18 July 2012 text Ivan Hadjivelikov
It is clear that the festival with the freshest line-up (or most adequate for 2012, if you want) is Park Live (in the park next to Terminal 2 of Sofia Airport, 6-7 September). Yet this doesn't mean that there aren't veterans there, who have proved their power in our headphones for the last years. Just like the guesting for third time in Bulgaria The Herbaliser who are playing in the second day. This time they will be here with a full band instead only for a DJ set. And since we love every single beat of them (and they have finally released full new album – There Were Seven), we contacted our old friend Ollie Teeba – main motor in the sound machine – to introduce us his new band and the new album. And like a real samurai of the modern sound, he seemed to has already expected us.

Hello from hot sunny Sofia! Where does this humble interview find The Herbaliser? How is the last summer on Earth going on so far for you?

You find The Herbaliser in London town where it is hot/cold/rainy all at the same time. If you can call this a summer, it is very unpredictable, though I believe the Mayans didn’t know shit. We will be getting rained on in the UK for many years to come.

Finally! The Herbaliser will not play just another set in Bulgaria. You are bringing full live band with you at Parklive festival. Which is the aspect you are most proud of when conducting a whole band?

In The Herbaliser, we are great DJs but the band is what we are most proud of. We don’t sound like anyone else. When you play as a DJ you rarely have the full attention of everyone in the room. When we play as a band, we have everyone listening

Seems you had a decent journey between labels before establishing your own – Department H. What is the difference? Will you make more money now?

I doubt that we will make more money. It is a practical decision really. In 2012 everybody is selling fewer records so it make sense to increase the return we get for each copy by handling the manufacture ourselves. Sure we pay a percentage to distributors, etc. but its much less than a record label will take, plus we own and control the copyrights as well

Will this label release only the music of The Herbaliser? Or maybe we should expect some fresh young guns at Department H? If so, please name some of your cubs.

At the moment it is a platform for the new Herbaliser album. If that goes well then we will see about what the next plan is. At the moment we are not looking at any other artists but time will tell.

You nearly tricked me with that movie poster. Really: if There Were Seven was shot on film, what story would it tell?

It would be the story of a group of seven warriors who return to their homeland to find it in taken over by a terrible machine that is draining all the beauty from the world and forming it into its own idea of perfection.

Which track in it you find really really special and why?

I am very fond of Welcome To Extravagance because it is a dub track, which something we never did before. I think it’s a dynamic bassy beat with lots of texture to it. Take ‘Em On is also a big favourite, we think its going to be popular with the fans of the live show. We will be performing both of these new songs in the show.

Why should people follow you on twitter and Facebook? (I mean, what treats should we expect in the near future – free downloads, stuff, etc.)

Right now we are getting a number of remixes done by various people whose work we are fans of and we are working on some top secret video projects. Keep your eyes out for these.

How does the samurai of sound code start?

Choose your weapon wisely!

Your all-time top 5 of the greatest ever MC’s?

In no particular order: Q-Tip (A Tribe Called Quest), Dres (Black Sheep), Pharoah Monche (Organized Konfusion), Redman, Jean Grae

How do you know you’ve just sampled a gem?

Its all in how you make that sample work for you. Sometimes its not about sampling great records. I always love it when we find a great bar of music on a rather corny record or take something that isn’t great but has a certain sonic quality and then flip it in a certain way that makes it sound lovely.

Which was the last rare vinyl you found that made you scream with joy?

Now you’re asking for our secrets, haha! It was a 45 called Ghetto Love by Bethea the Maskman.

Could you please give me some tips on playing my vinyls and yet preserving them for the generations to come?

Well, the best way of DJing without wearing out records is Serato Scratchlive or other digital DJing methods. I used to buy second or third copies of records that I would DJ with frequently, as I knew they would wear out or get scratched. Now I record the vinyl into my computer at high quality then file the record away, thus preserving it and DJing with the recorded file in Scratchlive, which never wears out.

The soundtracks of which movies would you gladly completely rewrite or remix?

Wow…that’s a tough one. Well, we don’t generally try and remix the things we already love but putting soundtracks to existing material is fun. I once did a DJ soundtrack to a silent movie The Lost World from 1927. It was an interesting challenge, which was very enjoyable. A while back I got all the dialogue parts from Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds and I’m working on a DJ re-soundtrack of that. But as for actually scoring music for a film its something we haven’t really done and would love to do. It would be great to re-score something like The Taking of Pelham 123 (original 1970’s version) though I’m sure we couldn’t better the original score by David Shire, which is brilliant.

Which is the hottest London club right now?

No idea. I only go to clubs when working and we don’t play London much anymore. We often play Soundcrash events in London which are at various different venues. They is always a great crowd that is enjoying themselves. I wouldn’t say this would make it the hottest club right now. When someone says “hottest London club” I almost always visualize a very shiny club playing very bad music to very young people. I guess that means I’m old.

You come from West London, so – QPR, Chelsea, Brentford, Wombles or Fulham?

I don’t really follow football, so couldn’t give a shit. Jake is an avid Liverpool fan as one half of his heritage is Liverpudlian.

The Herbaliser headline the second day of Park Live Festival on September 7
Park Live Festival is in the park of Terminal 2 of Sofia Airport, 6-7 September, 40BGN for single day, 65BGN for both days from


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