In anticipation of the upcoming new album from The Herbaliser, group member Jake Wherry was asked to list ten tracks that influenced him and inspired him to start The Herbaliser.
01. Double Dee and Steinski – Lesson 2 (The James Brown Mix)
Double Dee and Steinski ARE cut and paste. Niftily spliced together nuggets of über funky funkiness. This was done using turntables and a reel to reel, and has aged really well. I still wouldn’t hesitate to drop this track at a club.
02. Lalo Schifrin – The Big Battle (From the Enter the Dragon OST)
As kids born in the early 70s, Ollie and I saw this movie and the soundtrack was a big influence on us. Dark with fuzz bass and hard as nails drums, a very moody soundtrack.
03. Gang Starr – Who’s Gonna Take The weight?
A James Brown sample looped up with a dope breakbeat overplayed with Guru’s super slick flow and a sprinkling of Primo’s cuts. The perfect blend of funky jazz and hip-hop.
04. EPMD – So Wat Cha Sayin’
Eric and Parish making dollars, and pretty slamming hip-hop. This is a club rumbler – the bass shakes the room still! It’s all about the rhyming and interplay of the vocals, held together by a rocksteady beat.
05. Malcolm McClaren – World Famous
Wow. If Malcolm McClaren hadn’t put the album “Duck Rock” out, who knows if hip-hop would have made it across the pond? This seminal album opened the ears of most of the British producers we know. This track conjured up such strong imagery of what the Bronx was like back in the day (when I was too young to afford a plane ticket to NYC!).
06. Chuck Brown and The Soul Searchers – Ashley’s Roachclip
Chuck Brown; he put the funk into Washington D.C. and later was a pioneer of the ridiculously funky “go-go” music. This track from the mid 70’s is a great party track and when the drumbreak comes in at 03.29 it’s breakbeat nirvana!
07. Def Jef – Droppin’ Rhymes on Drums
I used to listen to this on my way out clubbing when I was in my late teens. From the label “Delicious Vinyl” – a label that I loved as it put out hip-hop that blended funk, live playing, breaks and great mc’s… hmmm, that sounds quite a lot like The Herbaliser! This track features Etta James singing on the chorus.
08. Pete Rock & CL Smooth – They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)
From the golden era of hip-hop. Everyone wanted to make beats like Pete Rock or DJ Premier. Crunching drums rocking on an MPC60 drum machine, a perfect blend of jazz and rap. A pretty timeless track that I’d drop anyway still in a club.
09. James Brown – Funky President
James Brown, The Godfather of Soul. I always try and play at least one James Brown track in my DJ sets in case there is a 16 year old kid in the audience, who like me when I was 16, will hear the track and be put on the path of discovery to find out more about The Funk.
10. Lonnie Liston Smith – Expansions
When I was about 18 I started going to Brighton regularly for club nights. One of the highlights of the year was Rus Dewbury’s “Jazz Bop” and I heard this track played by Gilles Peterson. One of the lushest recordings of the classic Fender Rhodes electric piano, and the tune has a simple but powerful message. I remember hearing this and Dexter Wansell’s “Life on Mars” on the same night. Totally blew me away. Gilles Peterson was a huge influence on me and got me into some amazing music. It’s a shame he’s never really seemed to dig The Herbaliser as he certainly helped shape our sound!
There Were Seven is the new album from The Herbaliser, out now on Department H on CD and digital download formats. Find out more here.