As Peace Division, Justin Drake and Clive Henry were among the most prolific, tribal house and techno producers in the UK. During the 1990s they released on labels like Hooj, Junior London, NRK, and Low Pressing. Perhaps not so well known was their Soul Purpose tag which shifted towards the deeper side of house. With London label Wolf Music playing host, the original DAT tapes have been given new life, and Soul Purpose’s entire catalog has been reunited for the first time in 27 years. We had the privilege of catching up with the duo to talk about old times and this new release.
WWD: It’s a pleasure to speak to you both. Where have you been for the last twenty years?
Justin: I’ve been working as an audio engineer – Production, mixing and mastering. Love my job.
Clive: I have been DJing constantly since around the globe and I had a residency at DC10/Circo Loco in Ibiza. I was also doing A&R for 1Hundred, a label a good friend of mine Gary started alongside Goldie based in Asia. The covid madness, sadly, messed it all up. I helped build a studio with Remi Mazet based in Hackney Wick in East London too, and I run the odd party at the Cross in Kings Cross.
WWD: How did you first get together back in the day?
Justin: Clive booked a session with me as the engineer. I was writing music at that time but making a living from engineering.
Clive: My partner at that time, Janet, was running a DJ agency in a space above where Justin was based writing music, and said to me, I think someone’s making tunes under our office? Plus, Intergroove distribution were in the same building who my mate Andy was working for, and he said there’s someone making music in our building maybe I can introduce you. The rest is history.
WWD: Were you both going out a lot at the time?
Justin: I hadn’t met Clive before the session, which would have been around 1996. Personally, I had stopped going out so much by this stage. The scene had changed, and I had enjoyed things more during the early 90’s. I do remember going to Steve Bicknell’s ‘Lost’ during this period and some small one-off events. Also, I went to the tribal gathering festival in ‘97. Richie Hawtin played an early Peace Division track “Back To Back.’ That was nice! Laurent Garnier played a set in the morning. Massive tent, weirder early nineties tracks. It was very impressive.
Clive: No we weren’t. I’d been raving since ‘88 but at the time. Justin and I linked up, I was going to Full Circle religiously – a mad Sunday party in some random pub called The Greyhound on the outskirts of Heathrow airport in Colnbrook. They had the likes of Derrick Carter, Richie Hawtin, Tony Humphries, Todd Terry all coming to play. It was wild!
WWD: What were the sounds of that time that you can remember?
Justin: I grew up listening to Colin Favor. That was a while before we made these tracks, but he was the most influential DJ that had an impact on me. I don’t remember anyone else really standing out during this time.
Clive: Danny Rampling, Andy Weatherall, Rocky & Diesel, Terry Farley. Back then, you used to get all kinds of tunes. It wasn’t so pigeon-holed or tagged by a certain ‘genre’. It always felt, musically, that there was more freedom to play whatever you felt.
WWD: Were you in a circle of people making music back then?
Justin: Yeh, I originally started making music and DJing with a group of friends that included Quinn Whalley (Paranoid London). I got stoned a lot and listened to music then I grew up and started to experiment with production. It was an exciting time. When we wrote these tracks it was the period where everyone who’d previously wanted to DJ during the first half of the nineties then wanted to get into production, and started buying hardware etc.
Clive: Rocky & Diesel, who went on to become X-Press 2 alongside Ashley Beedle, were really good friends of mine as we were from the same part of West London and another mate called Dave Hedger(West London Deep), who I knew, started engineering at Big Life Records sick studio in central London and that’s how I got hooked on production.
WWD: Who else were you kicking about with that went on to make records?
Justin: I was engineering during this period so got to meet and make friends with a lot of producers. There was a group of us including Quinn Whalley, Luke & Liam May (who went on to form Decius with Quinn), Nando Vasequez & Neville Watson. I was working in a studio which was owned by Marvin Beaver who was producing breakbeat stuff as Dylan Rhymes. He helped me out a lot during the start of my career.
WWD: What was the first release you made as Peace Division ?
Justin: That was a record called the ‘Cool Edge’ EP. Released on basement 282, a subsidiary of Kickin Records. Quite housey tracks and not like the stuff we we’re making a short while after.
WWD: And Soul Purpose?
Justin: 1997, I think this was the first release on Low Pressings (Clive’s label). Peace Division came a couple of releases later.
WWD: What was the main difference between both those monikers?
Justin: Soul Purpose is a deeper sound. But I think at this point we we’re just making tracks without worrying what came out.
WWD: How serious were you both in the studio? Was it mostly a laugh or were you both double sensible and fully focused?
Justin: I think we we’re serious lol. In the early days of Peace Division, we worked with another friend – Marvin Beaver. We probably fucked about more during that period.
WWD: What did your studio consist of?
Justin: We worked in various studios with different equipment. My preference was to use samplers for everything. That would have been Ensoniq then Akai S3000XL. FX would have been Boss SE50, Quadraverb, Ensoniq DP4.
WWD: Who were the DJs who championed your sound back in the day?
Justin: The big one. Danny Tenaglia. That helped us out a LOT.
WWD: Justin, you carried on in the studio and have had a respected career as the go to mastering man in the UK. Is that something that you have done since the 90s then?
Justin: I started my career after leaving college. I’m lucky to have never had a proper job!
WWD: Were you ever a DJ Justin or did you always leave that to Clive?
Justin: Djing came first for me way before moving into production. I did DJ a lot during the late nineties/early noughties. I’m not bad but def not a natural. Clive is.
WWD: Clive, you got your stripes over the years playing in the UK and most famously in Ibiza. You must have a lot of happy times in Ibiza. What was your biggest night out there?
Clive: My biggest gig over there was obviously my residency at DC10. Mondays were never gonna be the same again.
WWD: Clive, do you still head over to Ibiza to party? Do you have a relationship with Ibiza now still?
Clive: Sadly, not so much nowadays. The island has changed so much. I still have a lot of friends over there, and I go if I get asked to play, but I go elsewhere if I have get the chance of a vacation.
WWD: What was the precursor to you both pulling together this 2024 release?
Justin: Thanks to the interest of Wolf Music Recordings. This is a part of our catalogue that has been overlooked until now.
WWD: How did you hook up with Wolf?
Justin: I’ve been mastering for Wolf for quite a few years now. I’ve always appreciated the quality of that label.
WWD: It’s going to bring a lot of joy to a lot of ears. How are you feeling about this music coming out again?
WWD: How do you spend your time when you’re not inside a studio Justin?
Justin: I spend more than a healthy amount of time in the studio. When I’m not working, I’m out jogging as much as possible!
And you Clive?
Clive: Unfortunately I’m not in the studio much at all nowadays. I am spending more time with my family, I watch football from time to time, and basically chill and don’t go out so much anymore! I leave that to my kids.
WWD: Has this release given you the bug to get in the studio together or is this a one-time thing.
Justin: I’m not writing any new music these days. I enjoy working for others.
WWD: Who do you think is making great music now?
Clive: Brawther, Alex Cellar, Johnny Hunter,N-Gynn.
WWD: What are your thoughts on the music scene in 2024. Has it changed dramatically or do the fundamental remain the same?
It’s completely different, and the same. Better, and also worse.
WWD: What advice would you give to a young Clive and Justin knowing what you know now?
Make music you love. Don’t chase the $$$