Marvellous Cain, the Hitman himself, dropped a hot new album on the legendary Suburban Base label consisting of 4 slices of vinyl featuring 16 tracks, plus a further 10 cuts on the digital bundle! We caught up with Marv to find out about the “Return Of The Hitman’ album, some jungle music history, his studio set up & more!
What was your starting point for compiling the ’Return Of The Hitman’ album?
This is a hard one to say because to be honest, we didn’t have to do much work cos all the tunes were already done. It’s never been so easy to do an album. We had so many tunes back in the day that I didn’t even realise I’d forgotten about. Some that we had done that hadn’t been put out, where only a few dubs went out. Some of them only got put on compilation albums. So it was like, we might as well take them, put them together and do an album. We worked through the tunes. I think that must have been about 40 or 50 tunes or so we went through to get them ones there.
I’ve seen the piles of DAT taps lining around at Suburban Base HQ
Danny (the man behind Suburban Base) is a hoarder!
That’s a good thing, you got a whole album out of those tapes!
I know. Thank God he had them. I remember back in the day, whenever we made a tune we passed him the DAT’s cause he was doing the compilation albums, and he may have wanted a tune for Suburban Base. So it was just lucky we had that going on.
We weren’t forward thinking 25, 30 years ago. We didn’t think we’d be doing anything with them there tings.
How did you originally get involved with Suburban Base?
It must have been 1993 maybe? I was already on the mailing list getting all their promos. But it was through me, Sponge & Pascal meeting up with Danny at his Boogie Time Record shop. Actually Danny got offered ‘The Hitman’ first but he didn’t jump on it. So we put it out and it blew up!
You put it out as a white label?
We put it out on IQ Records. I think we must have done about 5-10,000 copies of the original mix. Then we done the remixes… We cleaned up on the remixes! We had, I think there was about six or seven remixes, including the Stretch one that’s on this album that we never actually put out back in the day.
First D&B Artist Album
Am I right in thinking you were one of the first jungle artists to release a proper artist album?
I’m not sure if I am? I know there wasn’t a lot of man doing albums. I did the ‘Gun Talk’ album back in 1995. Was it before ‘Timeless’? There were lots of label compilations, Speed Of Sound, the V album, but weren’t many people doing artist albums.
What made you want do an artist album back then when not many people were doing them?
It just happened! Because I did ‘The Hitman’, Chris from Fashion give us a load of vocals. I was doing stuff for Jetstar as well, so they give me a load of vocals, and said do what you wanna do. That’s how it came about. I wouldn’t have gone and done an artist album if I didn’t have that amount of reggae legends on the album. We had Pinchers, Pliers, Beanie Man. There was a whole heap of man on that album. We had Cutty Ranks. I wouldn’t have done the album otherwise.
All legit features?
All legit. Cause before we were just sampling & hoping to get away with it! We were ballied up just taking samples! But that’s how it went though.
Studio Set Up
What was your studio set up like back in the 90’s when you made ‘The Hitman’?
Oh God, you’re gonna piss yourself with laughter. It might as well have been an acorn and an elastic band!! We had a sampler, it was an N-Sonic, it weren’t even Akai. This had about half a second worth of sample time on it. A little mixing desk. A delay unit and a drum machine. That was it.
And the arrangement & samples used to be on floppy discs!
With ‘The Hitman’, we made the tune one day and it was bad. We went back the next day to make some changes and the floppy disc with the arrangement that went into the Atari was corrupt! Floppy discs had a habit of corrupting… You couldn’t touch them, you couldn’t look at them, you couldn’t fucking breathe on the things!!
We had to go back and do the arrangement again to make what you all now know as ‘The Hitman’. You lot now, just be happy, because you’d be crying if you were trying to make tune back in the day.
So tell us about your studio set up today, what does it consist of?
It’s PC based. I’ve got a G7 computer fully loaded, 16 gig. I’m using Cubase. I’ve got more or less every plugin that I need to use from FabFilter, to the Sonnox bundles. Everything in one box. I’ve got a pair of Rockit’s, midi keyboards. And that’s it. That’s all I need to make music with.
Going back to the ‘Return Of The Hitman’ album, you said most of the album was done already, but you’ve got a couple of new bits from Nicky Blackmarket and FreezeUK on there. How did you get those two guys involved on the album?
Funny thing was Nicky had phoned me to ask if he could do a ‘Dubplate Style’ remix? Well, I’d just done one, but I pinged him over samples so his remix was just like, more or less, for us to have a little dub kind of thing, a VIP dub.
Then when this album project came along we thought let’s put couple of new, extra tracks on there. There you go. That’s how they went on there, a little bit of SubBase Progression.
Finally, talking of progression, you’ve got some big tracks coming. I know DJ Marky & Rampage have been playing some bits of yours
Yes! ‘Love Train’, that tune is just the sound of summer. It’s been played twice on BBC Radio this weekend, and the girl presenting said “This is the sound of summer“, that’s all I can say. Just keep an eye out for the new releases that we got coming out on Yardrock & Suburban Base… Got some pepper sauce hotness for people this year!!
Marvellous Cain’s Return Of The Hitman album is out now from Suburban Base Records
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