12 Inch Thumpers hard house interview
11th of January 2007 - interview copyright of Frenzy
The 12 Inch Thumpers are synonymous with the bouncy hard house sound, the label having released possibly one of the most recognisable tracks from that peak time, 'Don't Cross The Line'.
Frenzy took some time out to talk to our good friends Jake and Nick in preparation for their gig at the Old Firestation in Bournemouth on February the 17th. Unfortunately Jake was washing his hair so his partner in crime Nick answers all the questions on their behalf!
1. Hi Jake and Nick (aka 12 Inch Thumpers), and thanks for agreeing to be interviewed by Frenzy! Firstly, let's set the scene by telling us a little about yourselves... Names, ages, location, clean driving licenses, favourite food, best kids' program from your youth, sexual preferences??
Thirty years old, living in London, definitely a clean driving license! Quite partial to Fox’s Classic Crunch and a cuppa Rosie Lea. Best kid’s show from our time has to be Jamie and the Magic Torch. We have a sexual preference for very busty ladies!
2. What's happened with the 12 Inch Thumpers record label over the last few years? It used to be release a track every other week (or so it seemed!). Is the label still going and are you guys still releasing tracks on it?
The label has kind of dropped off since the hey day of releasing tracks every other week. Alan and Wraggy (co-owners) both run a couple of clubs around the Guildford area and so were spending more and more time on that. Jake and I started doing breaks and hip hop and some remixes for bands under the SPX guise.
The style of the music just seemed to get harder and harder and neither of us were particular into trance so our production went elsewhere. We have carried on playing out regularly but have recently asked our agency to cancel our bookings because of a new project we are working on.
We have a band that should start touring in the next few months as the album is almost completed. Frenzy may well be one of our last gigs as 12 Inch Thumpers...
3. How did your partnership come about and how did you get into the hard house scene in the first place?
We both met when I came back from travelling and needed a place to live in London. I had been making bed music for the Disney Channel and Jake was crazy about hard house. I asked him about doing production and he asked me if I knew how. I told him I knew how to make other types of music but I’m sure it could be done with his expansive knowledge of the scene.
A week later I came home from work and he reminded me of the conversation. He added that I had better know what I was doing since he needed to pay off a couple grand on his new hire purchase of what started off as our studio!
4. We remember about 5 years ago you used to rave to me about a little known DJ you were working with called Kutski. Fast forward to the present and he's now DJ'ing on Radio 1, guesting on all the big events, and is generally now seen as one of the 'big names'. So how come it's not you guys on Radio 1 and does he still speak to you now he's part of the hard house hierachy?
We’re still really good mates with Kutski. He is of those guys who has so much talent and is refreshingly modest about it all, almost to the point that he doesn’t actually believe it himself. We stay in regular contact and he has agreed to do some work on the new album I have mentioned above.
We’ve collaborated with breaks , UK hip-hop, hard house, drum and bass, and even a spot of trance in the past. Our new album is kind of vocaled out trip-hop so in a couple of years we might even have covered country and western!
Kutski reminds me of an early day John Peel as his diversity and enthusiasm for music is un-paralleled. The other great thing about him is that he leaves all the posing and bollox to other guys. He simply doesn’t need to get in to all of that. He has risen up purely as a result of his talent and it doesn’t get much better than knowing that!
5. Do you like speed garage? We're getting into it at the moment and can't believe we missed it first time around.
I used to play quite a bit of speed garage just before the mainstream garage scene kicked in. I never like to say I like or dislike any particular genre. There’s good music and bad music in all styles. One thing I would say is that I am not fond of the relentless breed of harder than hard house that, in my opinion, has taken the fun out of the scene.
6. You're playing for Frenzy next at the Resonate and Frenzy night in Bournemouth on February the 17th with Andy Whitby. If Whitby is the saviour of hard house what does that make you? The disciples of hard house perhaps? The 3 wise men (or 2 in your case)...?
Hahaha... We don’t really know. Maybe we could be the Inn-keepers...!
7. Have you ever worn women's clothes, you know, just for a laugh like? Did you feel comfortable in them and were you at home just by yourself?
Nope, but I did once go to a ‘Euro-Trash’ themed house party in gas mask, lab coat and rubber shorts. No-one told me that you were supposed to put talc on your nether regions before wearing rubber so you can imagine the pain, shock, and embarrassment when I had to take them off. I reckon it took a whole year before I grew back any hair!
8. You guys must have played all over the place down the years. Have you any special or any amusing memories you'd like to share with us?
So many. It’s odd to think that we’ve been playing out for so long now. One thing that will always make me smile is the memory of playing in Dublin with Jake having to stand on a milk crate because he couldn’t see over the decks!
Other than that everytime we've played for Frenzy or in Bournemouth generally something off the wall seems to happen!!! Hahaha... and usually afterwards on the beach somewhere!
9. At Frenzy we remember a night when you were playing in Torquay a few years ago with another 12 Inch Thumper label artist called Jason Nawty. Complete nutter. Our abiding memory is him pouring petrol on himself at Texaco on the way home.. we've not heard from him since... is he still around or has he had to 'go away for a little holiday'?
We both miss Jason since he retired. We have so many memories of just having a laugh behind the decks with him. That particular night did contain a degree of debauchery. Also, the car smelt awful (or great depending on your viewpoint) for weeks after. Going to work in the morning was like continually sniffing poppers... happy daze!
10. You both produce under many guises and a few different genres. Could you tell us a little bit about your production work and aliases and what they all mean? Are you still producing nowadays?
We have produced under loads of aliases. I think in total there’s over 50 releases under the following guises; Vinyl Coup, The Freak Brothers, SPX, Audio Slags, and the Disco Victims.
Our main project now is the band. We are keeping things under wraps at the moment but we have a drummer/pianist (Nick), guitar (Jake), bass guitarist, MC, vocalist, vinylist in the form of Kutski, saxophonist and a percussionist.
We are currently calling ourselves Skylinerz. It’s a new project where we’re entering a whole new set of problems and excitements so I hope it goes well. We have almost finished a 10 track album and rehearsals start next month. I will obviously let you know if anyone is brave enough to book us!
11. Classic question, but needs to be asked. What are your top 5 tunes of all time? And they don't have to be hard house...
For me, I’d have to say, in no particular order:
12. Have you ever met anyone famous, and is there someone famous you would like to meet in the future?
I have met Tom Cruise and Sean Connery and had a three way chat with them a while back. Isn’t it funny how really really famous people are cool as fuck, but the wannabes are real arseholes?
13. Tony Blair has recently been quoted as saying that hard house is dead, there's no future in it, blah blah, electro is the next big thing, blah blah blah. Is he talking bollocks?
Probably, I mean this is the same man said there were weapons of mass destruction lurking all over Iraq!
14. Is there room in the 12 Inch Thumpers for another DJ? Frenzy's Cheeky Scott is quite good and always plays 'Don't Cross The Line' (every bloody set to be precise). Could he perhaps fill in when one of you is ill or can't be arsed to travel down to Bournemouth?
We’ve played with Scott a few times over the years and we’d always have him onboard ;-)
15. You seem to playing out on quite a few big line-ups at the moment, for example the Tidy NYE Weekender. Do you guys ever get the chance to go out clubbing yourselves, if so where do you go?
We do go out a bit but I usually end up in the side rooms as I’m not really in to the overly hard stuff now. I like something to shake my arse to and there’s not many DJs playing main rooms that do that for me in hard house nowadays.
16. What do you do when you’re not producing and Djing?
A gimp for the wife of course, woo-hoo!
17. Finally, if you had an unlimited budget, and could play any DJs past and present, at any given place in World, what would the line-up and theme be?
Well, I’d have to say, Andy Whitby, 12 Inch Thumpers, Cheeky Scott, Chris B, Big Al Medino, Daina and Jo Jo at Bournemouth's Old Firestation for Frenzy... hahaha! We might drag Kutski down too if he’s free! Cheers!
Note from Frenzy - Frenzy would like to thank Jake and Nick for all the good times they've given us down the years and wish them all the best for their future ventures... we're sure this isn't the last we've heard of them!!
Some photos courtesy of Gekko.