For years, British producer Dobie earned a nice living by playing the background, working with a variety of acclaimed acts like Soul II Soul, Giles Peterson and Roots Manuva, as well as remixing Björk and Massive Attack, among others. On November 27, the veteran musician will release the But Fear Itself EP, a precursor to a full-length album out this February called We Will Not Harm You. Hive caught up with the pioneering producer, who explained what sets his music apart, and why popular music has lost its soul, and what's unique about But Fear Itself (which you can stream in full below).
On your new EP, I’ve noticed a heavy hip-hop influence with other sounds mixed in. How did you arrive at that?
Basically, I come from hip hop. If it weren’t for hip hop, me and you would not be talking now. Because of hip hop, I got into making beats, ya know? So I feel there’s always gonna be a hip hop element to what I do. And over the years, I’ve worked with a lot of musicians, so I picked up things there. I’m playing around with the hip-hop thing, while bringing other instrumentation to it.
Dance music is ubiquitous these days. What sets yours apart?
That’s hard to say because I’ve never really given it a thought. I suppose it’s just me being brave enough to go where I wanna go, and not trying to follow what everyone else is doing. That was a big thing for me with this album. I was hearing what was going on out there and I was like, “I don’t really want to make a record that sounds like that.” I didn’t want it to be a total grime record or a total house record. It’s just me doing me. In making this record, I haven’t really listened to a lot of music over the past year or so. I just went off of whatever came out of me at that time.
What do you think is missing from popular music today?
I think it’s lost its soul. There’s no more real message music out there. There’s no more Curtis Mayfields, no more John Lennons. Everything is very pop and manufactured. I think there’s a lot of music that isn’t being heard because it doesn’t fit into the corporate scheme of things. There’s no artist development. Nowadays, they just seem to sign an act, throw it at the wall, and if it sticks, it sticks. If it doesn’t, then they’re on to the next.
What are the differences between your previous work and the But Fear Itself EP?
I think I’ve moved on a lot musically. I’ve opened up to other things; I’ve grown a lot, ya know? Especially with this record, I wanted to go off and make it on my own. I come from a remix production background, so I’ve always spent a lot of time working on other people’s records. I’ve changed as a person and I’ve gotten into other things. The only other person who was involved on a few tracks was my daughter. I’ve spent so much time doing everyone else’s thing and giving out my energy that way. I guess I wasn’t really in the headspace to really take on anyone else. I just felt I needed to go off and make another Dobie record.
But Fear Itself is out November 27 on Big Dada. Stream it below: