I had a chance to chat to Nubreed’s Michael Walburgh aka Mykel just after Easter, the first Easter they had off in over 3 years. These hard working Melbourne lads have not only been touring extensively over the last few months, but been busy in the studio recording their first full-length album – The Original. Known for an awesome live show, and deep, nasty basslines, Nubreed are the darlings on the breaks scene, both here in Australia and abroad.
Walburgh says that having time off over Easter was a good chance to catch up on what’s happening around the place. “There was a big 33 1/3 show up here in Melbourne with Freestylers, Uberzone, Grass Roots; and the drum and bass crew – Pendulum, and Shapeshifter. It was a really mad weekend!” he enthuses. “I met Uberzone back in Miami a few years ago, and we were talking about hooking up and doing something, and now he’s got some new releases and is itching to get stuff heard and work with us. Aquasky were down here too, and we hooked up with them too.”
This is pretty much how Nubreed got out there in the first place, just by networking and being in the right place at the right time. “We put together a demo show reel and I had the fortune of being in Miami with Rennie Pilgrim, Danny McMillan, Tayo… everyone who’s anyone in the breaks fraternity was there. I got the chance to pass the tape around and through that we got lots of good recognition. And I suppose Adam Freeland, touring with him when he came down a few years ago,” he adds.
Nubreed are as well known for their bootlegs as they are for their originals. Bootlegs are illegitimate recordings of artists, and Nubreed have done a range of stuff from Alanis Morrissette to old school hiphop greats. They’ve done legitimate remixes, such as the awesome Born too Slow by the Crystal Method. “We’ve done a few live booty’s, stuff that works really well live, that we don’t sell or whatever. They came about from the Phil K / Nubreed shows that we did a few years ago,” Walburgh explains. However, the album is full of brand new material. “The Album is a catalogue of or work since about 1997. ‘The Original’ is all new material, and the second disk is mixed by our mate Phil K, and has lots of the vinyl only, hard to find recordings for your CD buying community. On the album we try to morph ourselves in all the directions we’ve wanted to go. We wanted to elaborate on the vocal tunes for this CD release.”
I had to know if they preferred making original tunes, or doing the covers. “It’s all part and parcel of it all. You have to be able to sustain a living. We don’t have any part time jobs, so we try to keep any avenue open to us. It’s a balance, you’ve got to do as many remixes as you can to keep yourself fresh and out there, on the dancefloor and in DJs boxes, but at the same time keep your ideas that you’ll think will work in circulation for your original material.”
Nubreed are keen to get back on the road again with their new live show, one which now features a drummer. “We’ve been so bogged down by the machine behind getting an album actually out there, the artwork, the legals, and so on. We’ve been working on a new live format too. We’ve got a new drummer!” he says excitedly. “That’s worked really well, and we’ve got a lot more options open to us with the drummer. There’s obviously a lot more album based material in the show, so there’s going to be a lot more depth to it. It’s not going to be a straight dancefloor set, which is what we usually do in clubs and dance arenas. This will be a chance to do OUR show, really get into it and play a lot of the older, unusual stuff as well as the new stuff. Dave (the drummer) has played for Wicked Beat Sound System and On Inc. If anyone has met Dave our drummer he’s quite infamous. He’s a great energy; he’s the equivalent of Animal in the Muppets,” he laughs.
“We’re beat orientated anyway, and the only reason we haven’t crossed over to a 100% live format is because we didn’t want to have to compromise on our production values of what we produce in the studio. With software and the money we’ve made and saved over the years we’re at a point where that’s now possible. Dave’s a lovable larrikin type. The three of us (Nubreed) have been together for the last 15 odd years, we’ve known each other forever, and for someone else to come in, despite the odd teething problems, is really good. It’s added a fresh and new approach for us.”
Luckily this current live arrangement is coming to Adelaide, most likely in a smaller, more intimate venue like Traffic, rather than the raves we’ve seen them play at in the past. “Every time we’ve been to Adelaide it’s been at a rather large gig,” Walburgh says. “Its mainly Blake (DJ John Doe) who has really spearheaded us there in SA, he took a punt on us – he’s got a real diverse edge in what he listens to. We slipped really well into that vibe as we do tag some drum and bass on the end of our usual set. He saw a vision of what could be, and it worked really well. One of the best gigs we ever did was at Stardust with the Ez Rollers and Shimon. That was great – you had a really energetic crowd, they were there for it, it was just a mad vibe to be caught up in all that. You caught us at a good moment,” he laughs, and then adds “that’s the thing with Adelaide you never know what to expect.”