Ahead of the Epidemik 21st Birthday at Fire on November 11th, we spoke to Rinse FM legend Uncle Dugs. Dugs has been involved in Pirate Radio for over 20 years, managed Rinse between 1999 and 2005 overseeing the arrival and development of world conqueringÂ genres Grime and Dubstep, and also hosts his infamous “Run Come Follow Friday” show every Friday. Here’s what he had to say…
Do you want to give a quick intro to our readers who might have heard the name but donâ€™t exactly know what youâ€™re famous for?
My name is Uncle Dugs and I am a Jungle / DnB DJ from Rinse FM that has been playing music in the rave scene for 25 years. My radio show is the only legal daytime radio show playing oldskool rave and jungle music in the world.
Youâ€™ve been on Rinse from the early days, what does Rinse FM mean to you?
Rinse means a great deal to me. Not only do I DJ on there but for many years I managed the station to. I have seen many youngsters come through the doors as relatively unknown artists then within a few years grow into the stars of the underground and even overground. I am proud to be a part of Rinse FM, its a station that gives so many people including myself a platform to showcase what we all do best and they push us to succeed and become the best we can in the genre we represent.
How does it feel to have been part of the reason emerging genres like Grime and Dubstep became what they were, not only in the UK but worldwide by giving them that regular platform to broadcast worldwide? And do you see a new genre coming out from the London / UK underground anytime soon?
I am very proud of the role I played in helping Grime and Dubstep move out of the shadowsÂ and into the light via Rinse when I was managing it. Seeing people like Dizzee, Skepta, Skream and all the others I have watched conquer the world is a very proud and humbling feeling. Knowing that I helped underground UK music in some small way to reach the heights I have watched it reach is an amazing feeling and the buzz of seeing genres and musics go from nothing to something is very special. Not only that but since Rinse gave me the platformÂ to do my rave history show #RCFF I have actuallyÂ made my show and my career something that has in itself become a part of the fabric of rave culture. If i’m honest I cant really see any new genre bursting through like what Grime and Dubstep did a few years back, I really hope i’m wrong becauseÂ there is nothing better than watching a scene and its soon to be stars grow out of nowhere but at this moment I really dont see it. Sub genres seem to be the thing now, little off shoots from already popular music which I guess you could argue that Grime and Dubstep both started in that way but once they established there own identities they ran with it. I guess Funky House had a go at it but it didnt really catch a fire like the others. As I say I would love nothing more than to see a new scene comeÂ from nowhere and take over the world, maybe i’ll start one if it dont happen soon !
What does it mean to have such a successful and long running show on rinse, with the regular audience it gets?
It means the world to me. Radio has always been a massive part of my life, I have been doing shows on pirates since way back in the 90’s long before anyone really cared about me as a DJ putting bums on seats. Radio was always there for me when it felt like promoters didnt care, radio was my rave, the listeners were my audience of ravers so I played my shows every week with 110% passion and love. Fast forward through the years as I slowly climbed the ladder to where I am now with the show I do on Rinse I feel like radio is the reason why I now get to play all over the place for the best promoters in both rave and festival land. I gave my all to radio and radio gave me a career, I owe everything to my show and my radio background it really is as simple as that. Now to have the show and the listener-shipÂ I have got is something I am double proud of and take very seriously. My family of listenersÂ really are second to none.
Throughout your whole career in music, what have been some of the stand out moments from either DJing or any particular interview?
My first proper club gig at Oscars in Clacton in 1995
My first big festival booking (Bestival) in 2011 playing after Benga and Skream and before Zinc to about 3000 people
My first Jungle Fever gig and my first Kool birthday gig after being a life long fan of both Kool and Fever
Playing oldskool Jungle in a rave Japan for Fierce sounds then going to Dommune radio in Tokyo to do a show to almost 40,000 listeners
My first ever radio show on Conflict 88.4FM, probably the most nervous I have ever been
My first show on Kool FM, Kool was my biggest inspiration as a up and coming Jungle DJ so to land a shopw on there was a big deal for me
The interviews I do on my show are all amazing but a few stand out guests would be Goldie, Marc Mac (4Hero), Guy Called Gerald, Chase and Status, Zinc, GQ, Ahhhh to be honest the list could go on and on.
Playing at my own parties, Revival, Vibena Jungle etc, knowing that everyone there has come to see you play is a very special feeling. It makes me play out of my skin knowing its a home crowd so to speak.
Having Congo Natty / Ram Records and Sub Base all ask me to officially mix there back catalogues for them. 3 of my favourite labels who I respectÂ to the max.
How does Rinse FM compare from when it was pirate to now? What are the changes you like and is there anything you miss?
Obviously it was a little more rough and rugged back in the day but probably not as much as people would think. Rinse always ran like a professionalÂ outfit even as a pirate, we always had rules and we always enforced them. I guess the main difference now above everything is that the authoritiesÂ wont be coming through the door to take my tunes haha. Apart from that there really isn’t a massive difference, this is why it’s such a great station. They have kept that pirate ethos what made it great originallyÂ and turned that into an amazing undergroundÂ legal station. Londons legal pirate I guess.
Have you seen a new generation of Jungle followers come through as a result of your show on Rinse, or is it a lot of the same faces from over the years?
Yes 1 million percent.Rinse have generally got a young audience, what me doing my show on there has done is opened all the great music,vibes and stories up to a new world of younger generation listeners and ravers. I meet people every single week that listen to the show and come to see me play that are younger than the music they want to hear in my sets. I have listeners from around the world that were born in the 90’s and 2000’s which used to blow me away but now has just become the norm. I think a big part of it as well is that rave culture has become fabric of a certain part of our society so the younger generation have grown up immersed in jungle etc from mum, dad and other family members and friends so it’s just normal to them. You’d be surprised how many 15-25 year olds know the ins and outs of rave history through not only listening to my show and interviews but wanting to find out more about this great scene that we have been blessed with. Great music and good vibes never age, they mature. A good song is always a good song, an old song is new to fresh ears. What we loved in the 90’s still has its place in todays youthÂ culture believe me, I see it every single week in clubland
Looking forward to Friday night, what are you anticipating from the night and Epidemik crowd in general?
Epidemik is always a good party with good people. Grant lives and breathesÂ this scene, he loves a moan but behind that he flipping loves it and that shines through in his parties. I always enjoy playing at his parties and i’m sure this weeks event will be no different from the rest. Bring your best moves and bring your happy faces cos its Epidemiks birthdayÂ party this Friday at Fire..!! Get ready to party..!!
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