NoWayBack – Fully Exploring The Ever Entwining And Inextricable Link Between  Music And Fashion:

We are all culture junkies, just by the fact that you are reading this indicates that there’s a fair to middling chance that you are a keen lover of both music and fashion.  

I personally am a fully fledged tee shirt addict, I live my life in the things, I’ve got literally hundreds of them.   For me there are a few basic staple ingredients of what makes a top notch tee:


Well made

Durable and comfortable fabric

Great cut

Looks and feels good 

Mix all of the above with collaborations of some of the most forefront and influential artists in today’s electronic music scene with one of the finest tee shirt manufacturers around and you can only be onto a good thing.

I was lucky enough recently to put my inquisitive ruminations to Helen Dukes, co owner and founder of the effervescent online tee shirt proprietors NoWayBack;


So H, where did it all begin?

We basically started NoWayBack after Chris & I realised between us we had all the elements to set up the brand and do something we were both really passionate about. Chris is a graphic designer / web designer / artist & had the vision for the brand. I have worked in retail for most of my working career – in fashion, then music retail.

Why NoWayBack?

The name NoWayBack came from the classic Adonis track and a track that we both love. Chris played with the logo one night and it all just seemed right. And here we are! What started as an enjoyable hobby is now a business but we intend to keep it all about quality, limited edition, hand printed and eco-friendly merchandise. We spent a long time sourcing the right t-shirts to use as we desperately wanted to avoid the poor quality often associated with music t-shirts.


The electronic music crossover is obviously key to the brand, where did your love of this music stem from?

We both have a real passion for house music and where it’s come from and how it’s made, its a real pleasure to be working with people we admire and a scene we love.  Chris has always had a real interest in making music and is constantly working on a new track up in his home studio & I was DJ’ing through the 90’s with a big love of vinyl. I was resident at Wobble in Birmingham  and guested around the UK & Europe.

Sounds like you had some great experiences!  Any in particular that stand out?

I started DJing back in the early 90s when I was a student in Liverpool spending most of my my student loan on 12”s from 3Beat records on Bold St.  I was hearing all these great records at the clubs I was going to – Back to Basics, Quadrant Park, LuvDup nights in Manchester & Monroes in Blackburn.  Then when I was home down South during the holidays going to the Milk Bar, Sign of the times & The Gardening Club in London when I returned from Polytechnic.  I had some great times in these clubs and I wanted to share all the records I was buying at the time and play them all out in a club myself.

I bumped into Phil Gifford at a party around this time and he was looking for a new resident to play at his all-nighter club Wobble. I played there on a weekly basis alongside the likes of Derrick Carter, Andrew Weatherall, Justin Robertson, Jon Dasilva to name but a few.  That lead to me guesting at other clubs around the country.

And then the infamous ‘Wobble’ trip to Ibiza where Phil & Si put on  Wobble night with Josh Wink & Dimitri (Delite) which we all went over for. A very memorable trip in many ways! 

I’m a massive fan of vinyl –  I much prefer my monthly vinyl orders to a download of files. I buy all sorts now probably more down tempo stuff and tracks which I somehow missed along the way on Discogs. With social media and the amount of good new music that’s out there it’s a constant battle to get hold of everything I’m after. My ‘want list’ gets bigger not smaller.


Where do the ideas/collaborations come from?

We started the brand with our own designs which we still add to alongside the collaborations which has become a big part of the business. We approached DJ Pierre to see if he’d like one of our t-shirts – as a lot of the design influences were based around the Roland 303 & 808 drum machines and other early acid house stuff. He was keen to partner up and launch his own range of t-shirts with us as he respected what we were doing.  

Later that year Mark E got in touch and asked if we’d do a MERC t-shirt with him for his label. We’d not met Mark even though a fellow Brummie. After that collaboration, one thing led to another and we’re now releasing our own designs alongside collaborations with DJ’s & labels we love. 

It must be great to work with such seminal artists, anything exciting in the pipeline?

We have been privileged to work with Junior Boys Own, Greg Wilson, Kelvin & Mike’s ‘Down to the Sea & Back’, Dicky Trisco – Disco Deviance, Secret Squirrels & most recently Brighton’s SKINT label for their 20th anniversary.


Where is your target market based?

We now sell our T’s to customers all over the world and have a range in Phonica London.

There are bound to be comparisons drawn between you and other retailers such as the inimitable Millionhands, what is it that sets NoWayBack apart from the completion and how do you think you differ? 

I guess the emphasis is on limited editions with us. We have never printed more than 200 t-shirts of one design. We like being small at the moment and our market is quite niche so it suits that. We also take a lot of pride in the shopping experience for the customer, because we are small they almost certainly deal with me if they have any questions or feedback, its always a nice feeling for a customer knowing they are not dealing with a faceless robot!

We really admire what Millionhands do, but we are very different and mostly catering for a different and often older market.


What are your plans for the future?

We aim to keep the balance between producing our own designs and working with DJ’s labels we like. Autumn and winter will see some sweatshirts / hoodies again & after the limited JBO patches we did ( Terry Farley’s idea) we’d like to do something like that again as it was really nice to offer that bit extra to our customers.

The brand has grown and grown over the last 2 years since we launched and its taken us in unexpected directions, we would like to grow of course and offer a wider range of garments but at the moment we are very happy to be working with some key figures of the scene who we admire greatly in fact we’ve just had a  DJ / label that we’d love to work with approach us this week – but that’s all I can say for now.

For some seriously good threads please check out at your earliest convenience.

Review – The Young Gentleman’s Adventure Society / Parada 88: Adventure Party / You’re Gonna Miss Me

International Feel, the quintessential Balearic label, not content with producing some of the most sought after 12” vinyl in the last three years, have also recently gifted us with two Killer EP’s and an album all from the  “Sketches From An Island” project, and a totally new production by one of the men who started it all José Padilla.

In 2011 the label put out two separate releases with an extremely limited run on each, so much so it actually caused a mini riot in a Japanese store.  These releases are on the Discgos want list of many a vinyl enthusiasts with copies changing hands upwards of £200.

Just to put those proud owners noses out of joint just a tiny tad, but great news for the rest of us, Mark Barrott has decided to re-release both tracks. Mark states; “the simple fact is these records have power and I just want more people to hear them”.

The Young Gentleman’s Adventure Society / Parada 88: Adventure Party / You’re Gonna Miss Me, although relatively new productions definitely carry more than an air of nostalgia to them, and in my humble opinion have successfully captured a sound from the heady earlier days of the acid house explosion.

Both are on release Monday August 18th, get em while they’re hot!








Discogs, Vinyl and My Bank Balance:

It was four years ago, my wife told me my mid life crisis had officially begun when I finally at thirty seven years of age, after spending most of my adult life yearning for, purchased a set of Technic’s 1210’s and a mixer.  I had a very mixed bag of vinyl that I had picked up at various points along my lengthy career of partying, which started way back in 1988 when I was at the tender age of just fifteen.  It was a real mixture of tunes that I simply had to buy at the time for when I finally did tip my toe in the water and get myself a set.  

My obsession with House music has never left me.  Years ago there were literally packs of friends, club gangs if you like that would frequent various parties, clubs in London and around the country and of course Ibiza.  Over the years we all grew up, got married, had kids (me included) and most of my friends moved on with their lives and hung up their raving shoes for good.  But as I was reaching my forties I discovered that my obsession with electronic music was, if anything, growing exponentially.

With the rise of the internet music had become so much more accessible to me, it was much easier to find “that” elusive track you had been after, and with platforms like soundcloud, I could now follow the producers I loved and get snippets of new material as they release it.  I was like a kid in a sweet shop.

I had been listening to Reboot’s Resident Advisor podcast and was obsessed with finding the name of track nine and buying it on vinyl.  After much wailing and gnashing of teeth I managed to track it down; Scarlett Meets Recloose – Moveology.  I scoured Juno, and Beatport relentlessly, but to no avail.

So I popped into those wonderfully helpful and highly knowledgeable fellows in Phonica Records in Poland Street and spoke to the ever charming Vangelis, who had incidentally never heard of the track.  He tapped the track name into the computer on the desk  and spun it around for me to see;

“if it’s not on here, it’s more than likely unreleased, keep trying back”  I checked the website name on the screen; I knew that I had heard the name before, when I had been digging recently in Gary Dennis’s wonderful Crazy Beat in Upminster.  I thanked Vangelis and blissfully unaware of the financial ruin I was facing toddled off home to look into the wonderful world of Discogs.

I signed up and was immediately sucked in.  Here it was in all its glory, a huge treasure trove of all of the tracks that I had tried so hard over the years to track down. After so many years of trawling through Hard To Find Records less than easy to navigate website for these elusive slabs of black stuff I had given up.  Imagine my sheer delight in not only finding them ALL here and in plentiful abundance, but cheap too, that was it, I was up to my neck in it already and didn’t even notice.

Slowly but surely a steady stream of flat square parcels started to arrive at my door, I was in heaven!  However the missus did not miss this either.  “Is that more records?”  She would enquire, “errrr yes darling”, I would mutter beating a hasty retreat to my man room.  My wife was approaching her fortieth birthday and we were having a party at home at which I was DJing, this was the perfect excuse to buy up every piece of vinyl I had ever wanted, which I did.

Now I find myself four years later and now a Discogs veteran, it is a love and hate relationship, love the fact that I can find and buy pretty much anything I want but hate not having the money to buy it all!  With amazing sellers out there like the wonderful Ed Davies, who’s brown, square, manilla covered packages always arrive inscribed on the back with permanent marker “with love” you can really tell that not only does this man know and love good music, he also takes pride in his work.  Now a Facebook friend, his constant posts of delights arriving at Davies HQ are almost too much to bear.

Discogs a truly wonderful tool for the vinyl enthusiast, just whatever you do, don’t go on when you’re pissed, it can work out VERY expensive.