A new wave of reggae artists has emerged over the past decade, most notably outside the genre’s birthplace of Jamaica, and Gentleman’s Dub Club are leading the charge out of the UK. Their highly anticipated second full-length album The Big Smoke comes out November 13, 2015 on tastemaker label Easy Star Records with pre-orders on iTunes here and a physical pre-order in both the UK (http://bit.ly/GDC-TMStore) and the US (http://bit.ly/EasyStarGDC). The Gents (as they are affectionately known) have become a bass music powerhouse in England since debuting in 2006, pushing a unique sound that is both diverse and accessible – spanning dub instrumental workouts, uptempo deep drum and bass grooves, and classic golden age reggae vibes. They join their new Easy Star labelmates The Skints and Backbeat Soundsystem at the forefront of the UK reggae scene, and with The Big Smoke, they show they are ready to win fans all over the world as well.
The band’s first studio album FOURtyFOUR was released in 2013 and has securely remained in the iTunes UK reggae charts ever since. Both EPs that preceded it, Members Only and Open Your Eyes (which featured their hit song “High Grade”), were great introductions to a band that Clash Music calls “…the hottest band on the reggae/dub scene right now.” Since then, the nine-piece band, originally formed while at University in Leeds, moved to London where this shift in location and experiences within the new city helped shape their new album, The Big Smoke. Using London as a backdrop, The Big Smoke explores everything from the personal to the philosophical and is peppered with the trademark GDC sense of fun and vitality. A return to a more raw roots sound is evident, along with a markedly upfront writing style, underpinned by the band’s familiar monstrous horn riffs and cavernous bass lines.
The album was recorded in late 2014 in two studios including Prince Fatty’s (Lily Allen, Dub Syndicate, The Skints, Hollie Cook) Brighton studio and Evergeen Studio in Hackney Wick. “Mike Pelanconi, a.k.a. Prince Fatty, is a good friend of ours, and more importantly has the best sound around,” said bass player and producer Toby Davies. GDC had a great time with Prince Fatty, utilizing instruments and gear dating back to the 60’s and 70’s to create the authentic roots reggae and dub sound they embodied with The Big Smoke. GDC have developed a reputation for their high-energy live shows, due in part to Harry Evergreen, their manager and sound engineer. Evergreen’s studio allowed the band to combine their vintage instruments and gear with modern techniques to finish off The Big Smoke recording sessions. In order to mix the tracks GDC turned to Al Breadwinner at The Bakery studio just outside Manchester. Never far from their roots and always striving for the old school approach to reggae, Breadwinner’s sound gives the album a “real identity” according to Davies.
The Big Smoke takes listeners on a well-paced and diverse musical journey, with guest appearances by major UK reggae talent and “Bedroom Eyes” writer Natty (on “One Night Only”) and tenor sax star Josh Arcoleo (best known for his work with the legendary Pee Wee Ellis as well as Joss Stone, Katy B, and many others). The album kicks off with the romper stomper opener “Music Is The Girl I Love,” a track already championed by David “RamJam” Rodigan, who stated, “This new song from GDC is outstanding and I am hooked big time! ” Up-tempo tunes (the catchy single “Bad Girl,” “Pressure”) mix with dubbier tracks (“Earthquake,” “Extraordinary”) to the sparse dub echoes (“Afraid of the Dark”) kin to Basic Channel and instrumentals (like “Enter The Chamber,” which fans will recognize as often being the band’s live show opener).
Live, the band delivers such a notable show that they have appeared on bills with The Wailers,Enter Shikari, Clean Bandit, Sam Smith and DJ Fresh just to name a few. Over the years the Band has performed at major festivals worldwide including Glastonbury Festival (UK), Fusion Festival (Germany), Ostroda Reggae Festival (Poland), Outlook Festival (Croatia), Sula Fest(India) and have headlined legendary venues such as London’s ‘Roundhouse’ and Croatia’s ‘Pula Amphitheatre’. Gentleman’s Dub Club have also been featured by numerous radio outlets and DJs in the UK, including David Rodigan of BBC 1Xtra, Don Letts of BBC 6 Music, Huw Stephensof BBC Radio 1, XFM, Capital Radio and Rinse FM.
The Big Smoke will be available digitally and on CD and vinyl. Pre-orders can be found here (iTunes: http://smarturl.it/TheBigSmoke-iTunes, physical UK http://bit.ly/GDC-TMStore and physical US http://bit.ly/EasyStarGDC). The music video for “Bad Girl” will premiere in October, during the band’s fall tour. In conclusion Davies enthusiastically states, “We are hyped to get more material out there and to work with Easy Star Records. It’s been an incredible process that we’ve all enjoyed and we hope that comes across in the music. We also want to thank our fans, who are the reason we keep doing this and give us all the motivation and energy to push things forward.”
Gentleman’s Dub Club are:
Luke Allwood (Keyboards)
Toby Davies (Keyboards, Bass, Vocals)
Harry Devenish (Sound)
Tommy Evans (Drums)
Kieren Gallagher (Saxophone)
Niall Lavelle (Percussion)
Matt Roberts (Trumpet)
Johnny Scratchley (Vocals)
Nick Tyson (Guitar)
13 NOV – M11 – MILTON KEYNES, UK
20 NOV – MR KYPS – POOLE, UK
21 NOV – MADNESS HOUSE OF FUN – BUTLINS, UK
12 FEB – MOTION – BRISTOL, UK
13 FEB – PRINCESS PAVILION, FALMOUTH, UK
16 MAR – HORIZON FESTIVAL – BANSKO, BGR