One Nation returns with documentary

Legendary promoter Terry “Turbo” Stone has been away from the drum & bass scene for a while acting and making films, but he’s back with a documentary about his One Nation event, ‘United Nation, three decades of Drum & Bass’. Directed and produced by Terry and Richard Turner, the raw original archive content speaks for itself, with tell-it-all interviews from DJs and MCs like DJ Fresh, Andy C, Sigma, Hype, Ragga Twins, Adam F, SASASAS, DJ Rap, Grooverider, Fabio, Jumping Jack Frost, Nicky Blackmarket, Ray Keith, DJ Brockie, Rat Pack and many more. The premiere takes place at The Troxy on February 15, so we spoke to Terry to find out why he’s back and what to expect.

How did you get involved with the rave scene and club promotion?
I started off as a raver back in 1988 and worked for a company called the Flying Squad handing out flyers. After a fall out with them over money I started my own firm, Turbo Promotions and I also started selling tickets for all the big one-off rave events which meant I could earn a living from the rave scene. After a while, I set up a rave magazine called The Scene that was a big success and then that led me up to December 1993 where I put on my first ever rave, One Nation at the Roller Express in Edmonton, north London.

For some of the younger ravers out there please give us some background on One Nation…
It was one of the first large scale drum & bass events that started off big. Our first event was for 3,000 people, we didn’t ever do anything small. We were the first company to do a worldwide tour using our One Nation brand, and we were also the pioneers of back to back DJ and mc sets. we did a sell-out 20,000 rave at Wembley Arena. I don’t think any drum & bass event topped that.

There’s also a book coming on Junior Tomlin who did some of your early flyers, how important was he to your visual identity?
When I started One Nation there were two artists that I liked: Junior Tomlin and Pez. However, I felt that Junior’s work was more in line with the One Nation vibe, so we met, discussed and agreed what we wanted and he designed our first ever flyer and many more thereafter.

Why did you end your involvement with the rave scene?
It got silly towards the end, clubs were shutting down, certain DJs and MCs weren’t allowed to play, the gun crime went off the scale, and the fun for me fell out of promoting, so I decided to do something else.

Why are you coming back?
I think the scene now is a good as it was back then, the nice vibes are back, and now I’ve made a film covering the last three decades. It’s given me a taste to do a world tour with the film and put on some old skool jungle nights with our residents.

What can you tell us about the documentary?
Yes, it’s a 90-minute journey where young and old can experience the inner secrets of the drum & bass/jungle scene, what went on: the sex, the drugs, the violence and the unadulterated fun.

What can we expect at your premiere at the Troxy this weekend?
It will be a proper red carpet affair with the who’s who of the drum & bass scene, alongside 250 celebrities from the world of music, TV and film mixed in with anyone who wants to buy a ticket and experience how the old parties used to be done.

Any forthcoming films or acting jobs you can tell us about?
Yes, Rise Of The Footsoldier 5 The Tony Tucker Story is happening this year and Once Upon A Time In London and Rise Of The Footsoldier 4 Marbella are both being rolled out around the world which is very exciting. There will also be a garage documentary about the Garage Nation days coming out later this year.

If you can’t make it to the premiere at Troxy then there will be other opportunities to see the film and listen to Q&As after:

  • Friday 21st February, 6.30pm, Ritzy Brixton – Terry Stone & DJ Jumping Jack Frost
  • Saturday 22nd February, 8.30pm, Hackney – Terry Stone, DJ Brockie & MC Det
  • Sunday 23rd February, 7.30pm, Fact Liverpool – Terry Stone, MC Mad P & Top Buzz aka Jason Kaye
  • Monday 24th February, 8.30pm, Cameo Edinburgh – Terry Stone & DJ Kid
  • Thursday 27th February, 8.30pm, Theatre Royal Stratford – Terry Stone, Fabio & Grooverider

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Bloc2Bloc Music launches new Youtube channel

We catch up with Nathan Hanley, head honcho and general legend of Bloc2Bloc Entertainment Radio, the hugely popular drum & bass and underground music platform, which has been going from strength to strength. Nathan (fan of his favourite catchphrase ‘cheeky’) talks to us about the history of Bloc2Bloc and his ever-expanding empire, in particular, the launch of their new Youtube channel which focuses on bringing the best in new underground, signed and unsigned drum & bass.

“Bloc2Bloc Entertainment was founded back in 2012 as a music and nightlife Youtube channel, a means to capture the heart of Manchester music, escape the stresses of life and a way to give back to the youth in the community,” says Nathan.

Fast forward to 2020 and the Bloc2Bloc team have undisputedly made their mark in the Manchester underground bass scene and beyond. As a double award nominated internet radio station, a combined social media following of over 120,000 and events featuring star-studded regular line-ups, it’s not hard to see why Bloc2Bloc are the go-to platform for many up-and-coming DJ/producers.

In the last few years, Bloc2Bloc has seen the likes of Bou, Indika, Kaz and Jazzy-lioness all make a serious impact on the drum & bass scene through the Bloc2Bloc platform and, consequently, they’ve all gone on to do massive things and continue to rise through the ranks. Simply put, Bloc2Bloc is quickly making a name for itself as the home of new talent.

“We’ve now decided to venture out into uncharted waters with BLOC2BLOC MUSIC, a new music-based YouTube channel,” adds Nathan. “The idea behind this is to simply give back to all the producers who are constantly supporting the Bloc2Bloc team and all the DJs by creating a hub to share brand new music with the world. Unfortunately, it’s very clear that without the right support, social media & promotion, some amazing producers aren’t getting noticed or being given the credit they truly deserve. So here we are, BLOC2BLOC MUSIC on YouTube is committed to bringing the best new undiscovered, up-and-coming sounds from around the world.”

In the future, they’re looking forward to adding guest mixes to the channel from some of the biggest names in the game including the likes of Chimpo, Bou, Indika, Kaz, Dub Phizix, AC13 and many more.

In other news from the Bloc2Bloc camp, they’ve recently sealed a deal with Unity Radio to host their very own fortnightly show. In turn, giving them a whole new audience and an even bigger reach to push new producers and music into the spotlight. They also have their own merchandise range. Bridging the gap from pirate radio to official channels, it seems Bloc2Bloc is everywhere you look, be it in Manchester or on social media.

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25 Years Of Knowledge at FOLD

As you hopefully know by now we published our 25th-anniversary book in December. Now we’re ready to announce the next phase of our celebrations by announcing the line-up for our special party at state-of-the-art venue FOLD in London’s Canning Town on 21 February 2020. The event will be one of the first drum & bass events at the 600-capacity venue and will test the bespoke sound system to the limit.

Musically the night will explore the past, present and future of drum & bass with a diverse line-up of old favourites and rising stars. Headlining are a pair of special guests who we can’t announce, but we can say this – they’re two figureheads from Metalheadz doing their first-ever exclusive back-to-back set. It wouldn’t be 25 years of Knowledge without a special treat! Also on the line-up are Total Science, DJ Flight, Bryan Gee B2B L Side, SP:MC, Apey and Tenth Letter. A special guest from Commercial Suicide will also be appearing but we can’t announce them until February 1.

Tickets are only £6 to £10 and we’re also doing a special package deal of a ticket plus a copy of the book for only £30 if you collect the book on the night (the book normally costs £30 alone). The first 30 packages also include a free 25th-anniversary tote bag.

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Decibella is the Rupture and AKO junglist you need to know

Sophia Rosa, AKA Decibella, has been mad about jungle, D&B, dubstep, garage and hardcore since way back when. She learned the ropes at Knowledge Mag as an intern at age 15, and has been raving, DJing and producing ever since. Then after sending over her demos to Mantra at an EQ50 producers workshop, she exploded onto the London scene with the support of AKO Beatz, Rupture and more. On top of that, she’s one of the most friendly and humble selectas I’ve met. Read on to get to know the absolute babe that is Decibella.

Hey Decibella! I heard you were an intern at Knowledge Mag back in the day, how did that come about?

I was 15 or 16 years old, and it was a 2 week work experience thing. My mates were going to work at their mum’s insurance companies, haha. At the time I had started going out raving and would buy Knowledge Mag every month – so I was like I’m gonna write to them and see if they will let me do it there. And they said yes… I was buzzing!

That’s easily the best school work experience I’ve heard of! What did you get up to while you were there?

I was creating stuff for the magazine…researching people, writing articles and reviewing music. I was also there when they were doing the cover shoot for the Ed Rush & Optical issue which I helped with. I’ve still got the mag!

I was so into drum & bass and going into an office where they’re wearing their own clothes and playing D&B and following their passion was very cool and really motivational at that young age.

Ed Rush and Optical Cover

Sounds like it was a huge influence on you and your music. What else influenced you to get where you are today?

I just wanted to be closer to the music…to be a part of it. It didn’t cross my mind that I could be a DJ or producer at first, just because I hadn’t seen any women doing it. When I went to raves, all the artists and MCs were guys. So I thought writing about it was a way to be closer to it.

Then I came across a DJ Rap tape, which I connected to in a different way… in a more emotional way. So I was bigging up DJ Rap, saying “he’s my favourite DJ. He’s so sick”. But then I was corrected and was told Rap was a woman! That’s what really planted the seed in me to begin to dream about being a DJ and making music. Reading the All Crews book also opened me up to loads of new information about the music and the history, the artists and labels, and allowed me to connect all the dots. This was before the internet was like it is now! I loved that book.

Decibella

Decibella, captured by Jagoda Kotlarz (@Melancholik)

When I discovered the underground music scene in London it had a huge impact on me. I knew I’d found something special that was gonna change my life. It awakened a passion and joy in me I never knew I had. I fell in love with it, it seemed to give my life new meaning and purpose and direction. The music and my experiences of raving have given me beautiful moments of feeling connected to myself and my emotions and my spirit, and to people, and I just wanna share that, and maybe help create those moments of connection for others in some small way. It has given me so much I just wanna give it back with love.

And how old were you then?

Not long after the time I was doing work experience with Knowledge! It was when I was really getting into it – started to become a bit obsessive about it.

Haha yep, the obsession is real!! So maybe I’m just living under a rock, but you seem quite mysterious like you’ve exploded onto the scene. But you’ve been doing this jungle D&B thing for a while?

I’ve loved it for a long time, as a lover and a raver and a fan. I was going out DnB and Garage raves and listening to pirate radio from really young, like 14! Then bought decks when I was 21 and started buying vinyl. I was buying a lot of early dubstep at the time actually. Going to FWD and DMZ nights, I was really into that sound. Always buying old Jungle records though and listening to loads of old jungle and hardcore sets, I particularly loved that sound and felt so sad that I was too young and missed it. The early dubstep sound & movement reminded me of a bit of jungle. When I started learning to produce, I just naturally started making jungle, hardcore and garage.

decibella

Decibella, captured by Jagoda Kotlarz (@Melancholik)

It’s weird how it’s all happened really. It’s all coincided where I’d already been making jungle and playing and collecting records. And in the last couple of years, there’s just been this explosion of new jungle and hardcore producers and labels and nights and newness. So, it just feels like it’s happened naturally, in a synchronistic kind of way.

I find it difficult to send people my music because I care about it so much and can be overly critical of my stuff, which is why I hadn’t done it before. It’s taken some time to put myself out there.

You’re definitely not alone, but we’re so glad you did it because your tunes are sick! I’d love to hear more about your tune Outta London coming out on AKO this year. I’ve heard DJs playing it everywhere. What’s the inspo?

Hearing people play my music on a big system is such a crazy feeling when you’ve grown up as a raver! I’m so grateful for the love and support the release has been getting. Flight & Mantra were the first DJs who played it out – they dropped a really rough version of Outta London at Rupture on International Woman’s day and it was such a buzz. The sample is from a 90s soundclash between Love Injection and David Rodigan. As soon as I heard it I was like YES. I wanted the tune to feel how jungle feels to me, it has all my favourite elements of a classic jungle track. 

Did you just have it on your computer for quite a while before you sent it out to anyone?

Yeah, I had a rough version of the track for a while. Then at the first EQ50 meet-up for women in drum and bass, Mantra did a call out for producers to get feedback on their music. I sent them over to her and she called me, really buzzing about them and really feeling it. 

Decibella, captured by Jagoda Kotlarz (@Melancholik)

Is that how you got involved with Rupture and AKO, by sending your tracks over there?

Yeah! Sending those tunes over to Mantra at the EQ50 event kick-started me becoming visible. Mantra played my tunes to her partner (Rupture co-founder) Double 0 and they were really feeling them. They have both been amazingly supportive and encouraging with my music. She played my tunes to Stretch and he said he wanted to sign them straight away, which was mad, and that’s how I connected with AKO.

Mantra is a big inspiration to me. She’s become an awesome mentor, and now a friend. I feel very lucky to have connected with her and the other women who are part of EQ50.

Then she invited me to play as a guest on Sherelle’s Reprezent show, it was an EQ50 takeover with Chickaboo, Flight, G Magikal, Sweetpea and me. When Mantra heard me on the radio she said ‘you’re definitely a Rupture DJ! Would you like to come and play for us?’ Which was incredible. Stretch came to check out my set at Rupture and liked what he heard and asked me to play at AKO.

Wow, huge shout out to Mantra, EQ50 and Stretch then! I love that Mantra heard your tunes and immediately knew to send them to Stretch. Outta London is such an AKO tune.

Yeah, it fits with the label. AKO10s are the ones I love most in my heart and my soul. For me, to be on the AKO10 label is amazing, they’ve got that old school new school vibe. Massive shout outs to Stretch for all his support and belief in me. 

I feel lucky to have connected with Indi [Mantra], Dubs and Stretch. They’re such good people. It’s so special what they’re doing with Rupture, AKO and the community around those nights and labels. That passion for the sound, driven by a real love.

It’s our soul tribe for real!! So on a side note, I’ve gotta say this, your fashion is always on point. You’re always reppin’ some serious Moschino and trainer swag… how would you describe your style?

Aw cheers mate! You always look so dope! I’m just living my London teenager rude girl fantasy hahaha. Cos when I was younger, the older girls in the raves had all the Moschino and I really wished I could wear that – but I was so young and had no money! But now I’m doing it, I’m living the Mosch dream haha. It’s just London… Fashion is a part of rave culture, whether you’re wearing Mosch, a tracksuit, or reppin’ your fave record label t-shirt. What I love about jungle raves is you can wear what the f*** you like and no-one really cares. Just do you. I always dress to dance, and to be comfortable. The 90’s fashion is really coming back now and I’m loving it. Oh, and I’m all about the air max 90s. They’re my favourite trainers.

Decibella

Decibella, captured by Jagoda Kotlarz (@Melancholik)

Haha that teenage dream is definitely relatable! What else is in the pipeline for 2020?

I’ve got the release dropping on AKO in Feb which is so exciting. Next couple of gigs are Brighton for AKO’s 25 years party, and Fabric for V Recordings at the end of Feb with the WMXB 2 collective – check them out they are doing amazing things! And I’m gonna be on the Rupture Rinse FM show in February too.

Damn, it’s gonna be an exciting year for you Decibella!!! We’re all so here for it…

You too babes, this Knowledge Mag/Rave Report collab is amazing. It’s gonna be brilliant following your journey too. I love that it’s 2020 as well. It’s all about THE 2020 VISION!

Follow Decibella on Soundcloud, Instagram, Facebook 

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Downloads & Reloads launch magazine

As the demand for our recent 25th-anniversary book has shown, the drum & bass scene has a passion for words in print. The ability to hold a magazine has always made its message seem more real and, regardless of the medium, physical products undoubtedly have the qualities so often assigned to them by vinyl lovers and tape collectors alike.

“We think that, for drum & bass fans, the relative lack of focus on the drum & bass scene within more mainstream dance music publications only enhances that feeling,” says Ben Hunter from the Downloads & Reloads newsletter. “To consistently improve the coverage of the scene is why we started our weekly newsletter almost two years ago, and it’s a gap we hope we’ve gone some way to filling for our 650 subscribers. With the amount of not just quality music but general news and innovation, there is absolutely space for another outlet entirely focused on covering events at 170.”

This is why they’ve now launched their quarterly print zine, a 30-page magazine dedicated to drum & bass. They’re publishing every four months and have just sold over 100 copies of their first edition. This month features music reviews of 2019’s best releases, interviews with Mystic State and UKF founder Luke Hood, guest columns from El Hornet, Charli Brix and more.

“If you like drum & bass we’re certain you’ll love it and we’ve just re-stocked, so please feel free to order yourself a copy,” adds Ben. “We also have some super excited things in store for the next edition, including our first cover feature, so please get (and stay) in touch on Twitter and Instagram.”

Downloads & Reloads mag

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Velocity Press to publish Junior Tomlin rave art book

Velocity Press are to publish Junior Tomlin: Flyer & Cover Art, a book showcasing the work of the mastermind behind some of the most iconic rave flyers and record covers from the late 80s and early 90s.

Junior Tomlin’s visionary capabilities led to a long-running career as a flyer artist. His fantastical projections of the future and often surreal imagery earned him the title ‘The Salvador Dali of Rave’. Tomlin’s iconic work was highly sought after, with ravers collecting his remarkable work and promoters queuing up to commission him to produce imagery for their flyers.

Junior’s imagination conjured up alternate worlds, references to outer space and gave us a peek into the endless possibilities presented by an unknown future. It was the perfect representation of the brave new world being cultivated by rave promoters and the community that sprung up around the culture.

Junior worked with a range of seminal rave promoters from 1989 onwards including Telepathy, Dreamscape, Slammin’ Vinyl, One Nation, Dream Odyssey and Ravealation. 30 years since he designed his first flyer, Junior Tomlin: Flyer & Cover Art documents his work across 180 pages, with commentary and draft sketches provided by Junior himself.

Divided into two distinct sections – Record Covers and Flyers – the book will also feature an in-depth interview with Junior and a foreword by Chelsea Louise Berlin (artist, flyer collector and author of Rave Art) plus words from members of the public, former clients and, of course, the rave community.

The book will be 25cm x 25cm, printed and bound on premium 130gsm paper. It is the first time his work will be documented and presented in such a comprehensive, cohesive fashion.

The book isn’t out until June but pre-order it now and you’ll receive it in May, signed by the author and with your name in the credits.






 

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DJ Chef: What is the future of D&B Radio?

Shafique Khan (AKA DJ Chef) has been a veteran of D&B radio for 25 years. He first earned his stripes back in 94, playing a residency alongside headliners like Randall, Hype and Andy C, and got his first show on the legendary pirate station Kool FM. Chef remained a resident and manager on Kool for 13 years, running labels and raves on the side. Since then he’s moved onto Pyro, and has appeared on Rinse, 1xtra, Ministry Radio and Kiss 100. Read on to get Chef’s opinion on today’s climate for D&B radio, and what it will take to move with the times…

Easy Chef! In your experience what’s the main cultural difference between old school pirates and online D&B radio today?

The main difference I’ve seen and witnessed is the community. But first when you say online radio do you mean D&B stations like Life FM or Rough Tempo? Or do you mean the narrowcasting thing people are starting to do now for a more specialist audience when you can narrowcast from your room or in rented studio setups?

Oooh, let’s get onto narrowcasting in a bit…but for now yeah let’s talk about old school pirates vs online stations.

The biggest change is the effort and knowledge that everyone had on a station. Every artist on a single station was somebody doing something already. I’ll use Kool FM as an example. For D&B/jungle DJs like myself, Kool was the pinnacle. So I worked hard, put in a lot of effort, ran nights, labels. Was active in the scene. Because it was still new, we were still learning, still pushing things. And people were dedicated and tribal with us. They’d be on that station all day. So you would know Brockie’s on 9 – 11 Sunday. That was gospel, that was in your diary.

In the analogue days, you had to make sure you were listening – or got hold of the tape. Radio was the social media of the 90s. It’s where people heard you, and heard where you were gonna play out. That’s how you heard the latest dubplates, it was the main outlet.

Radio was the social media of the 90s! Haha that’s a great soundbite. And how does that contrast with today?

What I’ve found now in today’s D&B radio community, is that people are more often just DJs. They do their one show and they don’t do much else in the community. It’s narrow. With social media, people are becoming more and more in their own bubble. And social does half of the marketing for you. But that’s my perspective and how I see it.

MC GQ & DJ Chef

That goes back to what you were saying about narrowcasting… What do you think is positive about this shift?

The great positive is that if you have a successful brand or label for yourself, you can focus on that and dedicate your time to your audience who interact with you directly. Narrowcasting has its benefits in building your own fanbase.

Specialist labels like AKO, Funktion and Rupture have a dedicated following. So if Stretch wanted to do his own AKO show, he’d have an audience sitting there waiting. It’s happening with Rupture on Rinse. People will tune into Rinse just for Rupture. So it’s become a global sound but the only way they get to share stuff is through narrowcasting, meaning it’s more restricted to their niche audiences.

I’ve noticed some of the more old school pirate stations haven’t really moved with the times. So ratings are dropping, and they’re starting to die out… It’s a shame. Why do you think that is?

There are a few stations who’ve neglected moving with technology and it has been detrimental to them. Just putting up a Facebook post doesn’t really justify the hard work that goes into putting in the hours collecting music, doing the show. All the DJs do it because they love it. No one is doing it for nothing else but love.

But even with Facebook live streams…it’s just not something I really want to do! People ask me to do it. If it was my choice I’d be like just login to the stream?! I’m not a performer. But it’s an old mentality not wanting to move forward with what the generation wants.

Look at Block 2 Block. It’s got a great format and a very young audience. The audience wants to see people going nuts behind the decks, gun fingers out. But I’m so not of that generation haha. I think it’s a very generational thing, people are living off hype. Building hype machines for themselves. And the thing is they are getting the bookings! Because it’s engaging content, and it brings the audience.

Yeah, that’s definitely a trend. A platform can share a 10-second video clip when everyone gets the gun fingers out. And that can go viral in minutes!

And it might not even be that great inside aha. You can just have your friends supporting you turning into a thing. So in a snapshot, visually it looks like it’s going off. I’m not a person to judge, it’s just not where I came from man! I’m now 45 now I’ve been doing it since I was 18. It’s been a big part of my life. I just had to work hard. But now we’re in a totally different context where the new generation live on their mobile phones – I’m guilty of it myself. It’s changed everything.

DJ Chef

You teach media, so you’re interacting with this generation daily. What’s the attitude towards radio amongst your students?

I ask the kids, “How many of you listen to the radio”. Two or three put their hand up. “Why do you listen?” “Cos I’m forced to.” And I ask why? And they say “It’s when I’m in the car with mum and dad”. It’ll usually be the sport as well. They grew up in a tech age, so they don’t know radio as a medium. They think “What’s the point if I missed it!? When I can just listen to stuff if I’m interested in it”.

So what are the best innovations you’ve witnessed for D&B radio stations to move with the times and engage with younger or wider audiences?

When you look at Life FM they have the green screen. They have moving images. Which just makes it that bit more engaging and adds a bit more value. It’s a great marketing tool, which can be repurposed.

I think the most innovative thing that happened because of technology is that global DJs can broadcast/stream from their home or location that has internet access. A few of the stations that I’ve been a part of have used this to grow the roster of international artists on the platform, by getting them to live stream from their location. Bassdrive.com have been leading on this technology for years. Other sites like Kool London are now streaming international live shows, Lion Dub from New York and Marcus Visionary from Toronto. So when I worked on the Intabeats show on Ministry of Sound, Marky would do a live show and stream it from Brazil. It would be redistributed to their network and would bring in whole new audiences.

But that was then! People wanna see more of it now, more of a personal brand and want to watch the DJs. The interactive elements of radio now are all down to social apps. For example on Insta you have stories, a lot of DJs use that feature because it’s what is happening at that minute and can inform their fanbase of what’s happening in realtime. Also features like “ask me anything” feature when they’re live on radio, or even Facebook chat makes it more interactive.

Yeah, people really engage with those “ask me anything” features…

Because they’re fans. As far as doing it myself, I am quite traditional in my style and my approach. For me it’s just about using the technology – it’s no longer just the stream. It’s social that I have to engage with. You’ve gotta be self-aware and on top of self-marketing. Constantly. For each show, I share on Instagram on four points in the day, so people know that I’m playing. Morning, afternoon, walking to radio and in the studio. So social media is now how you operate in your radio domain today. So yes I think there is a future for D&B radio, you’ve just gotta take advantage of the new avenues.

It’s amazing to see how much graft and commitment you’ve put into this scene over 25 years still going strong…and on top of your day job too. Keep on staying real and shelling down more D&B radio in 2020. Salute Chef!!

For more on the future of drum & bass radio check out the panel feature in our 25th-anniversary book featuring Chef, Uncle Dugs, Eastman (Kool FM) and Lady V Dubz. Catch Chef fortnightly on PyroRadio every second and fourth Monday of the month.  You can follow him on Instagram @Chef_dnb and on Facebook at DJ CHEF.

 

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Bleep, bass & breaks: the real roots of jungle

In this exclusive full extract from our 25th-anniversary book, Matt Anniss, author of Join The Future: Bleep Techno & The Birth of British Bass Music, explains why the seeds of jungle revolution of the early 90s began not in London, but in a terraced house in Bradford.

In the eyes of many commentators, critics and cultural historians, the emergence of jungle and drum & bass marked the moment when British dance music finally found its voice. When the first “proto-jungle” and “jungle techno” records emerged, mostly from London and the South East, in the very early 1990s, they sounded like little that had come before, mixing high tempo, fiercely cut-up sampled breakbeats with the booming bass-weight of Jamaican soundsystem culture and nods to the reggae, ragga and dancehall records that had been a formative influence on many of the scene’s pioneers. Jungle was loud, extreme and forthright, ripping up the rulebook while sticking two fingers up at British dance music’s established order.

It was a key moment in the development of what would become British “bass music”, a varied and nuanced collection of interconnected sub-genres born from the same sub-heavy blueprint. Be it UK garage, dubstep, grime, UK funky or bassline, the UK-pioneered styles that followed over subsequent decades all owe much to the sweaty, bassbin-bothering thrills of early jungle and drum & bass.

Yet jungle itself did not arrive fully formed. It was merely the most culturally significant step on a journey that had begun not in London, Essex or Bristol, but 200 miles north in Yorkshire. You see, the music you love may have been revolutionary, but the seeds of that revolution began not in Brixton, or on the dancefloor of Rage at Heaven, but in the spare bedroom of a terraced house in Bradford.

In late summer 1988, a DJ, a bedroom producer and an MC sat down to make a record in response to A Guy Called Gerald’s peerless rave-era anthem “Voodoo Ray”, the first house or techno of British origin to sound like it had been beamed down from another planet. Unlike the disco-influenced Chicago house records and sci-fi loving Detroit techno tracks that had come before it, “Voodoo Ray” was heavy, industrial, clanking and otherworldly, distilling the raw essence of the interconnected influences that had inspired its creator, Manchester jazz dancer and electro breakdancer turned soundsystem enthusiast turned bedroom producer Gerald Simpson.

The record was not particularly bass-heavy, but the space Simpson left around each of his intoxicating rhythmic and musical elements echoed the spaced-out aesthetic of the dub records he’d heard growing up in Moss Side, or at one of the many illicit, after-hours “blues parties” hosted within Manchester’s Afro-Caribbean neighbourhoods.

The drumbeats he programmed popped with the swing of electro and the loose-limbed shuffle of jazz-funk, both sounds that had dominated underground dancefloors in the North of England. Yet like Chicago house, “Voodoo Ray” was also raw, sweaty and intoxicating, providing perfect fodder for the legions of serious dancers who spent their spare time heading to club nights and Sunday’ all-dayer’ parties in Yorkshire, the Midlands and the North West.

When those three men – part of a slightly larger crew of DJs and promoters known as Unique 3 – gathered in the Bradford bedroom to record their response, they were partly inspired by the man behind “Voodoo Ray”. Like him, the members of Unique 3 were obsessed with hip-hop, house, techno, electro and Jamaican soundsystem culture. They had battled Gerald Simpson as breakdance rivals; if he could make a record that shifted the agenda, so could they.

And boy, did they. Released in its first white label form in October 1988, “The Theme” was even more shockingly revolutionary than the record that partially inspired it. Not only was it raw, stripped back and tough, with the same electro-inspired shuffle, but “The Theme” also boasted two unique elements that marked it out from everything that had come before: insanely heavy, distorted bass, rich in sub-bass frequencies, and sparse, ear-catching “bleep” sounds that could have come straight off a Kraftwerk record. This was “Bradford bass”, later to become “Yorkshire bass”, “Sheffield bleep” and, ultimately, “bleep & bass”.

Over the 24 months that followed the release of that first, bedroom-produced version of “The Theme” (it was later re-recorded and re-released on Virgin Records offshoot 10 Records), Bleep & bass became the first distinctively British style of dance music.

Significantly, it owed much to the dancefloor-focused “steppers” rhythm that was then popular within soundsystem culture, as well as the echoing, head-mangling effects of dub and the sheer bass-weight of reggae and its related genres. Combine this with the metallic clang of industrial music and the futuristic intent of Detroit techno, and you had a sound fully formed by its roots in Yorkshire’s once-mighty post-industrial cities.

Bleep & bass first began to prick the public consciousness thanks to the work of Warp Records, a label established by two record shop owners (Rob Mitchell and Steve Beckett) and soundsystem-mad Sheffield producer Robert Gordon. The latter claims he was motivated by the idea of releasing records that united both his black and white friends in appreciation, fixing his love of heavy bass, steppers drums and the sounds of “future dub” to the glassy-eyed rush of the growing acid house movement.

Whatever his motivations, in the first 18 months of Warp Records he oversaw the signing, mixing and mastering of a string of initially Yorkshire-produced bleep classics: Nightmares on Wax’s “Dextrous” and “Aftermath”, LFO’s chart-bothering “LFO” – the origin, perhaps, of jungle’s obsession with the devastating sub-bass drop – Sweet Exorcist’s “Testone” and Forgemasters’ “Track With No Name”, a cut Gordon co-produced with Sheffield DJ Winston Hazel and school friend Sean Maher.

While Warp’s early releases were amongst the most popular and influential of all bleep & bass records, there were plenty of others that carried significant sub-bass and made an impact elsewhere in the country. Records such as Ability II’s “Pressure”, Ital Rockers’ “Ital’s Anthem” and Juno’s “Soul Thunder” – all engineered and co-produced by a little-known figure called Martin Williams in a studio above a skateboard shop in the centre of Leeds – proved particularly popular elsewhere in the UK, first inspiring producers in the Midlands (see Rhythmatic, Demonik, Nexus 21 and Cyclone) before those in Hertfordshire, Essex and London began making their own bleeping, bass-heavy records in response.

Few were more inspired than the founders of Britain’s breakbeat hardcore scene; DJs and producers such as Fabio & Grooverider, Jumpin’ Jack Frost, Bryan Gee, 4 Hero, DJ Hype, Mark ‘Ruff’ Ryder, Romford’s Boogie Times Records crew (later to found the hugely influential Suburban Base imprint), Paul Ibiza, Shut Up & Dance and James’ Noise Factory’ Stephens. Hooked on the sparse bleeps and booming sub-bass but keen on finding their own groove, the records they made in tribute replaced Detroit and Chicago influenced grooves with breakbeats sampled from rare groove and hip-hop records.

As has been previously pointed out, the club where this gestation took place was Rage at Heaven, where resident DJs Fabio & Grooverider championed sparse, alien and insanely bass-heavy records whatever their origin. Initially, that meant tougher and more intense forms of mutant acid house and Detroit techno, as well as stomping, rave-friendly techno records from Belgium and Holland. “Fab and Groove” loved bleep & bass, too, turning weighty and intoxicating records from “up North” into anthems.

Yet their heart always lay in music with breakbeats, so it was the London and South-East centric “bleep & breaks” sound – early, often house-tempo breakbeat hardcore records that otherwise bear all the aural hallmarks of original bleep tracks – that helped shape their sound.

As these records began to get darker and tempos soared, some of their punters began referring to “jungle techno” and later “jungle”. It was not a codified sound just yet, but rather a loose stylistic idea; something screamed out from the dancefloor when the two Rage residents dropped a particularly heavy, breakbeat-fuelled cut.

By 1992, bleep had all but died as a standalone genre, with its original pioneers either out of music entirely or making records that bore little stylistic similarity. Some were merely bored with the over-saturation of bleep sounds and the low quality of many of the records that had been made in tribute, while others had seen life – and the need to earn a living – take over.

Yet the enduring influence of the tracks they produced, and the bass-heavy blueprint they collectively crafted, remained hugely influential. After the natural full stop on the mass movement that was rave took place at Castlemorton Common in 1992, the hardcore scene split bitterly.

On one side stood the giddy over-excited ravers who wanted the rush-inducing piano riffs, sped-up vocal samples and mind-altering “hoover” noises of happy hardcore; on the other, the acolytes of Rage and the people who made records to be played there. They didn’t want silliness, but darkness: the claustrophobic intensity of poverty and drug-induced paranoia coursing through soundsystems capable of rocking bodies to their very core.

This was darkcore, the style that pushed hardcore towards what would soon be described as jungle. Faster, moodier and more intense than anything that had come before, the earliest darkcore records mixed booming bass and elements from horror movies with blistering breakbeats and – in the case of some of the earliest examples – sneaky samples from bleep & bass records.

Many of those producers, DJs and labels who would become stars of the early jungle scene produced or released key darkcore cuts, including DJ Hype, 4 Hero and the Reinforced Records crew, Goldie/Metalheadz, Rob Playford and Moving Shadow, Origin Unknown, Boogie Times Tribe/Suburban Base, and Noise Factory/Ibiza Records.

Then there was the man who arguably started it all, Gerald Simpson aka A Guy Called Gerald. After cutting his ties with major label CBS, Simpson left Manchester, headed to London and delivered a string of “proto-jungle” records on the Juice Box label. A fanatical hip-hop head with a deep-rooted love of soundsystem culture – something shared by many of those within the formative jungle scene – Simpson not only embraced breakbeat hardcore and darkcore, but pushed it even further, offering up ragga and reggae-sampling cuts such as “28 Gun Badboy”, “King of The Jungle” and “Free Africa”; tracks made in 1991 and ’92 that would now be considered key early examples of the jungle sound.

He was not the only UK house and techno pioneer to embrace what would become jungle, either. Robert Gordon, the producer who did more to define the sound of bleep & bass than any other, was also a fan. While it would take years for his experiments in jungle and d&b to be released (see his 1996 debut album “Rob Gordon Projects”), the Warp co-founder was a keen advocate of both breakbeat hardcore and jungle.

He argues that many of the earliest jungle records simply sound like sped-up versions of the tracks contained on Warp’s first compilation, Pioneers of the Hypnotic Groove, ‘with added breakbeats’. He also says that had fellow founders Steve Beckett and Rob Mitchell not ousted him as a director of Warp Records in late 1990, the label would have eventually championed jungle. “Warp should have been a pioneer in the jungle scene,” he told me in a 2018 interview. “It would have been if I was still there. But ours wouldn’t have been dirty street music, it would have been accurately produced and very well mixed.”

It’s all conjecture, of course, but there’s no denying that the roots of jungle lie just as much in the sparse, alien and sub-heavy sound of bleep & bass as they do in London’s soundsystem scene, on the dancefloor at Rage or in the illegal raves that popped up around the M25 from 1989 onwards.

There were plenty of other things happening musically that fed into the development of what would become jungle, but little quite as significant as Britain’s first fully homegrown, bass-heavy style of dance music. Perhaps it’s time for drum & bass culture to recognise and celebrate this fact.

The post Bleep, bass & breaks: the real roots of jungle appeared first on Kmag.

Philth Moments In Time Interview

Philth released the first part of his debut album Moments In Time late last year on Dispatch to widespread acclaim. The album showcases an artist on top of his game and displays the full range of the Philth sound while exploring new depths of emotion and ambient soundtrack-inspired works. With part two out soon we sat down with Philth recently to find out all about it.

You’ve released well over 100 tracks now, so how come it’s taken you so long to release your debut album?
I feel like an album is a very special moment in an artist’s career, especially your debut album. A lot of my early work was written in bursts and made sense to put out as EPs or singles. I didn’t want to rush the natural progress of my career (until last year I also had a permanent teaching job) or try to force myself to do an album too early. It was also important to find the right home for the project, again it had to be organic rather than making an album then trying to find the biggest label.

It wasn’t until I had done two EPs for Dispatch and developed a strong personal and musical connection with Ant that everything fell into place. I became part of a label and crew that represented the sound I love, where I could truly express myself with no restrictions or pressure. When Ant asked me to write an LP in late 2016 I had a catalogue of tracks ready and was given the green light to take as long as I wanted, and be true to myself. The end result is an album that shows everything I love in DnB, and comes from the heart, at a time in my life where I am confident as a musician and ready to step up a level as a DJ and artist.

What can we expect on it?
As mentioned above, the album features everything I love within DnB and, to me, that means deep tunes, soul tunes, classic liquid vibes, darker techstep and 1999 influences, jungle influences, modern minimal cuts. The album is an expression of everything in my record collection, first as a fan then as a working DJ. When I play club sets I try to take the crowd through a range of vibes and I wanted my album to show this. Personally, I don’t like when a DnB artist does an album but it’s just 12 variations of the same style – an album needs to be diverse and I’m grateful that Ant gave me the time and freedom to demonstrate my full range.

Who have you collaborated with on it?
There are quite a few collabs across the two parts of the LP, but they all came about in a very organic way. Most of the sessions involved a carefully planned dinner, a lot of chatting and laughing, and then a few hours of magic catching a vibe in the studio. I only collab with people that I have a personal connection with and all the collaborators are either old friends whose careers have grown with mine or new talents that caught my attention with their amazing voices and have become close friends as we continue to work together. We got a bunch of us together to celebrate Part 1 over food and wine, and there will be more of the same for Part 2 – it’s a family thing.

So, the producers are Facing Jinx, HLZ, Quadrant & Iris, and Wreckless – people I have known throughout my musical journey and will continue to cook, eat and make music with all my life. The vocalists are my close friends Collette Warren and Sense, who I love to work with and are very much on the same page as me… and two relatively new vocalists Becca Jane Grey and Ella Sopp. They both approached me wanting to write some soulful music and their voices and personalities are perfect for my vibes – deep smokey voices and bubbly fun people.

The final collaborators are the visual artists…. London From The Rooftops is a fellow North-London junglist with many mutual friends from the pirate days (shout out to the Origin FM family) and somebody I bonded with at Sun & Bass. When I was ready to work on the art I had no other plans, I met James in Finsbury Park, talked about life for an hour then had a five-minute chat about the album and played him some bits, and he was in straight away. We actually worked on the images together in his studio, choosing the crop from a larger photo, working on the colour balance with me asking how to “make it more orange”.

When we had the image ready, LD Pix stepped in to work on the layout and nailed it with a less-is-more approach to the text and logos. Chris is another good mate, I’ve played for him in Leeds a fair few times and he’s done all my earlier Dispatch art so he understands my musical and visual ethos. I can’t thank these two enough for creating such a beautiful visual package, for me it reflects the music perfectly.

Moments in Time – Part 1 by Philth

Did you set out with a specific vision of what you wanted to do with the album?
My vision was to not get caught trying to make the ‘perfect banger’ but just to display all my influences as a DJ, and I also wanted to incorporate my love for funk, soul and film soundtracks. Many of the songs on the LP started out as ambient interludes, then suddenly I could hear the funk-breaks and bassline rolling in my head and quickly developed them into DnB tracks. So yeah, I do I feel like I achieved my initial goals – music across my spectrum of DnB, music with widescreen cinematic vibes and emotional depth. I wasn’t expecting to create a double album so that was a big bonus and allowed me the time and space to express the full range of moods. I never compare myself to other artists so I’m very satisfied with the work, it couldn’t be more ‘me’.

Is there an overarching concept or thematic motifs that unify the album for you?
The concept to take influence from films was developed further because I was studying for a Masters in composition at the time… listening and researching soundtrack techniques (homework – watch some films) led me to use motifs to link the pieces. So, for example, there is a Rhodes chord on the drop of the opening track ‘Gone’ that comes back on the intro of ‘Bodyclock’ before that track heads in a darker direction. There are other motifs and repeating sounds/patches that link more of the tracks and hopefully develop continuity across the two parts of the LP. I tried not to overdo it, I wanted to create a sense of coherence across the album, but it might not be until the fourth or fifth listen that it really clicks and the links become obvious…

How does working on albums compare with singles?
Albums give you the time and freedom to express yourself, but you also need to learn patience and have to believe in your music with more conviction…. You can write and release a single in a fairly short space of time, get it out there and move on to new projects, but with an album, you’re sitting on tunes for two, three years and need to have faith that your music has staying power. I’ll admit there were times when I second-guessed a few of the tunes, but Ant showed such belief in the project and didn’t cut anything once he’d signed it. So after doing 28 mixdowns, I took a little break where I didn’t listen to any of them at all. Then in the time leading up to the release, I listened to them with fresh ears and I fell back in love with the music. I’m not sure I want to do my next album immediately, but I loved the process of creating a body of work designed to last forever.

What’s the thought process behind the title Moments In Time?
That’s my approach in the studio – get in, close the door, find the spark of inspiration, and chase that vibe to express how I am feeling at that particular moment in time. Then, in the subsequent sessions, I force myself to never change a tune much from the initial vibe. Mixdowns take longer, but the first three hours is where the magic lives so I try to retain that first emotional expression.

So the album feels like a diary of my life in some ways…. During the time I wrote it I’ve been through some great times but also some big personal challenges, including a period where my mental health was poor and I wrote a lot of sad music. I didn’t want to come back to these tunes a year later and change the underlying moods. I wanted to leave it all out there and capture those moments forever.

You’ve released on lots of great labels over your career, why did you release it on Dispatch?
Simple answer – it feels like home and I know I can write and DJ my range of music without second-guessing myself, I can just be Phil. Longer answer – when I was first putting out tunes I started to go out to raves with a sort of research-head on and watched all the label bosses DJ, and Ant was my favourite by far and still is. He plays loads of classics that I also still play, and his dubs are the vibes I wish I had on my USBs! So I knew this was the right label for my sound, and have worked hard first to become part of the crew on merit, and now I’m in a position where Ant and my labelmates are close friends and we push each other forwards. I’m excited for the next five years!

Your launch party in London in December sounded like a special night…
I’ve done launches in the UK and Europe in winter 2019, culminating in a secret London launch with a team of the album artists in a super-intimate venue called AAJA, it’s like 50 capacity. Again it was a family affair, we ate dinner together before the show and most of the artists were there from the first to the last tune. And quite literally a family affair, my Mum and sister were both there and at one point my Mum was in the booth with me dancing – I think she wanted to go b2b!

At all my album launches I’ve tried to represent the album to the fullest. I request longer sets than usual and play deep, dark, hard, soul, jungle, minimal, tech. Plenty of classics as well as dubs, showing both my influences and my future. I opened in London with ‘Raven’ and ‘The Beginning’, and I closed with ‘Inner City Life’. It was one of my favourite sets of my life.

What other forthcoming gigs have you got coming up?
In January I’m taking the album back across the UK and Europe including Leeds, Fabric, Eindhoven, Ulm and Star Warz. There will be a second London launch to celebrate Part 2, with more of the album artists playing, rapping and singing live. Then further down the line, we are working on Australia/New Zealand and the USA. These tours are still in their early stages so if you’re reading this and would like me in your city then get in touch with the Bassic Agency and make it happen… I’ve added Factor 100 suncream to the Aussie rider as a precaution.

Tell us more about your music tuition business…
I worked for almost 10 years as a college lecturer and course-leader. It was very exciting and inspiring to help young people develop their skills and go on to achieve their dreams in the music industry – I am especially proud to have worked with Little Simz in my early years as a teacher, a lovely person and now a worldwide star.

But around a year ago I made the jump to freelance life and 1-1 tuition. Now I teach almost exclusively DnB students, my schedule changes week to week to suit my gigs and studio work, and I’m able to pass on the exact skills and knowledge you need to advance as a producer and as a professional in this scene. The most popular sessions are probably Sound Design or Composing, I’m being paid to teach my students the techniques I’ve developed across my career and it feels great.

In my last years as a college teacher I was so busy with my music career and I was constantly tired, grumpy and ended up getting ill due to stress. Making the switch has renewed my love for teaching and I enjoy every single lesson. I am very grateful to the students putting their faith in me and look forward to helping many more people develop their production skills in the coming years.

Anything else you want to tell us about?
Don’t ever put lamb on pizza. I had it once in a pub about five years ago and Emilio HLZ has never forgiven me. He doesn’t like it when I put Bolognese in pies either. Thanks to everyone who’s supported my album, I’m very excited for you all to hear Part 2!

The post Philth Moments In Time Interview appeared first on Kmag.

2019 Reflections with Coco Bryce

Get to know Yoël Bego AKA Coco Bryce – the Dutch producer and selecta who’s taken UK bass by storm in 2019. Loved for his multi-genre sound often underpinned by uplifting amen breaks, the success of his label Myor Massiv has earned his rightful status as a pioneer of jungle’s new wave. Read on to get Coco Bryce’s 2019 reflections on an important year for himself as an artist, and on the evolution of jungle aesthetics…

So your album Night on Earth was a huge milestone for you and jungle music in 2019. What drove you to create this album?

Actually I wasn’t even planning to do a whole album. I did a couple of EPs for Fresh 86, and the owner hit me up and asking me if I wanted to do a double EP.

I thought that an album would make more impact: I’d get my friends to do some artwork, send promos to magazines etc. A proper coherent album is a much bigger thing than an EP, and I hadn’t done one in 6 years!

Over the course of a couple of months, I went over some old tracks and produced some new ones. Because I really did want it to be a coherent thing and not just a collection of tunes. So that’s how it came about. 

Night On Earth by Coco Bryce

What’s the concept behind the album?

I nicked the album title off a Jim Jarmusch film called Night on Earth. It’s a really nice movie… if you watch it on YouTube, you’ll get what the artwork’s all about. 

It’s five different short stories set in cities like LA, New York and Europe, all about taxi rides in the middle of the night. There’s kind of like a pun to all of them, it’s dry humour… dark-ish… very different from most Hollywood productions. 

And with the dog on the album cover, I’ve been using a lot of Snoopys in my art, so I wanted it to be a dog similar to Snoopy. 

Actually I wanted to ask you about your artwork: your releases on your label Myor Massiv are so aesthetically pleasing. Do you draw all those yourself?

Some of it! People often think it’s done by one person, but it’s not. All the bootleg Snoopy stuff – I draw those. But the original artworks are done by different people. I use a graphic design studio here in my home town, Breda. They do stuff for the local skatepark where I hang out a lot.

Night on Earth was designed by Rob & Robin, they do the cat faces too. And then I’ve got another friend of mine Etto who did some artwork for 7th Storey and the Myor Massiv logo: the design with the oval head and heart.

Yeah, the designs are dope. They’d make cool line drawing tattoos actually, some of those.

You know I think it was at Rupture, someone there showed me his tattoos of one of the artworks, which was mind-boggling! 

I love that! So we’re all dying to know… what is the meaning behind Snoopy? He’s all over your releases and posts!

Um nothing, I just like Snoopy haha. I love that whole bootleg culture. Fake Simpsons, fake Snoopy, fake Mickey Mouse… In recent years, it’s everywhere. It’s getting a bit out of hand now. Even becoming licensed and official. Like HUF the skateboarding brand, they’ve been doing Pink Panther, Peanuts, all that kinda stuff. 

There’s a shit-ton of illustrators and designers on Instagram at the moment. You know my friend Tommy? FFF? He’s really into that as well. He’s been collecting fake Simpsons T-shirts for decades. And knock-off toys. The subculture’s inspired me to do it as well.

I love the way you combine so many different influences in your art. You’ve also secretly been doing UK Garage under Chavinski. And for Sneaker Social Club – my favourite label right now!

Thanks! It’s not really a secret, but I wanted to have a different moniker from Coco Bryce. With Sneaker Social, they’ve got a nostalgic aesthetic, but their stuff is so forward-thinking.

How did you get into UKG, did it travel to the Netherlands?

Not that I’m aware of. Like jungle: garage didn’t ever really blow up outside the UK in the same way. A couple of people heard my garage records and asked me if I wanted to do UKG gigs as Chavinksi. But I only made a few tunes so I’d feel like a fraud. I will probably do it in the future but give me another half a year or a year to get more knowledge. 

Dwarde from Tim Reaper’s Globex Corp Crew, he lives in London and he’s a big garage head. He’s influenced me a lot lately. His garage stuff, he’s doing pretty well with it. 

So outside of UK bass what other countries and cultures have inspired your 2019 sounds?

It’s mostly UK inspired to be honest. It’s still my favourite place to play man. You can feel the energy there. It feels like the stomping ground. You can feel it’s where it originated and never really left. That whole breakbeat culture, it seems like everywhere else it goes through phases. Where jungle and d&b is hip for a couple of years, then it leaves. In the UK it’s more consistent. There’s something in the water with you guys… I guess people grow up with it, so…

Yeah, it’s the one time I get patriotic! The one time… haha

Yeah, I would be too, I’d be super proud of UK music culture.

And your Coco Bryce sound is almost as varied as the different UK events you’ve played at in 2019. From old school (Like Distant Planet and Bangface Weekender) to new school stuff (Keep Hush, Boiler Room etc)… How would you describe the differences in rave culture?

I’m a bit of an outsider because I’m from the Netherlands, so for me, the main difference is in the crowd. Distant Planet is very varied. There are people there who are really young through to being 60 years old, but everyone’s having it.

Boiler Room and Keep Hush have way more young people. But everyone seems to know their tunes, and even if they don’t know it, they’re really into it. But to me, it doesn’t feel as different as it might do to you.

Yeah, I notice the generational changes the most too: the crowd, the sounds and energy they bring. 

When jungle started blowing up again about 4 years ago, there’d be older generation people on Facebook groups, who are aren’t so into newer younger people bringing different vibes and sounds into it. But that’s just silly! Because if there are no new people coming in, the scene will die out. Because otherwise the scene will get old and die out, people start having kids and stop partying.

I like the fresh ideas that young people bring into it. Because have been criticising house producers who are producing jungle because its hip, but for the most part I really love it because they bring super fresh ideas into it. If you’ve only been listening to jungle, then it’s not gonna change. It’ll stick to the same formula. That’s why I really encourage it.

For real, I agree. Speaking of which, I was intrigued by your multi-genre top tracks of 2019 Insta post… 

So I accidentally left one thing out – Soundbwoy Killah’s album Halcyon Daze. I’m planning on doing another album sometime next year. I more or less got all the tracks done for it. And it’s not gonna be just jungle. Its gonna have some garage, downtempo, half time, jungle, jungle techno. When I heard the Soundbwoy Killah album I knew I could go back to different styles. Because I really like how diverse that album is. 

Yeah, it’s an incredible album: a whole journey of sounds. 

It’s a journey yeah. And it goes from one end of the spectrum to the other. I can’t even pick one tune out of it. To me it doesn’t have any hits or bangers, it’s this entity. You gotta listen to the whole album for it to make sense.

When it comes to jungle who else should we look out for in 2020?

All the people I’ve been releasing stuff with (obviously – because if I didn’t think they were really fucking good producers I wouldn’t release their music!). And all the usual suspects: FFF, Deadman’s Chest. Tim Reaper. Indi and Dubs from Rupture, they’ve been really good to me. I’ve got a new EP for Rupture in the works! 

Another guy is Necrotype. I just released a tune by him on Diamond Life. He’s completely switched his sound. It used to be dark style, 93 94 rave-sounding stuff. But recently it’s become more lovey-dovey. More similar to the stuff I would play. He’s been really getting into that… and he’s really good at it.

And outside of jungle?

Interplanetary criminal. The musical climate is ready for it. If he released that record five years ago, I would have loved it but I don’t know if it would have made so much impact as he did right now. He does it with the track Sensational, it’s this weird hybrid of MCing, electro and 2 step. With a bit of UK breakbeat to it too.

I think people like Sherelle, all the 6 Figure Gang are pushing it as well. I love what they’re doing, they’ve got their own hybrid style where they don’t stick to one genre. They’re coming up at exactly the right time. It’s inspiring not to just do jungle, when you can mix it up with so many good tunes. 

Exactly!!! The musical climate is so exciting right now, I’m totally inspired by it.

You used to buy a techno EP, and it would be four techno tunes. Today it might have techno, breakbeat, some electro, jungle, or some kind of hybrid on there. It’s going back to the early 90s again. People seem to be experimenting again.

Yes, I feel like the innovative new wave of jungle is here to stay in 2020. Big up Coco Bryce we appreciate you, and everything you are doing to keep the scene fresh. Respect my G!

Follow Coco Bryce on Soundcloud, Bandcamp and Instagram

The post 2019 Reflections with Coco Bryce appeared first on Kmag.

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