EXCLUSIVE - Speaking to...Audiobullys

Everyone remembers Audiobullys, aka Simon Franks and Tom Dinsdale, from their massively successful singles "We Don't Care" and "Shot You Down" that rode high in the charts in the mid 2000's. But after a few album releases and sold out tours the band parted ways in 2012. 

But now they're back as a duo and ready to bang out the smash hits once again. 

So when I was asked to interview the two guys I jumped at the chance as I know and love their music. To get the right atmosphere, I went to the pub with Simon, had a few pints and got chatting.


WG: So how do you know the Wavey Garms crew?
Simon: So, I met Dre through BOMs, because a mate of mine HOMIE, who is a skater and a graffer, we were sitting on Richmond river, and we posted up a tune of ours (Audio Bullys – The Scene) , made by me and my mate Tim (Deluxe who made Double 99) about two summers ago now, and we were playing it on Richmond river, HOMIE posted about it , BOMs saw it, and then got in touch saying 'I wanna make a video'. We thought we’d get bare writers in the video, so we hit up Andres. And we all ended up meeting at Duke’s Cupboard to go film it.

So presumably that’s another link you’ve got with the Wavey Garms lot – is the clothing – with Duke’s Cupboard on a similar scene.
Yeah, the link is there… but its just graf mostly! And skating, party culture, fucking London culture man, but yeah Andres turned up and this was just a few weeks after I’d clocked his book. So I was super fucking gassed that he came. To me, that book was like looking at all my old mates photo collections from their rooms and that. We were dressed a bit differently though coz it was ten years before. We were all shirts! When you look at our stuff, it's mid 90s, but it almost looks 80s. Ralphies, checkered shirts, Armanis, Stoneys, the same shit but worn slightly differently.


The style has developed for sure looking at old photos to new. Although, a lot of the Wavey Garms stuff is actually looking back to that era, what do you think about the resurgence?
I never thought it would come! I wouldn’t have thrown all my clothes away if I’d have known…

Yeah you could have made a mint these days mate!
I just gave that shit away. But after that we got into Prada, obviously Moschi, Iceberg. We used to raze a lot of Ralphy, you could in them days. That said, people are still at it all the time man!


If you don’t mind chatting about it – can you tell us a bit about VISO? RIP
I don’t mind at all! He was a very important part of us going for things in the way we did! VISO was like my brother man. I known him from primary school. WE lost touch, then we all formed GFS crew and it turned out he’d got into graff. VISO had left Richmond, didn’t see him for a few years then he came back just before he died. He fell on a live rail in Barnes. We were all out partying one night, he went to get some gear, we weren’t even painting, that’s the ironic thing! He just took a shortcut across tracks, and fell. And he was missing all the next day. It had been someone’s 21st birthday.
It was something about when he died, I remember chatting to my mate Tom like ‘Yo, I’ve been making some tunes… coz we were in a lot of pain man. I said I dunno, come over, it feels good to just make some tunes… to get it off your chest a bit.’

So you’d been making music before? Or you started after all this?
I’d been doing garage tunes, and me and Tom had just done this DJ Luck and MC Neat mix, so we knew we could work together. And we were just pals anyway, I said come round, and then we made. ‘We don’t Care’ which was our breakthrough tune!


I’ve noticed sensitivity in your lyrics – specifically ‘Turned Away’ (from Ego War) and of course the culture you guys are operating within can be very laddy, very macho. I think it’s quite brave to be able to show a sensitive side to your personality in that culture…
It’s funny you brought that up… coz, our old manager George rang me today it we were talking about my early stuff! He put me onto King Krule, so I had a listen to it, and loved it. George was saying about my new album, tell your story and show your sensitive side! That’s the hardest bit is fuckin, you know… finding honesty man.

Fully agree. It’s a male ego dominated environment, it can be difficult to express your true feelings…
Yeah, well it’s interesting that ‘Turned away” came at the end coz it was reflective. We had a deal at that point, we were like into a new era, we’d started playing out, some of the earlier stuff was more aggy and like tryna break shit, more party style.


Yeah like “We Don’t Care”
That was the first one we made where we looked at each other like ‘fuckin ell what have we done ere’ and that was literally a week after VISO died! So there was some energy.


So was the music brought on by that Experience with VISO?
I think seeing death, seeing your brother die like that, it gave me this thing where I was like, you know what, fuck it I will do it. Coz I could be gone in a week, might as well give it my all. It was a wake up call.

Either do stuff or end up doing nothing I guess…
Yeah man, swim or sink…


Tell me about the old parties, about you lot getting into the scene.
Well. We were partying all the way. We used to go to this thing called teen rage, when we were underage, but it was like a hardcore, jungle rave. Kids were taking e’s and fuckin partying. 31 seconds, LTJ bukem, Atlantis, so that whole wave was before…


What years we talking?
92-93. Then by 94, we were getting into house. By 96, that whole garage thing was kicking off, and that was like a breakoff from house, room two shit, but then gradually, it just took over.

There’s a massive rave scene in the UK. But the rave scene is worldwide. How do you feel about the impact of rave culture, not just in the UK but worldwide?
Just like with Rock’n' Roll, and all that, it’s like there’s always been this kinda bat and ball between the US and England. House and Garage obviously started there. But then the UK took it, and flung it back to them sounding well different. It’s funny. Garage was a mix of stuff coming over from the UK, Masters at Work, Todd Terry. Then we had the Caribbean Notting Hill Carnival sound. That raw raw bass, they kinda mixed, then people started putting MC's over it…which they weren’t doing in America in the same way at the time. And we were increasing the bass, making the beats more punchy and skippy. We kind of put steroids in it.


So tell us about the new projects, what you on at the moment?
Well, Audiobully’s is back now, we’ve split for 5 years but I just been in the Studio with Tom today. We been working again. We’re making a new album.


How’s it impacted you getting in touch with some of the younger heads on the same scene?
To me man, it’s such a major part of it. It’s like – a football team has got managers, and its got the younger players, the older players – I dunno, in our world we meet up through graff and skating and music, like we’re pals with Sugs, from Madness, and he’s like 57! But I think you need that man, it’s like, music is not just for one age. The DJs we were watching when we were younger were all older than us. And this is what it’s all about, you know, creating our own system. Doing parties, doing music, doing it for ourselves. To some people, there’s a lot of structures in place that can actually be a hindrance. But you have to use that as your drive. As Frank Sinatra used to say, “success is the best form of revenge” you know what I mean? It puts the drive in you. 

 Thanks Charlie.

Written by: Charlie Morris
Photos by: Josh T Gibbons