Legendary British party-starters Dub Pistols release their new single “Nice Up” featuring Horseman and Freestylers and announce their forthcoming album Frontline to be released March 10, 2023. The notorious touring band are carrying the summer atmosphere into these winter months with their infamous blend of dub, hip-hop, ska and jungle.
Listen to “Nice Up” here:
Having recently celebrated their 25th anniversary, frontman and legendary DJ Barry Ashworth explains, “This is the first single off our upcoming album ‘Frontline’. ‘Nice Up’ features the legendary voice of Horseman inspired by the original Sound System culture. Good vibes are what it's all about and it’s guaranteed to ‘Nice Up’ any dance.” Not many acts stay together for a quarter of a century and still remain firing on all cylinders. However, Dub Pistols juggernaut rolls on, exploring fresh sonic pastures and accelerating into 2023.
The multi-cultural collective has involved dozens of artists and musicians over the years — some remaining for years, a few for the duration, and others just popping in for a guest appearance. Their sound has accordingly morphed a variety of times since their inception: taking in dub, punk, jungle, ska, breakbeat, hip-hop and a whole lot more, it’s been a long road travelled.
The genesis of the Dub Pistols began when former club promoter and Deja Vu singer Barry Ashworth started DJing in the mid-90s. Unable to mix records properly at first, Barry got assorted pals to scratch and play horns over the top of his sets. Inspired by the anything-goes attitude of the late 90s genre that came to be called big beat in the UK — acts like The Chemical Brothers, Fatboy Slim and Propellerheads, labels such as Wall Of Sound and Skint — Barry was drawn to start making tracks for his DJ sets, alongside long-term cohort Jason O’Bryan. Throughout their eight-album career and literally thousands of shows, the band has rolled with the punches — enduring setbacks before piecing themselves back together and morphing into one of the most loved and enduring festival bands on the circuit.
Ambitiously, Dub Pistols threw their first festival in 2019 — Mucky Weekender in the Sussex countryside. Featuring Leftfield, Stanton Warriors, Don Letts and many more, it caught the tail-end of the summer sun and was raved about by all attendees. The success of the first Mucky Weekender set it up nicely to become an annual event.
Barry has also been very open about his addictions and mental health issues over the years, and in 2019 he did his first Wing Walk — strapped to the top of a bi-plane — to raise money for Tonic Music For Mental Health. This has evolved into an annual Flying Circus fundraiser, involving friends from the music world such as Bez from the Happy Mondays, and Barry has now become a patron of the Tonic organisation.
As 2021 began and the pandemic saw little sign of waning, the Dub Pistols released their cover of New Order’s seminal ‘Blue Monday’ to raise funds for the Tonic Mental Health Trust. A couple of months later, they released their ‘Welcome To The Jungle’ mix album on Jungle Cakes, featuring a whopping 50 tracks by various dubwise jungle associates as well as artists like Deekline, Ed Solo, King Yoof and the Beat Assassins remixing some choice Dub Pistols cuts. This release also shot to the upper reaches of the UK dance chart.
Fast-forward to 2023 and the Dub Pistols have just celebrated 25 years of riotous mayhem and righteous marauding with a new album, a documentary, another festival, and a whole lot more to come.