It was the first, legitimate, officially cleared and released bootleg: Act of Dog Interview Pt 1
Act of Dog and Phil were Phil n’ Dog (aka Radio Earwax) and produced the famous Doctor Pressure bootleg which is claimed to be the first to get a proper release. Ian (Act of Dog) explains what happened and about his injuries.
1. How the devil are you? And what’s the weather like?
I’m good thanks. I have more bits of medical twine in me than I’d like at the moment, but it’s nothing a year in the tropics couldn’t sort out. As for the weather, well, it’s grey. Grey and Cloudy. And they’re not little, or fluffy.
2. How did you get involved with Phil to become Phil n’ Dog? Was it really to create the classic Gay Muppet Bar?
I met Phil through our mutual love of Orbital, their forum and going to live gigs… A whole load of us became good friends and I started making original music with a friend, plus we made a mashup using Orbital, The KLF, LFO and others. Phil approached me with the idea of doing something with the ‘Gay Bar’ ‘pella that was given out on the Xfm ‘ReMix’ show by Eddy and James. We sat there, scratching our heads as to what to do with it and then Phil reached for his copy of the Muppet Album. We messed around with it, dropped in some drumloops that I’d sampled for an Ableton loop set I’d done with another friend who I was making original music with at the time, we smiled like loons and sent it to Xfm. The rest is history.
3. What was it like working as a duo? And how did you decide when stuff was for you alone? And are you still working together?
The creative process was pretty easy. We’d both come up with ideas, jot them down and then I’d head out to Mannscentral (just south of Croydon) and we’d sample the tracks, drop them into Ableton and see if our brains had worked and there wasn’t too much of a timing or tuning gap for everything to slot into place. I remember one Saturday when we tried 5 different ideas and none of them worked. As for deciding what I released on my own, it really came down to if something was a Phil n’ Dog style, or if it was better suited to me just sticking it out there on GYBO as one of mine, which tended to be harder, clubbier and pretty much instrumental only tracks. They lacked the sense of humour that working with Phil injected into the music.
4. What role, if any, did Boomselection or GYBO (in any of its various guises) play?
I’ll be totally honest here. I didn’t know of Boomselection or GYBO when we first started. It was actually Eddy playing ‘Gay Muppet Bar’ on Xfm that got us into the bootleg scene. Rich (Audioshrapnel) got Phil’s details from Xfm as he wanted to use ‘Gay Muppet Bar’ in one of his sets at Bastard. We were honoured, so of course said he could use it and then we went down to The Asylum on the night he was playing… We put one foot on the slippery slope and gravity took over. Suddenly we were introduced to this underground scene where there were all these other people doing what we did, having fun and no one cared. It was through going to Bastard that I tripped over GYBO, signed up and again, never looked back. GYBO was much more than a forum for likeminded souls to share their creations, it was the beating heart of a community, which also branched out into the physical at The Asylum once a month.
5. You created Doctor Pressure by mashing up Mylo and Miami Sound Machine? What was the story behind the proper release, which had some odd thing about being edited by Mylo, based on your bootleg?
We learnt a LOT about the music industry and how things work with ‘Doctor Pressure’. We’d created the original mashup almost a year before it’s original release, played it out a couple of times and it seemed to go down well (I still remember one GYBO regular not being too keen and another wishing he’d made it).
We sent it off to Eddy at The Remix and I think it’s fair to say that he loved it, caning it regularly on his show and going so far as to suggest to Mylo and his record label that they should release it, as it deserved to reach a wider audience. Nothing came about of it really, so we left it, until Phil went to a Mylo gig and pressed a CD with the two versions into his hands. Mylo subsequently used it in his Minimix for Radio 1′s Annie Mac and then she started raving about it, so much so that I sent her a CD copy too and therefore it got national airplay, still in it’s original bootleg form.
People were telling us we should release it on vinyl, so we had 750 white labels pressed and struck distribution deals with a few London based record shops, a large dance music specialist retailer in Birmingham and through a contact, a national retail chain (who apparently specialise in music for dogs if you believe their logo), who stuck it on sale in their London stores.
It was at this time that things started to go nuclear for Mylo, with a major label signing him for a two album deal. They wanted to re-release ‘Destroy Rock & Roll’ and also re-issue the single ‘Drop The Pressure’. Mylo was hesitant, because he didn’t want to be seen as someone who just rehashed old stuff, so he suggested using ‘Doctor Pressure’ as a release instead. It just so happened that Gloria Estefan was signed to the same label as Mylo had hooked up with, so clearance and rights weren’t going to be an issue. There was talk of them using our original ‘Dirty’ mix as a B-side, but it never happened and Mylo re-recorded the bootleg. We’d had an unofficial video made for a laugh by our friend Stuart Warren-Hill (Hexstatic & Holotronica) and so when the single was going to be officially released, we presented the video to the label and they commissioned Stuart to re-make it with the original footage and not the Gloria Estefan VHS we’d bought from eBay. He actually got paid more for that than we did.
The upshot of it all though is that ‘Doctor Pressure’ was all over every dance music magazine cover for the summer of 2005, it was one of the biggest records of that year, outselling Coldplay in the week of it’s release and entering the UK charts at #3. It was the highest chart position that Mylo ever achieved, but more importantly, it was the first, legitimate, officially cleared and released bootleg. Our names are on the sleeve as the creators of the idea and that’s something I know we’re both extremely proud of.