“I used to play in bands back where I lived in Dorset in the UK - ska bands, pop cover bands. That's what you gotta do in Dorset to make fun, you gotta make your own fun down there. It's a lovely little countryside area but not a lot going on there at all, nightlife especially. I think there's one club that's only open once a month.” This is where WBBL's music started. WBBL, one of the leaders of the next wave of great bass-masters coming from the UK. Before he was smashing open the ears of clubs and festival crowds around the Europe (And Canada!) the good homie, known in the real world as Joe Gale, was laying a solid foundation for his eventual assault on bass-seekers everywhere. “I went to ACM in Guildford in the UK - Academy of Contemporary Music. It sounds fancier than it is,” laughs Gale. “They're a great school. It's all about the experience you get from going there. I met so many great people there, loads of people trying to do the same thing. People who just want to make their music better, who want to meet and collaborate.” Taking a look at WBBL's output, the collaborative spirit is alive and well, as evidenced by his ever-growing list of tracks with wobbly peers like Slynk, X-Ray Ted, Mr. Switch and Father Funk.
Too many years in the making, a long-established heavyweight of the ever-popular Ghetto Funk label, WBBL made a triumphant Shambhala Music Festival debut on the legendarily funky Fractal Forest last month. A dance floor filled with a couple thousand people was, then and there, turned into a legion of WBBLites. (WBBLers? WBBListas? What's the term we want to collectively coin for the growing mass?) If you want some more in-depth talk of his set, GO HERE, and read the thing I already wrote about it. Earlier today the powerful homie gifted his Shambhala set onto the world, so you don't even have to read what I wrote. You can listen for yourself. Pair up his blistering set with another tasty round of the 5 Questions to get a full helping of wobbly goodness. Here we discuss the Gorillaz, welcoming-ass Canadians and Hendrix's proclivity for plain bagels.
1. What was the first album you bought with your own money?
WBBL: It was the first Gorillaz album on CD. In 2001, or something. It was a good introduction because it was pop but it was dub and reggae and hip-hop and garage. It opened my mind up to a load of different genres. I thought it was such a cool thing to have in the charts that were all bubble-gum pop and you get this dark, awesome album.
2. First time you did something for the last time?
WBBL: Well, this is my first Shambhala. So that's the obvious one. But last year was my first time in Canada, my first time being out of Europe, coming to do international shows. That was a brilliant first time because everyone in Canada is so ridiculously welcoming and nice. That's what Shambhala is about as well. I want to do this first time every time.
3. What's your most positive memory of a teacher?
WBBL: My college music teacher, Rick Lee, was just an incredible thoughtful, bold, tough music teacher. He took no shit. It's so hard to explain what he's about but he's such an amazing teacher. He wasn't like other teachers. He was my first teacher was a bit more like a mate, someone you could have a laugh with, take the piss out of him or tell him his drumming was shit. It was awesome. He'd give you back what you gave to him. It was a good learning experience.
4. If you could spend the day with anyone living or dead, who would it be and what would you do?
WBBL: I'd like to spend a day with Jimi Hendrix but not talk about music at all. We'd just go have a bagel or something.
RM: What kind of bagel?
WBBL: Plain. No cream cheese. I think Jimi would have been all about the plain. All his creativity goes into his playing. If you have anything on the bagel you're gonna start playing the D chord wrong.
5. You get two guest questions today, both from homies in Illvis Freshly...Phil asks When is the last time something awesome sent shivers down your spine?
WBBL: It was a long time ago but I always remember this. I saw Thom York and Johnny Greenwood from Radiohead doing a secret set at Glastonbury. They played “Karma Police” at the end. When they finished the entire crowd was still singing the song back to them. Then they came back and joined as well. It was just a magical moment of everyone's energy focused on one thing. It was really beautiful. That was proper shivers up and down my spine. Music can invoke that.
6. Jesus of Illvis asks, simply, If you could have any super power, what would it be and why?
WBBL: I think I'd have the power to go through anyone's record collection. Say you could go through someone like Nu-Mark's record collection at the drop of a hat, look through all these samples of amazing breaks. They wouldn't know about it. You could take records and they wouldn't go missing for them. You'd have everyone's music collection. Well, that maybe would be lazy, you could dig for records yourself, but how awesome would it be to flip through those collections?