Celebrating Old Skool Music, Culture and Legacy
A series of quick-fire Q&A’s with the people that helped shape the old skool scene…
Uncle Dugs (AKA Simon Duggins) is a respected DJ having made his name both playing at events and on pirate radio. He currently plays every Friday on Rinse FM and is also the author of “Rave Diaries & Tower Block Tales“.
At this years Lazy Sunday festival The Rave Generation was lucky enough to catch a brief moment with Uncle Dugs as he came off stage having just whipped the crowd with a mix of classic jungle and hardcore breakbeat. Completely at ease – what you see is what you get – he was more than happy to spend time chatting with the crowd gathered around the edge of the stage.
Do you get to play many family raves?
Not too many but a few. I’m so surprised at this though, just look how good it is, it’s a proper festival. I said on the mic just a minute ago that when Jay (Jay Folly, AKA DJ Fat Controller) booked me, he said “I’m doing this thing at the back of the pub in a beer garden”. I play at like garden parties and stuff, and so I just thought I was going to turn up and it would be like a couple of hundred people and a marquee! When we came down the road in the taxi there were people parking in fields and shit like a proper fucking festival! I walked in and there’s bouncy castles! Look at the stage… I’ve been DJing in a fucking mouth!
There’s a real interest in the old skool scene at the moment. Why do you think that is?
I think there’s a load of reasons but one of the biggest reasons, to keep it as short as I can, is that when I was young my mum and dad listened to the music they listened to, so as a consequence I’ve grown up liking the Beatles. And now I know every word to every Beatles song. These kids of the rave generation, they’re growing up knowing the words to Awesome 3 “Don’t Go” or whatever the case may be. Those are their memories as kids and it’s what’s normal to them. So now, from the little kids that are here today, through to the teenagers that I play to, they love old skool. They love it. They know the words, and they know the drops. I just think if the music’s new it doesn’t matter if it’s old. Does that make sense? When you hear the music in the club for the first time and it creates a vibe, it doesn’t matter if it’s the first time around or twenty years later – it’s still the same.
It’s been ten years since the rave breaks scene took off. Do you think that helped renew interest?
I’m not really too keen on the rave breaks thing to be honest. Music is music, it’s subjective. So for me… (takes a pregnant pause) I just like things that I like. When the rave breaks thing came about I know it had its crowd, and it was popular, but for me… (laughs) it’s not for me! Respect to Bunter and Slipmatt who were big in that game, pushing it from early… but I don’t know, I’m a stickler for the originals you know? I don’t own any rave breaks tunes because it just didn’t connect with me. But go to Raindance and you’ll hear it played out to a full main arena so maybe I’m the odd one out!
Straight after coming off the decks, and rather than kicking back and soaking it all up, Dugs opted to take the mic on several occasions during Fat Controller and Billy Bunter’s sets. His passion and knowledge of the scene is clear – be sure to catch him every Friday on Rinse FM.
You can catch Uncle Dugs every Friday on his Run Come Follow Friday radio show on Rinse FM (11am to 2pm).