Before he disappears again, we caught Dubbledge to discuss his new (old) album, Ten Toes Down. The long-lost LP was made a decade ago, with Forest DLG (formerly Chemo) remastering his productions for 2022. That's more vet moves than a mobile zoo.
"The way my life has gone has been very strange"
We dig into the Edge of back then, today and tomorrow, unearthing a brilliance that's been anything but buried. Read on to find out about psychic sons, the album's evolution, and Edge's return to stage and studio. Though, there's much more beneath the surface...
How does it feel to be the only artist on the Potent Funk roster with a Wikipedia page?
"Didn't even know I had one - nah I did really. It feels, bruv, words can't express, they cannot express. I'm like the cat that got the cheese, the man that got the woman. I feel like Adam when Eve first grew some titties. It’s a big moment."
Why has Ten Toes Down taken ten years to drop?
"It's a year per toe. That was the original plan ya know. One day I woke up, looked at my feet and thought, 'I'm going to shelve this album for ten whole years, until the world is actually ready'. Nah, I'll be honest with you, it's hard to remember. D'ya know what, it might have been to do with High Focus. They were going to put it out then I just got side-tracked and life took over. Time passed, I got even more fertile and started making more children, (maybe I was jogging or eating right again or something), but life just snowballed and the project got shelved, just put to one side and didn't see the light of day.
“But yeah, these guys have been moaning at me for a very long time. Dabbla is tenacious, and Illa. They've both been on my case. They're the only reason I even bother rapping to be honest because I gave up a long time ago. I dunno what happened but whatever I was doing just fell apart in some way, I just got completely side-tracked. I went completely off course and the music got put to the other side of the planet."
Over those ten years, how have you seen your relationship with making music change?
"I didn't like music in the first place [laughs]. Well, I started off liking it but I think when I really got into it, as I remember, I'm old school init, my only goal when I first got into music was to go into HMV when those things still existed, was to be able to walk in to one of them, pick up my CD, see it next to Jay-Z and Nas, take a picture, and that was it. Once I hit my goal, music lost a bit of flavour.
“I also found that it gives you a bit of a personality crisis. The phone calls - people aren't calling you for you anymore, they're not calling you to holler at Jerry and see what he's saying or do something, they're hollering Dubbledge now. Every conversation was just about music. Every time I was doing something it was about music and rapping - it just started to jar me to be honest. You get lost in this alter ego and that becomes bigger than you and then that's what your world starts to revolve around, something you made up in your bedroom one day. That didn't sit right with me. I lost a lot of passion because of that."
So have you spent a lot of time regaining Jerry then?
"Yeah, it was easy. I just signed off [laughs]. It doesn't take a lot for me to be honest. It's just that I noticed it and I didn't like the fact that all the phone calls I was getting were only ever about music. I wanted my mates back again. Ain't that sweet."
You've said your music bucket list has pretty much been ticked off, but is there anything you've always wanted/still want to achieve with music?
"Yeah I've never had a threesome with the fans, that's about it. Nah I'm playing. I had small goals and they were achievable, so yeah, I've done them. I was always scared of a stage dive but there was a show where Stig [of the Dump] practically pushed me off the stage, so I've done that as well. So yeah, I'm good man."
Do you think it's better to achieve lots of small goals or achieve a few big goals?
"It's both really. Brick by brick, step by step. If you've got a big goal you break it down and make it smaller. It's like having a plate of food, you can't shovel the whole thing in your mouth like a cartoon, you should really take your time, chew and take it piece by piece. Whether you start with the big piece of chicken or just the rice and veg, it's up to you, but start it and make sure you finish your plate - try not to leave meat on the bone as they say. But I had a small goal with music because it didn't seem like the be-all and end-all, it was a bit of fun, it was something that I could do and enjoy doing, but as soon as I stopped enjoying doing it, that's when I stopped doing it. I guess that's what happened with the album. I weren't enjoying it anymore.
"It was ahead of its time, I knew that"
“I think I just got fed up with the politics and business of it all. If someone was taking care of it I was good. That's probably what happened, you know. Cos it was like 'Them lot will take care of it, sorted'. When that fell through, I was like, 'I can't be bothered to do this myself, I'm out' [laughs]. So it just sat there. But now that Potent Funk (bless their cotton odd socks) are getting on to it, let's do it man. Let's have some fun. It doesn't sound as old as it is. It's a weird one. I was listening to it the other day and some of the subjects are very relevant to right here and right now. So yeah, it was ahead of its time, I knew that, and that's why I parked it."
what are some of those resonating points that carry through to today?
"There was one lyric about vaccinations which is escaping my memory… That’s it, something like: ‘Do you have the intelligence to understand the relevance of governments, handing vaccinations out dis-easing your consciousness’. There was that line telling people to watch out for the way that they're vaccinating you and there's an ulterior motive to it, because I'm one of them. I'm one of them people. I was a business analyst as well, I was doing a lot of work at the time, for ten-fifteen years. I make data based decisions, I decide things on data and because the data just doesn't add up with all of this, I was like, 'Lemme just step back and watch it', and everything I see is just pretty bloody creepy. It seems like there are a lot of ulterior motives and that was what I was alluding to in that lyric - you've really got to look at the motives, whether the motive is health or whether the motive is control. At this point in time, even ten-twelve years later, control seems to be the motive. Well, at least from my narrow-minded point of view."
How did it feel being back performing on stage at the Jazz Cafe with Dabbla, Illaman...?
"They're my favourite dysfunctional humans man [laughs]. They're amazing. Any time I'm on stage with them it's just fun man, you see me smile and I'm just smiling thinking about it. They're nutters and they're genius with it as well. They're skilled and their levels are always on the increase - I love it. I do love performing with them so being on stage with them again and sharing it, seeing them headline and take it over and just watching the carnage and the way they do things, I loved it. Neither of them can dance either so just looking at their legs tryna do things is just amazing [laughs]."
And you've got a whole tune on their upcoming Spaghetti Flacon album, right?
"Yeah they tricked me. Was it Dabs or Ills or both of them... but I was getting phone calls and they sent some beats. But every time they're asking I'm just doing sound effects back like 'Nneehhh' cos I didn't really wanna do rapping. Then finally, I don't know who said what or how, but, (I think this is how they get their women init, they're just persistent), but their persistency got my knickers off basically. We ended up at Sumgii's, I'm there, got the beat, I've written two verses now for some stuff and yeah, these lot are just gassing me in the studio again so we're having fun.
"I lay the vocals, comes out nice, everyone's hyped, it's all good. Then I'm like, 'C'mon then, you gonna put your verses down?' They're like, 'Nah bruv! Nah we're not putting anything down. We just wanted to get you in the studio. We're putting it on like that, we just wanted to hear some Edgy.' It was real... humbling. It's a weird feeling but it was very endearing I guess. It was nice. There's a lot of love there between us. It was a nice little moment. It was just a strange one when they were like, 'Nah, we don't even care about rapping on this. We just want you on the project.' It was real nice."
Speaking of getting your knickers off, I've heard you describe music as "an ex-girlfriend you're still in love with, you still want to get back in bed with her". Are you back in bed with music?
"I usually wear boxer shorts. But nah, I've moved on now, it's just a couple of times after a night out. That might continue, who knows? Under the right influences, under the right circumstances, you never know. Sometimes you do find your way back, but I doubt it would be permanent. Just cos my interests have completely flipped. There's still a love for music but not a passion. Whatever I said in that interview, it's still very similar. That analogy was pretty spot on. That's where I've been for a long time, yeah."
If you could tell everyone on the planet one thing what would it be?
"Hmm that's a deep question. What would I tell them? I'd probably ask them a question. I'd ask them whether they want to survive or thrive?"
What's next for Dubbledge? Or Jerry?
"More so Jerry. Writing books. I'm into books and writing. I've just finished writing a book. Interestingly, I might end up... I might do some music around it. I might turn some of it into a bit of a project so you never know, you might get me back in the studio, but yeah, books. The way my life has gone has been very strange and this is going to be very leftfield but I'll speak on it briefly.
“My son, I've got an older son, he's gifted in various ways and over the years he's become more... psychic. I was always sceptical about a lot of things but this guy can just receive downloads. You can't be sceptical about something that's in your face, like that's my waking day. I've raised this child and now he's able to offer me information that I can't access anywhere else. So I'm at an interesting stage where my son has become my teacher and I thought I knew a few things. But he's able to tap in however he does it, and access probably the greater part of his consciousness, and I guess because we're unified in whatever way we unify, he's able to draw in information and articulate it in a very functionable way.
"It is like having access to a universal library"
“So because of that, I've been asking various questions on all sorts of stuff and turned it into a book. It's almost like having access to a universal library. Or it is like having access to a universal library. The first book I've written is one on energy. Science tells us everything is energy, so what better to go into first as it's what everything is made of and made from. So yeah, that's where I've been - I've been exploring that. I've put the pen to paper or the fingers to the keyboard. I'm just getting the proofs in now, just gone through the third edit, so I'll be publishing that in the new year. Seems like my life is going in a literary direction. Creative writing still, but this time it's slightly different and a longer format."
"It's nuts, it's actually crazy. You just don't think you'll find yourself in a situation like this it’s very discombobulating. It's very esoteric. It's amazing but I'm loving exploring this half of the journey. It's fascinating. I've spent how many years on Earth asking all sorts of questions and now I'm getting answers for some reason, so it's a beautiful thing."
Any thanks and shouts to give?
"Yeah of course. Problem Child init. Mainly Sumgii, Dabbla and Illaman. The shouts are to them really, and anyone else who's involved in the project. I've got Micall Parknsun on there, Kyza is on there, T.Bear is on there. It's so crazy because when I'm thinking about it I'm thinking about when we was in the studio like ten, eleven, twelve years ago with Chemo [Forest DLG]. Shout out to Chemo as well! Ah man, it's just surreal but I'm loving the fact that the project is gonna come out because there's an amount of people around me who have been on my case about it. Still to this day they cuss me cos they still haven't heard it like, 'Yo, what happened to this? Remember that?". They can all shut up now because it's actually going to come out. So yeah, shout out to everybody involved."