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These are exciting times for MC Jakes. Not content with his status as one of drum & bass’s most
experienced mic-men having first shot to prominence as a resident at the legendary Ruffneck Ting
events back in the day, the likeable Bristolian is now making his name as a producer in his own right.
Knowledge caught up with H.E.N.C.H’s head honcho to find out what all the fuss is about.
Having spent a lifetime with microphone in his of the darkest dubstep producers around – with produce the same results. That’s where Jakes aims
hand, it’s now almost a decade since Jakes was some justification. to step in.
first shown the ropes in the studio by Kosheen’s “I’ve got one piece of advice for MCs out there:
Markee Substance. Having watched, listened “H.E.N.C.H. has just become its own entity – bloody do it! To sit on the other side of it when
and learned like the most diligent of students, for a thing I started on MySpace it’s grown into a you’re making beats gives you such an advantage.
he finally decided to give it a go for himself back monster with an extra arm and head that is really Every MC has the idea of a perfect album that
in 2006, even if he wasn’t too sure what he was taking off. It’s a very exciting time for everyone they could do if only they had the know-how to
actually making. involved,” says Jakes. “Dubstep is a massive part make it happen. I’m trying to achieve a level of
of what I do now. Ever since I started making it production where I can go and sit down and do
Jakes explains: “When I first started in the studio there’s been a steady progression and now I’m at a my shit properly rather than relying on someone
I didn’t even realise I was making dubstep! I was point where it equals the amount of drum & bass else to understand exactly what I want. Why sit
making tracks with really heavy basslines intending I work on. I’ve been loving learning how to make around and wait for it to happen when you can
them to be hip hop but a friend of mine heard it by locking myself in the studio when I have the learn for yourself? I love being on stage in front
them and said ‘That’s dubstep mate’. That’s when chance – now I can get my hands dirty it’s given of a big crowd every weekend but you need to
I really started thinking about doing it for real - me a new lease of life. balance it and realise you won’t be able to do that
now I can say for certain that it’s intentional!” forever. When you can make something entirely
”When I first starting making dubstep tracks, your own creation it’s a very proud moment.”
Three years on and ‘The Jakes Project’, a the whole sound was very new but now the whole
collection of four double-sided releases thing has grown so much from the early days of Friends with a certain Mark Caro since his
encompassing both his own dubstep creations people like Hatcha,” he adds. “When I first heard youth, Jakes was closely involved with the rise of
and some wicked collaborations with some of the ‘Midnight Request’ on the dancefloor I couldn’t the career of the man who went on to become
great and good in drum & bass, is ready to hit the believe it – everything took a while to get noticed Technical Itch from the very beginning. They
streets on DSR. And you can tell Jakes cannot wait but it’s turned into a massive new movement.” went on to produce tracks such as ‘The Ruckus’
to see how it is received. and ‘Soldier’, with the duo also touring the world
With volumes three and four of the Jakes Project as part of Moving Shadow’s stable. Nowadays,
“It’s a picture of where I am right now - this has set to feature more from the H.E.N.C.H. crew their friendship remains as close as ever and with
been planned for a little while but I’ve been so including ‘All About’ and ‘Custard Cream’, it’s his old mucker now residing in Los Angeles, Jakes
busy that it’s taken a long time to happen,” he says. safe to say dubstep should brace itself for a record- has taken full advantage.
“I wanted to learn how to produce properly in the breaking year. Thanks to the likes of Mary Ann
studio before I was ready to release anything so Hobbs blowing the trumpet for the genre over on “I’ve been able to use all his equipment because
it’s been a couple of years of hard work. I started Radio 1 and countless nights thriving from LA I’m living in his house! It’s been a real help to be
at about the same time as we started doing Run to Cape Town, it has come a long way since the honest because it’s meant I can just sit there on
every Tuesday [the night established by D Style at early days in suburban London and Bristol. But my own and learn what to do. Borrowing it is one
Native in Bristol] – I remember Jon asked me to with some of the basslines pushing the extremes thing but knowing how to use it is another matter
do it and that helped give me a routine where I of the probability to the max, the question has to though! I’m almost at the point when I think it’s
could get in the studio. I started delving into a bit be asked: what goes through the head of a dubstep time to bring it all together. It’s going to be pure
of production by learning which buttons to press producer in the studio? big basslines and party vibes and I can’t wait to
and everything has grown from there. It’s been a show what I’ve learnt.”
battle but I’m loving every minute of it.” “Some people go quote formulaic but others
don’t use any rules,” explains Jakes. “It’s a good Technical Itch isn’t the only high-profile friend
Volume 1 of the ‘Jakes Project’ features a link- time for production because everything is so new in high places Jakes is able to call on. He still
up with erstwhile partner TC on the smash – drum & bass can get a bit set in its ways when tours the world with El Hornet for Pendulum
hit ‘Haters’, with ‘Swerve’ on the flipside. But new trends come in but there are no limits in DJ sets, while his link up with fellow Bristolian
it’s Volume 2 where Jakes is really breaking dubstep. I make a lot of deeper stuff but most TC was responsible for ‘Deep’ back in 2007.
new ground, with ‘Rock Tha Bells’ and of the time I get vexed before I make tune to get That combination has been revived for Volume
‘Warface’ representing the latest efforts from some inspiration for the dark basslines!” 1 of The Jakes Project, with ‘Haters’ and ‘Swerve’
his H.E.N.C.H. crew. Formed back in 2007 already getting a serious battering from the great
from the motto ‘hard earned, never caught While the list of hip hop performers who have and good of the scene.
hustling’, the group comprising the likes of successfully made the transition from microphone
Komonazmuk, Wedge, Supa, Blazey, Headhunter to studio production includes the likes of Dr Dre, “Tom’s my best mate so we spend a lot of time
and Gatekeeper have gained a reputation as some Rza and Andre 3000, drum & bass has yet to together on the road, mainly because of the links
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