Downloads & Reloads magazine publish issue 3

The third issue of the Downloads and Reloads magazine couldn’t have come at a more tumultuous time for drum & bass. With the pandemic shuttering clubs and the George Floyd protests ushering in a new push for racial justice, they wanted it to reflect our current moment’s defining characteristic: flux.

Because of its all-encompassing nature, the pandemic is surprisingly difficult to evaluate; its complexity creates problems of perspective. Their cover story looks at that complexity across the whole scene, through conversations with big names like Ant TC1 and John B, down to lesser known figures like Bristol’s Hollie-May and The Goat Shed’s Adam Slevin, and they explore the impact on mental health, venues, personal creativity, live streaming and more.

Race is the other focus and it’s one which is long overdue. Starting with a feature interview with Chris Inperspective, they hear from Black voices in our scene about their personal experiences, and where labels like Hospital have gone wrong in ensuring adequate representation from all races and genders. Given this focus, they felt it was only right that £1 from every sale go to the Stephen Lawrence Foundation.

In addition, there are music reviews and columns from the likes of El Hornet, Mitekiss, Ellie Jones and Ben Cyan.

Downloads & Reloads magazine issue 3

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Chris Inperspective: introducing the Black Junglist Alliance

Inperspective Records label boss Chris Walton recently went viral for explicitly calling out Hospital Records and the whitewashing of DNB. The reaction was groundbreaking, and he co-founded an even mightier solution! Introducing the Black Junglist Alliance: a brand new movement formed to increase Black ownership and representation in the scene. They’ve got big plans for 2020, so we caught up with Chris to get the inside scoop.

Black Junglist Alliance Co-Founders

The core founders: Caldey Muffett, Charlotte Toney, Chris Inperspective, Cleveland Watkiss, Colleen Vincent, Dyer MC, Neil Stevens and MC T.R.A.C. (Left to right)

Hey Chris! Why did you start the Black Junglist Alliance?

There’s always been a bastardisation of Black culture in Jungle DNB. So many people have taken elements from it and used it for their own end. We founded the BJA so the next generation of Black Junglists can take ownership of their craft, without feeling marginalised or set aside.

Chris Inperspective

The Black Junglist Alliance channels have been up and running for a few weeks now – what are some of the results so far?

Last night I was speaking to a young artist called Anton Bailey (DJ AzzahB). He said:

“Hi Chris, I’ve read your DJMag article and watched your videos about Hospital Records. I’m a 20-year-old DNB DJ and label owner at Invicta Audio, and you mentioned helping people like me out with your BJA scheme. I wondered what that entailed and what support I might possibly be able to get for my label.”

This almost brought me to tears, because it’s exactly what I’ve done all this for: to attract and nurture the next generation of Black Junglists. Last year they put out an album called the Black Excellence LP. It’s fantastic and I had no idea about it! You have artists on there like Kyst Cortez, 10ad, Break Out, Ruxt (one half of the Heavies), and TJ Campbell who runs a label called Pick and Mix. It just goes to show there’s a ton of us out there, and now there’s really no more excuses for label bosses.

What would you say is the ultimate goal for the Black Junglist Alliance?

The ultimate goal is that we don’t need it anymore. Ideally, this ends up being a project that only lasts for two or three years. If it ends up going on for 10 or 15 years, then that’s a problem. But we’ll see.

How do you plan on going about that? I know you’ve got an ecosystem in mind?

To begin with, it’ll be a Youtube channel. We’ve also got extensive education, legacy and heritage strands to come, but the music comes first and foremost.

Tell us more about the heritage and education strand?

We’ll be creating short video clips to educate modern fans about the history of Jungle D&B in this country. Particularly how other elements of Black music, like Breakbeat, Dub, Funk and Soul came into it.

What about the music side you mentioned?

We’ve got new and exclusive releases from Loxy and Ink, Skitty, Threshold and Chords. We’re very proud of that. And I can’t wait until we’ve got around 50 videos and every single one will be a Black Jungle DNB artist. People will go, “What about me”? Which is great! We’re not gonna be elitist like some of those other outlets, we’re here to support the Black community. Then we’ll start looking into production tips. 

Do you think you’ve built closer relationships with your peers thanks to BJA?

I’ll be honest, I’ve had emotional conversations with other Black men in a way I never have before. Especially during the George Floyd times. We’ve spoken about how we’ve cried, felt exhausted… But I’ve loved it.

So forming the BJA has been therapeutic?

So therapeutic. There have been a few people in particular who I’ve got to shout out. Whenever I speak to DJ Kane on the phone it ends up being like 3 hours, and I hang up feeling so uplifted. Threshold Forester, Darrel Invaders, Double O, Steve Digital, Clayton Hines and Marlon Wilson have been great too. Dave Sloely who used to work at Hospital with me and Degs as well. Degs and I have had a lot of conversations – not all of them were easy. But I love him dearly, and I know we’re both on the same side.

Is there anything you’d like to see less of in the BJA?

The Black community needs to stop attacking white people for being tokenistic. We have to give them a chance to make a change, or they won’t do it again. Because they’re trying, whether it seems right or not to you. If they do it once, that’s not OK, we know this. But what I’m saying is, let them try. We can’t keep attacking attempts at trying to make a change. You’ve got to encourage it.

The other thing I want to see less of is attacking within the Black community – we are so self-destructive sometimes. For example, I want to get rid of the perception that if it hasn’t got Ragga or Soul samples, then it’s not Black music. Let people be who they are! We’re multifaceted.

What’s your call to action for anyone reading this?

What I would want to say is that to any Black female or male in Jungle DNB reading this, get in touch. For any white person reading this, don’t feel like the BJA will start a race war. This isn’t a radical movement, it’s not attacking people. It’s about sorting our own shit out, by getting information out to those who need it most. And ultimately, by uniting more Black representation and ownership in Jungle DNB.

Get in touch with Chris here. You can also support the BJA by following them on Youtube, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

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EQ50 launch mentorship programme

EQ50 have announced details of their most ambitious project to date, a 12-month mentorship programme for five womxn producers.

“EQ50 is working towards fairer representation within drum & bass,” says EQ50 co-convenor and radio producer DJ Flight. “We feel mentoring is the most effective way to see long-term, lasting change.”

“For the drum & bass scene to reach gender parity during club nights and festivals, we need more mentorships every year for at least the next three years,” adds Mantra, EQ50 co-convenor and Rupture promoter. “We need more record labels, industry executives and promoters to commit so we see real, lasting transformative change.”

Each producer will be placed with one of their partner record labels (Critical Music, Function Records, Ram Records, Shogun Audio & V Recordings), who will provide regular A&R sessions, production masterclasses and opportunities to progress within the label.

That’s not all. EQ50 will also offer an affiliated mentor for the duration of the scheme, practice DJ sessions in world-renowned UK clubs, booking agency masterclass with ESP International and a range of additional masterclasses with established artists, managers and industry professionals.

Applications are now open to UK-based womxn (cis, trans, femmes, non-binary people) producers until Friday 7 August 2020 (23.59 BST).

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Velocity Press to publish history of beat culture

After publishing books on the history of drum & bass and rave flyer artist Junior Tomlin, Velocity Press is to bring out a book on the evolution of modern beat culture.

In Bedroom Beats & B-sides: Instrumental Hip Hop & Electronic Music at the Turn of the Century, Laurent Fintoni details the rise of a new generation of bedroom producers at the turn of the century through the stories of various instrumental hip-hop and electronic music scenes.

From trip-hop, jungle, illbient, and IDM in the 1990s to just “beats” in the late 2000s, the book explores how these scenes acted as incubators for new ideas about composition and performance that are now taken for granted.

Combining social, cultural, and musical history with extensive research and over 100 interviews, the book tells the B-side stories of hip-hop and electronic music from the 1990s to the 2010s and explores the evolution of modern beat culture from local scenes to a global community via the diverse groups of fringe idealists who made it happen and the external forces that shaped their efforts.

“This book is a deeply personal project that has consumed me for over 20 years,” says Laurent Fintoni. “I hope it can do justice to the vibrancy and importance of the culture it seeks to celebrate and its people. I am grateful to Velocity Press for taking a chance on me as a first-time author and giving me space and support to tell the first, but hopefully not the last, version of this story.”

Bedroom Beats & B-sides is published on 6 November 2020 but you can pre-order it now on the Velocity Press website and receive it in October and with your name in the credits.

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Hybrid Minds interview

Knowledge editor Colin Steven speaks to Hybrid Minds about rescheduling their tour and 2020 festival dates, recent single with DRS and what else they’re up to.

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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.

The post This is Sheba Q’s secret to staying productive in quarantine appeared first on Kmag.

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

 

The post Jungle War dubs take on a new meaning in the darkness of 2020 appeared first on Kmag.

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