18 Sep Dr Meaker – Bristol’s Massive, Live Drum & Bass Act You Need to Hear
Meet Dr Meaker – a massive drum & bass sound system made of electronic and acoustic musicians and instruments straight from the heart of the DnB capital of Bristol.
Inspired by The Prodigy and 90’s DnB producers they produce live music before your ears in an awe-inspiring display of live and recorded audio worlds. Clive Meaker, the man behind the production of the band explains how this works:
“We have a heavy backing track which I produce in the studio, for the live set, which is mainly breaks, sub bass and other things that we can’t reproduce when playing live. We then integrate all of the other live & vocal elements into that mix.”
“It’s a great combination of a produced backbone with a flourishing musicality on top and powerful soul vocals and MC’s… Dirt & Soul.”
Clive is a big Glasto fan and this obviously set the course for his musical development and the creation of Dr Meaker.
“Seeing Prodigy at Glasto was a life changing set for me as it was my first festival ever. I already loved them but that set was incredible. I grew up 10 miles from the festival site so it was really special for me. The late Keith Flint said it was his best set ever. I was a young kid and I’ve never seen a better set since.”
BBC immediately saw talent in the group and from the BBC’s Urban Talent Bursary award scheme they got their debut album funded ‘A Lesson From The Speaker’. They end up winning the Glastonbury Festival Unsigned competition.
Following their success and after many gigs and festival appearances released ‘Moving and Grooving’ in August 2007 – the UGS office favourite from them.
And what is with the doctoral prefix?
“Meaker is my surname and I started to hand in my university work as Dr Meaker. I did this just to wind up one or two of the arrogant lecturers of music who thought they were special because they were Dr’s themselves.”
“They saw us music tech students as being less than the classical artists, so it was a big ‘fuck off’ to egotism and arrogant authority. I was only at university to buy myself some time away from dead end day jobs and I managed to blag it onto a course.”
Putting Clive’s ungrateful university lecturers aside, to fully appreciate the technicalities of their live and recorded performances here’s what their setup (often) looks like:
- Sonor SQ2 Drumkit (Tom Wheeler)
- Roland SPdsx (Tom Wheeler)
- 2x Saxophones (Ben Wood, Shotaka)
- 1x Trumpet (Si Alexander)
- Fender bass guitar (Dan Plimmer)
- Korg MS20 x 2, Moog Minimoog, Roland Gaia, Roland R64 stage piano & Delay pedals etc. (Clive Meaker)
- 3 x Vocalists (Celestine, Laurent John, Tenisha Edwards)
- Plus a range of guest vocalists
In the words of Clive: “Every tune is different so it is really hard to put specific numbers on this. It could just be me or there could be a whole string orchestra and choir onboard. The live band consists of nine of us.”
“The main thing is that we have incredible energy and synergy when we all play together. Which is to make a very unique and powerful experience, again… DIRT & SOUL!”
I stumbled across their live performance at Boomtown last year where I was attracted like a moth to a light by a massive, crisp and absolutely filthy sound.
“We’ve been playing Boomtown from the very first one even before it was called Boomtown.”
“We are close with that crew and it’s been so impressive how much they have grown the event. It’s a really unique and brilliant escape from reality. They are pushing the boundaries more than any other festival at the moment and it’s always a pleasure to come back each year to play.”
Dr Meaker are releasing often via their Spotify, so be sure to check them out there. With such a diverse array of set ups it’s no surprise that a multitude of collaborations are in the works.
“I have lots more releases lined up on labels and some tasty collabs with Riddim Punks and all associated vocalists, Carasel MC, Rosco, Danny Wheeler, Saxxon, Paul T & Ed Oberon, Lorna King, Celestine, Tenisha Edwards, Laurent John, Romaine Smith, Tom Wheeler, Talia, Gold Dubs, Shezar, Xrusade, Talia, Suv, and many more.”
“I’m constantly busy and always planning ahead. Probably got too much on my plate to be honest. I am also working on a new project with a producer, who many consistently vote as the best producer in drum & bass. You’ll have to guess – no telling.”
“We have a mutal love of great DnB songs and so we are working on some of those. Look forward to showing you all.”
Follow Dr Meaker’s socials:
“If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair”