The Dutty Moonshine

Big Band

Exclusive interview

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When did you decide that a career in music was for you?

It was around 2010 after many years of DJing and putting on small events for a few years that I had a bit of a break. I started to remix Jazz and Swing and people couldn’t get enough of it. I went from getting a small show in London being a big thing to being flown to parts of Europe for tours all within 6 months. I remember talking to my DJ partner at the time saying this is a real thing, we could really do this. 

Who are your musical inspirations and why?

I’ve got 2 loves of music and they’re at extreme polar opposites. Jazz because I love the emotion, dynamics and complexities, it feels like my brain is taking steroids when I’m listening to it. And heavy Electronic dance music. I love nothing more than going nuts in a dirty room filled with massive speakers, something so pure about it.

Can you tell me 3 things about yourself that people might not already know?

I’m scared of anything that comes from the water; fish, crabs, seaweed, anything.
I’m a bit of a wizard in the kitchen.

I once played bass in a Metal/Grunge band.

What song of yours best describes you and why?

Hmmmm tricky to answer as I write very few of the lyrics in the band so I’m going to go with our mostly instrumental polyrhythmic song ‘Take A Little Time’, a tribute to Dave Brubeck. That song just has so much in it I love about music, it really is a love story from some of us to the music we love. It’s hands down my favourite song we’ve ever done.

What has been the best gig you have done to date and why?

Boomtown, main stage, 1.30pm, 2016. That is a BIG stage and a very unfriendly time slot but we packed it. It was a real turning point for us with bookers to show we really did have fans and not a small amount of them.


If you could perform a gig at any venue where would it be and why?

Right now I’d be happy to DJ in a living room to a handful of people!
But the goal currently is a headline show in the main room of Alexandra Palace with huge 1920s style production. 

What has been your best achievement to date and what would you like to achieve in the future?

Managing to pull off a Top 40 in lockdown, hardest thing I’ve ever done. In June it will be a year since that and I still find it weird as hell, I mean have you heard us?! We’re not exactly the type of act you hear in the top of the charts.
The future will involve cementing our place in the “mainstream” whilst still doing our odd sound.

Tell me a story from backstage or after a gig?

I was once so drunk for a DJ set I went off for a piss in the last 10min, couldn’t find the portaloo, ended up pissing up the side of said portaloo, saw some people I knew backstage, started chatting away only to have my mates come running backstage to scream at me “what are you doing?!”
“I’m chatting to these guys, Christ what’s the problem!?”
“You’re supposed to be DJing!”
I was so hammered I’d forgotten I was still meant to be DJing.

What do you like best about being a musician and why?

The freedom of hours is a big one. Choosing to work as little and as much as you want is also appealing, your success is only slowed down by how much you put in. Plus the job has taken me to countries and cities I probably would have never visited otherwise. 

If you were not in the job you are now what would you be doing?

Circus was always the career path I was meant to do, had been doing professional shows since the age of 11, it became a back up career should music fail. My other backup career is events management, the irony is my actual career and 2 back ups were trashed in a foul Covid swoop. Very very very depressing.

What has been the best gig you have been too as a fan and can you tell us about it?

The Hives on The Other Stage at Glastonbury back in….ummmmm shit….2013 I think.
I could have wept how awesome their frontman was in that show. 

What would your ideal festival line up be and why?

Honestly Boomtown does it every year. I’m not just going to pick a handful of favourite acts. Kaptin and Wonka the music programmers of the festival nail it every year providing such a scope of wide styles and talents. I salivate everytime their line ups go live.

What would you say is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

Something RuPaul I swear plagarised from me; “If you’re not looking after number 1 then how the fuck you going to help anyone else out?”

What things make you happy and what things annoy you?

Enjoying the finer things in life with the other half is the best. New cities, restaurants, nice hotels, exoctic locations, hideaways with the locals, all that lovely stuff. And people who think they’re the smartest person in the room and are all righteous about it is what annoys me the most, fucking idiots lowering the average IQ of the room when they open their mouth.

What things do you like to do when you are away from music?

Playstation, I’ve always been a big lover of gaming and if I’m not doing music you can find me online. I play a lot of Fortnite and have actually been thinking of getting into competing with it.

Do you think social media and the internet are a good thing in the music industry?

Yeah it’s banging, total playing field leveller if you know what you’re doing.
Just don’t be one of those idiots moaning your Facebook page gets no reach. Another thing I’ve been saying for years is “If you’re not paying for social media you’re the product and not the consumer”.
And if you are going to spend money don’t moan your ads are doing sod all when you’ve only watched a 2 min video on Youtube on how to boost a post. There’s a reason big companies have entire departments dedicated to this area, learn it and learn it well.

How important do you think you look and image is when it comes to being in the music industry?

I’m a big believer you should have an outfit that’s a stage outfit. Doesn’t have to be some mad Lady Gaga stuff, just something that separates you from the crowds everyday street clothes.
And look and image is a big part of selling yourself. Be it to bookers, new fans or important peers. If you’re a Punk band I’m not saying you need to clean up, just dress like you and make sure the world knows who the fuck you are. Own that shit.

Can you tell us about any tattoos you have and the significance of them to you?

Christ I’ve got bloody loads. My other half is a Tattoo artist. One of my faves takes up half the front of my torso and is a giant Dali elephant. My left arm is a works in progress music sleeve filled with meanings and stories.

If you run the country for a day what would you change about it and why?

I’d change how politics works. Fix the politicians, fix the country.
This is a long conversation but it involves a radical change of how the system works with the end goal about making it unappealing for the private school goonies and being about selfless patriotic people wanting to run the country.
I don’t give a shit about left or right politics.
I care about integrity and professionalism.  

What would your ideal day consist of?

Getting up too early, sitting on a cramped bus with 12 musicians and a media and tech team, travelling an obscene amount of hours, carrying heavy gear up a horrific flight of stairs, big old soundchecks, waiting around anxiously backstage eating greasy pizza from somewhere local, sipping on a couple of beers whilst the venue fills up and then exploding on stage for 90min. Celebrate half the night, pass out. Repeat.

What has been your experience during the Covid 19 situations.Can you tell us how this has affected you personally,how it has affected you professionally and maybe a story from this time or a message for people out there?

Yeah not good. The longer this has gone on the harder it has been.
By the time this goes out we will have postponed our tour AGAIN but this time all the way until 2022 to make sure it can 100% happen. We can’t risk having to postpone again if we move it to Autumn this year. 

At first it was nice to have some time off but it’s become so painful. There’s a limit to how much we can get done in these circumstances. We’re a 12 piece and need to see each other to write. It’s not just a case of sitting in a dark room for a few months and writing an album. It involves contact and money. Both of which are in short supply.
I wish I could pass on a story of positivity but the reality is this has been absolute hell for some of us.

If you could say one thing to your fans what would it be and why?

I absolutely adore all of you and wish I could stop time so I had enough time to say thank you to each and every one of you for coming to our shows or buying our records.
For a musician there is no better thing than seeing a comment, a social media story tag or a private message from a fan. 

How would you answer the question Who Are Dutty Moonshine,where did the name come from and what are the differences between you as a music artist and you away from music ?

There is very little difference. What you see on stage or camera is what you get in real life.
Dutty Moonshine was just a drunken brainstorm of fusing 2 words together, one that represented the electronic dance scene “Dutty” and one that represented the roaring 20s “Moonshine”. There were some really crap alternatives although “808 Bootleggers” was always a great name.
Dutty Moonshine was originally a DJ duet, myself and Furley. With a brief stint of Danny Wav being part of that.
Then when Furley and Danny left I turned the DJ outfit into a 12 piece, Dutty Moonshine Big Band, which is what everyone has known it for for the last 5 or 6 years.

What was the first record or song you purchased and why?

Spice Girls debut album on cassette cause I was like 8 years old and wanted to fit in with the trends. I never really liked it but wanted to.

What would say to someone thinking about becoming a musician and getting into the music industry?

Don’t think anyone owes you anything. Those stories of Rock n Rollers with a label doing everything and anything they wanted are horseshit. If you’re not working as hard as other self employed friends of yours then you’re not doing it right. Work hard and long at it, the rewards will come.
Oh and learn about the industry as a whole, it’s not about how good you play your instrument. MCPS, VPL, CAE/IPI, ISRC...know what those are? If you don’t then start signing up to music business resources and read some books or lose out on money and opportunities. 


If you could collaborate with any other band/singer or musician who would you choose and why?

Currently thinking about Misha B and Gregory Blackman as the 2 acts we wish to work with when we can.

If you could have written one song from history which would it have been and why?
Beethoven’s ‘Fuu Elise’...that is an absolute lenger of a tune!

What things make you uncomfortable?

A pea under my mattress. 

If you wrote a book about yourself what would it have in it?

A paint by numbers section. 

What has the rest of the year got in store for you?

Probably lots of pain and suffering, some socially distanced shows and hopefully by the end of the year some not socially distanced shows.
There’ll be some new music as well, can’t say any more than that but shit me the fans are in for a treat!