Jakes, the big boss at H.E.N.C.H Recordings, only just released his “One Day EP” via RVRSL Records, the prestigious dubstep imprint founded by badman LOST. The perfect timing to invite Jakes for the next episode of our “DUPLOC Podcast” series and chat a little bit about how it all started for him and what is to come for the Bristol-based dubstep pioneer and his label.

Hey Jakes, hope all is well! Your label H.E.N.C.H Recordings is a very well-respected outlet in the dubstep scene. Could you talk us a bit through how it all started and at what point you felt the need to establish a label yourself?

Hello DUPLOC, all good here! I’ll begin at the start. Headhunter, White Boi and me used to clash, making tunes after listening to shows on Rinse FM and other online stations. From there we formed a crew which originally hosted dubstep nights in Bristol. From then on each step was a natural progression.

The first guy I wanted to have on board was LOST. I wanted him to join the team before I knew who he was. At a show I caught Hatcha playing “Slaughtered”, I checked the ID on the CD, eventually Hatcha did get me in touch with LOST and the rest is history.

Eddie K lives here in Bristol and I knew him before Hench through Drum & Bass. I got in touch with Hizzleguy from the day he gave me his first CD and till today I play his music in my sets. Chasing Shadows were friends from Bristol that I heard about via D-Style. I met Beezy through LOST, he is the voice of the clan. The dark master! Mensah was a young lad who used to come regularly to our nights and he wanted to be part of our movement at the time. Vodex was linked up via Eddie K. It actually is all just kind of friends and friends of friends!

Apart from our nights and our crew, as many know, I’m an MC and have been for a long time and whilst making tracks I was MC’ing for TC and Pendulum. I had a choice to make, stay on the road and the mic or make and release music myself. I chose the latter. I was signed to D-Style Recordings at the time and I approached Jon and Al, and asked them if they would like to help start and run the Hench imprint with me. They were a bit apprehensive at the time but I talked them round and they saw the passion I had for dubstep. I did make a few tunes and sent them to Distance, Skream and Benga. The first couple were well-received, but when I made “3Kout” it all really changed for me. Skream played it first on his Stella Sessions show and wheeled it up. The day after I was getting hit up by everyone. With “3Kout” and “2 Steps Back” as the first release on the label back in March 2008, Hench was seen as a pioneering label from the get go.

How would you describe your own sound and who did inspire you? It seems like you have and you still are inspiring many producers, which is definitely nice to see, but on the other hand we feel like some producers just try to copy the sound nowadays and don’t try to put in anything unique – how do you feel about that yourself?

I’m my worst critic. How would you describe my sound? It’s dubstep. Dubstep with an eye on always striving to move forward. That’s why I’m never settled. I live for the moment and that is reflected in my music. I’m inspired by many things. As far as musically though anything with suspense in it. For dubstep I’d say Mala an Skream were big influences on me. I was always catting for their music. Both of them could murder a dance with their respected styles.

I’m flattered I’ve inspired you but as far as inspiring young producers, one thing I’d like to say is bring your own style to the table. Let me be clear on this because it used to agitate me when daily I’d turn on the radio and hear another rip-off. Big DJs are playing pale imitations of my sound. Now I just see it as flattery. I’m a pioneer and that I can sleep soundly with. Be yourself the moment you sit in the chair to make music.

Lovely attitude there! We also noticed you have a good relationship with Shiverz and his crew. How did that happen exactly?

Yes definitely, Hench are the originators and I do love Shiverz like a brother. He reminded me of myself. We’re both called Jermaine and when we met I could see the same fire in him. His Monsters crew are a good bunch of guys making some good music – I applaud him and them. That being said it wasn’t just the Monsters who pushed the Hench-influenced sound. There are a lot of crews doing so!

You had LOST involved as one of the first in H.E.N.C.H Recordings and now a few years later you’re being signed to his very own imprint. Though we feel like this 4-track “One Day EP” is showcasing a rather different side from you – do you have any words on that?

LOST is my brother in this business, glad to have him as a member of the team. He is a pioneer whom I love because his style is very unique. To me, I feel like RVRSL is like the sister label of Hench so when he asked me to do a release for his label, I had no problem giving him music. This EP is a nod to him.

Though this is indeed a style that the public don’t really know me for. I still make a lot of deeper music but with today’s limited attention span I don’t really put it forward that much. That being said with the current state of dubstep, it might be the right time now to get all my deeper stuff out there properly. For this EP, my favourite track is “Tru Thought”. These are older tracks but I edited them a bit to stand up to today. Not much though as you feel they could stand the test of time. From the moment I sat in the studio and started making that track there was a vibe that I really felt. The whole EP is special to me to be honest.

Now we’re talking about releases.. regarding H.E.N.C.H Recordings, what should we expect release-wise?

Well Hizzleguy’s “Take That EP” did actually release on the same day as my own EP on RVRSL. Hizzle is a don. The EP features him and a friend of ours, Kahlil, who has joined him on a couple of the tracks. It’s dubstep with a brief sprinkling of grime. Get the instrumentals while you can because the remix package for that one is going to have some vocalists on.

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Then we will carry on with the Chronicles instalments. The Chronicles series that we’ve just launched is basically a retrospect on what we’ve been doing at Hench, but each episode is selected and put together by someone of the team who also mixes it. Along with a certain number of released hench content which we’re re-releasing, one or two new tracks by the same artist is included in the release. There are a lot of new people listening to dubstep now so they need to be reminded of our contribution to the whole sound.

After that we have my own “Deep In The Trench EP” which is being mastered right now, it’s aimed at the dance floor so prepare for some mayhem. After you might see an appearance from Klan 6ix, a new collaboration project from SubFiltronik and myself. In general we’re also aiming to cut down the time between dub and final release, so keep your eyes peeled.


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