Dr Meaker

Massive new single ‘Fighter’ from the Bristol bass collective

Welcome to DMCWORLD towers, you’ve enjoyed a whirlwind twelve months with releases, appearances at some of the biggest festivals of the summer and now, a brand new single ‘Fighter’ swinging our way through V Recordings on November 5th. You have two methods of making a track; one you fly with it and it’s written in three days and two, it takes a few years of working on it where after a burst of creativity it all runs a bit dry until you pick up again. Which one was this and talk us through the sounds on this superb new tune…
“This track was the latter,  I started i in 2008 when I just got the string sound and put the chords down and built the music up really quick…Lorna was in the studio and she instantly wrote the vocal and we had ourselves a wicked musical intro.  I knew it needed to drop hard but I just couldn’t seem to nail the right drop for the vibe of the track.  So I left it alone and started to work on other tracks and I must’ve re-visited it about 10 times over the past 4 years – in fact the Tropical remix came as a result of a re-approach.  So anyway 4 years passed and I had a bout 4 versions but still didn’t have the drop I wanted.  So I decided I needed a new pair of ears on it and brought in a wicked up and coming musician living in Bristol called Octo-Pi who helped with the heavy bass drop.  Once he came with that bass sound everything came together in a flurry of activity really quickly.  I love collaborating with other musicians as it opens the whole thing out and creates different angles.  Bands have been doing this forever and it makes things much more 3 dimensional.”
You successfully won funding from the BBC’s Urban Talent awards scheme which you used to make your debut album ‘A Lesson From The Speaker’. For all of the unsigned bands reading this, how much cash was needed to create that album?0
“I worked out that I needed about £12k to do it exactly how I wanted and so I pitched for £10k (the maximum) and I got £7.5k.  Once the album is made you need big bucks to enter the world of promotion as this is key to getting the right exposure.”

Your influences are a wonderful cross section of artists including Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder, The Prodigy, Massive Attack, Smokey Robinson and Reprazent. So if we came back to your crib after the show, what would a Dr Meaker Back To Mine selection be like that you would spin us to carry on the party…
“If we’re talking party mode at mine, I’d probably stick on a compilation CD of disco classics.
You once admitted you would have loved to have been able to be in the studio with an 18 year old Liam Howlett when he was making his first album, just to get into his mind and check out all of that creativity. What would you have liked to ask that 18 year old musical genius…
“Can I please have all your knowledge and synthesizers Liam?…thanks mate – appreciated!”

Dance music in 2012 is littered with EDM artists aged 16 and 17 who are commanding $50,000 fees for a ninety minute DJ set all over the world. What are your thoughts on the ease technology has now provided the equipment for young bedroom producers to make music?
“I think they still require a degree of intelligence to work the technology, creativity and inspiration for the ideas and motivation and passion to actually make it happen – so fair play to them! I had to learn to wire up midi patchbays, CV converters (for the analogue synths) and tedious programming techniques etc which all slows the process down.  I think the reason why 16-17 year olds are doing so well is because they can simply learn one program with synths, drum machines, sequencer, mixer and everything included (ie. Logic or Ableton) and get the track written and mixed to a professional standard really, really quick.  All those skills and processes previously needed to make high quality music (which took a good deal of time to learn and perfect) is now kinda irrelevant – so the kids can literally dial in their creativity in minutes which means the possibility of overnight success at a young age. I think DJ ing has also got a load easier and I sometimes still find i hard watching DJ’s with laptops…the technology seems to take away the ability to fuck up a mix and that risk is what makes mixing a wicked buzz so I’m not sure if I wanna take the easy path or not. —
Lorna – the star of the band! You give props to superstar vocalists as Ottis Redding as heroes. Who were the artists you were listening to growing up?
“Thank you! Wow there are so many to say.. It was a complete mixed bag for me, I was loving all sorts of music but I guess I channeled a love for soul and RnB from the 60’s to 90’s, to name a few; Stevie Wonder, Earth Wind and Fire, Marvin Gaye, Bob Marley, Tina Turner then it was Boyz ll Men, Mary J. Blige, Michael Jackson, Lauren Hill, 80’s/90’s rap and Hip Hop and then I clicked on to the soul/dance music scene which was a mix of all this but in a new way. So Garage was huge for me and DnB, House, Downbeat etc.”
A big summer of festivals including last month’s Brisfest. What have been some of the highlights in 2012 out in those fields?
“The highlights this year were the Isle Of Wight Festival (Strongbow Tent) and the Bassline Circus at Boomtown Fair which was wicked!!  We really enjoyed partying afterwards at both of these too. Also Brisfest was wicked as we had Sian Evans (DJ Fresh Louder & Kosheen) join us to guest on a new track we’ve written with her.”
One of your biggest breaks of course was winning the Dance Music category of the Glastonbury Festival Unsigned Competition. What is still the biggest memory from that day on stage?
“I think just the feeling that we’d all made it our ambitions to play Glastonbury from a young age and after a long time working towards it – we finally achieved it!  Was a buzz.  Plus we met Michael Eavis and he personally commented on our energy which was amazing.”

Can you recall who you beat in that Dance Category to win the spot at Glastonbury?

“I know there were a couple thousand entrants to the competition and 18 finalists in each category over 3 nights, but the only other act I remember was Mr Fogg cos he kept in touch and we did a remix for him after.” 

You were interviewed by Radio 1’s Huw Stevens, Zane Lowe was patting your back and since then you have been no strangers to Radio 1 with plays from the likes of Pete Tong, Rob Da Bank, Mistajam and Trevor Nelson. Can you remember where and when you were when one of your tunes was first played on Radio 1?
“Yes I was in an internet cafe and I got an email from Rob Da Band’s producer who said that Rob was gonna play our tune so I huddled round the telly with my housemates and listened to it on the freeview…we all celebrated and got pissed!”

How is the work going on album number two which is due out next year. Will the sound be very different from your last long player?
“Yes it will sound different. Lorna will be the main vocalist this time and we have different featured artists from last time. The sound will be altogether more “up”.”
Clive, you were once asked how you find your samples or how you get inspiration for new tracks. You explained that you go down to Tesco’s or second hand shops and buy a load of those 5 CDs for the price of three. Who is the weirdest/cheesiest artist you have nicked a sound off?
“The weirdest is a little Old Irish Church singer.  Very random.  My aunty is religious and I found a bunch of unsold self made CD’s under her armchair that she was trying to sell at jumble sales etc.  The cover is hilarious.  It’s this little old lady in a flowered dress with her church congregation behind her – very father Ted – but for real.  I love listening to stuff that no one would even think about sampling and I found this nugget that I just loved so built a track around it.”
You live and breathe the Bristol Bass sound. Who are the new kids on the block you are high fiving at the moment?
“There’s loads…here are a few: Octo – Pi, Run tingz Crew, Kundama, Laid Blak, Lady Nade, Joker, DJ Die, Javeon McCarthy, Buggsy, Yolanda Quartey of Phantom Limb…”
You are obviously inspired by the Bristol dons of the past, obvious names like Massive Attack and Reprazent have already been mentioned. Who else are on that big list…
“Smith & Mighty, Nellee Hooper, Kosheen, Milo, Tricky and Martina Topley Bird”
Clive – what is the big top 10 you are currently spinning?
Teebee & Calyx – Elevate This Sound
Rene Lavice – Feel The Pain
Dr Meaker – Fighter
Mackee G – Money Maker
David Boomah & DJ Sly – Bad Up The Town
TC – Tap Ho
DJ S.P.Y – You
Dr Meaker – Music In The Night
Octo Pi – The Floor
One Scratch – Wickaman & Hoodlum & Mavrik

And finally, “We think Dr Meaker is the most exciting live show to come outta Bristol this millennium.” – A famous quote from you. What makes your live show so great?
“The energy on stage backed up with songs dripping with soul.”



Dr Meaker ‘Fighter’ out through V Recordings, November 5th 2012

Live dates

12th October (live) Mista Ifsta, Newport
13th October (PA) V Recordings night, Cable, London
27th October (live) Day Of The Dead Festival, Bristol Ampitheatre
10th November (live) British Snowboarding Awards, Edinburgh
16th November (live), The Attic, Bristol
31st December (live), The Old Firestation, Bristolld Firestation, Bristol