Yazzus: why footwork jungle is making a comeback

Yazzus is part of the 6 Figure Gang: one of the most inspiring new collectives in UK bass today. Together with Sherelle, L U C Y, Fauzia, Jossy Mitsu and Dobby, their chemistry and unpredictable selection from 130 BPM and up gets the crowd going nuts every time. All of which has been accelerated by their turn-up residency on Rinse FM and Boiler Room. One of the most distinctive elements of their sound is the synthesis of footwork and jungle. And although the sub-genre has been around a few years, with a big thanks to these selectas it’s making a comeback in an even newer form. So I spoke to Yazzus, who’s been championing footwork jungle with her own original spin, to find out why.

Hey Yazzus! So before we dig into footwork jungle… can I get a quick background about you and how you got into the sound?
Hey! Sure, so I’ve been DJing for five years. Producing for just under four. As well as doing a lot of 140 stuff, I was into club music, like Jersey Club, Ballroom, Voguing. And I branched out. Footwork was one of the first genres I was producing. I really like programming the drum patterns. It’s iconic for the kicks, the patterns. Everyone knows when it’s a footwork tune.

For those who don’t know can you explain what footwork is in a nutshell?
Footwork is basically sped up house at 160 BPM. But with a lot more interesting, intricate kicks and drum patterns. The name comes from the dance, back in the late 80s/early 90s. Especially in Chicago. They sped it up & people would do insane dance moves. Footwork has a lot of chopped up vocal samples and hip hop styles. It’s very versatile.

There are pioneers like DJ Rashad (RIP) and collectives like Teklife. But it’s cool because now it’s spread over here. I’ve been going to footwork parties in London for a while now. Mainly in basement clubs like Alibi in Dalston, very small and niche. But that’s changing now, partly because of Sherelle’s Boiler Rooms, and how much attention she’s brought to it! Then obviously hanging out with 160 queens like Sherelle and Fauzia meant it made sense for me to get back into it…

For real! How did 6 Figure come about? You guys are killing it right now.
Thank you! We only formed one year ago. And that’s what makes everything we’ve done so special. We’re all really good mates and have known each other for a few years now. We’ve been in the same scene and played on each other’s sets and shows.

And then last year it was a weird fate. One night in Tottenham when Jossy was playing, all 6 of us happened to be there. We were all chatting shit like “omg we’re London sickest DJs!” And “there’s 6 of us – 6 Figure Gang wheey” haha. The next day in a group chat we were like, right. We’re actually gonna do it! But still kinda jokey.

But then month after month, we’ve been getting Rinse shows and Boiler Room tours. It’s been sick having all 6 of us doing something together, and so much more fun. It’s like a blessing to be working with your best mates. It doesn’t feel like work!

6 Figure Gang

At the sold out 6 Figure Gang Boiler Room Takeover (Photo credit: Jun Yokoyama)

It is beautiful and you can really feel the chemistry between all of you. And although 6 Figure is unified by a love of 130 BPM and up, you definitely bring your own distinctive vibe…

Yeah, I bring the hardcore element to it! I’m fascinated with 90s rave culture. With my production, I like my beats, my breaks and intricate drum patterns. But I also love the melodies, synths and the stuff you can hum along to. Rave and hardcore have their own kind of fun random madness. That’s my kind of aesthetic.

But the fact I’m a producer as well is a really big part of my DJing. When I first started DJing I knew I wanted to produce, because the dream was to mix my stuff into other peoples stuff. And since then it’s amazing hearing other DJs play out my tunes.

Yes! On that tip, who do you rate at the moment?!

I want to big up one duo. They’re called PZG and Dubsknit based in Ukraine. They’ve got the perfect jungle/footwork/rave hybrid going on. They’ve got lots of rave compilations coming out and a ton of material sitting on Bandcamp. I love playing their music out.

I’ve also got my nod to the intelligent jungle movement. I love the melodic stuff. There’s so much of a story going on. You listen to any of LTJ Bukem’s tracks and ugh, it’s euphoria. Aha!!

Then there’s the Astrophonica crew like Fracture, Sam Binga, Om Unit. And there’s Coco Bryce. They’re all so supportive of 6 Figure and they’re mates of ours now. But in terms of production, yeah mind-blowing.

And obviously – my girls! Sherelle and L U C Y have their labels with some amazing stuff coming out. Fauzia is getting back into production so I’ve been helping her in the studio lately.


With artists like Fracture and Binga… they’ve been doing the footwork jungle thing for a few years now. So it’s exciting that you’re almost championing that sound into a new generation.

Exactly, with the new decade coming in, it’s interesting timing, isn’t it?! This year and next I think is the revival of footwork jungle. There are a lot more people that are into jungle again. Maybe it’s less the music, and more the atmosphere. There are people who don’t normally listen to jungle or anything 160, but people are drawn to the vibe and the energy. That’s how I DJ, purely off the energy and the vibe. It’s the feel of it.

One thing I love about the sub-genre is that each producer and DJ combines different elements of genres and samples and vocals in their own way. So it’s totally original.

I think the good thing about footwork jungle is that they’re both around 160bpm. So you can combine elements of footwork and elements of jungle and it makes total sense. A lot of producers are doing it, but it’s different every time. I think that’s why it feels really fresh and fun as well.

Yes! I love that with footwork you can bring in hip hop vocals and chop them up with jungle breaks and trap beats… it’s nuts!!

Innit yeah… taking elements from everything and anything! There are no rules anymore.

Speaking of which I wanted to hear more about your Deep Medi jungle & footwork remix pack. Because you’re doing footwork jungle remixes of deep dubstep classics, which is so sick! What’s the inspiration?

I really enjoy making remixes and wanted to release a whole bootleg pack. As I was going through all my favourite songs to remix a lot of them turned out to be Deep Medi bangers. So it made sense for me to do a pack for them and pay homage.

So I’ve got the Skream remix which is proper footwork, The Jack Sparrow one is footwork into jungle, and the other three are jungle. The Kahn one was the most difficult to do. Cos it’s heavier so I was thinking, how do I make it bang better for a 160 audience. So I put a hardcore spin on it. But I did that all those remixes very quickly as I was so excited about it

DEEP MEDi Jungle & Footwork Remix Pack by Yazzus

So when Sherelle played the Loefah – Disko Rekah remix in her Boiler Room, people were asking “what’s that remix” and I was like “what… my remix!?! I was so happy, especially as it was on a little self-release tip.

Trust me that remix pack is heavy! Final question then: footwork and jungle merges sounds native to London and Chicago. What do you think the culture of each city brings to the synthesis?

Ooh great question! Music and culture go hand in hand. They inspire each other constantly. In London, since immigration happened in the 1960s, as an example Caribbean communities brought ska, reggae and dub over here. It’s made the city a melting pot ever since. So we’re used to experiencing different sounds.

When you think of UK dubstep, garage and grime, it’s all been quite dark. I think London’s quite a dark city. Dark and edgy, aha. So in terms of any genre really, we put our spin on it.

With America I don’t know too much, but from my knowledge, it seems truer to the original footwork sound. Because it originated there, so it’s rooted in the extensive hip hop and house culture. It makes sense for footwork over there to sound even more housey or hip hoppy.

Have you seen other countries representing footwork jungle?

Yes! I’m hearing a lot of Eastern European collectives like Poland and Russia. It’s interesting to see how different cities interpret it. Technology has made such an impact on trends. As we look ahead to 2020 we can utilise more online communities like Bandcamp. The fanbase is great and the music’s top tier. A lot of it’s self-released.

The internet revolution has brought up a lot of revivals for sure. What upcoming releases/events/and radio we can look out for?
I wanna keep my releases under wraps. It involves three big labels. But I’m keeping it on the DL for now. Hehe.

But what you can look out for is L U C Y’s szns7n sessions on 7th December in Hoxton. Featuring myself, Dobby, L UC Y, Pinch, Jetsss and special guests. But yeah. Basically, 2020 is the 6 Figure world takeover!!

For real, it’s already happening and it’s totally deserved. You’re paving the way for a new generation of music. Big up yourself and all the 6 Figure Gang!

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Kmag joins Mixcloud Select

We’ve been on Mixcloud for some time now. It’s where we upload our mixes and old cover CDs. However, we’ve now taken things to the next level by joining Mixcloud Select. In a nutshell, Select lets you get more from your favourite creator channels for a small monthly fee and, in return, you get exclusive content and can download shows on the Mixcloud app.

We want to increase the number of new interviews and mixes we produce and, with your support, we can do that. How? Simply subscribe to our new Knowledge Magazine Select channel for just £2.99 a month. Here you’ll find exclusive content you won’t hear anywhere else. By becoming part of our inner circle of fans you’ll also receive additional benefits such as the chance to join our new “In Conversation With” interview series and other events.

Our first Select exclusive is the full recording of our record shop panel from Rough Trade East in August. You’ll be able to read the feature about the panel in our 25th-anniversary book out in December but you can hear the full transcript right now if you sign up. Panellists include Nicky Blackmarket and Ray Keith who both worked at the most famous drum & bass record shop of them all, Blackmarket Records, Jon Smith from Intense Records in Chelmsford and Jack Christie from Container Records in Brixton. The panel is hosted by Marcus Barnes, author of the book Around The World In 80 Record Stores.

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Join The Future book extract

Join The Future: Bleep Techno & The Birth of British Bass Music is a new book telling the story of British dance music’s first sub-bass revolution, tracing the origins, development, impact and influence of bleep techno, and the subsequent musical styles it inspired, on UK club culture. So what’s that got to do with drum & bass you may ask? In this exclusive extract author Matt Anniss shows how Bleep influenced proto-jungle pioneers Shut Up And Dance, DJ Hype, Production House and Reinforced Records.

Chapter Fifteen: Rage Against The Machine – The Rise of Bleep & Breaks

The lack of records coming out of London that matched the specific swing and style of the Bleep & Bass tracks being made elsewhere is not that surprising when you consider the popularity of Hip-Hop, Soul and Rare Groove in the capital. When Bleep-influenced records began emerging with increasing frequency from 1990 onwards, many of those behind the tracks had spent their formative teenage years running soundsystems dedicated not to pure Dub Reggae, but rather a more mixed sound that became much more Hip-Hop focused as the decade progressed.

One of the leading exponents of this developing sound was Shut Up & Dance, a Hackney-based soundsystem, party crew and DJ outfit whose reputation was red-hot in 1989. They’d been a feature of the local scene since 1982, when the trio behind the project – school friends Philip ‘PJ’ Johnson, Carlton ‘Smiley’ Hyman and Kevin Ford aka DJ Hype – hand built their first Reggae style “sound”.

‘You had to have a sound if people were gonna hear you and take you seriously,’ Hyman told Bill Brewster in 2005. ‘As you know, Hackney is a big soundsystem place. It was mainly Reggae and Dub we were playing to begin with because Jah Shaka was very big then. The sound was called Heatwave. We played the odd Soul thing, but the only big Hip-Hop tunes were [Afrika Bambaataa and the Soulsonic Force] “Planet Rock” and “The Birthday Party” by Sugarhill Gang.’

When Hip-Hop increased in prevalence, Johnson, Hyman and Ford became converts to the cause; not only did they re-focus their sound to play more Rap records with breakbeats, but Hyman and Johnson also took to the mic as fast-talking hosts with rhymes for days. They took the job of putting on parties seriously, frequently breaking into abandoned houses to run their own Blues style events with the aid of Hyman’s electrician brother. They also out-did other sounds by including Ford’s impressive scratch routines in their sets.

‘We actually did it like a performance, with Hype cutting up two breaks and doing his thing on the decks,’ Hyman explained to Brewster. ‘We were the first sound to do that. And we had a Reggae MC, which was my brother Daddy Earl, and me and PJ rapping. We thought we was a Hip-Hop soundsystem. We wasn’t, but we thought we were.’

Those impressive routines and relaxed rap flows over dancefloor-focused Hip-Hop beats were enough to win them a London-wide competition in 1987. Their prize was a week’s worth of recording in a professional studio. Taking the name Private Party, they delivered a double A-side single that boasted Hyman and Johnson’s tribute to Run DMC’s “My Adidas”, amusingly titled “My Tennents” (a reference to the super-strength beer so beloved of street drinkers), on one side and a silly cut-and-paste affair from Ford called “Puppet Capers” on the reverse. This featured all manner of snippets from puppet-based TV shows and, like the A-side, was an early warning of the tongue-in-cheek silliness and outrageous sample sources that would become a hallmark of their later production work.

‘Obviously, we wanted to pursue it, get a proper deal and make more demos, but nobody wanted to know,’ Hyman explained to Brewster. ‘No major label, no indie, because they were all like, “This is too fast. This isn’t going with the norm.” So we thought, “Fuck you lot – we’re going to do it all ourselves”.’

When they re-entered the studio 18 months later, their style had significantly altered. While still dedicated to the Hip-Hop cause, they were operating at a significantly faster tempo than the toe-tapping, head-nodding 95-105 beats per minute tempo preferred by most Hip-Hop heads. The rise in popularity of House music in Hackney in 1988 made Hyman, Johnson and Ford push the tempo further; regardless of how fast a Hip-Hop record was, they’d push it up to 120 or 125 beats per minute, roughly the same as most jack-tracks from Chicago.

‘We liked fast Hip-Hop, like what Big Daddy Kane was doing,’ Hyman told Brewster. ‘We liked the breaky stuff that was a bit faster, but we still wanted to take it further because we wanted to be able to dance to it. So we made our music much faster. The sort of Rap we made, at that House tempo, was unheard of then. There wasn’t even such a thing as Hip-House back then.’

Hyman and Johnson’s first single as Shut Up & Dance, “5 6 7 8”, was a perfect expression of their very particular take on Hip-Hop. Heavy, rolling and undeniably dancefloor friendly, it was a chunky, breakbeat-driven treat that quickly became a club anthem in their native Hackney. ‘My younger brother was well into House, and he was down at [key local club]Dungeons every week,’ Hyman explained. ‘One week he came home and wouldn’t stop talking: “They played your fucking tune! The place was going crazy! You have to come next week”.’

The buzz around the record in London was such that major labels came calling. Having previously had their demos rejected by the very same label, the pair told them to ‘fuck off’. Instead, they founded Shut Up & Dance Records, pressed up the record themselves and sold a shed-load of copies.

People were clamouring for a follow-up, so they headed back into the studio and recorded a pair of tracks that became big records in 1990: “£10 To Get In”, a comment on the rising cost of entry to raves that fused Acid House with Funk breakbeats, Suzanne Vega and a brief snatch of The Beatles, and the bass-heavy, Bleep-influenced breakbeat jack of “Lamborghini”.

While popular and influential, I’d argue that the two records Hyman and Johnson produced for the Ragga Twins the same year were far more significant. Although not known outside of the Capital, brothers Trevor and David Detouche were well known in North London as Flinty Badman and Deman Rocker, the fast-rapping, patois-speaking MCs involved with the popular Unity soundsystem. Thanks to their involvement with Shut Up & Dance, the brothers would soon become unlikely rave royalty.

‘When we got the Ragga Twins down I said to ‘em, “What we’re going to try and do with you has never been done before”,’ Hyman told Bill Brewster. ‘We wanted to give a Reggae feel into it to see if it worked. We didn’t know what people will think and we didn’t know what would happen.’

Those two early Ragga Twins records were undeniably groundbreaking. Joining together contemporary Ragga style Reggae sounds – complete with booming sub-bass frequencies – with Shut Up & Dance’s beloved breakbeats and nods towards the hottest British Techno and House, they were almost as influential as the Bleep & Bass records that had been arriving in the Capital since the beginning of 1988. In terms of the scene in and around London, they were even more influential, offering a fusion of soundsystem culture and rave that was more in keeping with local tastes than anything that had previously been made up north.

Arguably the best track across the two EPs was “Hooligan ’69”, a track that owed a debt of gratitude to the Bleep & Bass records that had come before it. The track was the epitome of what would become “Bleep & Breaks”, the end of the developing Breakbeat Hardcore spectrum that owed more to records from Yorkshire and the Midlands than some of its creators would now admit. The track was naturally powered by a House-tempo breakbeat, but its booming bass and alien electronics were straight out of the Robert Gordon playbook.

Another to apply similar ideas to his early studio productions was Kevin Ford, their school friend and long-time crew DJ. By the time “Hooligan 69” came out, Ford was one of the biggest DJs on rave-focused pirate station Fantasy FM, which became a must-listen for fans of Acid House, Techno and breakbeat-driven club cuts after it launched in August 1989. ‘Other cities didn’t have pirate radio like we had,’ Ford told Marko Kutlesa in 2017. ‘New ideas don’t come out of Radio 1 and the like, they come from the little guy doing his pirate radio station with his crew, which in the beginning is probably awful, but he builds on it and then all of a sudden it builds.’

Ford’s first forays into the studio were alongside another pirate radio presenter, Lightning FM regular Phivos Sebastiane aka The Scientist. The two met at a party at the Fridge club in Brixton through mutual acquaintances – Lightning founder members Jumpin’ Jack Frost and Bryan Gee – and began working together on tracks for the freshly founded Kickin’ Records imprint.

First was “The Exorcist”, a Hype arranged beast that peppered a sped up James Brown breakbeat and nagging bassline with Bleep style lead lines, glassy-eyed synth chords and plenty of cheeky vocal samples. There were fewer bleeps on speedy follow-up “The Bee”, but the fuzzy, industrial strength bass underpinning Hype’s funky breakbeats recalled the raw energy of tracks such as “The Theme” and “Soul Thunder”. It was accompanied by an alternative “Base Mix” that was stripped-back and heavy, sounding like a particularly funky Hip-Hop head’s take on the Bleep & Breaks sound.

Both records were enormous, reportedly selling well over 35,000 copies apiece. The pair followed it up with an even more Reggae-influenced chunk of Techno/Breakbeat fusion as Kicksquad, the booming dancefloor Funk of “Champion Sound”. It was another excitable Bleep & Breaks roller, with “Testone” style electronic melodies rising above more up-tempo Hip-Hop breaks and moody bass that sounded like it had been plucked from a Dutch Gabber record.

All three records were indicative of a growing trend. Record labels dedicated to this kind of heavy, House-tempo Breakbeat Techno were springing up at a rapid rate across the capital, while others gradually adapted their style to match. In this category was Production House, a label initially founded in 1987 by former Galaxy member Phil Fearon. While the label’s early releases mixed Reggae, Soul and House, by 1990 in-house writer/producer Floyd Dyce was happily working with artists whose tastes lay in the developing Bleep & Bass and Bleep & Breaks sounds.

One of the first Dyce-produced singles from future rave heroes Baby D, “Daydreaming”, was a rare vocal Bleep & Bass outing – complete with heavy Steppers drums, dialling tone bleeps and SH-101 clonks – while DMS’s “Brand New World” came with a “Dubplate Mix” that explored similar sonic territory to Ability II’s “Pressure Dub”. Production House’s 1990 releases also included The Brothers Grimm’s “Soul Thunder” style workout “Déjà vu”, whose three mixes added snatches of the Apache break to driller-friendly bass and intergalactic bleep melodies.

Of the new breed of London labels that popped up to rival the likes of Production House, there’s no denying that Reinforced Records was one of the most significant. It was founded by a quartet of North London DJs collectively known as 4 Hero (Mark Clair aka Marc Mac, Dennis McFarlane aka Dego, Gus Lawrence and Ian Bardouille). Like others in London, they had a background in both soundsystem culture (Clair and Bardouille ran the Soul, Hip-Hop and later US House focused Solar Zone sound from 1986 onwards) and pirate radio, joining forces to establish the Strong Island station in Camden.

‘We played a lot of Rare Groove, Soul, Funk and Hip-Hop, but there was a guy on there called Funky Militant who was the first person I ever heard play Acid House,’ Mark Clair remembers. ‘Then one of the guys on the soundsystem started to play House, and you’d hear it in a whole new light. The bass on those early Chicago records was weak, but the soundsystem made the bass sound heavy, and people liked that. The input from the soundsystem almost morphed those records into something they weren’t. We took that on and ran with it.’

When they started hearing the sub-heavy Bleep & Bass records from the North, Clair and his 4 Hero colleagues were smitten. ‘Ital Rockers’ “Ital’s Anthem” was a big favourite with us at the time, because it had massive dub bass,’ Clair admits. ‘It was like a Jah Shaka sort of bass sound. What they were doing up north was almost “dub-ifying” House. Those Bleep & Bass tracks from Yorkshire featured drums that were almost like dancefloor dub records. That was unique and totally different to the swing of American House records and Detroit Techno.’

4 Hero’s first few EPs – released in 1990 and early ’91 – drew far more influence from the Bleep & Bass sound than those by The Scientist and Shut Up & Dance. “Combat Dance” was a Kraftwerk-sampling, sub-heavy Electro workout, while “The Scorcher” peppered one of Hip-Hop’s most recognizable breakbeats (naturally sped up to the rave-friendly tempo of House) with Reggae MC samples and addictive Bleep melodies. That was backed with “Kirk’s Back”, which was arguably the most ludicrously subsonic of the lot.

None of these were quite as influential as their most famous early record, “Mr Kirk’s Nightmare”. Thanks to its dialling tone bleeps, surging breakbeats, quirky vocal samples, booming bass and razor-sharp synth stabs, it became one of the biggest Bleep & Breaks/Hardcore rave tracks of the period. ‘We used to go to raves up north and think, “Where’s the breaks man?”,’ Clair says. ‘We took the influential sound of Bleep & Bass and brought it down to London. We made sure we had a heavy sub thing going off the synths, and the bleeps, and mixed them with the drum breaks of Hip-Hop. We loved the Yorkshire sound, but there was definitely a divide between what they were doing and what we were doing.’

The inspiration provided by Bleep’s obsession with weighty Dub bass was explored on another early Reinforced Records 12” single, Dennis McFarlane’s 1991 “Kingdom of Dub” EP as Tek 9. This sported heavier Dub bass than almost any other early Reinforced release, offering a breakbeat-powered take on the music of Robert Gordon, Mark Millington and the Bassic Records crew.

‘Down here we were listening to those Yorkshire records and going, “How the hell do they get the sub-bass like that”,’ Mark Clair laughs. ‘If you took all of the music that was playing on pirate radio at the time, you just couldn’t join the dots together. It was the sound systems that joined everything together because of the sub-bass frequencies. It was making everything make sense. The heavy bass of the soundsystems made one thing lead to another.’

Join The Future: Bleep Techno & The Birth of British Bass Music by Matt Anniss is out now on Velocity Press

Join The Future books

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Disc World launch Kickstarter campaign

Ever noticed London hasn’t had a proper drum & bass record shop since Black Market records? What London does have are excellent stocks in record stores, supporting new drum & bass. Not to mention UK garage, house and techno. Reckless Records, Phonica, Flashback, Rye Wax and Sister Ray are a few of those that spring to mind.

But what happened to that social experience you used to find in specialist stores? When dance music record shops were a spot for the heads to hang out, check the latest releases, network with DJs and share knowledge. Surely London is missing a trick?

With your support, Chris Dexta and Lewis Sicknote are the DJs and label owners about to change that. Over the last ten years, these selectas have been dedicated to buying, selling, making and releasing underground music.

And they recognise the need for more record store community spirit in London: a physical space – outside the rave – for electronic music lovers to dig the crates, meet like-minded people and share new tunes.

That’s why Chris and Lewis are on a mission to make a new record store in Deptford. As a cultural hub for underground dance music, it’ll support all the artists and labels you know and love – as well as up and coming talent.

Disc World will be the only record shop in South East London to focus on new releases in underground D&B, garage, house and techno. It’ll also be the new headquarters to their successful dubplate cutting venture, 1-800-Dubplate.

Producers, DJs and record enthusiasts will be able to walk in and cut whatever tunes they want onto dubplate. On top of that, there’ll be a schedule of workshops, covering everything from learning to DJ through to how to get your music out there.

Chris comes with a wealth of industry knowledge. He’s worked as a label manager and talent scout at Hospital Records and Med School. He’s been on the design/editorial team at DJ Mag. Oh, and he owns Diffrent Music and co-founded Clashmouth (the D&B record market at House of Vans, London).

Lewis Sicknote has over seven years of experience distributing dance records to the UK’s top independent record stores. He’s also a trained sound design and audio engineer. And if that wasn’t enough, he’s been DJing since 2001 and owns record labels Stereocilia, PAWS and Goldman Records.

To give Disc World a successful launch, Chris and Lewis need your help kickstarting the project. Your money will go towards the down payment on the property, stocking the shop, and building the interior.

Pledges can range from anything from £5 and up. Whatever you donate will be in exchange for special edition rewards. Think stickers, garms, records and dubplates (obviously), and much more.

In a nutshell, the underground music community needs to work together to keep specialist record stores alive. And isn’t it more fun to create an environment to spread the music, rather than keep it to ourselves Check out Disc World’s Kickstarter page for full details of how you can get involved.

Words: Verity Raphael

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Kmag 25th anniversary merchandise now on sale

Limited edition Knowledge Magazine 25th anniversary merchandise is now on sale. It’s a simple range comprising of a t-shirt and a tote bag.

The tee is made from 100% cotton and available in black with white print (8cm diameter logo on the front and 25cm diameter logo on the back)
Sizes: S / M / L / XL
£18 + postage (£2 UK / £3 Europe / £4 rest of the world)

The bag is also made from 100% cotton and available in black with white print (25cm logo on one side)
£6 + postage (£2 UK / £3 Europe / £4 rest of the world)

Buy more than one item at the same time and only pay for postage on one item. Both items are available exclusively at kmag.co.uk/shop.

Kmag 25th anniversary t-shirt

Kmag 25th anniversary t-shirt

Kmag 25th anniversary tote bag

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Noisia to split up

Noisia have just announced via a post on their Facebook page that they’re splitting up at the end of 2020.

“After 20 years of being Noisia,” they say, “we are ready to become something new. We’ve all grown, as people and as musicians. For almost 20 years, all three of us wanted pretty much the same, but we’ve developed, and realized that nowadays we want different things. If we all wanted the same different things, it would make sense to do that as a different Noisia, but we want different things.”

As for future plans, it appears things are still up in the air: “What the future holds for us, we honestly don’t know. We still have our studios in the same space, and we will run into each other every day. We are still friends. We will still make music together in some shape or form.”

They plan to celebrate their 20th year and go out in style with one last year of touring DJ shows, Noisia Radio and to release the music they’ve been working on.


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Velocity Press reissue State of Bass book

Electronic music and club culture book publisher Velocity Press have announced details of its second book, a revised reissue of the acclaimed first-ever book-length investigation into the origins of jungle and drum & bass music entitled State of Bass: The Origins of Jungle / Drum & Bass.

The book, which is written by veteran music critic Martin James (Melody Maker, Muzik, DJ, Mixmag, Electronic Sound and Urb, etc.), was originally published in 1997 as State of Bass: Jungle – The Story So Far. By 1998, it had sold out and has never been reprinted.

Drawing on interviews with some of the key figures in the early years, the book explores the scene’s social, cultural and musical roots via the sonic shifts that charted the journey from deep underground to global phenomenon.

The book was described by Select magazine as one of the 20 essential music books from the 20th Century and by FACT mag as one of the 10 electronic music books you need to read.

The updated version extends the original text to include the award of the Mercury Prize to Reprazent for the groundbreaking New Forms album and previously unpublished interviews with Roni Size, Goldie, LTJ Bukem, Fabio, Shy FX and other key players from the early years of the scene.

State of Bass isn’t out until April 2020 but if you pre-order it now via the Velocity Press website, you’ll receive it in March, signed by the author and with your name in the credits.

Velocity Press’s first title, Join The Future by Matt Anniss, is out in December 2019. It tells the previously untold story of British dance music’s first sub-bass revolution, tracing the origins, development, impact and influence of bleep techno, and the subsequent musical styles it inspired, on UK club culture.

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Record Shop Panel

Features in our 25th-anniversary book include a series of roundtable discussions and the first one, a panel on record shops at Rough Trade East, London from 7pm to 9pm on Thursday 29 August, is open to the public for free.

Record shops have played an integral part in the development of drum & bass. It was here DJs discovered new music and met like-minded fellow DJs, MCs and producers. However, while many of the UK’s most famous record stores have closed in recent years, there are shops out there that have weathered the storm and even new ones.

The panel will cover the past, present and future of record shops, with a specific focus on drum & bass. Panellists include Nicky Blackmarket and Ray Keith who both worked at the most famous drum & bass record shop of them all, Blackmarket Records. Joining them will be Jon Shuffle from Intense Records in Chelmsford which has been in business since 1999 and Jack Christie from Container Records in Brixton who only set-up shop in 2015.

The panel will be hosted by Marcus Barnes, author of the book Around The World In 80 Record Stores. There will also be an audience Q&A at the end of the panel followed at 8pm by a back-to-back set from Nicky Blackmarket and Ray Keith.

Get your free tickets


The post Record Shop Panel appeared first on Kmag.

25th Anniversary Book

It’s hard to believe it was 25 years ago I came up with the idea for Knowledge Magazine. At the time I’d just moved to Bristol from Glasgow and was living with my old school friend Markee Ledge and his flatmates DJ Dazee and Rachel Patey.

They’d just started promoting a jungle club called Ruffneck Ting and I just got involved. We were hungry in those days and promoted the event hard, flyering outside clubs in Bristol and the south-west most weekends. We also drove to record and clothes shops in Cardiff, Newport, Cheltenham, Gloucester and Swindon where we would sell tickets and mixtapes.

The Bristol scene was still very small so we often travelled to London for big events. AWOL at the Paradise Club was a particular favourite and it was here that I remember being given a free copy of Atmosphere when I was leaving. It was really basic but it passion and captured the energy of the music.

British dance music magazines of the time either gave jungle/drum & bass token coverage or were dismissive. From going to the clubs I knew there were plenty of people who loved the music and wanted more information on it.

Slowly the idea to start my own magazine formed. I didn’t DJ or make music but I wanted to make more of a contribution than just being a promoter. I’d been a freelance music journalist for a few years and was writing for magazines like i-D and Generator, while Rachel had sold insurance so could sell adverts.

The opportunity to buy a second-hand Apple Mac Classic from a friend was the final piece of the jigsaw. It only had 4mb of RAM and a 40mb hard drive but I could write all the text for the magazine on it and it was an all-in-one-unit so portable enough to share with Rachel!

As we never got Atmosphere in Bristol I just wanted to cover the south-west on the back of our Ruffneck Ting distribution network.

We needed a good name though. The Ruffneck Ting promotion team were known as the Ledge Crew and I loved the hip hop track ‘Juice (Know the Ledge)’ by Eric B & Rakim so Knowledge seemed a good fit. I also liked the connotations of spreading knowledge about drum & bass.

The first issue came out in December 1994 and was A5, black and white and only 12 pages. I was so green somehow I failed to notice a feature that started in the back half of the magazine and finished in the front half!

People liked it though and a couple of months later we were back with two colours (cyan and magenta) and 32 pages. The abiding memory of those early days was just trying to make each issue bigger and better somehow: more pages, full colour, increasing the size to A4, more copies, etc. We always strived to be professional and this extended to the writing, photography and design.

Once the Ruffneck Ting record label got off the ground I realised that we could expand our distribution. In return for a free advert, Vinyl Distribution would chuck in a few copies of the magazine to record shop orders across the UK and internationally.

Gradually the magazine grew and became more professional but we realised that to take it to the next level we had to start selling it. This was a huge decision and one that could have jeopardised the future of the magazine if we didn’t get it right.

How do you start charging for something that people have been used to getting for free? I have to thank Paul Rico at SRD for coming with the answer. SRD was the main distributor for drum & bass (they still are!) and I had approached them to distribute the magazine to record shops. Paul said they would on one condition: it came with a free CD.

Dance music magazines with free CDs were nothing new but the majority were rubbish. I wanted our cover CDs to be as good quality as compilations on sale in shops. We couldn’t afford to licence the tracks though and had to convince labels to give us them for free in return for promotion in the magazine.

Thankfully the record labels bought into the idea and we never looked back. This was 1998 remember so before broadband, you connected to the internet via dial-up modems on your phone line which was incredibly slow!

I sought out specific distributors for both Europe and North America and the world started opening up. Like I said, I didn’t DJ but being able to travel the world writing about drum & bass was a dream come true. Countries we visited included Brazil, Iceland, America, Puerto Rico, Hungary, Norway, South Africa, France, Germany, Italy, Canada.

Other highlights included promoting the Knowledge Drum & Bass Awards in 1999 and 2001 and Brian Belle-Fortune approaching us to reprint his classic All Crews book in 2004.

The rise of broadband internet in the early noughties saw a gradual drop in sales and advertising revenue. People could now get their information much quicker than we could deliver and for free. The availability of DJ mixes also mean the cover CD was losing its cachet.

By 2009 we could see that there would soon come a point where we would start losing money, so we decided to stop printing the magazine and become a website. In hindsight this was a mistake. As soon as we became a website we went from being one of a handful of magazines to one of thousands of websites. Even though our costs were reduced drastically so was our revenue as advertising was our only source of income and display advertising on the internet has much less value than print.

We soldiered on for a few years but it became clear that the business model wasn’t working. We were having to make money elsewhere and couldn’t spend enough time on it that it deserved. We were so close to our 20th anniversary that I decided to keep it going for another year to reach that milestone.

Over the years people have told me I should bring it back but I’ve always resisted the temptation as I don’t want to revisit the past. So why am I bringing it back this time? Well, I feel we have unfinished business. Reaching 20 years was such an important milestone but it was a bittersweet moment and I didn’t celebrate it at all because I knew the end was coming.

Earlier this year I realised that this year was our 25th anniversary so I wanted to mark the occasion somehow. What better way than with one last issue? 2009 – 2014 didn’t really represent what we were about so I want to put that right with another print issue and to showcase the music that I love so much.

At first I considered doing a magazine but I want to make it really special. One of the things former readers say to me when they find out that I used to edit Knowledge is that they still have all of their copies and can’t bring themselves to throw them away! So if people can’t part with their magazines then surely they will appreciate a one-off premium book?

There have been some special issues in the past but this will be the biggest and best Knowledge ever:

  • Limited edition run
  • 10” x 10” large format book
  • Hardback cloth cover with debossed Knowledge logo
  • 120gsm premium paper
  • Over 150 full-colour pages featuring new and classic long-form features and interviews

The book is published in December 2019 but you can pre-order it now to get your name in the credits and be part of drum & bass history.

Also, look out for a very special 25th-anniversary party at Fold in London on October 18. Sign up for exclusive access to tickets. This event will be limited to 500 people, once tickets are gone, they’re gone.

The post 25th Anniversary Book appeared first on Kmag.

Week 51: Essential Releases [December 2014]

NSD reviews the best of December’s Drum & Bass…

Lynx – Where Are You? EP [Hospital]
Lynx’s debut release on Hospital features four diverse and boundary pushing tracks. Title track Where Are You? has a funky vibe that’s pretty unique. Bee’s Knees is my pick of the release with its heavy rolling bassline. Hurting is a well crafted vocal track, stripped down and all the better for it. Finally Blue, from the beats to the rolling basslines, is pure funk.

NickBee, Soligen & Type 2 – Iridium EP Part 2 [Citrus]
Part one of the EP was good, this is even better. NickBee ft Mc Fava’s track Autonomy is a bar filled distorted bass neuro affair and a great set starter. Soligen & Type 2’s Turn The Levels up is a catchy tech track, plenty of heavy vibes with an upbeat feel. It’s one for the heads and these guys are making serious tracks right now.

Concord Dawn – The Fuzz EP [Uprising]
Concord Dawn’s new EP on Uprising has all the energy you would expect and is just the kind of high tempo D&B I love. The Fuzz with its skipping beat and techno influences, powers along into a dirty bass drop. Meanwhile Scratchy carries on the techno sounds and energy but with added mechanised beats. Falling Down featuring Tali switches styles for a beautiful uplifting roller. However, the pick of the tracks is Trenchcoat. Aptly named as this has the added filth the title suggests, but with a hypnotic energetic sound that’s hard to resist.

Need for Mirrors – Sacred Heart EP [Metalheadz]
Five quality tracks are included on this EP. Title track Sacred Heart is a funky tech outing with sublime vocals. Beams is a rolling, haunting track with excellent bass. Pow Wow, is my track of the EP. I love the intro, so hard to explain the rhythmically hypnotic style to this. Building through out, such a great track. Disdain a minimal roller, Red Shift with its lovely use of breaks and pulsing Bassline is another excellent track. Need for Mirrors doesn’t disappoint, standard Fat Bass included in all the tracks. Get this.

Phil Tangent – Bedouin [Integral]
I love this EP, it’s well crafted, has different styles but doesn’t falter with the quality. Title track Bedouin ft Steo is nothing short of beautiful. The sounds Phil has produced match Steo’s vocals effortlessly and for one of my favourite tracks of 2014. Rinjani, again has that sublime liquid roller style and is dream-like. Indecision has a darkly techy rolling vibe while Pale Into Insignificance is another sublime vocal roller.

Technical Itch – Seed of Design EP [Tech Itch]
Five tracks of trademark Technical Itch fire. Seed Of Design has a techstep style with heavy acid influences, pulsing bass and tearing breaks. Soul Binder has one of the fiercest Amens I have heard – pure old school fire on this track, formidable! Something Comes is a menacing dark stepper and yet again, a track to smash up the floor. Blackest Tempest delves back to the early 90s with its use of dark samples and heavy rolling bass. However, the best track on this EP is Voodoo Mayan with its myriad of breaks and sick bass it will leave you wanting a shower.

Ero Drummer & M.Bass – Drop Down/Mad Heron [Serotone]
Two gritty neuro outings from Slovakia here. Drop Down is face paced with plenty of bite to get the crowd going. Excellent futuristic sounds used well to compliment the beats. Mad Heron, my pick of the two tracks, is a mental twisted outing. I love the bass on this track.

Various – Identity Switch [Vampire]
I’m really pleased to be reviewing this compilation from Phil Source’s Vampire Records as it has a tune from our very own Nultiply. 27 tracks covering all the styles you could wish for, this really has something for everyone. Highlights include Nusense – Motives, Mindstorm – Deception Point, DJ Trax – Who’s Your Connection and, of course, Nultiply’s – Stitch. This is a excellent collection, too many good tracks and such a varied set of styles, check it out.

Various – Decade of Viper [Viper]
If you only buy one of the releases this month make it this one, it’s nothing short of superb. 12 tracks with some of the biggest names in scene right now on one of the biggest labels. Every song is good, some are outstanding. My highlight is Pessimist, by Koven & Memtrix, a tune I can’t get out of my head and listen to almost daily! There’s a reason that Viper is still going strong after ten years and these tracks prove it!

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