Bass music legend Jermaine Jacobs (better known as Jakes) is fresh off the triumphant win of the Red Bull Culture Clash with fellow artists Pinch and crew, and has a new EP, Trippy, that just dropped on H.E.N.C.H. From the label’s Bristol HQ, he delves deeper into the subject of genre labeling, his favored US tour stops, the state of drum & bass, and his personal studio processes.
Tell us about how you and the Subloaded crew shut down the competition? Who was repping with you? Which tunes dropped the heaviest?
The crew consisted of Pinch, Joker, myself, R.S.D and Chef on the decks with Sgt. Pokes and Riko Dan and me on mic duties. All of us came with special plates specifically tailored for the situation. Pinch had plates with Riko Dan, R.S.D came with a special Dr. Who dub track, Joker had a “Brown Paper Bag” spesh—with Dyna calling out the other systems—and I made a dub of “3k Lane” (all 3 versions) mixed with Warface and Footsies’ “Certified” vox layered over it. I call it “3k Face.” Those were just some of the tracks we murdered the competition with. The other sound systems gave it a good go but ultimately we came ready for war!
Tell us about your latest Trippy EP. Which of the tracks are doing the most damage on the floor?
The EP was a labor of love, really. I wanted to take a step back in my sound but still keep it current. I wanted to mix in what I’m listening to at the moment so obviously there’s a heavy trap influence, but I blended it in a subtle way with elements of D&B and ska. “What” seems to be the one in the lead on the dancefloor right now. It’s also my favorite from the EP, but all of the tunes do damage when played at specific times. It was designed that way.
Can you tell us about the bonus track? Where can fans get a hold of it?
The bonus track, “Trees,” is available exclusively on the D-Style website.
How do you feel about the labeling of specific styles in dubstep? Riddim seems to be quite the buzzword these days. What’s your take on that?
It’s all dubstep, end of!
Now for a bit of a history lesson for the newbies. When did you first break as a vocalist?
1999 was when I stopped working a 9 to 5, but I’d been bubbling before then. At the time I was E-Z Rollers’ front man alongside the Lady Roller. [I was] also working with General MIDI, Starecase, Timo Mass, and of course Tech Itch.
What vocal productions are you working on at the moment?
Recently I’ve teamed up with Negus over at Power Of 3 Records. We’ve had quite a bit of success with what we have done so far. “Walk the Walk” and “One Man army” are anthems. Both had the full treatment. Deadbeat came with two amazing videos that have received a lot of praise. The next installment, “Hit Me With It”—featuring Ayah Marar of Calvin Harris fame—is ready. I see it getting some attention. Also in the pipeline are collaborations with my bro TC, something with [longtime friend] Loco Dice, Loadstar, and a couple things I can’t really talk about right at this moment.
Coming from a drum & bass background, how do you feel about the closures of many UK-based D&B radio shows? Where do you see that genre heading?
It’s happening worldwide and not just to D&B. Dance music on a whole is feeling a little peak right now. That being said, the amount of D&B that is getting mainstream success is on a level I’ve not seen until now. I used to front Pendulum for a minute and I got to see a lot, but right now the doors are wide open. Sigma just had two #1 singles; something as a D&B head I’m proud of and we should all be. It’s all one big circle. Times it’s hot and times it’s not.
Where are some of your favorite places to visit in the states?
L.A, Denver and New York are my top three.
Any forthcoming H.E.N.C.H. material we should look out for?
The Chronicles compilation that we are putting together at the month is worth a mention, as is the fact that a couple new people will be coming on board and there will be singles, collaborations and remixes from people in the scene that I think can bring something to the table.
By Amanda Ross