Get ready for a Plump Night Out with Superheroes at The Dek
With a reputation for delivering solid, good times wherever they play, the Plump DJs – Lee Rous and Andy Gardner – are widely regarded as amongst the earliest pioneers of breakbeat. Their Plump Night Out album launched the London-based duo onto the international DJ circuit at the turn of the millennium. Since then, the Plumps have navigated shape-shifting musical plains in a way that many of their peers failed to. Maintaining their breaks aesthetic, the lads throw down sets that are stylistically broader capturing dancefloors with their wailing electro synths, fearsome basslines and bad-boy experimentation.
Our friends at Hype caught up with Lee as the pair prepares to touch down in Dubai for this weekend’s Superheroes party…
What chunky dancefloor slayers have you guys been carving out lately? Actually, we’re really busy at the moment. There’s a collaboration we’ve been working on with Drums Of Death [aka Colin Bailey]. We’ve always liked his music so it seemed like a good fit for us. So we’ve been really busy with that lately.
Coming from the forefront of breaks-led music, how do you feel the electronic scene has grown in recent years? The UK in particular has been experiencing its most fruitful period. We’re such a major influence in dance music’s most fruitful period to date, you know… there are lots of great records around. From the analogue days of vinyl and tape, right through to now, we’ve been a part of it and it’s wonderful to still remain a part of it too. Being the Plump DJs and still doing what we love… I couldn’t ask for more.
How did the Plump DJs first hook up? We met each other through Matt Cantor of The Freestylers who knew Andy. We were making music, out raving and just having fun, and then I was working with Andy, who was signed to an underground breakbeat label. I was promoting clubs and Andy was making music and DJing. I wanted to DJ so I started doing it on my own, warming up for Andy and Matt. Andy and I got along really well so we got into the studio and started making music. The rest is history.
How have you kept the dynamic so strong over the years? The main thing for us is to always try and remain innovative. It helps us enjoy our jobs and each other’s company, which is very important as we spend an inordinate amount of time together so mixing things up keeps things fresh. The minute you start regurgitating your sound and making carbon copies of other people, you might as well give up the game and go do something else.
Compared to when you guys started out dance music is a mainstream phenomenon. It must seem a lot more accepted in your eyes… Dance music is essentially pop music now. If you look at the Top 10 hits of the last two years, most of them are EDM-based tracks. And there’s been this huge, blanket explosion of the EDM sound in America. I have a friend who produces events out there, and these stadium shows are attracting more people than bands like Queen ever did. It’s kind of incredible. It’s come a long way from a bloke standing handing out flyers near the M25 motorway in London, promoting an illegal rave in a field. Sasha and all the old progressive pioneers in the late ’90s, they paved the way for people today.
Electronic music is very fragmented and formed of localised scenes; has the digital culture had a positive effect
on music? Dance music has splintered, especially in Europe. They’re all producing these cult sounds and forming scenes. People don’t seem so concerned with genres and most young people are so well educated now that they can forge their own unique tastes. We have a wealth of music at our fingertips. It’s a great time for music and great to be a part of it all.
How has your own sound developed over the past decade? We’ve never really thought about our music in terms of genre but right from the start, we’ve always had more in common with house than drum ‘n’ bass and hip hop music. We’ve experimented with them and progressed towards those styles over the years. We found a platform in breakbeat and that became our experimental ground for many years, but we ran out of ideas and started experimenting with other genres instead. It’s been a progression of over 15 years of work; we’ve kept innovating.
People still love breakbeat all over the world, but it’s not flavour of the month, the scene’s moved on. A lot of the energy that people were getting from breaks they’re now finding from other new forms of music that have come through, like bass music, dubstep, drumstep, you know. Kids are steering towards those, as they’re more exciting because they’re new. Older genres, they’ve sort of explained themselves already so they’re less attractive to youngsters.
You’re heading over to our shores to play for Superheroes on Thursday. What are your experiences of Dubai? I haven’t spent enough time there to experience a scene but I’ve played there a few times and it’s always been great. There’s a certain energy too as Dubai rapidly expands. Every time I come over I play at a new venue, which keeps it exciting too.
Aside from your hook up with Drums Of Death, what other music can we look forward to in the coming months? After the collaboration with Drums, we have a remix coming out of Paul Oakenfold’s Ready Steady Go on Perfecto Records. We also have a steady run of singles on our Grand Hotel Records label, followed by a compilation in July.
And upcoming shows… is summer looking busy? Yeah, festival season is just around the corner. We’ve just booked in for Secret Garden Party and Glastonbury besides some others. We love the summer.
Superheroes, The Dek On Eight, Media One Hotel, Media City, Dubai. Thursday March 27 6pm to 3am. Metro: Nakheel. Taxi: Media One Hotel. facebook.com/superheroesdubai