In August's feature we talk to the original Mr Big Toe and long time friend of Dub Studio, John Farrugia, about sound-system business, music and culture, in Scotland and his native Canada.
Its all good - Big Toe's HiFi with LHT Sound System
How did you guys get together?
Well I am originally from a farm in Ontario, Canada and I had been living in Canada two thirds of the year and St Lucia, West Indies for one third of the year throughout the 1990s. After arriving in Scotland back in 2003 to pursue art and music, I set about building speaker boxes and sculpture, and Big Toes Hi-Fi came to life. The name Big Toes was a handle I got whilst DJing in a wee fishing-village dancehall in St.Lucia in the late ‘90s. I had broken my big toe on my right foot earlier in the week playing football with some kids. So needless to say my toe was all black and blue and swollen. During the course of the dance that night, a Rastaman singer stepped up and took the mic, he had riddim & style… but he couldn’t pronounce my surname, and while attempting to big up the selector Johnny Farrugia, he looked down at the ground… saw my big swollen toe and declared - Big up to the BIG TOE!!!
A lot of DJs use dubs because they fit in with their label operations, not so with you, what's the attraction?
For me it's all about the opportunity to play the best music in the best format. I've been cutting plates of various descriptions for around 15 years now. I started cutting down at Music House in the mid nineties - all the main players used to visit and cut new tracks there. I've heard some of the biggest Drum & Bass tunes ever produced cut in those studios.