Any fan of UKF Dubstep should be farmiliar with Dubba Jonny. Over the last three years, his many hits have racked up millions of views on the channel, especially his "UKF Dubstep Tutorial" series. But there is more to Dubba Jonny than his YouTube accolades. His last two albums, "Never Judge An EP By Its Cover" and "No Stopping," pushed the boundries of dubstep production and his latest, "The Drinking Man EP," takes his abilities to new territory.
A series of firsts for Dubba Jonny, "The Drinking Man EP" is his most diverse release to date. "Ampalamps," with its pronounced synth work and savage vocal from RJ Duke, marks his first foray into trap. While "Drinking Man" and “Dead to the Dark” fuse a vivid blues aesthetic with no-holds-barred bass. And "Just Want to Party" displays a newfound mastery of electro house.
Impressed by Dubba Jonny's multi-genre debut, Into the AM caught up with the 23 year old producer to discuss his past, his productions, and Danny Brown.
Into The AM: Give us a little history on Dubba Jonny, when did you start producing and what originally drew you to bass music?
Dubba Jonny: It's hard to pinpoint where it started. I was messing around, trying to record songs I'd written, from the age of about 14 or 15, but I had no interest in being a producer at the time. I started taking production seriously around the age of 18, which was 5 years ago now.
I tried countless genres, to varying degrees of failure, and dubstep just seemed to click with me, so I started up Dubba Jonny with live drummer NCK, who I'm no longer working with, and the rest came from there really!
ITAM: When you're not producing music, what do you do for a living?
DJ: I'm actually fortunate enough to get to do this for a living, which is the best job in the world! Outside of music, I seriously do nothing. I party a fair bit, like a lot of people my age. But if I'm not partying, I'm usually working or at least learning more about production.
ITAM: You're no stranger to sonic experimentation, but “The Drinking Man EP” is by far your most diverse offering to date. How did your approach to this EP differ from past releases in your catalog?
DJ: I was kinda fed up with always writing serious stuff and sticking to what my fans expected of me, so I decided to have some more fun with a release for once! I've actually been producing other genres for a long time, but never had the balls to release any of it until recently.
This EP basically reflects a period in my life where everything was about having fun all the time, which wasn't intentional at all. I didn't realize that until I did another recent interview where I was asked why there's references to partying all over it!
ITAM: In December, you released the “Testing the Water EP,” which featured early versions of “Drinking Man” and “Blockbuster.” How did the fan feedback from that release help to shape the final “Drinking Man EP?”
DJ: The purpose of that release was, as the name implies, to test out how my fan base would react to me doing some different styles. In part, it showed me that I was worrying too much about people flipping out on me for not doing non-stop dubstep tracks, which just didn't happen.
It also showed me that there's a limit to how much of my sense of humor I can get away with putting into my tracks. "I Take Drugs and I Kill People" was a track that I was extremely excited about, and I was going to name this EP after it, but it didn't seem to go over very well with some of my fans!
ITAM: Of the new genres you've broken into, from trap, to electro house and “bluestep” sounds, which has been your favorite to work with?
DJ: Ampalamps was a lot of fun to make. Trap is such a cool genre to produce, as it's so minimal, but it's a bit of a challenge to get a full sound and keep thing interesting. Not to mention how regimented of a genre it is, which forces you to think a bit more creatively if you don't want to sound completely generic.
To be honest, I loved making every track as much as the last. For "Drinking Man" and "Just Wanna Party," I basically made tracks in other genres, bounced them out and then remixed them bootleg style. It was so much fun that I'm doing it all the time at the moment!
ITAM: Trap music, in general, can be even more formulaic than dubstep. If you were to make “A Brief Tutorial on Trap Production,” what would you say are the essential elements of a successful trap track?
DJ: I don't know. There are some very obvious conventions of trap like the pitched up snares, rapid hi hat patterns, heavy sub and hip hop samples. But if I made a trap tutorial piss take like my dubstep ones, I'd probably sample Wiz Khalifa's "Err Day" for its ridiculous intro where he just goes "get up bitch" over and over again. That seems like something trap fans would find amusing.
ITAM: Your first hit single, “All In,” is still considered by many – including myself – to be one of the best dubstep tracks of all time. Since “All In,” which of your tracks were you most proud of? Which one came together the best?
DJ: Of all time, wow that's quite a bold statement! I don't know. "Always" is still one of my favorites, and I'm very happy with the work I've done on this EP. Although ill no doubt hate it soon enough though! I'm also quite happy with my "Pretty Vacant" remix and my Chimaira remix.
ITAM: If you could sign any three up and coming producers to your label, Liyan Records, who would they be?
ITAM: When Dubba Jonny began, you were playing alongside your friend NCK, but you have since parted ways and your last "live" set, after the release of “No Stopping,” was a full band show. Can we expect similar live elements in your upcoming shows?
DJ: That live show was one of the most awesome things I've had the privilege of doing during my career as Dubba Jonny. I fully intend to repeat that some time. Although, I have no idea when and I have no current plans to do it soon, so we'll see I guess!
ITAM: What are your goals for Dubba Jonny in 2013 and beyond?
DJ: Get money, fuck bitches [laughs]. I wish! But seriously, if I can just keep up the way I'm going, I'd be very happy. I intend to go fully multi-genre and hopefully start to be recognised as a EDM producer, rather than just a "dubstep producer". I'd say that's my main focus this year, and after that who knows.
I've actually got this fantasy of producing a hip hop album. And I'm gonna put this out there: I desperately want to produce a track for Danny Brown, someone out there must know him, hook a brother up, yeah?