Photo: Callum Chaplin
When did you move to Bristol?
I moved here for university in 2003, at the time I always expected I’d end up back in London where I grew up, but the more I got into the music scene here I ended up falling in love with the city and haven’t left since!
Who’s your top Bristol artist at the moment?
To be honest, even narrowing it down to a few is hard… Bristol is swimming in talent! My personal favourite Bristol artist of any genre, and, in my opinion, British hip hop’s best kept secret, is the great Sirplus – so big up him. Been a Joker fan for years too, and heard a few of his new bits out recently which were sounding sick. Lamont is always pushing boundaries with his production, and the work he does with MCs.
All the Bristol-based Durkle Disco guys obviously: Slowie, Ngaio, Dash Villz, Juma, Unkey, Boa Kusasa (OK, they’re Glastonbury, but close enough!), Redders, K Stylz… Sir Hiss, Emz, Jay0117, Dimpson, OH91, Double and those guys have definitely put Bristol grime back on the map, and Buggsy has been killing it for years. The dubstep scene is the best it’s been in ages too – obviously Bandulu kinda leading the pack, but lots of younger crews coming through with sick releases and events too. Superkitchen/Club Djembe and the Sprung guys are all killing it UK Funky-wise as well. And then you’ve got some real originators like Rob Smith, Die, Pinch & Peverelist still making, and pushing, some incredibly fresh forward thinking stuff. Bristol is healthy basically! And all this is without really touching on the hip hop, reggae/dub, DnB worlds… I could be here all day with this question!
What are your go-to places to eat and drink?
Forget the music… this is the kinda question I’ve always wanted to answer haha (I probably watch too much ‘F*** That’s Delicious’ and ‘Parts Unknown’ to be honest)! Matina is definitely a favourite spot when it comes to value, just a shame it’s only open during the day. Eat-A-Pitta is decent too. Also Wing’s Diner in the Small Bar is great, and recently discovered Brother Thai who come to the Harbourside Market once a week. For special occasions The Ox & Pasta Ripiena are both right up there, or for bigger group meals The Mayflower & Caribbean Croft are both consistently good. My two favourite pubs in Bristol are The Plough and The Bell… and The Pipe & Slippers will always have a special place in my heart as the name Durkle Disco was born there, and we’ve filmed parts of three different music videos in there! I’m also a bit of a coffee fiend… best I’ve found in Bristol are Ceres or Small Street Espresso, or the Vietnamese iced coffee from the Big Bao hut in Broadmead. Two things we are missing that I’d love to see more of though: bagels & Turkish food!!
What’s the perfect way to spend a day here?
I wouldn’t even want to presume to tell someone ‘how to spend the perfect day in Bristol’… I think the beauty of it is that there is, without being clichéd, something for everyone here. For me personally though it’d probably involve strong coffee to start, some time strolling outdoors – Bristol is so sick when the sun is out – maybe at The Downs or down by the water in Hotwells, watching Spurs win (and going more grey in the process) at The Plough with the boys, decent food and some drinks, and then either a quiet night in with my better half (I’ve definitely slowed down a lot over the last few years) or obviously playing a gig somewhere… it’s generally one of two extremes in the evening for me! All or nothing, haha.
What’s your favourite thing about the city?
I guess what made me stay in the first place… it’s a very open, welcoming place with a lot of diversity for a city this size. Music, food, culture, people – it really is punching above its weight in all of them in my opinion. I always describe it to people who haven’t spent much time here as the world’s biggest village – it’s big enough that you shouldn’t get bored any time soon, but small enough that it still feels personal. Also the older I get, the more I appreciate that you can be out in some beautiful countryside in about 20 minutes… definitely a nice counterbalance if you spend a lot of time either in dark loud clubs, or staring at a screen all day. We’ve got some nice green spots in the city too as well to be fair.
And your least favourite?
Public transport and the roads in general are a bit of a mess… kinda undermines Bristol’s green credentials unfortunately. Also homelessness has been growing seemingly uncontrollably for the last five years or so, it’s really sad to see, and seems to be a pattern across the UK. On a cultural level the lack of smaller venues is worrying too as it makes it much harder for people to start things on a grassroots level.
Any top venues?
I guess the venue I’m most associated with is Motion, having been a resident at The Blast events there for a long time now, and have had many good nights in there. When I was part of a live act, Central Spillz, we used to love playing Thekla too – perfect balance of a decent sized stage but still feeling like you’re in the mix with the crowd… The Croft used to have that feeling too, especially during the first wave of dubstep. We run parties at Cosies, but have loved that venue for a long time before that too… it has something quite rare in that it’s enjoyable on a chilled one or when it’s proper rammed and turns into a rowdy sweatbox. Most venues it’s a bit more either/or if that’s makes sense? Oh also Trinity and Black Swan… don’t get to either of them that regularly, but both are IMMENSE with the right sound system in them! Have had some intense experiences playing Subloaded nights at both of those venues. Also two venues I really miss, both as an artist and punter, are Native and The Tube. If you were there… you know!
What have Durkle Disco got planned for the rest of 2019?
Continuing to keep pushing the releases we’ve had out this year – ‘Bad’ by Kouslin & Logan, and ‘BTTF’ from Boa Kusasa & Redders. Both have had great support all year. By the time this interview comes out the next single ‘Ego Check’ courtesy of Denham Audio & Juma should be out too, and we’ve got more music coming before the end of the year from the likes of Riko Dan, Slowie, Jay0117, Emz, Fonzo & Korostyle. We’ll also be back with one of our semi-regular club nights at Cosies on December 6th… they’re always a vibe! Then patterning up more of the same to carry the momentum from 2019 into 2020 basically.
Watch Jay 0117’s In Stereo session here: