Drum&BassArena to release documentary

Drum&BassArena will premiere its first full-length music documentary Drum & Bass: The Movement on May 25. Five years in the making, the film comprises of unique interview footage from nearly all the scene’s top players plus never-before-seen footage.

The most detailed and explorative documentary of the scene to date, the feature-length production tells the story from the artists themselves and covers many of the essential characteristics that make the genre what it is: its UK inner-city underground roots, dubplates, its many sub-genres, MCs, key territories, crucial clubs and tracks that changed the scene forever.

Directed by prolific music videographer Bailey Hyatt, produced by music video director and producer Craig Haynes and written by journalist, author and presenter Dave Jenkins.

Dave Jenkins: “In 2016 we set about the task of interviewing 30 pioneers and influential artists in drum & bass artists to try and capture as much of the story of the genre’s meteoric movement across the world as possible. With unlimited access to two decades worth of Drum&BassArena video archives, we created this unique snapshot of a 20 year period in the genre. It’s not the ultimate or definitive history by any means – the genre is so big and means so much to people that it could never be condensed down into one documentary – but it is an exciting, intense and super-detailed tale of just how drum & bass developed from its underground roots to worldwide dominance… Where it remains to this day.”

Premiering on May 25, and available to stream thereafter, Drum & Bass: The Movement will be aired as part of Drum&BassArena’s D&BTV: Locked-In series.

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BNDT72 are the French footwork jungle duo you need to know

BNDT72 have released their new EP “Lost” on Beat Machine Records, signed by footwork pioneer and TEKLIFE head honcho DJ Spinn.

If you consider yourself a Junglist or a Hip Hop head, chances are you’ll love Footwork too. Why? Because it bangs at a similar tempo to jungle at 160 BPM: filled with frenetic percussion, rumbling basslines, minimal production and choppy Hip Hop samples. It’s no wonder that when you mix Footwork with jungle, it’s a match made in bass music heaven!

For anyone wondering what Footwork is, in a nutshell, it was born in 1990s Chicago. Kind of like a love child of Juke and Ghetto House! The genre was pioneered by producers like DJ Rashad, DJ Spinn, RP Boo, Traxman and DJ Clent, and their infectious beats sent dancers’ feet flying.

Since then, cities around the world have brought their own cultural influences to the sound, from Japan to Poland and France. And given its fast tempo, it’s no surprise UK Junglists have taken to Footwork like a fish to water too! The sound has been mixed beautifully with UK 160 BPM flavours, by artists like Om Unit (under the alias Philip D Kick), Machinedrum, Fracture and most recently, Sherelle and the Six Figure Gang.

One French duo that embodies Footwork’s global eclecticism are the talented BNDT72. Their latest EP ‘LOST’ has just been signed and remixed by Chicago legend DJ Spinn, and cuts up Footwork with acid jazz, dub vocals, and basslines reminiscent of early Dillinja or Lemon D. We loved the EP so much we were keen to meet the guys behind it! So we caught up with BNDT72 to hear about their influences, what the Footwork scene looks like in France, what makes French Footwork “French”, and what Footwork jungle tracks every d&b lover should check out…

Hey BNDT72 , absolutely love your new EP ‘LOST’! How did you get it signed and remixed by DJ Spinn!? 

Adios:Hey thanks for the compliment! We simply sent a demo and Beat Machine replied that they were interested shortly after.

Broady:And for DJ Spinn’s remix, Beat Machine took the initiative and we are very happy that he participated in this project! It’s truly an honour, much respect to him.

How did you take Chicago Juke and Footwork and flip it in your own way?

Broady: It’s the result of our diverse influences. We like a lot of different genres. So we didn’t want to put up a barrier and lock ourselves in one unique style. The EP is very Juke/Footwork but there are sounds from jazz, dub, techno… we like to try to mix genres and break codes. That’s all.

Adios:I don’t know if we could say that we really appropriated Chicago Footwork because precisely it is a very clean style with sounds proper to itself. Our sound has a lot of elements and inspirations, and the rhythm is the only element that we pick from Chicago Footwork.

DJ Spinn

DJ Spinn, Captured by TEKLIFE

What are your other key musical influences?

Adios: Our other influences are dub, jungle and hip hop and many more.

Broady: We like boom-bap style sampling and also breakbeats. Hip hop and jungle appeal to us a lot because these musical styles are already full of sample influences.

BNDT72

Captured by Eric Dietz

How did you hear about Footwork in France?

Broady: Since we met in high school, we’ve always been sharing our underground music discoveries. We always liked to find genres little known to the general public. We were fully into the deep dubstep at the time. Almost nobody spoke about it in France, and even less in our area.

Adios: In 2012, a mutual friend [also a producer/digger, called Itako]advised us to listen to the Bangs & Works compilations of Planet Mu (volume 2 was released a few months ago) and at the same time, there was also the release of Reworkz EP from Dream Continuum. We found it really refreshing and innovative. Then in 2013, it was like a revelation hearing Legacy – RP Boo, Double Cup – DJ Rashad, Teklife Vol. 3: The Architek and Vapor City – Machinedrum.

What’s the Footwork scene and sound like in France?

Adios: Footwork and more generally sounds from UK or American underground cultures are little represented in France. It’s a kind of music classified as “marginal”. It works almost like communities, where we talk and get to know each other through forums or Facebook groups.

Broady: In 2015 there was a collective called Le French Work. It released the first compilation with the aim of bringing together French-speaking producers from France, Belgium or Switzerland. They warmly welcomed us. They’ve just released volume five and with each volume, we’re happy to see new names and the collective growing. Big shout out to them!

Adios: And in terms of sounds, the compilations are rich with various influences, which will sometimes even draw on the old French song or Eurodance Anthem.

What are your top 3 Footwork Jungle tracks that we should check out?

Adios: 


Broady:


Why do you think Junglists and DNB lovers should listen to footwork?
Broady: I ​​think it’s the right musical style for Junglists and D&B lovers looking for freshness. They will find tracks close to d&b/jungle with a different and innovative look. It’s also a genre close to hip hop by its approach to street culture with mixing urban influences.

Adios: Because more and more D&B/Jungle producers are inspired by this culture. So it will help them understand why this genre is becoming a pillar in electronic music.

Follow BNDT72 on Soundcloud, Instagram and Facebook. You can contact them at bndtseptdeux@gmail.com

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Four beautiful ways D&B promoters have reacted to COVID-19

Missing the rave? Why not take solace in the touching ways D&B promoters Distant Planet, Innersoul, Moondance, Rebel Music, S2K, SINE and Stay at Home Festival have risen to the 2020 pandemic.

Drum & bass: you either get it or you don’t! But if you do, chances are our scene has added profound joy and meaning to your existence. But as this pandemic’s revealed, it goes deeper than that. Millions of people’s livelihoods depend on our community too, and on dance music’s in general. From artists and promoters, right through to nightclub cleaners and door staff.

Despite the industry’s uncertain recovery, what’s been beautiful to see are the ways our niche D&B community has held one another up. Here at Kmag, we want to shine a light on some of those people. So this week we chatted with some of the top D&B promoters, who’ve grafted hard to maintain our community platforms in the absence of raving. It’s no wonder these guys have provided us with so much euphoria over the years!

Innersoul

Innersoul, Captured by @AppsPhotography

1) Promoters are staying motivated thanks to the D&B raver community

The sudden loss of income is devastating for rave promoters all around the world. And let’s face it, millions of us are struggling with money in lockdown. But the good news is, boosting artists and promoters’ algorithms with likes and comments is the number one way to support your scene for free. 

It’s this crowd reaction that gives promoters the hope and morale needed to keep pushing out music and maintain their brand presence… Regardless of physical venue or income.

“The biggest thing that we’ve learnt from the lockdown is how amazing all the ravers can be by coming together to support the artists and music communities in this difficult time.” – Julian, Goat Shed (Stay at Home Festival)

Likes, comments, follows and shares make a huge difference

Like Nicky Soula (Innersoul co-founder) told us, “we won’t be able to run an event for pretty much a whole year. That’s tough for us. So if we’re putting on a live stream, come say hello! Share the live streams! Let us know you’re there”. Online interactions are the best way to support your scene, even if you’re out of pocket.

It’s been so encouraging for promoters to see how the ravers have reacted with online support. Moondance owner Funki told us how this pandemic has “really hit home how much of a family we are”. From lively DJ Whatsapp groups, to ravers keeping each other’s spirits up on comment feeds.

SINE

SINE Summer Series: Anca, Sweetpea and Becca Jane Grey

2) D&B promoters are sharing advice on how to stay afloat

“Do a bit more in terms of radio stations, online streaming, label podcasts. Anything that’s creating a bit more content that will allow your fans who like your music to get more of it and keep them interested.” – Ben Green, CEO at Rebel Music

Use this time to build your online presence

As Distant Planet managers Louise Plus One and DJ Hughesee told us, it’s essential to “keep a high profile and stay in contact with your fans” in lockdown. Similarly to Rupture head honchos Mantra and Double 0, who did a hugely successful three-hour live stream on the night that would have been their event… On 30th May, Distant Planet are doing an all-nighter rave. It’ll last in real-time from 10pm – 7am!

“Things move fast in our scene. So it’s important to reach out to your fans and let them know you are still there and not going away.” Simon and Louise – managers at Distant Planet

This rave crew have utilised their time in lockdown to deliver consistent, high-quality vinyl live streams on Distant Planet TV. Featuring crowd favourite DJs like Coco Bryce, Double 0, FFF, Equinox, Pesk, Hijack, Warlock and Dwarde who represent their old skool hardcore/jungle sound. You can catch their next all-dayer this Saturday 16th May, from 3pm-midnight.

Coco Bryce, Distant Planet

Coco Bryce at Distant Planet: Captured by @Holographicz Creative

Don’t sweat the tech!

Also, Funki from Moondance reminded us not to “sweat the tech. There will be lots of glitches on home setups using domestic broadband with feeds being taken down all the time”. It’s a learning process for everyone. So “just think of it like the early 90s when we had to move venues… and trust that the ravers will understand!” Everyone is adapting to live streaming, so don’t panic about glitches. We’re all in the same boat!

3) Promoters are running charity initiatives despite losing income

Live stream mega raves

Some of the big old school D&B promoters like Moondance, or the live stream experts behind Stay at Home Festival (AKA Goat Shed) have brought the mega rave home. Attracting over two million views and £30,000 for the NHS collectively! Whether Moondance’s old skool Lockdown Sessions is more your style, featuring DJs like Ratpack and Slipmatt, or Stay at Home Festival’s lineup of D&B legends like Sub Zero, Aphrodite and Bryan Gee – the quality of these sets are as good as any rave. And the best part is, after the events, everything’s immediately available online!

“Moondance is a fun event and you can really feel the energy on the night, despite being online. The volume of comments and videos of ravers having their own home parties tell their own story. It’s an escape from the madness and best of all we’ve raised thousands of pounds for the NHS!” – Funki, Owner of Moondance.

 

MOONDANCE AND GOATSHED

Left: Moondance raised £8,000 for the NHS through T Shirt sales! Right: Stay at Home Festival poster

[Update]: Just in! If soulful liquid is more your vibe, on 15th May the guys at Innersoul are hosting a three day House Party for Refuge: the domestic violence charity. You can find all the details here.

Brand new D&B LPs

There’s been an influx of music production in lockdown. So it’s no surprise promoters like SINE and Rebel Music have utilised their labels to curate LPs to help those who need it most. The Rebel One LP features the likes of Tephra & Arkoze, Kolectiv and Taelimb, and is a “donate what you can” concept for the NHS. “A SINE of Relief” showcases artists like Villem, Subtle Element and Trex, with proceeds going to the NHS, MIND and some of the contributing artists who need the support.

Rebel One by Various Artists

Pyxis at S2K Publishers has also been busy raking in the pennies for artists, while simultaneously creating a series of albums for mental health charities. It’s called “Beats in Mind: Headsbass”, and features liquid legends like Ben Soundscape, Loz Contreras and Collette Warren. It’s a double win that we can still enjoy listening to our favourite artists while knowing our money is going to a great cause.

4) D&B promoters can see a light at the end of the tunnel

We rise together and fall together

S2K encouraged us to keep the faith, “because this will make us stronger in the end”. And Innersoul reassured us that “whatever the D&B scene goes through, we’ll get out of it – we rise together and fall together”. For all of us missing the rave, it’s comforting to know D&B promoters and organisers can see a light at the end of the tunnel.

“This is time to get on the decks, learn a new skill, so that when we emerge from this lock down we will have the best rave scene ever!” –  Simon and Louise, Managers at Distant Planet

There’s now a more level playing field 

As Andy Wade (head honcho at SINE) pointed out, “with people being online a bit more, the lockdown also gives artists a more level playing field. It gives more unknown DJs, producers and independent labels a better chance to come through”. Stay at Home Festival also noted that “the current times give newcomers a chance to get themselves noticed on what is now a more equal platform”.

And it’s true. With everyone’s attention online, and with more time on our hands, now is the perfect time for up-and-coming artists to get musically productive in quarantine.

Moondance

Captured at Moondance

Thank you, D&B Family! 

“This pulling together epitomises what the D&B family are all about and always have been. As a veteran raver in the 90s, I can honestly say I have never known a stronger bonded scene”. – Pyxis, S2K Publishers

D&B and dance music generally has taken the biggest blow in the history of time. Its severity depends on what steps the government will take next. But COVID-19 has only revealed our D&B community’s beautiful true colours. Championed by acts of generosity, positivity, and motivation. Everything our promoters are doing to bring our scene closer together is crucial. So let’s continue doing everything we can to save our scene, so our promoters can continue to put on our favourite raves and support artists on the flip side!

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This is Sheba Q’s secret to staying productive in quarantine

Jungle selecta, promoter and vocalist Sheba Q shares her unique ways to stay relevant, connected and mindful of productivity pressures under lockdown.

Pandemic or no pandemic – Sheba Q (Margaret Rwegasira) is smashing it in the jungle scene. Back in the pre-quarantine days, if she wasn’t front-row raving or pushing out her deep sound on Insta, you’d find her rinsing out at parties and radio stations like Keep Hush and Subtle FM, or running her DJ/MC cypher event in Brixton, Jam in the Attic. Sheba Q’s adapted to lockdown well by continuing to embrace technology as an artist, so I caught up with her to find out how. Read on to get Sheba Q’s practical tips on how to stay on point in quarantine – without giving in to productivity pressures from the outside world…

Easy Margaret! You had a lot of gigs lined up this year, which must have been put on hold… How have you adapted to the change as an artist?

Hey V! Yeah I did actually have more gigs lined up, like there was the Return of Technicality event, playing alongside artists I respect, like Flight and Chris Inperspective. They were inspired by those events back in the early 2000s, so that would have been profound. But ya know, delayed, not necessarily cancelled!

Before lockdown I was already jumping into people’s DMs [direct messages], saying things like “can I play at your next event”, and pushing myself to get more radio gigs. And because people are online a bit more now, they’re even more susceptible to exchanging details, receiving mixes and whatnot. So it doesn’t feel that I’m on hold per se. Just adapting and laying the foundations to stay relevant and connected for when it’s back to normal. 

Can you share some more insight on how you’ve reached out to people on Insta before quarantine? I know that’s played a key part in getting you to where you are today.

One thing that I’m grateful for is despite the fact that I can appear quite outgoing, as you know I’m very anxious. But I hate regret more. Which is why I might wanna jump into people’s DMs! That’s how I got to be a Clashmouth resident DJ, I must have jumped into everyone’s DMs – Dexta’s, Rob’s and Chris’s. I said “whenever you do the next record fair, I’d like to do the next mix”. Although it breeds a lot of anxiety for me, I know if I don’t ask I’m gonna regret it. And the regret is gonna be worse than the anxiety. So jumping into peoples DMs is something I’ve been practising, and it’s helped me get to where I’m at!

Sheba Q

Captured by @thehouseofhifi

When I was going on my DM escapades almost two years ago now, I sent my vocals to a couple of producers, including Double 0. He got back to me and made a tune using my vocals, then played it at Rupture! I died that day. It’s supposed to be getting released on a label this year and remixed too. It’s very exciting to have an established person make a beautiful tune based on the vocals that I sent over. And I imagine that release won’t necessarily have stopped due to the pandemic, because people are paying more attention to stuff they can sell. I know that’s gonna help me get the coverage that I want. 

As much as I love DJing and performing, I can’t wait to contribute to the scene with my vocals. I know I’ve got something unique to say with a unique way of saying it, so I’m excited for that!

That is so sick to get a release of your vocals – all from a DM! So how else have you maintained your online brand as an artist?

One thing I do so people can see who I am is film mini mixes that I post on my Insta profile. I take two cool songs that go really well together, mix them to a fine tune and credit the artists by tagging them. So it’s been nice to carry on doing that.

I’ve even approached some big labels I respect. I’ve said to them, “if I can mix up to scratch, will you post my video on your socials?” So I’ve given my mix practising intention. Because if I record this mix and ask a radio show or label to post it, it needs to be creme de la creme! 

Captured by @melanchochlik

That’s a smart and unique approach to Instagram! I know you’ve been making tunes as well, can you share more about that?

My next venture is learning to produce myself – I’ve downloaded Cubase but prior to that, I’ve been making a lot of music with No Nation, who’s got a hip hop/neo-soul background. We both have a big appreciation for jazz – he used to show me artists like Bobby Cadwell. And since his first jungle rave for BK Balance’s birthday, which he immediately understood, I’ve been teaching him as well. It’s been cool to give your own version of a crash course in jungle. So expect jazzy neo-soul vibes mixed with crazy jungle breaks… and a lot of very geeky references!

a short story (prod. no nation) by Sheba Q

We’ve already made a demo project with like three or four songs, where I’ve been singing and having some creative inputs, watching how he uses Ableton. We made them to just see what happens and shared it with some people who we respect their opinion of. They said ”these are strong demos”, but advised us to keep on producing. I’ve really appreciated that. So when we’ve gone back, we can see why they might have said that – it was our first project. 

Mad respect for all this productivity. One consequence of this pandemic is it feels like we’re all being urged to hustle harder than ever. How do you balance rest and work with your creative output?

Yeah interesting question, in the sense that when there is that productivity pressure, people are forgetting that there is something ever so slightly stressful happening in the background! One ought to take that into consideration. But at the same time, for me it’s not about putting pressure on other people, but knowing what I can do for myself.

It’s been difficult getting to grips with working from home. I’ve done a lot of resting, I’m not even gonna lie to you haha. A lot of sleep-ins and things. But I’m trying to praise myself for the little things I do. Not going to bed at ungodly hours, and getting a relatively good amount of sleep. If I can say I’ve had breakfast, lunch and dinner, then I’ve kept some kind of routine. It’s all very confusing, but at least one thing that remains is that I’ve had more time to write lyrics, record songs. With time to write things down that are rubbish and do it again, stew over it. So going over that cycle has been nice. 

Sheba Q

Captured by @fotosbyryan

In that sense it’s been good. Because I’m not putting pressure on myself, telling myself there needs to be something to show for it. There doesn’t need to be a tune at the end of the week. I’ve just been fine-tuning all the small elements that lead towards you putting something out there. 

Relishing those steps is another thing that I enjoyed that I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to. Having time to marinate with an idea, marinate with my thoughts and contribute to my own creative output.

Yes, I think that is the secret to musical productivity in quarantine! Not putting pressure on yourself because for once we have the gift of time…

Yeah, it’s given me a chance to think about new ideas. One thing I’ve got on the horizon is I want to do a radio show that’s more regular. Talking about the intersectional politics that underpin jungle without talking/preaching at people. I like being a bit of an antagonist because it drives progress and honest conversation. So stay tuned!

What are your top three soundtracks to this mindful marination of ideas!?

1- Underworld – Born Slippy 2- Uko Juu – Sheba Q (shameless Spotify plug!) 3 – Lava/treacle – ELIZA feat Jesse James Solomon.

Wicked selection. To round it off, any final positive words of wisdom?

Everybody can achieve one thing in a day. When you can say “yeah I did that”, it helps keep the clock ticking. So set intentions for yourself. While being mindful enough to know that those intentions aren’t putting more pressure or anxiety on yourself. But use this time to set intentions, whatever that may be. This is the time to understand what the intention is for yourself! Oh – and I’d like to give a shout out to Chickaboo, EQ50, House of Hifi and the Clashmouth crew.

Feeling inspired by Sheba Q’s tips? Stay up to date with her on Instagram here and check out her latest tune with No Nation here.

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Jungle War dubs take on a new meaning in the darkness of 2020

Stateside producer ed808 has adapted the medium of the soundclash to bring you DARK: a Jungle War dub compilation representing darker times and spiritual unity within the global jungle community.

The tradition of the soundclash has always been a huge part of underground bass music culture. Since its Jamaican import from the Windrush generation, the format’s evolved. From reggae/dancehall sound system clashes, through to hip hop battle raps/diss tracks and grime/jungle war dubs. But ultimately, as David Rodigan put it, a soundclash is “really like a glorified boxing match, where the public decides who wins”.

Back in the day, soundclashes were all about which dubplates, war dubs or vocal performances got the biggest crowd reaction. These days online clashes are the norm, crowned victorious by comments and likes. But whatever the format, there are two big reasons why soundclashes are important. First, they force producers, MCs and DJs to step up their game. Second, it’s about how we, the ravers and listeners engage, resonate and respond to the music. Because despite the beef, at the end of the day the fire that fuels any soundclash is an intense love for the musical craft!

6blocc

“Jungle War dubs force producers to step up their jungle game and come up with energetic material.” – 6blocc

Jungle is rooted in reggae and hip hop, so it’s no surprise that producers got involved in the tradition of the war dub. In 2014, bass music went to war online, as the evolution of the soundclash passed through the world’s local jungle scenes.

Producers we know and love like 6blocc, Epoch, Sully, Om Unit, Ricky Force and Commodo started sending fire on Soundcloud. Lots of war dubs paid homage to the Jamacian origins of the soundclash. Combining reggae samples (like “Soundboy, you’re gonna die tonight” in Sully’s “Goodnight”), with manic gunshots effects and earth-shattering Amens. You can check out the entries under the hashtag #junglewar on Soundcloud.

Then in 2019, Bulgarian producer Automaton called out US junglists Abstract Illusion, ed808 and rjc. This sparked the idea for a project that was brewing during these jungle wars…  

“With Jungle War dubs, there are no more boundaries of local versus strictly local. It’s worldwide! Not only for entries but also for those who want to listen. It’s definitely something that should be looked at positively.” – Antares

DARK is the Jungle War dub project that narrates and redeems us from darker times. 

While listening to the entries, an idea was presented to Stateside Jungle War dub veteran ed808. To bring together some of the darkest dubs into a compilation called DARK. 

ed808

“When you hear DARK, you will hear how each of these producers translate their understanding of said term”. – ed808

While the tunes maintain the energy of a war dub in their own right, through the act of curation and collaboration, ed808 and company have meshed these unique styles to create something unified and harmonious. Transporting you back to those dingy basement raves, which frame our ecstatic dance to tribal breaks and obliterating subs. 

DARK will take you on a journey. Some of the tracks, like Rez’s, are so dark they bring in punk elements, while simultaneously taking you on an epic soundscape of sonic Milky Ways. Jonny5 weaves 140 BPM elements into the mix and then takes you into the darkest breakbeat realm, offset by Abstract Illusion’s old school Metalheadz and Star Wars infusion.

“We are not in this music for accolades, approvals, or trophies of sorts. We produce music for enjoyment, meditation, and personal accomplishments. Which stems from the completion of our projects”. – ed808

6blocc’s sci-fi cinematic arrangement or Semko’s fierce, choppy breaks contrast with Juic-E’s 90s breakbeat, offset by melodic vocals reminiscent of Coco Bryce. And all of this is topped off by Antares and Ed808, who bring that uplifting yet dark, moody sound. Which, for many of us, evokes the spirituality of jungle music in its purest form.

Antares

“DARK showcases break-centric, synth/melody heavy production that can be often missed or overlooked. These producers are top notch and every song on the compilation is in their own right, excellent and different from producer to producer.” – Antares  

DARK takes on a new significance in the apocalypse of 2020

The past year has seen humanity get even more battered than usual – topped off with a global pandemic. This Babylon (a term used by Rastafarians towards degenerate aspects of white culture), has and always will be, real. And finally, those oppressive structures have hit everyone. Hard.

As ed808 has documented this segment of time in DARK, in turn, the Jungle War dub takes on a new kind of redemptive spirituality. Both similar and different from Jungle music’s roots in reggae. But always with a burning passion for the craft, in turn entering the listener into a sonic escape from these dark, uncertain times we’re living in.

 

DARK by 6Blocc

 

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Kasra interview

Knowledge editor Colin Steven speaks to Critical Music boss Kasra about his new Nervous System EP, working with InsideInfo as Circuits and his future plans for the label.

The post Kasra interview appeared first on Kmag.

Linguistics interview

Having toured stages all over the world, from the heights of the British Airways i360 and Shangri La at Glastonbury to Loco  Loco Cantina in New Zealand. Linguistics has spent years of hard graft honing his craft.  Mic man for Friction and an outstanding MC, he’s just as versed in the world of hip hop. A true lyricist with a superb flow and delivery, he truly lives up to his name. Having caught him on Channel 5 discussing the coronavirus, we decided it would be a great time to hit him up with a few questions of our own.

Thanks for agreeing to the interview, firstly I just have to ask how are you getting on? On your Twitter you mentioned you were not feeling too good… how are you feeling now?

Yeah, I’m doing much better thanks, just trying to adjust myself to a new normal like everyone else… feeling a lot more settled than I was.

You have always been very open talking about your mental health and have been very supportive of others in the scene doing the same. How closely do you think physical and mental health are related? Have you got any advice on either to offer our readers during such testing times

Yep, providing a world where people feel like they can talk about how they are feeling without the fear of being judged, is something I feel very passionate about. I will always do my best to try and contribute towards making that world a reality. I see so many people opening up these days, a lot of high profile people with big influence and followings and the positive difference that makes is immense. It will save lives, it’s so powerful. People are slowly starting to realise that physical & mental health are the same thing…they both impact each other. You let one slip then it will impact the other, so it’s important to look after both.

I think in times like this it’s important to let people move at their own pace. What we are effectively experiencing is a worldwide collective trauma and it’s important we recognise that people deal with trauma in different ways. Some people may want to go in on their fitness, some people may want to lock themselves in the studio for 20 hours a day, some people may want to hustle harder than they ever have & come out of this as a yoga expert who’s learnt two new languages. That is their way of coping and adapting.

But then there are people who may want to slow down for a bit and take some time to process their new way of life which is also fine. I see a lot of posts on social media at the moment ‘Now is your time…’ …’If you don’t come out of a lockdown a better version of yourself then you were lazy’. That is completely untrue. If you’re privileged enough to be able to do all those things above, then good for you, go and do it and be proud of your achievements. Just don’t shame other people who can’t.

My advice is to do what you can to keep yourself as happy and healthy as you can, and if you feel like you need to ask for help at any time, then that is absolutely fine. A worldwide pandemic isn’t a time for competing against each other, it’s a time where helping each other is needed more than ever before.

You were heavily involved in the Get Ahead festival and you’re currently project manager for them. Can you shed some more light on these please and let us know of any current/future projects? Have they got anything planned/in place in support of the current social distancing guidelines?

Yeah, I’ve been part of Getahead since it started in 2018. It’s a community where people come together to share tips on wellbeing and how they look after themselves really. One of the things we do is a festival where we have speakers and performers from all over the world join us to talk about their experiences and share them with everyone. Obviously, with everything that’s happening at the moment a festival in its generic sense isn’t possible so we have decided to launch our first virtual festival. It’s similar content to what we have at the regular festival but we’ve asked people to film their classes and talks from their home and we’re going to stream it live to the world on Friday April 17 from 10am. It’s free for everyone and you can get a ticket here.

You’re also a massive advocate of running. I run myself and have to say it has definitely been a lifeline throughout this. Are you still managing to keep it up? Any tips for beginners?

Running is great! It’s something I really fell in love with. Unfortunately, I’ve been injured long term so I can’t run like I used to but hopefully I’ll be able to get back to it one day! The best advice I can give to anyone starting is to forget time, forget distance, it doesn’t matter AT ALL. Just lace up and get out. Also, look into joining a running crew (which is not a running club).

I really liked your latest Instagram post in which you mention in light of everything going on your own anxiety levels have actually dropped. It’s great to see positives in what are clearly hard times. Have you seen any other positives coming out of all of this?

I’m hopeful that a lot of positives will come out of this. On my mum’s road, for example, they have a Whatsapp group so people can stay in contact with each other. The clap for the NHS is a prime example of people coming together. The realisation of how lucky we are to have the NHS and all of the incredible people that are keeping it going during this pandemic is another positive and I hope people never take it for granted again. Extraordinary circumstances unite people and I hope once all this is done, that ‘in the same boat’ spirit is something that sticks with us.

Touching on that post again you say that that the corona outbreak has helped you put things in perspective and develop an ‘I don’t give a fuck attitude’, particularly relating to certain fears in your life and your career. You mention both material output and the idea of a live hip hop show, are these things we can look forward to seeing when this all blows over?

Yes, 100%. I’ve put it off for too long because I’ve been too scared to do it for many reasons. It’s definitely something I’m going to push myself to overcome. I’ve been working on a lot of new music so there are no excuses now 🙂

How do you find balancing your love of hip hop and drum & bass and how much do you feel the two cross over?

I’ve never really thought of love of different music genres as something I needed to balance really. There are certainly elements to d&b and hip hop that are linked, the most obvious for me being that they both have MCs and vocalists that are an important element to both genres. I’ve got a huge love for both.

How’s learning to mix going so far? Always great to add another string to your bow, any other projects on the go?

The mixing thing is on hold for now… I’ve got a friend who’s going to teach me once this is done. Me and Ad-Apt actually had a little mixing sesh once. He’s a lot better than I am.

Off-topic but I just need to ask how that Channel 5 interview came about?

I got put through to them by a good friend called Grace who also has a big part in Getahead.

We also have a handful of questions we are asking everyone we speak to – a sort of quarantine question time. What are your three lockdown essentials?

Laptop, PS4 with Fifa, crisps.

If you had to self-isolate with one other d&b artist then who would it be?

Be a bit harsh if I said anyone other than Friction here wouldn’t it… would be good to have Flowidus there with us as well if possible, although that would probably be dangerous.

How can fans best support their favourite artists while social isolation is still recommended?

Buy merch, buy music direct from them, lock into streams, share and like posts.

What are your top 5 ‘Tunes to quarantine to’ ?

Not sure I can do single tunes! Friction’s podcast (not just saying that, it’s actually really good), Loyle Carner – Loose Ends, Anything by GLXY, Frankie Stew & Harvey Gunn – Breathing Exercises and the
Commix, Eksman & Stamina set from Warning.

Any lockdown projects you would like to share here…

I’m working on a d&b EP and a hip hop project as well. Also got a single coming with Flowidus and TREi as well which you’ll hear about soon.

What long term impact do you think the Coronvirus will have on the d&b scene worldwide?

I’m not sure, I think it’s going to take people pulling together to get us through it and out of it. Promoters, agents and artists are all going to need each other once this is all done. We will get through it though I’m confident. Drum & bass isn’t going anywhere. I can’t wait for that first rave!

Honestly, how many toilet rolls do you have in your house right now?

I think we’ve got about 10.

The post Linguistics interview appeared first on Kmag.

Dexta: Celebrating 10 Years of Diffrent Music

Diffrent Music has been going against the grain of UK bass for 10 years strong. To celebrate the label’s anniversary, I picked the creative brain of legendary co-founder and record store co-owner (Chris) Dexta. We reflected on the evolution of the Diffrent ethos, sound and aesthetic. The ways he’s brought so much unsigned talent into one big family; and what you can expect next from the label that will always be Diffrent by name, Diffrent by nature!

Eazy Chris, congrats on 10 years of Diffrent! In your words, how would you describe the label’s ethos today?

Big up! For me, it’s putting out music I really enjoy that doesn’t fit any mould in particular. If there are 10 different artists, I don’t want them all to sound the same. If you listen to BrandNewTrumpets, Lakeway, Fearful and me, there are common threads but you wouldn’t necessarily put us in the same DJ set. By the nature of it, we’re experimental in our music; we’re not trying to recreate Dillinja records from 1996. We’re all taking inspiration from music we like from outside our own little worlds.

Do you think that ethos has remained the same over 10 years of Diffrent Music?

Maybe it’s expanded. Before, our sound was more stripped back, minimal drum & bass. We popped up around the same time as that was all taking off, and we got bundled in with that. But we’re not just minimal… we’re also maximal! Haha.

What’s been the biggest change since 2010?

We’re trying to go more in the direction of artist-led rather than label led. I’d like to think of us as a mini modern-day Ninja Tune in a sense. I don’t mean the style of music. Ninja Tune is more artist based, and many of their artists have different audiences. They probably have about 20 or more signed artists, each with their own campaigns and concepts. Originally we were label led and we made a bit of a name for ourselves, but now it’s time to bring it to the next level. We want to get our artists to the same level as our label.

Can you give us an insight into your creative thought process?

I’m an Aries yeah, so when I get something into my mind I don’t really think about it too much. I go with my gut instinct. A lot of it comes from me waking up one day and saying let’s do this and that, literally off the cuff. There’s no pattern!

That’s something I rate about you, you’ve always managed so many projects!

Mate, Disc World and 1800 Dubplate was the same, it was like… Boom. Idea. How do I make it happen? And just try it. Some projects will succeed, some won’t. That’s part of who I am. There’s not really a plan but it’s from the heart. And it all feels like a labour of love, I haven’t made much money from it.

But a huge list of accomplishments! One thing I’d like to hear more about is the platforms you’ve provided for unsigned talent. Were they all artists you’ve headhunted?

No, they contacted me! Well, that’s a lie, I met BrandNewTrumpets at a funeral. I knew her husband (Mr. Porter). And he was like ‘have you heard my missus’s music?’, sent me her tunes and I just fell in love with the sound. Fearful and Mauoq sent me demos and I was like yes! Crypticz did a bootleg of a tune I liked, which I heard at a Diffrent music event so I tracked him down. After that, Crypticz did a collaboration with Lakeway that I released. That sent me on his trail, so I hit him up and the rest is history…

Something else I love about Diffrent is that the label is very visual. How has your experience as a graphic designer at DJ Mag and Hospital Records helped?

Working at DJ Mag I learnt a lot of skills. I’ve always had good ideas but wasn’t always able to utilise them. Big shouts to my man Martin Brown, Creative Director at DJ Mag, who hired me even though I didn’t have any experience but liked what I’d done in the past. He taught me the rest!

At Hospital Records I was label manager of Med School amongst many other roles. But I was also the in-house design guy for a while too, where I designed a bit of everything. When I first started I did the merchandise, most of the event flyers, web assets etc., it’s all brought skills back to me personally and for my brands. So yeah – defo some vital experience in there!

You’ve created so many mini brands for your artists and sister labels, and it comes together in such a vibrant combination of textures and colours. It really reflects the Diffrent ethos.

I’m glad you think so, but I don’t think it’s as coherent as I’d like it to be. Everyone’s got their own opinion. At HQ there’s a desire for everything to fit the BrandNewTrumpets artwork style. But personally I think that’s her thing, you can’t have it haha!

I learnt that from when I was working at Hospital Records. One of the artists I was working with was Unglued. The idea was to have all his artwork done in a particular glue brand’s style. Everything Unglued based is gonna have the same font, same colour palette – it’s a brilliant branding strategy! That project really taught me you need to have mini brands. 

How are you going to manage Diffrent Music on top of all your other projects, like Disc World Record Store and Clashmouth Record fair?

I’ve been working with the new team for about a year. I’m the creative / A&R guy, Ben Hindle does promo, James Hillyard looks after digital and Rob Vanden manages the label and makes sure everything gets done. Since December with DiscWorld I told the guys I need to take a bit of a back seat. I’ve tried to hand over the best I could – they’re coping very well, and there’s a lot happening behind the scenes.

What stuff have you guys got in the pipeline?

We’ve got at least 10 releases lined up! BrandNewTrumpets, Lakeway, Fearful, Constrict, Mani Festo, Dusty Ohmss. 5 of which are on Sweetbox. There’s the recent sister label ‘Are We Really Alone’, it’s a weird, distorted, horrible bastard child freakazoid! Matter of fact, my latest release (Cyclops / S30) came out on there! The world is in trouble haha. 

AWRA004 by Dexta

You lot are grafting hard. Big up! To round it off, Kmag announced your label back in 2010, and released a launch mix with you and Sense MC. How does it feel being back celebrating 10 years of Diffrent Music?

I don’t know how they even knew about us in 2010 – hats off to Colin and the team! That mix took me ages to make, it’s all in the precision. Remember the CDs that were on the cover of the mag? I treated it like it was one! Oh yeah, we’re dropping that mix as the start of our new tape series – should be available to order now on our website!

They were a massive support to us in the early days and owe a lot of credit to the team – wow, they even threw a party for us, at Cafe 1001, Brick Lane, and we did a video interview. I’m featured in the 25 years of Knowledge book too, so I feel like I’m part of the family. Yeah, big up Kmag!!!

Salute to you Chris and all the family! Here’s to another 10 years of Diffrent Music.

Click here to buy the 2010 Diffrent Kmag Mix on vibrant pink Cassette tape! 

The post Dexta: Celebrating 10 Years of Diffrent Music appeared first on Kmag.

Bryan Gee Future interview

Knowledge editor Colin Steven has an in-depth video chat with V Recordings boss Bryan Gee about how he’s coping with the coronavirus situation, his long career in the music business and Future, V’s new compilation album.

The post Bryan Gee Future interview appeared first on Kmag.

Voltage interview

Voltage is not the type of man to let social isolation stand in the way of his love for drum & bass or his fellow ravers. He smashed a four hour set for Rough Tempo in the first weekend of lockdown and it sounds like there is so much more to come from him. Here’s what he has to say about it all right here.

It goes without saying that the world is going through something that we have not seen before in our lifetime. How are you adjusting to it all?

It’s quite a shock to the system, to be honest, missing the gigs, missing the ravers… but lots of studio time and food.

You were one of the first DJs we saw to take action if you will and announce your four-hour set on Rough Tempo. How important to the scene do you think streams like these will be to in the coming months and how can the idea be developed further?

You know what, it was the first weekend in, and I think we just all needed a pick me up and something to stop people still trying to go out and just get on with lockdown, I defo needed it as much as the ravers … gonna see a lot of streaming over the coming months!

Last year was a big year for you as both a solo artist and as part of Kings Of The Rollers. Do the three of you usually work in the same studio or do you bounce ideas and send them over to each other? How if at all will the current situation affect the way you work together?

We tend to bounce ideas across to each other, then pick out the winners and get in together and bang them out! At the minute we are just stockpiling ideas – tunes gonna come thick n fast when this is over haha

You seem to have a great relationship with your fans and a very positive presence on social media and forums like DNB Talk. Have you got any stand out memories of fan interactions, good, bad or just weird?

I just love the ravers. I actually hate the word fans haha – we aren’t ELVIS – he has fans … we are just one big community and I absolutely love it, plenty of weird moments – usually involving myself mid sesh in a rave to be honest.

In light of social distancing guidelines and no doubt more time at home how are you choosing to spend this extra time?

Studio / eating / studio / eating / Pornhub

Ha Ha, I was tempted to put a hyperlink in for that one too.

We also have a handful of questions we are asking everyone we speak to – a sort of quarantine question time. What are your three lockdown essentials?

Food, food and, erm, more food apparently.

If you had to self-isolate with one other DNB artist who would it be?

Unknown MC – love you Joe!

How can fans best support their favourite artists while social isolation is still recommended?

You know what most people would say oh Bandcamp or their websites etc which is cool but I promise you the kind words and little messages mean so much more on the bad days

What are your top five tunes to quarantine to?

Burial – Archangel, Shirelles – Baby It’s You, Massive Attack – Unfinished Sympathy, Samuel Barber – Adagio For Strings and Nina Simone – Misunderstood.

Any lockdown projects you would like to share here (links to streams planned, socials, best places to keep up to date with you, any collaborations planned etc).

The best thing is to just keep an eye on my Insta for updates

Honestly, how many toilet rolls do you have in your house right now?

15.

Finally, any words of positivity you would like to share with our readers?

You know what, one day – when this is all over we will never take anything for granted again, I miss you all and we will get through it.

The post Voltage interview appeared first on Kmag.

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