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Dr Blogs - Cutting Dubplates w/ DJ Perception


Dr Blogs - Cutting Dubplates w/ DJ Perception


We sat down with Cam (DJ Perception) in his flat in Camberwell to talk dubplates. Over the course of an hour or two, while Sandy (Dr Banana) dug through records and chimed in on anecdotes, Cam explained how he and Sandy met, childhood dreams of being an airplane pilot, his history with music, learning to DJ aged 12, the difficulties of getting a vinyl cutting machine and his process for making tunes.

Original audio clips from the day are sprinkled throughout the interview, just click play on the soundcloud links to hear Cam talk about childhood dreams, learning piano, wanting to be a pilot, learning to mix and much more. 


Making Tunes

When I was at Cam’s a few weeks before, we chatted about his approach to music production. He’s made a lot of tunes and his attitude to music is always to share it. This is clear from the fact you leave his house with more than when you arrived, either because he's put a bunch of tunes onto your USB, gifted you a record from his collection or cut you a personal one using his lathe, if you're lucky. 


Cam {DJ Perception}: “Certain weeks”, Cam explains, “everything is about production and I'm always thinking about making a beat… Recently, I haven’t touched it because I've been focused on the cutting machine and I've been cutting records everyday.” 


“The thing is, I’d never make a tune cause I need the money. I make it cause I love it. And now, I can make 100% of the money back if I cut the record as well.” 


“When I first started doing it [producing], and I’d get into my flow, I’d get gassed if I made a wicked tune. But I’ve been doing this for so long now, I don't get gassed when I make a banger. I can make a banger today and to me, it’s just another one in the bag.” 


“But with those special ones, something happens in that week that just makes me create more and more and more. Sometimes, I slyly like fading out, cause I’ve done so much. That’s why I like to have a break."


"But even a couple of weeks is a lot when you're always thinking about making a beat. I always do. I'm like, can I do it tonight, today? It's always on my mind..."



What would you be doing if you weren't doing music?


CAM: "Oh my days... You know what...[Cam laughs] I do not have clue."


Snippet from interview:



What’s a day-to-day for DJ Perception?


CAM: “So, when I’m not looking after my children - I’ll get up, post out some records, go through some tunes. I need to get some mixes done as well. Since last week though, I’ve been cutting records every day.” 


No stranger to releasing music, buying records or running a label, his latest venture is cutting dubplates in his bedroom.

Cam’s library is vast and thanks to decades in the UK Garage scene, his position means he can buy and sell records with ease. He runs a page called @givemeadubplate - where people can buy rare garage releases, white labels, test pressings, limited run releases and more.


Meeting Dr Banana

How did Dr Banana and DJ Perception meet? 


SANDY {DR BANANA}: "A mutual friend put me in touch, and I knew I wanted Cam to play at our first Dr Banana party... So, I invited him down and it was such a good night. Already by about 11pm it was 1 in 1 out. From then on we’ve played together loads of times…"


Sandy explained how Cam’s house had been a regular stop-off for him since, often for Cam’s mum’s infamous Sunday roasts. 


SANDY: “After I first had one of your mum's roasts, I tried to come back every Sunday for a while!” 


Cam’s house is a spot for a lot of people, from family and friends to figures in the music scene and beyond. The first time I met him was in a crowd in Belgium, after watching a set of his at Horst. Even in one of those early conversations, when all we'd exchanged was a thumbs up and a little bop, I told him we should try and get an article out, he said "come round to my house, we’ll relax, play some tunes… You’re welcome anytime."


Cutting Dubplates 

So, you cut dubplates here in your bedroom. What’s stopping other people from doing it?


CAM: The machine is so hard to get. You have to go on a website, and there's only one guy in the world that makes this machine - he’s from Germany. “ 


“Back in the day, you could just go on the website and buy it if you had the money. But so many people kept breaking it and complaining that the machine was shit..."


"If you don't know how to calibrate it properly, you’ll just blow up your needle. And if you wanna buy a needle… it’s £250 a pop.”


“If you aren’t trained in how to use it, you’ll just keep blowing up your needle.”


“So, about 10 years ago the guy changed the process and said - if you wanna buy this machine you have to come and do a three-day course.”



So how did you end up with it?

CAM: “My mate Dan… Dan DnR… He got the machine when he bought a load of vinyl off some guy. He kept telling me about it."


"But when I started making music, I ended up releasing The Isla EP and the Sky Joose EP on the same day and I said to him, instead of getting the money back from that - I’ll just take the machine."


"Anyway, it sat in my cupboard for about three years or something, cause all the parts weren’t working.” 

“I ended up making a post on facebook. I didn’t hear anything back for 6 months - then this guy Jimmy in Wigan offered to get it all working for me… free of charge.” 

SANDY: “There are still some good people out there who just wanna help you out. They’re not tryna fleece you, they’re just down to help people out and aren’t asking for stuff.”

CAM: “Definitely... But then I got back, and I was using it, and the cutting head blew up again."

CAM: “I managed to get help from another guy in Blackpool. He knew I was proper, he’d seen I was DJing and making tunes - he said to me to just send the cutting head and he’ll fix it. He was relaxed about me paying him back, which I did a couple months later. But I blew the head again.”


"It's blown up about 4 times! And that's cost about £2,000 in repairs."


Have you learned how to work with it now?


CAM: “So when I got it back the last time, I spoke to another guy who’s been cutting records for years.


"Now I’ve got one guy who knows how to fix it, and another guy who’s been cutting for over 10 years..."


"He’s got 2 labels and he’s from Bulgaria. Anyway, that guy told me not to use this certain EQ for cutting the tracks. So he told me another way of doing it. He said, take this out, take that out and rewire it like this, and now… I’ve got it sounding perfect.”


What would you tell my grandma if she asked you what a dubplate is?


CAM: “A dubplate is a personal vinyl that you can cut.”


The machine Cam uses is called a lathe, and involves cutting the sound wave of an audio track directly onto a vinyl, rather than stamping the entire vinyl face with the sound wave in one go. That's the way as the mass production of vinyl tends to happen.



When did you learn how to mix? 

Audio clip below:



We asked Cam for 3 songs from the past, present and future. He kindly shared these gems...

1. Past - something that holds strong memories:

Denzie - I'll Be There 4 U 


2. Present - a tune that's getting you going right now:

Dubplate Pressure - One Wish [Amigo Dubs  AMG006]


3. Future - a song that's ahead of its time:

The Thunderkats - Magnentar [unreleased]




Written & Edited by Felix aka Rick Soufflé

Photography by Sandy aka Leonard Noodle

Audio Engineering by Fursey aka Presley Fresh 


Office address:
Dr Banana
Unit 6
Parkway Trading Estate
St Werburghs Road
Bristol BS2 9PG
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