Dungeon Meat Talks


Dungeon Meat have been carving out a name for themselves for producing brawny basement beats that slap heads like a well swung side of ham. Both a vinyl only label and rising production duo, they're here to clear out the dross they reckon has got it's claws into the house scene. So far they're doing pretty well, with last year's dirty bass stomp The Fuck Off Track becoming Juno's biggest selling house track of 2013. They've taken the time to talk to R$N about their roots, their plans, and what they're digging right now. 

Please introduce yourself; Who are you?

We are Dungeon Meat … a collaboration between myself Tristan da Cunha and my brother from another mother Brawther . We have both been deeply into music individually and have now come together to present a shared vision that is Dungeon Meat the production / DJ duo and vinyl only record label . 

Where are you?

We are both based in Leeds , DMHQ where we butcher our beats is in the city centre … Brawther is currently in Japan and will be making a move over to Ibiza for the summer where i'll be joining him on and off.

What are you?

I suppose the straight answer to that question would first and foremost be good friends who get equally excited about all kinds of music and buzz off each other … and naturally as a result of our passion and inspiration we DJ and Produce together and individually under our own names.

How did you first get into music? Who were your first real influences?

Well i can only really speak for myself but in terms of doing what i do now that inspiration came from stepping through the doors of the legendary BacktoBasics in the mid 90's when i was about 15/16 years old . At the time house music was in a very healthy state. The Americans were knocking it out the park as were the French and of course the UK wasn't resting on it's laurels either . So when i was frequenting Basics i would regularly be blown away by music from Masters at Work, Todd Terry, Chez Damier, Ron Trent,  Murk, Kerri Chandler, Roger Sanchez, 95 North, Jazz n Groove,  Mike Dunn, Francois K,  Danny Tenaglia, Derrick Carter, Gemini, Cajmere  to name but a few … the French side of things was coming from artists like  Ludovic Navarre (St Germain) , Playin' 4 The City, Pepe Bradock, Dj Gregory, Daft Punk, Philip Zdar, Icube, Labels like Basic, Straight-Up, Fnac, Kif, Versatile, Basnotic, Yellow. on the UK side of things it was DIY, Paper Recordings, 2020Vision, Warp,  Soma, Andrew Weatherall, Ralph Lawson,  Harvey, Rocky & Diesel, Ashley Beedle and the Black Science Orchestra, Junior Boys Own, Swag,   Nightmares on Wax … the list could go on and on and on, I could write a novel for you but you get the idea …

How would you describe your sound? Are there any significant watermarks that make a track uniquely Dungeon Meat-esque?

Well i suppose the clue is in the name really … it's club tracks designed for dark strobe lit dungeons with meaty beats and beefy basslines … It's music to make you sweat ,make you move and help you lose your mind essentially. We like to focus on the basic elements and make them hit hard so they grab you through the speakers and shake your bones. No frills just bare thrills .

You called this guise a mission to slay diluted, Fischer Price dance music; what exactly are you revolting against? Is there a particular section of the genre that really gets on your nerves?

I'm not answering this one how you want me to as we ain't in the business of insulting people or dissing others … people aren't stupid , you can tell there's a tsunami of mediocre music out there with the democracy of digital music production. Everyone can have a go… A result of this is quality control isn't as strong or as easy to manage…. hence a load of bobbins floating about. But at the end of the day , what we do isn't gonna be for everyone , different strokes for different folks , we just know what we like and don't like … This project is just one take / perspective on a style of music that we love … it's one kind of expression amongst infinite possibilities. 

Who are you listening to at the moment? Any tips for this year's biggest tracks?

Hmmmm this is the kind of question that if we told you we'd have to kill you …. we keep our weapons close to our chest as we work hard digging crates , trawling through a nebula soup of releases each week etc  , it takes a lot of work to find the good stuff and to keep an edge / identity you gotta keep schtum cause next thing you know 10 other jocks are playing it and it ain't as special to the audience anymore because they heard it too much … if you wanna know more about whats in our box then you'll just have to come see us DJ it's that simple…. But i suppose it's a good opportunity to big up the Slapfunk crew who are kindred spirits and share a similar attitude …. Of course our big brother My Love Is Underground. I know that these boys share the same perspective as us … we just want to play music no one else is .

Do you prefer working in the studio or performing live?

They are two different things that are both connected i suppose . It's great jamming in the studio and being creative , exercising your imagination and experimenting in the lab. But then after that it's amazing to see it come to life in a live performance and have some dialogue between us and the audience … seeing the reactions , testing the new stuff out like nuclear field tests …  Both aspects feed each other and i wouldn't say i prefer one or the other although you couldn't have any live action if there was no studio work simple as that really. Performing at Fabric was a huge buzz and we can't wait to do it at MIL x Sankeys in May .

What's the most essential piece of gear in your armoury? 

We don't really use one particular thing or see anything as the centre of what we do however we recently wrote about the Juno 106 in Mixmag as it's always got something to offer in our creative process … Above all the most essential piece of gear is our brains … our imaginations …. without that the machines would be useless. 

Who would appear on your ultimate line-up? Would you choose to play b2b with anyone in particular? 

I'd have to say our close friends … they have great taste in music and are skilled on the decks . It's got to be a family affair and i know i could play back to back with all of them as they got serious selections.

What's you're biggest none musical achievement ?

That's an easy one …. being a Father to my beautiful daughter Pepa. With kids you get out what you put in like most things in life . We put our heart and soul into her and she is full of both those things …  she lights me up and makes me laugh every single day.

What can we expect to hear from you in the near future?

Well i'm excited to say we have just got the masters back for the next Dungeon Meat single … it's called Lose Your Mind E.P and should hit the shops end of May … It's a bit of a banger so i'm looking forward to that seeing the light of day.  After that we have a killer 4 track ep from a new young talent, Julian Alexander coming in June which we are buzzing about. It's straight up stripped down club tracks for big sound systems so look out for that ….and then we will probably be back in September with some more dungeon heat on a various artist e.p featuring individual tracks from the Dungeon masters who have featured on the label so far. It's all about quality not quantity with what we present. 

Dungeon Meat are on Soundcloud. They play Sankey's, Manchester on May 9th – more details here.