Having just released their Hotula EP on Bass Hit Dub, we caught up with Irish production duo Ubblahkan to guide us through the EP and discover a bit more about their journey so far.
Great to speak with you guys today! Let’s kick off with your most recent release, the Hotula EP on Bass Hit Dub. More recently you’ve been delving into the disco house infused sound, what prompted a change over to the heavier, more driving house sound that we hear on this EP?
We wouldn’t see this as a change in sound as such, as we both DJ over a wide spectrum of genres. As DJ’s, we’ve certainly have had our experiences of doing 4,5,6 hour plus sets and these can take many twists and turns throughout. We believe that it\’s important to have this versatility, as you never know what a gig can throw at you in terms of the crowd, vibe etc. So considering all that, while our roots are probably in house, we push the directions both upwards and downwards in DJ sets and productions. Starting a night and finishing a night are two very different things, we’re comfortable with both.
How has the reaction been so far playing this one out? Which track do you feel gets the best response?
They’ve all been great. Variations of the tracks have been played here and there at different gigs and locations, which can lead to tweaks in what’s working/not working. From experience, we generally like to road test the tracks in a proper environment, watch how the dance floor reacts to it. All that considered, Maga Sar has always had a strong reaction with this approach. So yeah, Maga sar.
Working as a duo, do you both take on separate roles when in the studio? How does it work?
Theres no real set roles as such for this, ideas can be sparked and finished at separate sides. We might find that one half has a loop or vocal, or even just a baseline that sounds cool, then we’ll get together and take it from there. In most cases, the tracks a combination of all that then mashed into one final track. Collaboration is probably the strength within the productions, else we’d probably be off making ambient tracks or hardcore techno bangers, we suppose it keeps you grounded doing it together.
Again as a duo, what is the set up when playing out? Simple b2b or do you go with something different?
Most of the time it’s a B2B thing, though there is no real set structure for this. Again, we like to be flexible to what the crowd is going for and also what we believe the party needs to be, so we can and will adopt to push that. Recently, we’ve been messing about with four decks and two mixers, at one stage we even had a drum machine in there (laughs). The drum machines gone now, but this setup is something we’d certainly want to start pushing more, trouble is most clubs have small DJ boxes, so logistically this can be a hard sell.
What is next for the following releases, will we see you bounce between the two sounds?
More than likely yes, we’ve a few tracks getting lined up for release that are a mixture of styles. Our core sound as we see it, is always house, that’s why we got into this game. Depending on the situation things can go in a disco or techno direction, there’s no strict rules for this. We’re music lovers firstly, it can be very easy to get caught up in these things, but a good track, is a good track. Thats it really.
The summer season is heating up nicely, are there any stand out gigs your looking forward to this summer?
We have a few things pencilled that should be fun, playing alongside some friends we haven’t seen in a while. Locally, there are separate gigs coming up with Felix Da Housecat and another with DJ Sneak. Added to that we have our regular gigs at the Thompsons Garage Terrace, which are unreal, we really love playing that spot. Lastly we’ll be doing our usual trip over to Ibiza in September, so watch this space for news on that.
How would you the say the scene back in your hometown has changed over the years?
Massively, we both got into the scene at quite a young age, so we’ve seen it go through so many twists and turns. The scenes had its ups and downs, and we’ve been there to experience them all, but recently things really seem to be driving forward full steam. This is due to many things, firstly the quality club events being run by both large and small scale promoters. Secondly the productions that are coming out of the city and indeed Ireland as a whole, its unreal.
Do you think this has had an affect on the style of music you make?
Living in Belfast, we’re surrounded by a wide range of DJs/production talent. This probably keeps you on your toes, even if you’re not realising it, its pretty inspirational we suppose.
From the start, we’ve had great support from the likes of Stevie Boyd to Col Hamilton, two well established NI DJ’s/ Promoters. Thats also been backed up by label support from the likes of Montel to Skream, through DJ/Production friends like Richie Blacker. Theres also a heap of other people we could mention but all of these individual elements and more make Ubblahkan what it is, so we’d say definitely yes.
Finally to round it off, the sun is about to dip behind the horizon at Cafe Mambo, which track do you drop?
Tricky one this, *The guys start debating what this track could be, swinging from various things like Imagine – John Lennon, Future Sound of London -Papa New Guinea to lesser known tracks such as Dusted – Childhood and everything in between* Can we come back to this one?
Grab a copy of their latest release here which is out now.