Bristol’s The Allergies are currently on tour, with their new album Tear The Place Up set for release on Jalapeno Records on 19 May. The duo bring feel good funk and hip hop swagger to turntables across the country and I took the opportunity to find out more from one of Craig Charles’ favourites on his Saturday Funk and Soul radio show on BBC Radio6 Music.
To begin, could you introduce yourselves and share your roles?
Moneyshot: I’m Roy aka DJ Moneyshot (you mother’s husband’s favourite DJ). I source the samples for all our tracks, and kick-start the song-writing process – usually sat at home, with the cat watching from his chair.
Rackabeat: I’m Adam aka Rackabeat…aka Dadam (the band dad). I help engineer the tracks we make and process and edit things like vocals. I’ve also fallen into becoming the manager of the group and band leader…fortunately they are a pretty easy bunch to look after 😉
This is your sixth album. How have your inspirations changed over time?
MS: With the new album there’s stuff that wouldn’t sound out of place on the first album. We came out the gate with a strong style of chopped up samples and hip-hop swagger, and that’s all-over new tracks like ‘Stanky Funk‘ and ‘Green Light Go‘.
In terms of new directions, we explored more boogaloo on the track ‘Vamonos‘, disco and housey vibes with ‘Hypnotise‘ and ‘Mash Up The Sound‘. And, for the first time anywhere, Spaghetti Western-Trap-Thrash-Surf-Rock-Rap on the title track, ‘Tear The Place Up‘.
Could you describe your song creation process?
MS: Hear a tune, get inspired. Then spend tens of hours digging for samples and chopping up grooves until a pattern starts to form. Then add 70+ layers of other loops and grooves to it until it has a sound all of its own. Then consider it for a vocalist, or push through with more samples, looking for hooks. Usually.
RB: Then there’s lots of back and forth between whoever is involved, as we tweak and polish each component and try and get the overall balance kicking. Once we’re happy, we send it over for mastering with our friends at Optimum in Bristol, before it goes through more referencing at our end to make sure we’re happy.
You have a number of impressive collaborators on Tear The Place Up including Bootie Brown, Marietta Smith, Andy Cooper, Charles Morgan and Dele Sosimi. How did these come about? And were you able to record with them all in person?
MS: With the vocalists, it was case of reaching out. Maz and Andy are 100% crew, though, so always down to make music. Then Andy knew Bootie from the L.A. rap scene, so that’s how that came about. Charles was brought in from Andy, again with his L.A. connections. And we lifted the Dele vocal from a track of his, with permission, of course.
RB: Funny story about working with Dele for you. I’m not to sure how much he knew about us sampling him but his record label had cleared it. Then we ended up on the same bill as him at a festival and we warmed up for his band. We ended up dropping the track and then running over to explain what was going on. He seemed pleased, but forced us to buy his latest EP!
You are currently on tour across the UK. How is it going? What do you listen to in the tour bus? Is there any fighting over control of the music?
MS: The tour is going gangbusters. Crowds are singing back the new tracks, which is a good sign! The tour bus is a largish car. And it only has an FM radio and CD player. We pick up charity shop albums when we see one open. Biggest hit? The Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. All killer, no filler.
RB: Yes we’re subject to what ever the CD wallet has to offer. It’s defo due a top up soon as it’s getting tired!
How did you first get together with Ugly Duckling’s Andy Cooper?
MS: I supported them loads of times in Wales when I was a DJ in Cardiff, but never had any music to give him. Then, as The Allergies, we promoted a club night with them on the bill in Bristol and slipped him some beats after the show. He was down to rap, and still is to this day. Legend.
Whose idea was it to release a limited-edition IPA? And did you get involved in developing the taste?
RB: It came from playing at nights at the Arundel Brewery in West Sussex. They’d just done a collabo with Run The Jewels and said we’d be a good fit. And we like a tipple so said, “Cheers!” It was super cool to work with them, and a treat to see JAKe Detonator’s album art on a beer.
For full tour details please check here.
For more information on The Allergies please check their facebook and bandcamp.