Patience; stated to be some sort of a virtue with good things coming to those who wait for them. Ironically it’s also the name of one of Jubei’s biggest and most well known productions. Even more ironically, patience is a trait that many of Paul Ager’s fans and peers within the drum & bass scene have had to exhibit in the time leading up to the long awaited release of his debut full length opus, To Have & Have Not.
A project that had been over two years in the making, album buzz is undoubtedly a great tool for a producer to utilise when the timing is right. Saying that though, the life of such buzz only lasts for so long before people get bored of waiting or, even worse still, no longer begin to care anymore. It does and has happened in the past. Not that any of this was a secret to him in the creation process of To Have & Have Not. ” I was worried about it taking too long because people are quite fickle and they tend to forget and move on. When you’re not there it then creates space for someone to fill and I was worried that the heat might go onto them or that I wouldn’t be as current as people releasing big tunes.”
It must be a tough line for a producer to draw, especially one with a talent for crafting and building his music in its purest, darkest and quiet often most untainted form. Rush it and end up with a project that doesn’t quite live up to its hype, potential and expectation? Or wait too long and end up with an overcooked product that people may acknowledge but not in the way you’d probably want them to? Jubei is nothing if very frank in his admittance that whilst the wait might have been frustrating, not only for us but in particular for him, the payoff would eventually be worth it in the end. “I’m glad it took longer than it did because I wouldn’t have been as happy with it as I am now. Certain tracks didn’t come about until the very last minute. Prime example; the track with Goldie (The Prayer), the track I did with Marcus (Tip The Scales) and Rufige 11, which was the last track I made to make it onto the album. Pushing it back did benefit me and it’s definitely a better album because of it.” Having the backing and experience of one of D&B’s most legendary labels and label bosses helped a lot too. Metalheadz has never sacrificed quality over quantity. That’s why it was and still is the force it is today, nearly 20 years down the line. “That’s the benefit of working with someone like Goldie and Metalheadz. Everybody’s got to be happy. He would never force you to put something out just to fill the shelves.”
Taking himself away from the bustling utopia of London to Newcastle was another beneficial factor that helped to play a huge part in getting his LP completed. After finding himself in limbo housing wise for a few weeks, Paul relocated back up north while waiting for a new place in the big smoke. But after reassessing his situation he decided to stay. Now permanently based in the North East, Jubei says being detached the way he was worked massively in his favour. With his own purpose built studio in place, the building of which caused more musical delay, it was time to knuckle down and get his eagerly anticipated creation back on track and ready for launch. “There’s was no distractions for me here. I’d wake up Monday to Thursday, do 10-12 hours a day in the studio finishing stuff, making myself do proper work hours you know? Whereas if I was still in London I’d be living with other people, I’d get people coming in and out of my room or calling me up to go to the pub!” He does go on to inform me that some of those ‘other people’ he would’ve been living with include the likes of dBridge and Rockwell. It makes you think what a household that would be like and what effect, positive or otherwise, it may have had on the music itself. Having decided against the move I guess we’ll really never know.
Despite opting out of living with his fellow production peers, dBridge does feature on To Have & Have Not. As one of the numerous guests spread amongst its 14 tracks, he adds his breathy falsetto style vocal to These Things. It’s an album bearing all the hallmarks of Jubei’s signature sound that have been instrumental in propelling him to Metalheadz seniority as an artist. It is in equal measure brooding, atmospheric and aurally cinematic. There are no unnecessary bells and whistles when it comes to the music, the production being clinical without being too clean. It’s raw yet still unmistakably Jubei sounding. It traverses tempos. From the Grime influenced opening of The Moment, accompanied by the measured lyricism of Flowdan, who had previously terrified listeners on Say Nothing, via dubstep tracks such Visions with J:Kenzo to its various 170 offerings. The 2 step groove of Paloma, the industrial chill of Block Code or State Of The Art, blessed with the precise rhymes of longtime friend SP:MC.