Made up of Jake Wherry and Ollie Teeba, the DJ/production duo were key figures during Ninja Tune’s ascent as label de rigueur in the jazz influenced instrumental hip-hop circles of the mid-late 90s (a circle not nearly as small as it sounds).
Round the turn of decade The Herbaliser began experimenting with live instrumentation, even introducing a horn section into their setup, they went onto release music on !K7 Records and Fabric, as part of the fabriclive mix series, and slay dance floors everywhere.
As their reputation grew so to did the projects; producing for the likes of Dilated Peoples, MF Doom ands their pick of UK rappers to creating soundtracks for Guy Richie’s Snatch, Tony Hawk’s Underground computer game and, mind-bogglingly, ESPN’s primetime NFL show Sunday Night Football.
There Were Seven sees the group break away on their own, releasing the record on their Department H imprint. We caught up with Ollie Teeba for a chat over email and were blessed with his banging ‘Paid in Full’ mix, exclusive to Bonafide Magazine.
You can catch The Herbaliser live for their album launch party alongside Belleruche, DJ Food and DJ Cam at The Forum this Saturday.
Eric B and Rakim – Paid in Full (seven minutes of madness)
Kanye West – Golddigger
Showbiz and A.G. – Fat Pockets (off beat dance)
Zhigge – Rakin’ in the Dough
Ultramagnetic MCs – Two Brothers with Checks
Ice T – High Rollers
D.I.T.C. – Time to Get This Money
Diamond D – Sally Got a One Track Mind (Showbiz remix)
Big City – Chedda
Real Live – Crime is Money
EPMD – Golddigger
Divine Sounds – What People Do For Money
Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde – Gettin’ Money
Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers – We Need Some Money
Phase and Rhythm – Swollen Pockets
Wu Tang Clan – C.R.E.A.M.
There Were Seven features some great artwork and your discography is full of releases that seem to suggest this is something that is important to you – Wall Crawling Giant Insect Breaks and Something Wicked This Way Comes spring to mind. Which is your favorite piece of artwork to adorn your records? And added on to this is there a record cover in your vinyl collection that always makes you stop and look at it again?
I have the original painting that was made for Wall Crawling Giant Insect Breaks on my laboratory wall. I always say hello to the little robot bug each time I go in to work. Really very fond of all of the artwork. It’s difficult to pick a favourite as we went to special lengths to create iconic timeless artwork (for iconic timeless music hoho). I do really like this new one and designer Kev (DJ food) thinks its his fave. I do really love how Take London came out. I love the simplicity of it
What goes on in Department H and do you have plans to release music by other artists on the label?
Give us a chance! We need to see if we go broke putting this one out. After that we are thinkin that we may change the format a bit and release a series of collaborative EP’s. Then we’ll see how the land lies. We would love to produce for some other artists so maybe that would be a step in that direction
18 years in the game; if you were just starting out making music in 2012 (as opposed to the early 90s) what kind of set-up/equipment do you think you would have and where would you be looking for your inspiration?
Vintage equipment and vintage music definitely! It may be a symptom of being over 40 now but we find today’s dance/rap/whatever completely uninspiring. Which is in part due to the ease and availability of various software/plugins. Everything sounds too electronic now. There’s no humans.
On your Pinterest account you have a lot of pairs of trainers. Have you bought any that you have never worn as you want them to remain box fresh and what are your all time favorite pair?
Oh, if only you knew! A large amount of my collection are box fresh. If I really love a particular pair and can afford to do so, I snap up doubles. That way I have a pair to rock and a pair for braggin’ rites
The Herbaliser have made music for films and sport shows but if you could pick any film and sports show to score what would they be and why?
I’m sure if you asked Jake this he’d say Match of the Day (I’m assuming they still do that) because he’s a football nut. That’s actually really difficult to answer because most if our favourite films already have stunning soundtracks. We almost had one if ours in Breaking Bad which is an insanely dope tv show. So I’m gonna go for that
What are your three ‘special weapon’ records to guarantee a packed dance floor?
Sound of the Police – Krs One
Give it up a turn it loose – James Brown
Ring of Fire (reggae version) – This Kid Named Miles
What are you listening to at the moment?
The sound of a train going clickety-clack as I’m doing this interview on my way to do an instore. But all joking aside, I’m very into Quakers lp. I buy a lot of underground hip hop and this is the first album I’ve bought in years that I like almost in it’s entirety
What was your thinking behind the mix?
The theme was ‘Paid in Full’, so I have made every song about cash money.