Chopstick Dubplate interview
I caught up with ragga junglist collective Chopstick Dubplate collective about the new Wanted album. Mix at end, but I first got some history…
CD: Chopstick Dubplate has been going since 1998, originally opened as a dubplate cutting studio when Jacky rebuilt a lathe. Over the years there’s been some changes in the lineup, and for the past five years or so it’s been Jacky, Tuffist, and Aries.
DB: You’re all reggae/dub fans?
CD: Yeah our love of reggae and dub is a huge influence on our music and performance.
DB: And you mention the physical aspect, the lathe for eg, it’s got to influence you?
CD: We’ve all been vinyl enthusiasts and DJs since our teenage years and we share a love for the DIY ethic and we’re all engineers. Jacky likes to design and build analog recording gear, Aries spends a hundred hours a week in front of the monitors.
DB: It’s always brought up to date for a new generation of people getting into the music? The demand is huge!
CD: We’ve been making our own style of ragga jungle since we started, and each project is a reflection of what we’re feeling at the time. So you will definitely hear progression when you listen to older material compared to the new stuff.
DB: As you’re a collective, where is your natural habitat live? Where would we find you?
CD: As a live group we tend to play festival shows like Tokyo Dub, Boomtown Fair, Outlook. We’re often found in dub and reggae lineups, and even though we exclusively play our jungle tunes, people tend to associate us more with reggae in general. We focus on dubplate and dancehall culture and our performance is like jungle bashment.
DB: I always think of names like Nicky BM and Kenny Ken when I think of your style, the people that rep this sound…
CD: You’re right there! Nicky and Kenny happen to be not only top shelf selectors but also a couple of the nicest guys you’d ever hope to meet.
DB: What are some other names?
CD: Congo Natty plays the stuff we build for him, like the Nanci & Phoebe and Tenor Fly tunes. Marcus Visionary loves the new album, probably the baddest jungleman in the Americas… Serial Killaz as well.
Recently we’ve had support from London guys like King Yoof, Billy Bunter, Uncle Dugs, NiceUp’s Shep Dog and JStar, Curtis Lynch, Reggae Roast and there’s Birmingham and the reggae connection, with guys like Overproof, Friendly Fire, and Jam Jah Sound playin our stuff in reggae dances, and Gold Dubs.
Up north you can hear Chopstick blasting out of soundsystems in Liverpool, Sheffield and Leeds, where dub and jungle playing together is commonplace.
There’s Bristol, with its incredible concentration of bass music lovers, DJs, producers and travellers. You can hear our dubs played by Stivs, Born on Road, Run Tingz, Southwest Soundtest, Dub Boy, RSD and more.
DB: It all comes together it seems: so where did the creative fire for the album come from… what was behind it?
CD: Since Chopstick has been operating outta London and Birmingham for the past few years, we decided to focus on the UK and our experiences and life here.
For our last record we recorded in Jamaica, and before that we had worked with a lot of New York based singers.
DB: Can you give us five tunes that will cause a club to explode every time?
CD: OK, since we only play our tunes we’ll be cheeky and select the biggest crowd pleasers from those crates!
1 Chopstick Dubplate ‘Worldwide Traveller’ feat Top Cat and Mr. Williamz (CHOP13)
2 Chopstick Dubplate ‘Soundboy Gone’ feat Jah Mason (CHOP11)
3 Chopstick Dubplate ‘More Fire’ feat Demolition Man (dubplate)
4 Chopstick Dubplate ‘Budy Bye’ feat Johnny Osbourne (CHOP8)
5 Congo Natty ‘Jah Sunshine’ feat Tenor Fly – Chopstick Dubplate Remix, forthcoming Congo Natty.
Minimix of Wanted