What’s happening D&B heads? The time is almost upon us for the release of Dirtbox Recordings compilation LP; Vibe City!
If you’ve been keeping your ears to the ground you won’t have been able to miss the singles that have been released so far to whet the appetite for this awesome release from Kusha, Sicknote, Sonication & Rheo and Kleu and wow those singles blew the roof off!
So to prepare us for this monumental album which Volume 1 is out today (Friday 15th September) and if that wasn’t enough, Volume 2 is out 2 weeks later on Friday 29th September!
To coincide with this wicked album, I chat to Lee UHF who heads up Dirtbox Recordings as he celebrates the labels 5th Birthday. He’s one of the hardest working people I’ve had the pleasure of working with in this scene so lets jump in and hear what he has to say.
Tell us a bit about yourself, what got you into music and what sort of pathway have you taken through it?
Crikey where do I start. From Sheffield originally, I got into Djing just at the end of school around 98. At this time I was going to raves and loved the MCing side of it. It was Happy hardcore/Rave/Gabber back then though for me. The natural progression to Djing and running events came and eventually around 2001 producing music. Which lead me to running a label Bedlam Records.
Had some huge success in the Hardcore scene getting music on international labels and albums like Bonkers, Nukleuz, Evolution, Ministry of Sound and Resist to name a few. but upon discovering Noisia around 2006 after a trip to “The End” club in London, I started to drift from the sound and into DNB through the harder side.
Around 2008 this turn was complete where my focus was 90% DNB.
The same thing happened from here. Started running DNB events in 2008 (Raw Birmingham) this lead to starting up a group called Dirtbox. (Me as a Dj and producer, We had a beatboxer, an Mc and a drummer) 2010-2020 was a heavy decade of touring the world with this group performing Drum & Bass. and eventually disbanding I started the label Dirtbox Recordings in 2018. Along with this since 2021 I have ran a Bass house label `R U SRS` and also run and co-own a label `VTO Records`.
I think that gets us up to speed lol.
Like with all things Drum & Bass, there are ups and downs, what has been the highlight of your Drum & Bass career?
I’m thankful there are a lot. Some of the gigs I have had have been monumental. I’ve done 5, massive United States tours in the past 10 years which are some of my fondest memories, I have done countless European gigs a tour of Australia that was amazing and probably the crowning moment a tour of China including a performance on the Great Wall Of China Djing.
Did a few Midnight sets for Global Gathering NYE parties in Birmingham. warmed up for some of the biggest acts in music (Deadmau5, Steve Aoki, Tiesto, Andy C, Annie Mac, Chase & Status and plenty of others) I ticked off some bucket list gigs too like Global Gathering, Glastonbury, Imagination Czech Republic and EDC warm up party in Vegas. (Easily the biggest crowd I’ve done 6000)
musically I have producing some great tracks, but unfortunately I don’t have much time for it. This has been mainly down to the fact I have a full time job, a family, run 3 labels, and 2 other businesses one which I manage labels for people in the DNB scene. So a highly has to be this as currently I’m partnered up with Phantasy, Rap and an assortment of other labels too.
Tell us a bit of history about Dirtbox Recordings and what made you start it?
Well as in the previous question the brand already existed, It was just using the name of my band that I had disbanded for it to carry that on. Was a good choice really as I had a good amount of followers on the page and also tons of `Dirtbox` T-shirts done so didn’t have to scrap all that. It was always going to happen to run a DNB label though with my history in other music genres doing this.
Tell us a bit about this project, the Vibe City LP. What made you want to do it?
Because I’m a sucker for punishment perhaps? lol. Easily the biggest project I have ever put together on any label I have been involved in. 24 tracks, 22 artists, 4 singles, 2 albums, 2 mixes and a mass of headache programming this in a 2 month span. I must be crazy but Its been a learning curve even now.
The focus of this project was to show Dirtbox covers all DNB sub-genres. Alot of people paint it with the same brush so to speak. Its a tech label. or Neuro. Or deep. No. Its DNB. and what I noticed is this probably happened to due the lack of sounds like liquid DNB. Which I love and deserves its flowers. It has its place and I wanted to bring a project out to show we care about this just as much. What happened is the discovery of brand new artists around the world. New networking too within this sub-genre which has been amazing and additionally some of our core artists who have been known for things like “Neurofunk” DNB getting involved and actually making liquid for once. So its been a spectacular journey. and one I am infinitely proud of.
The LP sounds like a labour of love, the tunes are all wicked in their own right and so well produced, how easy was it for you to pick the talent and their tunes for the final release and what is your favourite tune from the release?
It was extremely hard. I made sure every single track was something I would play or listen to. So no fillers. I also wanted to cover as many Sub-genres to Liquid DNB as possible with Liquid been a sub-genre itself. This was tough but I think we managed it. there’s tons to listen to. and there’s tons to rave to.
There’s dark Liquid. Commercial Liquid, Deeper Liquid. you can go off into as many sub-classifications as you want. we got it across this project. Its phenominal
In doing this I have discovered so much talent too and make some collaborations for the future. It was also amazing to link up with Sub: Liminal and Iyre who are 2 of the most exciting talents in Liquid DNB atm. They both happily agreed to mix an album each for the continuous mix just for those people who aren’t Djs. And they are both outstanding. Ive had them on in the car on repeat constantly. (Big up Mel on sorting these 2 for me; ))
Have you got any plans to run a night to promote the album?
It was talked about. but this year I had a son who is almost 6 months now and being quite experienced in promoting, I know fully well you have to put a lot of time and effort into putting an event on yourself. with the possibility of no return. and with the labels I cant commit to that. I really wanted to but on top of all this the event running landscape has looked a little bleak for smaller events recently. Im seeing cancellations more this year than ever before.
Hey if there’s any events out there want to host an album party Lemme know
What’s next in the pipeline for Dirtbox Recordings?
A few releases to round the year out including a new EP series called “Rock N Rollerz” which will focus on `Jungle` and `Rollers` again another sub-genre we want to flex our muscle of. but the big news is release number #50. We have a HUGE plan for this and in the run up to it we are celebrating “5 years of filth” this year on the label. so super excited for this can’t wait to let this one out the bag.
Lastly from me, it’s been a pleasure hearing this release early and being able to write some articles on the singles you’ve brought out. It’s an outstanding piece of work from all the artists so you should be proud of getting this together. How are you going to feel on the 15th September when Volume 1 comes out?
Its been a pleasure from our side too Simon. You’ve helped shine a light on this project so I am truly grateful. and I will still be riddled with anxiety until the week after the 29th when the Volume 2 lands
Dont forget to catch up with all the label happenings on all social media @DirtboxRecordings additionally we have a huge video podcast on our youtube called “Yo DNB Wraps” where you`ll be able to hear interviews with alot of the artists in an exclusive listening party” (Like and Subscribe please) www.youtube.com/@DirtboxRecordings
Thank you so much for your time on that one Lee! I can’t wait to see the album storm to success which I’ve no doubt it will.
Further below we have the listening party for the album and clips from both Volumes!
Click the album artwork below to take you straight to the purchase page (the link on Volume 2 is Forthcoming) :