Article Archive

The Herbaliser - Herbal Remedy

Author: Rezo
Monday, 26 May 2008
3D's Rezo fires some questions at Jake Wherry, one half of The Herbaliser, and gets into the mindset of the deservedly acclaimed UK hip hop collective.

It's a shame that a discogs search only turns up two members of the illustrious Herbaliser posse - Jake Wherry and Ollie Teeba - thereby selling the collective's story short.

Jake tells the tale of their genesis: 'It goes back to 1986 when I went to film-college and met Mickey Moodey Junior the drummer. We played in various bands and we were all 16 at the time. Ollie was also a DJ and he was around the scene but we didn't know each other so well. In 1991 Ollie reminded me that I tried to sell him a Soul to Soul record once, and we got together off the back of that to make beats and things.

I was working on Profiteer, which was my other band at the time. By then there were a few of us, with me on bass. That was the early Herbaliser - and guys from that went on to Groove Armada and other things. It's a really successful collective.'

Successful, maybe, but despite being well established, even The Herbaliser's not immune to being misunderstood by their audience. 'We do a new album, throw a loop or sample in there or something and people think it's a massive change of direction!' says Jake. 'I think the new album is actually quite similar to what we've done before.' Indeed, the new offering has been aptly titled Same As It Ever Was.

Thanks to the power of 'delegation,' the crew has produced this album in a much shorter span of time than usual. 'Normally we take two or three years to do an album but this time we did it in less than a year,' Jake explains. 'There was a lot more input from Ralph and Andy and they wrote the lyrics with Jess. I guess I say this whenever we do an album, but we're better producers now, because we've been doing this for 14 years!

The sound in Blow Your Headphones was different as we were working with limited equipment, and now we've invested in some awesome recording gear whereas before we never had that opportunity. Yet you check out the Ninja forums and people say we've gotten worse since Blow your Headphones! Who knows-'

Same As It Ever Was is absolutely a fluid, luscious and thoughtfully constructed record; a culmination of everything The Herbaliser's learnt over an illustrious career. Still, the question of perception is still a persistent problem. 'We felt it was time for a change; a change in how we were perceived,' Jake begins. 'It seems like we're struggling but the singles were radio friendly because we want to be doing bigger shows. We want to spread the word to the masses.'

And with a new album in tow, the duo is especially keen to get more exposure on Australian shores. 'We've wanted to get out there for years and years, yet no one's made us an offer. We should have done a Bondi Beach Vibes On A Summer's Day. The last time we did a tour we were asked to DJ and we knew people were dying to see something out of the ordinary so we did a four-deck set and they hated it! We made the effort though, and I guess that's just the nature of the music business. In the end, we know we've made a record which is accessible, without selling out.'

WHO: The Herbaliser
WHAT: Same As It Ever Was through !K7/Inertia
WHEN: Out on Saturday 31 May