Total Science talk about biscuits and their release on Dispatch

Words by Mat Taylor

Total Science have teamed up with DLR for the latest release on Dispatch’s esteemed Ltd. series, a banger called ‘On The Edge’. The Ruckuz caught up with the duo to talk about it, as well as everything else that’s going on in the TS world at the moment…

Hi guys, cheers for taking the time to speak to us. How are things going?

Well ,we’re both recovering from our weekend shows. We’re not spring chickens anymore! Great otherwise.

First of all, can you tell us a bit about your latest collaboration with DLR – called On the Edge, and upcoming on Dispatch Recordings? The most obvious question first: how did it come about in the first place?

We hate working with Jay as he’s a moany tosser but we forced ourselves to put up with that and get in the studio with him again! Seriously though, we’re all good friends so it’s easy to work together. This was really started by us having a sampling session with DLR’s vinyl selection. Some old dub tunes and a breakbeat album. Then we took the samples up to Jay’s studio and the rest is history

Secondly, when you collaborate, do you physically work together in a studio or do you do everything remotely? Does that make a difference to the end result?

With most collaborations we all get in the studio together and vibe it out. With the tunes we make ourselves that will vary from tune to tune, one of us will write a sketch and then bring it to the table for the other to add his input to, then other times we will sit and write a tune together from scratch.

I’m not a producer but I’m sure a lot of our readers are, can you explain some of the creative process in terms of writing a track? Where do you start and how do you know when something is finished?

This changes from track to track but the main thing to start with is a good folder of samples for the session. We really put that to effect with a recent tune we finished. Went through a whole bunch of 93 jungle tunes and took all the bits we could from them and then instantly got a vibe going once we starting playing around with them in logic. As for knowing when it’s finished, we only know when we’ve tested the track out a few times out in our sets.

Finally, this one is coming out on Dispatch’s Ltd series of releases, not a label you’ve released much on apart from that Nymfo collab. How did it end up on Dispatch?

Well we are all good friends with Ant, DLR obviously works with Ant a lot, and Ant was feeling the track so it made sense to give it to Dispatch. We all want the people releasing and pushing our music to really be feeling it and not just trying to make a quick buck out of you.

You’ve worked together for a long time now, probably longer than some of our readers have been alive. Is your partnership strictly music related or are you friends as well?

Yes we are very old men. We’d been friends for a good few years before we started making music and that just strengthened over time. We couldn’t work with people we didn’t get on with or consider friends on some level.

Running a label yourselves, what advice would you give unsigned producers who want to get noticed?

Have some patience, don’t try to run before you can walk, meaning make sure you’re at a good standard to start with. That might mean reaching out to people for advice or just knowing it yourself. Try not to stick your first ever effort (unless it’s amazing, which would be rare) on Soundcloud and have your friends tell you how great it is, you’ll think you’re at a better standard then you are and that’s not helpful to grow as an artist. Like all good things in life, it takes time to get good at something.

The internet loves lists. I don’t know why, but it does. Can you both give us your top five favourite tracks you’ve made together as Total Science?

Smithy – Tight Fit, our remix of Doc Scott’s NHS, Embargo, Soul Patrol, and Street Level.

Quiff – I couldn’t narrow it down to five, we’ve been doing this over 20 years and made too many tunes for us even to remember. So off the top of my head: Silent Reign, Jungle Jungle, Redlines, Taxman, Contraband, Radius, Squash VIP, Another Time, our Jazznote remix, Green Tomatoes, the list goes on and on…

I used to enjoy hearing stories about people getting their dubplates cut at the famous Music House on Fabio and Grooverider’s show when they were on Radio 1. How do you think things have changed since the days when new music only came in a physical format?

S – It’s a completely different world now. It’s easier than ever to get hold of the music you want. That’s not necessarily a good thing for me because it stops you from socialising with fellow artists like you did back in the Music House days. Tunes were made big from us all being at Music House at the right time, that doesn’t happen now. It’s also made music a bit throwaway, having a record collection was such a thing now you have a hard drive full of music. That said, it’s a lot easier to move house now with a hard drive!

Q – Like Smithy said its a totally different ball game, drum and bass was as much about the group of people who made it and played, and the fact you had to have skills to be part of that group push the sound forward and helped it grow. I still have a pretty large vinyl collection stretching back to my first electro purchases and the memories I have of hearing then hunting down the tracks are priceless in my opinion. It’s just much more satisfying having a physical item than an audio file but again the audio file is the music I want to hear. I’ve had to move twice in the last few years and it is a back breaking nightmare.

The police operation that led to the closure of Fabric has been compared to the highly politicised crack down on rave culture around the time of the Criminal Justice Bill (mainly by me, but still…). Goldie has spoken passionately about the matter on several occasions, along with hundreds of other artists, what are your thoughts on the situation?

We think the whole thing stinks of gentrification. Their main concern isn’t public safety in this instant. They just don’t want a club smack bang in the middle of an area they are trying to develop. It’s money that’s the main agenda here and it stinks!

Lastly for this bit, there seems to be a Free Party scene emerging in London and other cities, do you think something like the now infamous Castlemorton event could ever happen now?

We spent most of the late 80s and early 90s raving hard and were at Castlemorton for 3 days so if it were to happen we’d probably be there. With the world in the state it’s in at the moment we think it could well be a good thing if a cross section of like minded people got together in a field and had a good time without having to pay hundreds of pounds to see the same old acts in basically a massive corporate advisement. So yeah, good to hear the free party scene is on the rise.


Favourite take away food?

S – Vegetable Biryani

Q– Mixed Shish Kebab

Favourite Biscuit?

S – Rarely eat them but I’d go for Lotus Biscuits.

Q – I’m more of a sweet addict and am currently hooked on Kinder Chocobons but if I had to choose a biscuit it’d be chocolate chip cookie.

Favourite Breed of Dog?

S – West Highland Terrier .

Q – A good mongrel never lets you down.

You’re from Oxford, ever been in a rowing boat?

S – The nearest I came to rowing was doing the dance at weddings.

Q – No, we didn’t come from that side of Oxford if you know what I mean…

Similarly, have you ever seen that episode of Inspector Morse when him and Lewis go to a rave?

S – No.

Q – …also no.

Best experiencing of Performing?

S – Two very different events. Pirate Station in St. Petersburg was amazing: 25000 partying to DnB all night. The other was a weekday event in Ottawa: there were only 30 people in the club but they were all up for being taken on a journey.

Q – Been too many great experiences to really pinpoint one. Every gig has a good moment and for me every time I leave the house I end up on an adventure with a new group of friends.

And the worst?

S – Pissing myself on stage at Viram in Miami. Pissed covered shorts are never a good look.

Q – When the adventure is a bad one!

What do you think you’d be doing if you hadn’t chosen a career in music?

S – I was a plasterer’s labourer from 16 to 21 and I think I’d probably be a plasterer now if it wasn’t for music.

Q – I left school with one qualification, a CSE D in Drama. But before I discovered music (the reason I left school with one qualification) I trained to be an electrician, welder, and bricklayer. Before that though I actually wanted to be a pilot in the RAF, like my Uncle Pete (RIP). I was an air cadet before I left school but then I heard electro and my world changed forever.

And finally…

Final question – what’s next from you guys in terms of releases, and in terms of CIA? Any exciting stuff in the pipeline?

In terms of us, we have a track on Break’s 10 Years of Symmetry LP called ‘Betamax’, and collab tracks with Onemind on Metalheadz coming soon. We also have a CIA vs. Phantom Audio EP which is a collab with Digital and Spirit and their label, which should be dropping the next month or so.

With CIA, we have an EP from Nymfo dropping in November or December, and we’re also finishing a Total Science EP/LP, which should be out late January or early February. Both FD and Phaction are also finishing off new EPs for us, so keep an eye out for them. Then there’s EPs from Pennygiles, and one from Phil Tangent and Need for Mirrors, in the pipeline for Deepkut.

That’s it, big thanks again for chatting, and if you’ve got any final thoughts or shouts now is the time!

Just a massive thanks to everyone who has supported us over the years & to those that will in the future. We truly appreciate it.

On The Edge is out now on Dispatch, and you can grab a copy by clicking here



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