’d be lucky if we caught a release off him every other year!

That’s not to say he wasn’t making beats during those times, he’s actually developed a pretty healthy persy stash. He’s also still been highly active as a DJ. Renowned for massaging the dance into deep dark places they didn’t think they needed to go, Jubei’s developed that coveted status as a DJ who doesn’t need to put out releases to stay relevant or get bookings… He’s booked on reputation alone.

That said, he does promise to maintain the much more consistent presence with his releases he’s had in recent times. Sounding more refreshed and inspired than he’s been in years, Jubei is in an exciting, healthy and well-balanced place right now. And we’re all about to reap these rewards. Here’s what we know…

Hi mate. What are we interrupting?

I’m just driving between jobs.

What do you do?

I’m a builder and have my own property development company.

I often find artists I interview who have another career are much more chilled and less pressured than ones who live purely off the music….

That’s exactly it. I did music full time for nearly 10 years and it’s only the last few years I’ve been back on track with my building stuff. I’ve set up my own company and it does balance the two. It enables me complete freedom as you say. I can maintain what I set out to do. Music was a hobby that rolled over into a full-time occupation but I only did it for me, not other people, so having my own business means I don’t need to think about records selling to pay bills. It is a great feeling and it basically allows me to be even more of a snob about what I do.

Haha! Does this mean more selective gigs?

Well I’ve just become a dad in the last year so things have a changed a bit there yeah. But I love DJing. I started as a DJ. But I do like the fact I can be more selective about things and not be away every single weekend.

That makes it more special too…

That’s it. I just told you, I fucking love DJing. I never ever want it to be a chore, it has to be about the love. I feel really lucky, because even when I was full-time music I never felt I was taking gigs because I had to earn money, but this will maintain that enjoyment for longer.

Amen! Speaking of gigs, last time I saw you play was Sun & Bass. Little Dubplate takes me right back to the Gazebo…

That’s the type of night I’m talking about. Those gigs are the really special ones. There was a lot of special music going round that night. Wicked night.

First time I’d ever seen Tyrone play too. He smashed it.

He always does! We’ve been working together for years, he’s got a lot of stuff coming on some very respected labels… He’s about to come crashing in with so many bad tunes. He’s probably one of my favourite producers and I can’t wait for more people to realise that. He’s on the way.

That’s a buzz isn’t it? Seeing your mate rise through the ranks…

I want to help him to where he wants to be. He doesn’t need help but it’s about introducing him to people who can make it a reality for him. And that’s easy because anyone who hears the music laps it up. I love seeing it, he’s one of my best friends. There’s no better feeling. And to see him reaching the labels he is now… I fucking love it. He’s great to collaborate with too.

That’s wicked man. You mention collaborations…. Let’s talk about the Exit release as this is your first solo debut for the label, right?

Yeah there’s been a strong association with the label, I play at their parties a lot and I’ve had a few releases as Code 3 with SP and Will Courtice. This has been in the pipeline for a while. Darren wanted Cold Heart since 2015. He had a demo version which, him, me, Skeptical and Goldie had. It wasn’t even finished. I copy and pasted it so it worked as a DJ tool then Darren asked for an EP and I was going back and forth and wrote a more things but with our schedules and having a family it lost momentum for bit then I wrote Little Dubplate and thought it would make a nice release with Cold Heart. Just those two tunes together. I hadn’t written any music for ages and then one day I turned the computer on to have a mess around and I rolled out Little Dubplate in six hours.

That holy grail moment when the tune takes control….

Yeah it ends up writing itself and it’s like ‘fuck it’s done!’ Bounce it down, turn the computer off, that’s it. I haven’t turned the studio computer on since!

Ha! Is that how you write? Very sporadic sessions?

Well I don’t find the whole process that easy. I’m not a natural. There are guys who can live in the studio and be really fucking good all the time – DLR, dBridge, Break, Calibre – they can live in the studio and remain inspired. I can’t do that. I find it difficult. I need to have a deadline or an idea bubbling to drive me to it. I came into this as a DJ and production has always been a necessity. But when I’m inspired and something’s working I love it. So I do enjoy it, I know I can do it, but I’m not a natural studio hobbit.

With that in mind, what points in your career were the most challenging when you were making music full time and you had that added pressure of it having to work?

My album, without a doubt. That was really stressful. It was the first album on the label since Commix Call To Mind.

Get out of here!? Was it?

Yeah man. They didn’t release albums for a while and then kicked it back off with mine.

So your album kicked off the rich vein for albums they’ve been putting out ever since?

Yeah it was me, then Lenzman, then Ulterior Motive and they haven’t stopped. I was the first out of the gate, it was my first solo album. I was already a year over my deadline, I was in a different place in life, I was stressing and freaking but I did it though.

That must have been intense. Would you do one again? Kinda sounds like maybe not!

Probably not. If I did it would be a lot less stressful but I don’t see the point at the moment. It seems everyone is writing albums. There used to be a time when you built up to album and kinda earned your right as an artist but now people put out one single and they’re being signed for album deals. I don’t agree with that. That’s shat all over the artist album thing at the minute. Everyone needs to pull back and chill a bit and maybe then the idea might be enticing again but for now I’ll just say no, there won’t be another album. I’d rather put some solid singles and EPs that I’m really proud of and people want to play in clubs.

You’ve put out a fair bit lately… Marcus collab, Total Science collab, this EP…

Yeah there’s been a bit. I fell into this routine of only releasing music every two years and I kinda developed a bit of a stash of stuff in between. But these all lined up and came out at the right time. It just happened like that. I haven’t got a machine behind me, pumping shit out for the sake of it. I do want to have more of a regular or consistent presence. I like having new music out all the time but that means I have write new music.

Haha. Interesting use of the word machine… Some labels are. Releases almost every week.

Yeah man. They can do what they want to do but it’s not how I work or people around me work. Have a day off mate, chill out. People are putting out so much music. Every DJ and their dog’s got a label and not every DJ and their dog writes good music, you know? There’s a lot of shit out there and that’s the problem.

That’s why we had dubplates, right?

Yeah. And it’s why we don’t have anthems any more because the tunes aren’t out there building and circulating. They just go out on a DJ mailout then get released a day later then the next release rolls out. There’s no room for the music to breathe. You need to respect the tunes you put out, let it build, circulate and give it space to promote and have nothing clouding that. But what do I know? I don’t own a label and I bet there are label managers reading this and shaking their heads at me and stamping their feet but it’s how I feel.

I agree. There’s a big bunch of you though that do circulate tunes. Like Darren had Cold Heart since 2015…

Yeah that wasn’t the reason why it did, mind. It was just an idea I was testing and Darren asked if he could play it, then someone asked him if they could play it and it built a bit nicely. But it wasn’t finished or signed, it wasn’t circulated to build hype because it wasn’t done. The reason it took me so long was because I needed to finish it and I kept putting it off. Suddenly it’s three years later… But I’ve got more things I’ve been stashing which I haven’t started sending to people. I got some nice collaborations, one with dBridge actually which was cool because we’ve both written the track together. Anything else we’ve done before has been him singing and me writing the track. But yeah we’ve both been playing that and it’s not because we want to build any hype it’s just a nice little tune to have and play and share with some mates.

Little dubplates!

That’s exactly why that tune is called that. Just a little dubplate innit.

How long is this new persy stash going to remain on dub before we can see it released?

I really don’t know man. I need to make a few decisions but it won’t be years like it used to be. No way. I’ve got a remix of Goldie coming, I’ve got a remix of FD on Warm Communication. I’ve got collaborations with Ulterior Motive, Tyrone, I’ve got a tune with dBridge, three tunes on the go with Skeptical and a few of my own and a few collaborations coming up. There’s tonnes actually. I know I said I don’t go in the studio much, but I do get some shit done.

Goes back to the job thing, right? You have to be more efficient with your time….

Yeah you do. I don’t always have my mind on music but when it’s time to do it and I’ve made time to do it then I do get shit done. I can be quite determined like that.

Good balance. You’re sounding quite inspired!

I think so. There was a time when I took my foot off the gas for a bit. I was in a different place in life and wasn’t feeing things so musically. But everything realigned a bit in all aspects of my life and everything I’ve done in the last 12 months has been really well received. It’s wicked, there’s always a danger you can fall off the radar if you haven’t been so active. People stop giving a shit. But I’ve always DJ’d and I think that’s helped because I’m booked as a DJ and not based on my productions. So to put music out again and have people support it as well has been a great.

That’s a wicked position to be in!

Yeah I’m very grateful. I’m glad people are still interested in what I do, and labels want to sign the music and invest in it and in me as an artist. I love that people want to come to shows and buy the music or any of this. That’s really fucking nice and I appreciate it massively.

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Jubei – Cold Heart / Little dubplate is out now on Exit