Interview: The Allergies are pushing on
25ThC chats to two of the UK’s hottest DJ’s and producers right now about their forthcoming new album, Craig Charles and 45rpm records:
How and when did the two of you meet and when did you first start producing as The Allergies?
DJ Moneyshot: We met DJing for the Chai Wallahs guys at festivals across UK and Europe about 2011, and bonded over a love of beats and a desire to make them. I had some tracks laying around (‘Symphonics’ and ‘Big Star’) that I’d done, but didn’t know if they were any good.
Rackabeat: They were. I told him he was on to something and we worked on them together, before dropping them as freebies in 2012. People seemed to dig them, so we knocked our heads together and got in the studio to see what else we could come up with.
Your tracks blend soul, funk, disco, hip hop and more. Which artists inspire your music?
M$: The J5 guys, Cut Chemist and Nu-Mark. The way they dig, and re-work samples is next level. Then the early wave of classy big beaters and trip-hoppers like Wiseguys, London Funk Allstars, Chicken Lips, Freestylers, Dynamo Productions, Mekon, Herbaliser…
RB: Then the next gen heads like Fdel, Fort Knox Five, Skeewiff, Slynk, Format, Rubberfunk. Those guys work hard at making something new out of something old. We respect that.
Having checked out a preview I have to say that your new album “Push On” is brilliant and continues where you left off from your last album. What can listeners expect from you this time around?
M$: Thanks, man! You never know if people will get it or if it lives up to the first one, but we’re stoked with it. It was a year’s worth of our lives, and we put everything we had into it. Days and days of digging at a time. Working on eight bar loops for nine hours a day [laughs]. It’s all worth it, now it’s done.
RB: We’ve got Latin beats, boogie, Northern soul numbers, UK rap with Dr Syntax, Andy Cooper battle rapping over fast psych breaks. Plus, party music, disco grooves, and headnod buisness. I think we literally made a track for every style of music we like [laughs].
I am a big fan of Ugly Duckling, having seen them many times live. Andy Cooper from UD features heavily on your new album and on the standout tracks from your last album. How did that hook up come about and what is it about his style that works so well with your productions?
M$: He is pure hip-hop. And by that I mean he knows his history, works on his craft, and is inspired and motivated by moving the crowd, as well as digging grooves from the deepest record crates from the past 50 years of music that make up the DNA of hip-hop sampling. When we work with him he gives us far more than just an emailed acapella or whatever. He’s there, working on the track with us, from the get go to the let go, and he won’t accept anything but perfection, which makes us better and the music better.
RB: His style is perfect for us. He brings the LA sunshine on every verse, and drops jewels you’ll be rewinding again and again. We gave him plenty to do on this album, both on the mic, and even penning songs for other singers, as well as playing keys and stuff. He’s a hip-hop Renaissance man!
Can you tell us about your hardware/software set up in relation to DJing and also Producing?
M$: We DJ with 45s, and with Serato DJ. We like to use our Pioneer DJM-S9 mixer, and we like to cut and scratch as much as we can.
RB: Production-wise, we start in Ableton, working with samples and sketching out the arrangement. Then we export the stems to Logic, and start polishing it up and beefing it up there.
M$: And if we need extra magic, we head to our man Johnzy’s studio complex in Bristol, and he lays over live bass, or busts out one of his vintage synths.
You guys played alongside Craig Charles at Glastonbury this year to a packed crowd. Can you tell us about that experience and your take on the festival as a whole?
RB: It was our first time together at Glasto, but we’ve been there on a solo tip before. It’s the greatest million shows on Earth, and the craziest city in the UK, for a weekend. DJ Chris Tofu invited us to play the Truth Stage at Shangra La, which was an honour. Craig Charles kicked off the day there. He smashed it. He started with an empty field and by the end of the first song 5,000 people were there. He certainly left us with a buzzing crowd.
M$: We can’t stress enough just how much we’ve appreciated his patronage over the years. He’s been the number one supporter of our music on his Funk and Soul Show on BBC 6 Music since day one. He loves his music, and it shows.
Like myself you guys are big 7″ vinyl 45s addicts. What is it about this format that you like the most and why is it still relevant in this digital age?
RB: Since we started putting out 45s like ‘Heartbreaker’ on Wack Records (big up Smoove!) and ‘Blast Off/Rock Rock’ off our first album we’ve seen the scene go mad. 45s are the dopest thing right now, and that shows in some of the prices on Discogs! ‘Heartbreaker’ is a round oner for the sole copy on there!
M$: They are great fun to play. You forget just how tricky it is, and how used to skipless DJing we’ve all become with Serato. We like to start off the night with 7s, and it lets us freestyle a bit more, and it just feels good to know you’ve had to work a bit harder to get that record, rather than just downloading it. You have to respect the digging again.
RB: You can get overwhelmed by the limitless digital files you have on your harddrive. A box of 45s is all you have when you take them out. It makes you pick wiser, and cherish what you have, plus just saving that one banger for the right moment still gives us goosebumps.
What are your top five 45s and is there any elusive 45s that you are still digging for?
M$: The Boogaloo Assassins’ Dawn Penn cover is a show stopper. Plus classic ’90s party rap like Tuff Crew, Mighty Hard Rocker, the Because I Got It Like That remix, and Fisherman’s Grotto are my go to’s for a good time. Then dope block party breaks like Get Up and Dance, Holy Ghost, and Champ…Oh, and I’m looking for Chubb Rock’s Treat ’em Right on 45. Anyone wanna trade?
RB: There’s plenty on the wants list. And we’re trying to keep on top of all the dope new stuff too. Anything on Originals, 45 Live, Dinked, 5 Boroughs Breaks, Nola Breaks, the BocaWoody stuff, and of course, Jalapeno, who are getting ready to put out super dope stuff from their back catalogue as we speak!
When I met you at Brighton’s Concorde 2 you showed me your Syd Def Jam 45s adaptors and I have ordered a set myself and am eagerly awaiting them from Oz. What makes a good 45 adaptor?
M$: I got ours off my buddy DJ Powercut. They sent him another batch by mistake. They have his name engraved on them, but I got ’em cheap, so who’s bothered?
RB: They’re cool. They also sit over small hole 45s to lock down the wax, and tighten the bass. We never leave the house without them. We’ve actually got a pair of the new Mukatsuku ones coming. Super heavy and super sturdy – The two main thing you look for in these types of adapters.
M$: Our man, Boca 45, rocks them, as well as a high end vintage ones made for German audiophiles. You can go deep on this type of thing [laughs].
What else do you have planned for the rest of 2017?
RB: The album, Push On, drops July 28th of this year. Then the third single shortly after that at the end of summer. Then we have a Jalapeno records compilation coming out, along with a new 45 with an Allergies remix and original on, to tie in with that. Then a mix and compilation for Bombstrikes records later at the end of the year. Plus, a side of a 45 with DJ Yamin on the flip for Nola Breaks in the next few months. That’ll be on a New Orleans remix tip. Also look for the next BocaWoody 45, as I think we might have a remix on that.
M$: Then for the rest of the year, we’ll be making beats, doing our new podcast (available on iTunes every month), and DJing all over the place every weekend. If we’re in your town, come say “hi”. Check our Facebook page for dates and gigs.
Interview by 25ThC.