Friday, 11 February 2011
Byte presents B-Mix 006:
'A Mixed Up Kid'
After a good few years of bringing you the best of Bristol talent, B365 is closing it's doors for good this month. It's been an amazing privilege to showcase the artists we have, all of whom continue to make incredible music and deserve your support; a massive thank you to all of those who contributed to the blog over the years. You can continue to follow the adventures of some of these artists over at Slime Recordings who are celebrating local talent as well as from around the world. Much love to you all.
That being said, we couldn't leave you without something truly awesome to be going on with. So for the final post we bring you a mammoth 80+ track mix from one of Bristol's most legendary sons, the man like Cridge. An old skool hero if ever there was one, Cridge's ascent through the underground ranks in the 1990s has seen him tour the world, be signed to arguably the best record label in the world, release multiple albums, run his own influential labels, and still continue to rock shows with as much passion as ever. We spoke to Cridge many moons ago about hitting us up with a mix for our Lifetracks series and he hasn't disappointed, delivering a tour de force of old skool classics which will have you dizzy on the dancefloor and shouting for more! We caught up with Cridge recently to chat about the mix and his career to date. Enjoy!
B: Evening to you good sir, how are you and where are you?
C: I'm very well indeed, a little tired but that is a common occurrence! I'm in a hotel room in Moscow getting some rest before the promoter collects me for dinner, and then onto the show at a new club opening. I find myself in some of the most diverse places around the world and over the years I have learnt to experience and enjoy everywhere I am lucky enough to to go.
B: First up a massive thank you for putting this mix together for B365. Was it a bit of a mammoth undertaking to assemble so many classic tracks together?
C: As you know, I promised a mix since you started the series. At first it was daunting as I was changing my mind on the track listing and getting more and more confused! In the end I decided to stick to this selection as I wanted it to include both my diverse tastes and all the styles I have been involved with throughout my musical career. After trying to record the mix at home in the end I thought sod it and decided to do it live, I ended up recording this at Champion Sound at Lakota with two turntables and a CD deck. It was great as the crowd was up for the variety and they sure got that! I usually mix it up when I DJ but never to this extent, as your mix series is called Lifetracks I wanted to capture the twenty years or so I have been involved either making or DJ'ing music.
I have played out at a high level playing various genres including Rave, Drum and Bass, Techno, Hip Hop/Funk/Reggae and Dubstep, so I think I could have gone on forever picking tracks but had to stop somewhere! Some of the tracks are mixed in, some are just thrown in to catch the vibe alongside a few scratches here and there, as it's live some of the levels are a bit up and down but in truth I am very pleased with the end result and hope everyone enjoys listening to it and hopefully keep it in their collection for years to come!
B: Let's take it back to the old school...growing up what were your musical influences?
C: As a young un' I was into all kinds of music, at the time my favourite bands were The Specials, Adam & the Ants and Iron Maiden... A crazy mix that would continue into adulthood! When I was at Monks Park school I used to record and mix the Tristan B show on two cassette decks and take it into Art class as we were allowed to play music, that was a mix of early house music like Steve 'Silk' Hurley and Marshall Jefferson and Hip Hop like The Beastie Boys and Ultramagnetic MCs. I could never exactly categorise my tastes as I was into everything from Acid House, Rave, Hip Hop, American Techno, Reggae Dub and Dancehall. I'm proud of this as it has given me the best ever melting pot of musical knowledge I could have ever dreamed of.
B: Did you have any influence from your friends or family growing up with regards to your musical tastes?
C: I was born and bred in Southmead and went to Monks Park School in Bristol, music has always been a big part of my life and we used to have house parties where a few of us would always get on our BMXs and take along the 1210's etc in back packs and played mostly Hip Hop, we had the Lino out in the garden trying our best at Breakdancing get tied up in knots! Aside from Funk and Disco, all the dance music was fresh and brand new sounds. It was an exciting time, in my bedroom I had a massive Wild Style Graff piece on the wall and a full size mobile disco, my mum and dad never told me turn the music down, my mum would often say turn it up... she loves the Bass!!
B: What was Bristol like back in the heyday of rave?
C: It was full on! I ate, drank and slept Rave when working at Replay Records, as it was the Mecca of Dance in Bristol. Regularly we used to have queues of people outside waiting for us to open up! Myself and people like Jody & Die, Easygroove, Vinyl Junkie & Bunjy were right in the middle of it playing out anywhere we could, either at free parties or club nights at Macolm X centre and The Lochiel boat. As we built our names up, we all started playing at larger raves like Universe, Dreamscape & Obsession. I used to promote parties a lot back then, bringing in DJs like Carl Cox, Bukem and Peshay when they were giving out demo tapes to get gigs.You could mix it all up and I did nights where I would have Choci, Bukem and Kenny Larkin all in the same room together. It was all fresh and Acid House led into Hardcore into Jungle, everyone wanted to go to a rave! I had many highlights back then including supporting The Prodigy tours and later on promoting and DJing at Progression Sessions, Bugged Out & The Boutique with Charlotte Hazelby.
B: What have been some of your favourite gigs over the years?
C: I enjoy gigging as a whole and don't take it for granted, I've had a career that's as seen over twenty years of dance music, as I started off in the early rave scene some of the memorable ones were Castle Morton playing on the Circus Warp system, being the tour DJ for dates on The Prodigy's Experience Tour and playing at a free party in Somerset and getting arrested, I was the first DJ in the UK to be charged under the new laws for groups of people listening and playing repetitive beats - something that I am quite proud of nowadays!!
Other rave/drum & bass sets over the years that hold good memories are Universe Tribal Gathering, Bristol Exposures, Bukem's Logical Progression, Obsession and Hysteria. I still love to do Old Skool rave/jungle sets...so promoters get in touch! On the flip of this, I have played all over doing the Up Bustle & Out stuff at UK clubs like Ministry of Sound, The End, Bed in Sheffield, and The Boutique in Brighton as well as all over the world in every continent with the memorable ones being tours of Japan, Russia and Canada. I still go all over the UK and the world, so I hope my best gigs are still in front of me.
B: How do you find playing in different countries compares to shows back in the UK?
C: In mainland Europe it's kind of the same, but the further afield you go it seems the more effort and energy the clubs have. The rest of the world is catching up fast and you often find that they are listening and want to hear the same music as what is in the UK at the moment. I used to see a big difference when visiting the Eastern Bloc countries in the late 1990's, as they went wild for a party due the state of the nations back then, sometimes in the UK we take this whole scene for granted and that's a danger that could come back and bite us at a later date.
B: Any interesting stories from your time spent touring?
C: Over the years we have missed flights and have been refused entry to countries, but one time I flew into Italy but my record box didn't arrive so the promoter contacted the airline to get it sorted, the gig was later that evening but about three hours drive so we carried on as normal on the way to the club. There was no sign of the records all night and then through the stage door came this old taxi driver guy with my record box...the airline had put it on the next flight and put the box in a taxi to the club, arriving 5 mins before my set was due to start! That was logistics at its best!!
B: How did your involvement with Up, Bustle & Out come about?
C: Back in the early 1990's I worked at Replay Records in Bristol. Rudy from Up Bustle & Out used to come into the shop and buy records. At that point UBO were a full band set up, and he asked if I would go on a mini UK tour as the warm up DJ. As a result of that and the difficulties of touring with a large band, it was decided that UBO would start touring as both a soundsystem using dubplates played and mixed by me, with just the Spanish guitarist (Cuffy) and Percussionist (Eugenia) with Rudy on Flute and vocals and also a DJ set up with Rudy and I mixing it up. Since then we still tour and do shows around the world, and have released 12 LPs all with various tastes of the world but keeping the well-routed UBO production.
B: What appealed to you the most to get involved with UBO?
C: Rudy from UBO used to come into Replay and ask to listen to the new breakbeat music that was starting to be released, we soon discovered we both loved 60's and 70's Funk and Reggae Dub. The first few tours UBO did in the early days involved a whole live band that was very hard to travel with so we came up with the idea to start doing shows as DJs and a soundsystem similar to the way Smith & Mighty were doing things at the time. I suppose it was the love of different cultures and music it also helped that we all got on really well and have remained good friends over the years.
B: Which of the UBO LPs are you proudest of?
C: The vibes have changed over the years whilst taking in the sounds from around the world, so I like them all - but if I had to choose favourites it would be The Cuban Master Session 1 & 2 on Ninja Tune, we have personal ties to Cuba and UBO have funded a radio station there. All the instruments are recorded at sessions within the country and programmed in Bristol with Ein. I actually like all the LPs as they don't seem to age, taking in the authentic sounds from India, Mexico, Cuba and Eastern Europe amongst others but all keeping the unique UBO beats. Rudy makes sure every release is well packaged with amazing artwork and photography, that's why we appeal to a large audience as its not just the music people buy into but rather the whole package.
B: What was it like working with a seminal label like Ninja Tune?
C: I don't get involved with the dealings of the record labels, but being on Ninja Tune was a massive platform as along with Mo' Wax they were the biggest underground labels on the planet at the time. Also being one of the boom artists at the time of Trip Hop and the Bristol scene things took off in a big way, as well as our own shows we regularly toured around the world on Ninja Tune nights alongside Coldcut, DJ Food, and Funki Porcini.
B: Do you feel looking back Trip Hop was a blessing or a curse for Bristol?
C: For us, artists like Massive Attack, Smith & Mighty and so on have been a blessing as it has made our music global, it was a term in the music press at the time when they focused away from the Madchester scene and onto Bristol. All new genres get a nickname and Trip Hop fitted well. It sent the music of Bristol global and has helped the city become a cultural capitol that people into art and music flock to visit and gain inspiration. It was the foundation for what is now a city full of producers and DJs doing well in Beakbeat, Drum & Bass and Dubstep.
B: You've also diversified into music for film and TV since then...
C: It all started when I was an extra in BBC's Casualty as a rave DJ, it was filmed at the skate park which is now Motion in Bristol. I've also licensed music to the Human Traffic and Trainspotting movies and cinema trailers. The UBO tracks have featured in The Hustle, Numb3rs and world cinema classics like Volveras and Raising Victor Vargas amongst others. The Brazilian football team also chose a track as their official piece of music for the 2006 World Cup, which was great as we are football mad!!
B: You also run your own record labels too...
C: Alongside my producing I have ran a few labels since the mid 1990s. The main label is Tribe which is a Drum & Bass label. I also run Playside with Suv from the Full Cycle stable, both of which have regular releases and do pretty good. Over the years I have released tracks and remixes from Aquasky, J Raq, Krust, Ray Keith, Mulder, Drumsound and Danny Byrd. It has been a good stepping stone for some producers who are making big waves within the scene today. In the past few years with the Dubstep sound becoming very big I started Tribe Steppaz signing 6Blocc and Prime Mover who consists of myself and Tasha from Los Angeles, That's how technology has helped, as we produce and share tracks over the internet all the time. As Prime Mover we DJ both sides of the Atlantic going down a treat! I also release a very popular bootleg label called Bootshake with dubstep/drum & bass remixes of Collie Budz, Big Daddy Kane and Star Wars etc. Having a lightsaber battle in the middle of a sharp beat and a deep deep sub is what I would call Gurt Lush in deep and dark Brizzle!!
B: Out of the last few years what new music has been exciting you?
C: To be honest over the past few year a lot of the new music is very throwaway with it only having a very limited shelf life, if you think how many classic tracks have came out of the 70's, 80's and 90's, it's hard to compare anything nowadays and say that a track will be around in over ten years time and still go down well. If I had to choose I would say over the past five years artists that I have enjoyed listening to are Bachelors of Science, Arctic Monkeys, 6 Blocc and most recently James Blake. Saying that I still get sent a lot of promo material, and although not everything floats my boat the production over the years has got better and better, the main ingredients for me is a heavy bassline and a sturdy breakbeat.
B: As you worked in the legendary Replay Records, what's your take on the closure of most of the shops from that time?
C: It's a sad time, working in Replay for five years was the best thing that could have happened for me, I got to know everyone in the scene from promoters, DJs, producers and created a good fan base. It was the centre of the South West's dance scene, we would sell hundreds of records, tape packs and tickets, everyone came to Replay. That and other focal points where you could meet and create the scene have now been lost, and it's now a faceless Internet scene. In theory I welcome the whole Internet and MP3 thing, but the soul has been ripped from the centre making it a lot less exciting and creative.
B: How do you feel about dance music culture shifting from vinyl to digital?
C: It's progress and there is no going back, that's a shame but myself and everyone involved in the whole dance scene over he past 25 years have written history. I have Serato, but so far have always ended up taking vinyl to DJ, this will change in time as I'm finding that more and more clubs don't have turntables with only CD decks. Vinyl will always have that special place in my heart but I'm not going to let it hold me back.
B: What advice would you give to those trying to break into the music industry now?
C: In a nutshell I would say to get into music because you love it and first off treat it as a hobby aside from your school work or regular job. You will know if things take off as you will be getting paid for what your doing! Remember it's not just about DJing etc, you can also get your music published for use in TV and Film, I've provided tracks for both movies and tv all of which provide a regular income. Above all if things dont go to plan you can stil say you have the best hobby in the world...Music.
Byte presents B-MIX 06
'A Mixed Up Kid'
1. Obi Wan Kenobi – If You Strike Me Down
2. Awsome 3 - Dont Go (Intro)
3. Masters at Work – Jus a Lil Dope
4. Home T, Cocoa Tea and Shabba Ranks – Going is Rough
5. Cutty Ranks – Retreat Soundboy
6. Pinchers – Bandelero
7. Massive Attack – Five Man Army
8. Art of Noise – Beat Box
9. Wild Bunch – The Look of Love
10. Beats and Scratch Sequence
11. DJ Hype – I Can’t Understand It
12. Up Bustle & Out Scratch Sequence
13. Land of the Happy Monsters – Speech
14. Dee Patten – Who’s the Badman
15. Undercut – Both Ends
16. Psyche – Andromeda
17. Maurizio – Ploy (Underground Resistance Mix)
18. Source Direct – Secret Liason
19. DJ Crystal – Warpdrive
20.Krome & Time - The Licence
21.Krome & Time - Roughneck Scout
22.Prisoners of Technology - Trick of Technology
24. Scratch Sequence
25. World Class Wreckin Crew – The Roof is on Fire
26. Scratch Sequence
27. Success in Effect – Roll it Up
28. Demon Boyz – Dett
29. Disco Biscuits – Echo 1000
30. 4 Hero – Cookin up ya Brain (Remix)
31. Beatfreaks – Bass Test
32. Depth Charge – Bounty Hunter
33. Dj Rap & Aston – Vertigo
34. Edge 1 – Compound
35. Tango – Can't Stop The Bumrush
36. Edge 1 – Compound
37. House Crew – All we wanna do is Dance (Accapella)
38. Egyption Lover – What is a DJ if he can’t Scratch
39. Mystery Man – DJ Business
40. Blame – Music Takes You
41. Sub Love – Maniac Music
42. Sonz of a Loop da Loop Era – Far Out
43. Dj Taktix – The Way
44. The Prodigy – Weather Experience (Top Buzz Remix)
45. Nueromancer – Pennywise (Micky Finn Remix)
46. The Brothers Grimm – Exodus (The Lion Awakes)
47. Tango & Ratty – Tales from the Darkside
48. Criminal Minds – Baptised by Dub
49. Slayer – Raining Blood
50. Breaks Montage
51. Jimi Hendrix
52. Melvin Van Peeble
54. The Meters
55. Jorge Ben – Carolina Bela
56. New Birth – Got to get a Knut
57. DJ Milo – Return of the Original Artform
58. Fix – Flash
59. Bunjy & Cridge – Hard never Soft
60. Aphrohead – In the Dark we Live
61. Wink – Higher State of Conciousness
62. Waldorf and Statler (Muppet Speech)
63. Robin Wants Revenge – Robin Wants Revenge
64. Subject 13 – Eternity
65. DJ Mink – Hey Hey Can you Relate
66. Young MC – Know How
67. King Bee – Back by Dope Demand
68. Roxanne Shante – Go on Girl
69. Big Daddy Kane – Wrath of Kane
70. Hashim – Al Naayfiysh
71. Mantronix – King of the Beats
72. Pumpkin and the All stars – Here comes that Beat
73. Wild Bunch – Friends and Countrymen (Intro)
74. Darth and Obi – Lightsaber Duel
75. Beastie Boys – Hold it Now it It
76. Uptown – Dope on Plastic
77. SL2 – DJ’s Take Control
78. Ultramagnetic MC’s – Critical Beatdown
79. The Prodigy – Out of Space
80. Tribe Steppaz Soundsystem – Dubstep Chillers
81. Tribe Steppaz Soundsystem – Dubstep Terrorist
82. Star wars Imperial March Scratch Sequence
83. Yoda end speech
84. The crowd goes wild
DOWNLOAD : Byte presents Cridge 'A Mixed Up Kid'
FFI: Cridge Soundcloud
FFI: Cridge Facebook
FFI: Warehouse Dayz Facebook
For all enquires including DJ bookings for:
Up Bustle & Out (Cridge & Rudy)
Cridge (Oldskool Rave/Jungle set)
Tribe Steppaz Soundsystem
Contact Cridge: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, 30 September 2010
Byte presents B-Mix 005:
Hot on the heels of our amazing double mix throwdown from the legendary Vinyl Junkie, we're back on a totally different flex once again with another hot exclusive. This time round for the next installment of the B-Mix series we've got a mix from a man who is truly representing the Bristol underground all around the UK, DJ K-Krush. Krush will be a name familiar to any bassline fans out there as he blesses many a dance with his presence, and you can catch him most weekends hitting up the biggest raves north or south with exclusive dubplates and a fearsome work rate that has seen him rise through the ranks over the last few years to be seen as one of the best up and coming DJs around.
For B365 though he's dropped the all-out bassline assault of his much-loved Wheel It Up series to bring something a little different to the table with The Mixdown. Blending elements of funky, dubstep, grime and bassline together with some stone cold classics this is one mix that is sure to get your body moving! B365 caught up with Krush to chat about the mix, his career so far, what's happening in Eastenders, food recipes and what it's like having a famous dad. Enjoy!
B: Good evening to you sir, how are you and where are you?
K: Yes I'm all good, things are cool right now just wish this damn British weather will figure out if it wants to be winter or still be summer because this constant change in conditions has given me a cold. But I guess that my fault for leaving the house in a t-shirt and no umbrella on the strength of the morning sun I guess. Right now though I'm just at home kickin' back after finishing watching Eastenders on iPlayer (can't miss a episode!).
B: What's been happening in the world of Krush recently?
K: Things have been going OK in the world of Krush recently. I been enjoying travelling up and down the country a bit more often regarding bookings and going to towns and cities which I have not been to before, but its given me more motivation to work harder.
B: Thanks to you on doing this mix for B365. This was something a little different from your usual selection...
K: It's no problem, glad to involved. Yeah, all my recent mixes have been my Wheel It Up series where I always aim to bring some of the biggest bassline tracks from established to up and coming producers and artists, but I have been meaning for a while to bring something a bit different than what I normally do, and this was a perfect chance to just mix up some old and current tracks I'm feeling right now.
B: Let's take you to back in the day, what were your influences growing up? What music first inspired you?
K: Growing up my main influence would have to be my dad, Deli G. Being around records and music from the day I was born it was just in my blood to want to follow in my dad's footsteps. Growing up I listened to a lot of different styles of music - Disco, US House, Swing, Hip Hop, Bashment, Indie, Rock, Speed Garage.... but the music that gave me the most inspiration growing was probably US House as I heard so much of it as that's what my Dad played.
B: What was it like growing up with a famous dad like Deli G? Did it click with you he was a big name on the dance music scene?
K: Hmmm it didn't really click until I was around 16/17, I started going to venues with my Dad when he was DJing and seeing how people would greet him and act towards him in the clubs - at first I was like he's just my Dad, a normal person like everyone else. But when my Dad started introducing me to big players in the scene like Jazzy Jeff and realizing that all the big producers, singers, record label people saw him as a good friend not just a DJ they supply music to, that's when it clicked.
Having him as my Dad has certainly helped me and been good for my mentality, because of my Dad I don't let it get to my head regardless what happens with with my DJ work, because I'm just another person - I just so happen to be lucky enough to get paid for something I enjoy doing.
B: You've been repping bassline for a while now, a scene that's still going strong despite the lack of press attention it gets these days. What got you into that sound in the first place?
K: I used to live in Smethwick which is in the West Midlands not far from West Bromwich from the ages of around 9-17, and have a lot of friends and family who still live up there, when I was going back and forth between Mids and Bristol I would hear Bassline and it's a sound which caught me straight away. I started bring it in slowly into my sets before it got to a stage when I was mainly known for just playing Bassline.
B: What's the West Midlands got that the South West hasn't - and vice versa?
K: I think with the West Midlands they have got accustomed to nights with about 10+ big headline DJs and MCs on the line ups due to a much larger amount of people they are able to promote and market to, as people are a lot more willing to travel from different cities to nights. Plus with having so many cities within a decent travelling distance, it's easier to go to another city every weekend to check out different nights.
In the South West people don't really travel as much to different cities to check out nights and tend to stay to there own ends, there are a few who will travel but not as many as when I first moved down here. I can't really comment for other places in the South West but what I do love about Bristol is the diverse music scene in the city, you get all sorts of nights going on and being a guy who loves all genres of music I can pretty much always find something going on when I'm looking for somewhere to go on a night I'm not working.
B: Was it tough at first representing bassline in Bristol before it began to get popular?
K: Yeah, it was a hard grind at the start, but when you have a strong connection and love for a genre of music it's the kinda grafting you like cause you know that you're helping to push the music you love further.
B: Do you feel funky has kind of eclipsed the popularity of bassline in the south now? Or is it less about that regional divide anymore?
K: I would be lying if I said funky wasn't more popular in the south than Bassline, the regional divide does come into effect in some ways as I personally feel it never got the same push in the South, and I get a lot of people who get back to me after listening to my mixes saying they actually like Bassline after giving it a chance.
B: Do you feel bassline will be as popular again down south as it was a few years back? Or do you see the sound mutating down here into something else?
K: I think given a chance it can and will be, whenever I do play in certain nights whether it's in a commercial urban night or a underground night, bassline still goes off. But as not many DJs play it in Bristol so people don't really get a chance to even hear it, even if they do like it. Plus with Bassline there are so many sides to it there is enough to cater for a wide range of listeners...I just feel as long as it's given a chance it can grow again. As you got the dirty hard beats that won't work in some nights, then you got the nice female vocals which is what brought me into bassline that will work in most type of nights.
B: Where do you see that sound going in the next few years?
K: For me the new sound coming out is sounding big, some good productions have coming out in the last few months...but it all depends on what sort of push it gets to how fair it goes to be honest, as I feel Bassline could have a huge effect on the clubbing scene if given a proper chance.
B: Which artists are you rating right now?
K: To be honest right now there is no stand out artist I'm rating higher than the others right now, a lot of good ones though. But producers on the other hand there are a few which got my eye right now...TRC, Mac Real, Deckstar and DJ Q when it comes to bassline, but I'm also feeling Roska, Redlight and Spooky DJ.
B : Now I know you're an Eastenders fan so I wondered if you'd considered using the Phil Mitchell remix of Pow for this mix??
K: Loooool I would consider dropping it in one my sets in the club just for the hype it would cause...I know it would get an instant reload!
B: What's your advice to Phil to get off the crack?
K: I say get addicted to food instead...much better way to spend your money in my eyes.
B: I know you like your eats, so what's a classic Krush meal? Any good recipes?
K: Ahhh food!!! Well I'm not really that good a cook right now...but I'm teaching myself at the moment though. But a classic Krush meal...hmm there are so many, but this one will best display how I like to go in on my food. Ackee and salt fish with boiled food (yam, dumpling, potato, sweet potato and some pumpkin) maybe with a fried fish to get it started, and some cornmeal porridge to finish off. After all that best believe I'm not doing nothing but going to sleep though.
B: What's coming up for you in the next few months?
K: In the next few months I'm gonna be quite busy on the club circuit, got a few bookings coming up at Niche in Sheffield, Midnights in Telford, OTT in Newport, Apartments in Swindon, Dakota in Cheltenham and whole host of things in Bristol at Basement 45, Motion, Warehouse, Haze and other venues...I'm also looking to drop Wheel It Up Vol 9 in the next month or so, also I'm looking to drop a couple of different mixes breaking away from the Bassline a little bit as there is a lot of genres of music I love and have in my heart.
B: Any advice to up and coming DJs?
K: My advice is stay focused, sometimes it takes a while to get that break you need so just don't get disheartened. Also get to learn how to promote yourself and build up a following for yourself.
B: Anything else you'd like to add?
K: Yeah Pastor Lucas needs to come back to Eastenders... it's just the not the same anymore. Free lucas T-Shirts on sale now...holla at me!
But yeah on another note check my out on Twitter and give me a follow @DjKKrush I speak my mind and keep it real, and @ me I always follow people back who got good convo, also check out all mine and my team UKHD's mix CDs on my blog http://djkkrush.wordpress.com to download. Got to also give a big shout out to Team UKHD...DJ K Stylz, DJ Mainy, DJ Firemansam, Troopa and Cludeo.
Respect for giving me a chance to bless your blog, I will try and pass through and drop you some mixes on a regular basis. Blessings!
Byte presents B-Mix 005:
01. Funky Twinz - Energizer
02. Funky Twinz Ft Angel J - Smile
03. Katy B - On a Mission (Roska Remix)
04. Andiah - Dance (Subzero Mix)
05. TS7 Ft Bianca Gerald - Electrical Pool
06. TRC - Oo Aa Ee
07. Cripster Vs Vybz Kartel Vs TRC - Nah Let Go (Oo Aa Ee Remix)
08. Cripster Vs Vybz Kartel Vs TRC - Sweet Tuh Di Belly (Oo Aa Ee Remix)
09. Dj Cripster Vs Missy Elliot Vs TRC - She's A Bitch (Oo Aa Ee Remix)
10. Spooky & O.G'z - OGeezus
11. Badness feat. Skepta & Lil Nasty - Nightmare (Bassboy Remix)
12. Toddla T Ft Wayne Marshall - Sky Surfing (DJ Q Remix)
13. DJ Pantha - Candy Shop
14. Kozzie - Destruction (Produced By Spooky DJ)
15. Shystie Ft Crazy Titch & J2K - Make It Easy (Davinche Remix)
16. Lethal B - Pow
17. T2 - Hey (Mr V Remix)
18. Burgaboy Ft Kaylee- Wat Can i do
19. Breakage Ft Newham Generals & David Rodigan - Hard
20. Skream - Midnight Request Line
21. Romeo Ft Lisa Mafia - Deeper
DOWNLOAD : DJ K-Krush 'The Mixdown' (Direct MP3 Link)
DOWNLOAD : DJ K-Krush 'The Mixdown' (Split File for CDs)
FFI : DJ K-Krush Wordpress
Just a quick one for you all about the online events calendar Headfirst. It's had something of an overhaul recently with the site now being a lot more user-friendly for people running iPhone or Android amongst other things, so you'll never be short of somewhere to go thanks to the intuitive interface and slick visuals.
If you're a promoter it's an essential tool for getting your listings out there, plus it's very easy to use. If you're an artist then also get involved as it has been updated to work with Soundcloud and has some excellent artist pages attached to events. It has a really nice, clean feel to the overall look which makes browsing what's coming up in Bristol a real joy. The one thing it lacks though is more people knowing about it, so spread the word!
Hit up www.headfirstbristol.co.uk to find out more.
Sunday, 22 August 2010
Byte presents B-Mix 004:
OK, so it's been a little while since the last update on this blog, but with B365 it's all about the exclusive content - so good things come to those who wait....and for our 100th post have we got something good for you! Over a year ago we contacted local legend VINYL JUNKIE (John to his mum) with an eye to doing an old skool mix for the blog. Few DJs are better placed to construct such a mix than this man, one of the key players in popularising early rave music in Bristol.
What began as a small project quickly expanded out into a mammoth undertaking, with John painstakingly compiling hundreds of classic tunes that might merit a place on the mix. He wanted to piece together a mix that best represented the amazing music that was being produced in that first big bang of rave music circa 1988 to 1992, music that he loved and defined who he was at that time; and after a lot of hard work he has created something truly extraordinary.
Across two mixes he takes you on an incredible journey through a period of time that will never be repeated but irrevocably changed the course of underground music in the UK forever. From early house and Belgian techno through to breakbeat hardcore and proto-jungle, these mixes showcase just how truly dynamic the scene was back then, and how quickly it's evolution took place to create the amazingly diverse scene we enjoy today.
Of course a Byte mix isn't complete without an all-terrain interview, and so we sat down with John to talk about the golden years of rave culture, Bristol's musical transformation during that time, his highlights (and lowlights) in the scene and his plans for the future. Read on!
B: Good evening to you Vinyl Junkie! Thank you for contributing to this very special edition of Lifetracks for Byte! How are you and where are you?
VJ: I am pretty good as it happens. I am sat in front of my Macbook Pro, I spend most of my life sat here, right now I am trying to finish a remix of a BACKDRAFT tune called “We do what we wanna”.
B: Backdraft as in the breaks producer?
B: Let's start things by taking it all the way back to the early days, before the summer of love, before the big bang of rave. Growing up in Bristol, what were your first musical influences and experiences back then?
VJ: Well I lived in Australia for 8 years as a kid. We emigrated there when I was 2 years old. Then returned when I was 10 and moved into the flats in Shirehampton. It was 1977, punk rock was in full swing and I was fascinated by these dudes with green spiky hair and bondage trousers. My cousin played me some SEX PISTOLS tracks and I loved them. I can remember cycling from Shirehampton, all the way along the Portway and into town to buy “Never Mind the Bollocks” and then cycling all the way home again only to find the record was warped, so the following day I had to do the whole trip again.
Then I got into THE CLASH, THE RUTS, COCKNEY REJECTS and UK SUBS and lots of others. I went to my first gig when I was about 14 at a place called The Granary ,which was down on Welsh Back. It was an Irish punk band called THE OUTCASTS and afterwards I ended up sleeping on the floor of some dodgy squat on Zetland Rd with loads of mad punk rockers. It was quite scary actually.
B: What was it about Punk that appealed so much to you?
VJ: In the beginning I just loved the way the music sounded, I didn’t have much of an opinion, I just knew I liked it. I was only a young boy at the time and very impressionable so when I eventually got to see these guys on the TV, I was mesmerized. They just didn’t care; they did and said what they wanted. As I got older and wiser I become hooked on the whole Punk ethos, the spirit of Rebellion and the fact that the guys who were in these bands were just kids from the street. They had no money, not like all the megastar rock groups who preceded them with their flash cars and their mansions with guitar shaped swimming pools. These guys were the real deal.
That’s probably why the travelers party scene appealed to me so much in 1991. These guys, convoy hippies, new age travelers call them what you want; they were really just punk rockers man. The music was different but the attitude was the same. Fuck the establishment, we just want to have a party and listen to our music very loud and if we want to take drugs then we will.
B: In the initial segment of the first mix, THE CLASH looms large. They seemed to have been a really big impact on a lot of people round these parts...
VJ: Yeah, I don’t think it was just round here though… It was all over man. JOE STRUMMER was the voice of a generation. Most of the streetwise kids of that era will tell you now that they love THE CLASH. I don’t really know what I can say about them that has not already been said. In my eyes they are the only band that matters. My biggest regret is that I never got to see them play, as the sheer energy and enthusiasm of seeing them live is said to have been unforgettable.
B: What was the Bristol music scene like before rave kicked things into gear?
VJ: To be honest, after the punk thing fizzled out I was not really involved in any scene. I was more into going out and getting drunk and didn’t really care what music was being played. Of course I always loved music, but I could listen to that at home with a spliff later on, so it didn’t really matter. I was still going to the odd gig every now and then as well. I saw BIG AUDIO DYNAMITE a few times and also the BEASTIE BOYS at Brixton Academy on their License to ill tour. In 1987 I did start going to some reggae dances: Sound Systems like RAIDERS 32 and also some COXSONE dances in St Pauls at a place called the Inkworks. Then in September of that year I went back to Australia to see my dad and I returned to the UK in March 1989, just as the Rave scene was about to go BOOM.
B: Australia was a bit slow on the uptake regarding rave music then?
VJ: Yeah, I don’t think they caught on for a few years after us. 1992 I think it started to kick off over there. I had a friend called Joe Kennard aka DJ ABSOLUTE who moved out to Australia at the end of 91. Apparently he became quite successful as a DJ out there in 1992.
B: So it's now 1989 and you've gone on a jolly to Ibiza! How did all that come about and how was that first taste of the rave culture? What are your favorite memories from that trip?
VJ: When I got back from Australia I found out that a big group of my mates we’re booked to go on a Club 18-30 holiday to Ibiza. Obviously I wanted to go with them as I hadn’t seen any of them for a year and a half, but wasn’t really into the Club 18-30 thing, so me and a good friend of mine, Dave Antill, went to the travel agents and got a last minute cancellation and flew out, booked into some cheap hostel which worked out to about £5 a night each.
The first two weeks was just a pretty normal holiday. Fourteen of us on the piss… Then on the night before we were going home Dave got 2 tickets for the Ku Club (now called Privilege). The rest of the lads were pretty skint by now and so they didn’t come. Me and Dave took our first E and had the time of our lives, The atmosphere was awesome, everyone was your best mate, the music was incredible, I was just totally blown away by the whole experience and didn’t want to go back to England after that. So I didn’t!
I stayed out in Spain the whole summer. We also went to Tenerife for 2 months and then back to Ibiza for the closing. Had some great times in Tenerife too. There was this warehouse party that used to happen every few weeks called EL MOLINO which was wicked. We were knocking about with these East London boys who really knew how to party.
I’ll tell you a funny story that sticks out in my mind… we were in this club in Playa de Las Americas and we were tripping our bollocks off on purple ohms. We had a hire car parked out front. We were on our way to an EL MOLINO party but when we came out of the club we found that our red Golf was blocked in with about an inch to spare at the front and back. We were all scratching our heads trying to figure out how we were going to get it out… We could try and push the other cars out the way… or if we got enough people we could lift it out. Other passers by joined in trying to solve our problem, until some random guy said, “give us the key, I reckon I can get that out of there”. He tried to unlock the car and looked at us and said, “This is the wrong key… are you sure this is your car?” That’s when we noticed the other red Golf, not more than 3 cars away… which was actually our car. HA! We were falling over with laughter as we hastily got in the car and drove off.
B: Ha ha! Do you recall any of the DJs you saw that first time in Ibiza? Any special tunes that stuck out from then?
VJ: The only DJ I really remember was ALFREDO who was the resident DJ at Amnesia. I didn’t really take much notice of who the DJ was back then. Tunes that really stand out from Ibiza for me are Strings of Life and Salsa House, which are both, included on the mix. Some others would be:
SILVER BULLET - Bring Forth The Guillotine
STAKKER - Stakker Humanoid
KARIYA – Baby Let Me Love You For Tonight
A GUY CALLED GERALD – Voodoo Ray
B: What was it about the early rave sound that really got you? When you got back, was Bristol really starting to buzz with the same feeling you had about this new sound? Or was it still pretty much 100% low-key and underground?
VJ: I had been hearing this music for the last 2 weeks in the clubs of San Antonio but I was just not really taking any notice. Then that night in the Ku Club something happened (MDMA) and the music just blew me away. That night changed my whole perception of music. It wasn’t the same for my mate Dave though… The music was just something to dance to for him; he just wanted to get out of his face. But for me, I became obsessed with the music overnight and would pester the young DJs in the bars of San Antonio for tapes!
But it wasn’t just the music that ‘got me’. It was a combination of the music, the drugs, the people, the atmosphere and the setting that night in the Ku Club that would ultimately change my life forever. I remember that the roof opened up so you were dancing under the stars and out the back there was this balcony that looked out over the nearby landscape. The sky was orange as the sunrise broke over the distant hills. It was amazing; I’ve got goose pimples thinking about it.
When I eventually came back to Bristol there was not a lot happening party wise. There was illegal warehouse parties happening or so I was told but nothing like the scale of what was happening in London. So I used to go up there every weekend, sometimes I would go on my own… I would hitch hike up to South Harrow to a mate’s house that I had met in Ibiza and I would tag along with him and his mates.
Eventually I started to get some of my mates interested and we would drive up. First it was one carload, and then two… We went to SUNRISE parties… and ENERGY... BIOLOGY… We also used to go to YIKES at Slough Center quite a lot and we went to the first ever RAINDANCE at Jenkins Lane. For me the Bristol scene really kicked off just before Xmas 1989 when TRIBAL DANCE put on an event at the exhibition center with FABIO playing, that was awesome and a lot of Bristollians discovered Ecstasy and Rave Culture that night. Not long after there was two PERCEPTION events at the Brunel sheds down by Temple Meads and there was also VISION at Busby’s (better known to you as CREATION) on Baldwin Street. That was every Wednesday night and they would feature top London DJ’s as well as people like FRANKIE BONES and 808 STATE. I used to go there every week without fail… The Bristol scene was taking off in a big way.
B: Frankie Bones and 808 State on a Wednesday night, unbelievable! How did the atmosphere at these parties compare to the events you’d been attending in London?
VJ: Yeah mate, that was just 2 examples, they used to have a wicked DJ there every week, others I can remember off the top of my head are Pete Tong, Trevor Fung, Steve Bicknell, Kid Bachelor, Mike Pickering and Guru Josh. The atmosphere there just like any London Club night, better in a way because it was full of people you knew. The Perception and Tribal Dance parties were amazing as well.
B: Looking at the start of the Nineties, Bristol was becoming a real hub for the whole southwest in terms of free parties, club nights and producers like Orca and Sub Love. By late 1991 you were playing Vibes Alive and gigs all over the shop, what are your recollections of that time?
VJ: 1991 was all about the traveler’s parties really. Crews like CIRCUS WARP, SWEAT SOUND SYSTEM and FREE PARTY PEOPLE were putting on free parties all over the southwest… they were basically following the convoy round and where ever they would set up camp, that’s where the party would be that weekend. My mates old man had a pub called The Seahorse, and later he moved to the Queen Shilling and on Fridays and Saturdays we used to DJ in there. They became the meeting place for the parties; it was a real wicked little scene. We used to go to all the big paying events too, but would always end up at the traveler’s party at some point.
So most weekends that’s where you would find me, at a free party in the middle of a field somewhere, stood up by the decks with my tunes, patiently waiting for my turn, praying that EASY GROOVE would not turn up before I got to play because if he did you might as well forget it, because he would basically kick whoever was playing off the decks, tell us all to fuck off and play for about 4 hours himself. I played at VIBES ALIVE just before Xmas in 1991. That was mad because the flyer was already out and I rang the info line and spoke to a guy called Hugo who said that they needed a warm up DJ and if I wanted it, I could have first set. That was it for me, the first big paying event I had played at and he made me resident after that and I played at every one.
B: Did you think of Easy Groove as the top local DJ round then? Who else was making a name for themselves on the circuit locally? Was it competitive between you all or a bit more unified?
VJ: Well you are opening a big can of worms there. Yes, Dennis (Easy Groove) was the top boy in Bristol back then, of course he was, and rightly so. That guy was one of the most talented and versatile DJ’s in the UK and if he had played his cards right, he was set to be the next Carl Cox. But things just didn’t turn out that way.
The other DJ’s who I saw as my main competition in Bristol back then we’re DIE, JODY and ABSOLUTE who were all fantastic DJ’s. And then there was also guys like GIZMO, CRIDGE, BUNJY, SUV, MASH, FLYNN, BUDGE, LUGE ‘n’ PERKZ and TECHNODREAD (I‘m not talking about Easy Groove, I am talking about the original Technodread. A guy called Kenneth Morne) who were all good DJs as well.
Obviously there was a friendly rivalry between us all, but we were all mates at the end of the day, there was the occasional bit of nastiness and backstabbing between certain people but I won’t mention any names. Then of course there is my main man THE DJ PRODUCER from just down the road in Bath, who was back then, and still is today, one extremely talented DJ. That guy is like a robot; I have never seen him make a mistake. I didn’t really know him back then but we are good mates now.
The only person who I didn’t get on with back then was Dennis. It was weird because before I started DJing we got on well. I used to go to his house for a spliff and he would do me tapes and shit like that. When I started mixing he would listen to mixes I had done and give me advice, but when I started to get a bit of recognition he totally changed his attitude towards me, like he saw me as competition or something. He had a lot of clout back then and he was in a position to be able to help some of the local DJ’s, but he wasn’t interested. Instead he chose to hold us back; well he did with me anyway.
Check this out; I was booked to play at FANTAZIA’s Second Sight at Westpoint Exhibition Center in Exeter. That was a very big deal to me… 10,000 people. One of the FANTAZIA promoters, a guy called Gideon, had seen me play at loads of the Travelers parties so he knew I was up for it. When the flyer came out I wasn’t on there. I was wounded. Next time I saw Dennis he said… “I told them to take you off the event, you’re not ready for an event that big yet”. This was 1992. I was ready! So thanks for that Dennis HAHA. We’re OK now though. I saw him the other night and he was actually quite friendly.
B: How did the call up for Tribal Gathering in 1993 come about? This is a pivotal point in the history of rave music and there you are, slap bang in the middle of it!
VJ: I really missed the boat with the UNIVERSE crew because they done an illegal party in Bath called BRAINSTORM before UNIVERSE started and I would have played there as it was a lot of the same crowd that were playing at the Travelers raves at the time. People like DIE, JODY, and PRODUCER etc. I didn’t go because of some stupid bird I was with who wasn’t feeling well so I stayed at home with her.
Then the first UNIVERSE happened not long after and the local DJ’s that were picked to play were chosen from those who had played at BRAINSTORM, so I kicked myself for that. I knew Paul Shurey and Rob Bryant from meeting them at a few travelers’ raves and continued to pester them for bookings but nothing ever came and I was about to give up hope. Then Paul Shurey saw me play at VIBES ALIVE one night and I got a phone call a few days later from Hugo and he said that Paul wanted me to ring him. That’s when he booked me for the TRIBAL GATHERING.
B: What was it like playing that event? You’ve got a huge rig at your disposal and thousands upon thousands of ravers bang up for it...
VJ: It was mind-blowing. 100k Rig in a marquee tent that held 18,000 people. I played first but do you think I was complaining? The tent was half full by the time I finished my set and now I am honored to be able to say, I played first Tribal Gathering, main arena. There aren’t many people who can say that.
B: By 1993 the scene as a whole was already splintering; you had hardcore going off in one direction, house and jungle in another...you originally would play quite a bit of jungle in your sets, but started to edge toward more of the hardcore sound. Was that a conscious decision in that everybody else was rinsing the emerging D&B sounds?
VJ: Playing the more jungle-oriented sound was really a natural progression from the 92 hardcore sound. I was lucky, in that I was on the mailing list for 4 of the main labels at the time which were MOVING SHADOW, SUBURBAN BASE, FORMATION and REINFORCED so I just followed the direction that they were going in and when I went to the record shop I would buy similar stuff.
Sometime around the end of 93, beginning of 94 I became aware of a happier element that was starting to filter through and I did like it, but just carried on with what I was doing regardless. I am not sure exactly when it was but there came a point when I got pissed off with the Jungle style and wasn’t really feeling it any more, it was too moody which was really affecting the vibe at the parties. The FULL CYCLE crew were really dominating the Bristol Jungle scene anyway and if you didn’t have a big bag of Dub plates, like Roni and the boys did, then nobody wanted to book you. No disrespect to those boys by the way… What they have done for the drum and bass scene is awesome and I take my hat off to them.
Anyway… around this time a mate of mine was doing a night called SKETCH at the Pawlett Manor near Bridgewater and he invited me down to play. I played my usual jungle set but the crowd wasn’t really feeling it and most of the other DJ’s were playing Techno. He booked me to play 2 weeks later and I did actually make a conscious decision that I was going to try something different… So I scraped together as much money as I could and went and spent it all on the more happier sounding music, which was still very breakbeat driven but it had a 4/4 kick which I thought would appeal to the crowd down there. Needless to say it took the roof off and I was made resident… That place was the bollox, Week in week out, it was always packed and the atmosphere was something else.
Not long after that I got a phone call from DAZEE who said that there was a night in London called DOUBLE DIPPED and they had asked her if she wanted to play, she declined as he was looking for more of a happy vibe, but she recommended me. Soon after I met a girl at the Manor who knew Andy who ran KINETIC in Stoke. She got me playing there. The next 2 or 3 years were really busy!!
B: Did you feel the dubplate culture in D&B prevented certain DJs breaking through more? Hardcore just didn’t seem to have the same culture running it, it always seemed a bit more DIY in that respect...
VJ: Who knows man? It probably did. The thing with Drum & Bass is you have to be making good tunes if you want to get anywhere. In which case you will have dubplates of your own anyway. Its not just about being a DJ, you need to have the whole package. It’s pretty much the same across all the genres now. It wasn’t always like that and Drum & Bass was probably the first genre to go that way, but if you look at any genre, be it Electro House, Dub Step or Hardcore… Whatever. Pick up a flyer and see all the main headliners. They are the same guys who are making all the big tunes in that genre. It’s the nature of the beast now… that’s just how it is. There are obviously a few exceptions but not many.
B: As we come into the later 90s, what was your opinion on the scene at the time? Hardcore has never been a favorite with the music press even though it's massively popular, so all you'd hear about was the trip hop and D&B sounds coming out of Bristol...did you feel that was a fair representation of the scene here?
VJ: As the 90’s drew to a close I was really disheartened with the whole scene. Happy hardcore was really starting to get shit, it was just so cheesy and everyone seemed to be churning out record after record of the same old rubbish. I am actually surprised that the hardcore scene managed to survive those times. It all sounded the same and I stopped buying it. There was a time when I didn’t play out for about a year and I almost gave up DJing altogether. My girlfriend was going out with all her mates to Hard House nights and she used to bring tapes home, which I thought sounded really fresh so I started to play a bit of that. I got the job of reviewer for IMPLANT magazine, which enabled me to get on all the mailing lists and soon I was playing out regularly again.
Yes that is probably a fair representation of the scene in Bristol to be honest as there was not a lot of Hardcore that came out of Bristol really apart from BUNJY and myself. Bristol has always been more about the bassline.
B: Why do you think that is?
VJ: Woah, that’s a difficult one dude. You’re asking me to explain the psychology of the Bristol Sound… You know what, I am not even going to attempt that one. Hahaha. Bristol Loves Bass… that’s all there is to it.
B: How did Warehouse Wax come about?
VJ: Well it was 2001 or 2002, I can’t remember, and by this time I had grown bored of Hard House too as it had got stale, just as Happy Hardcore did… but it didn’t matter because I had been playing at a lot of Old Skool parties which I was enjoying much more. Around that time the Old Skool revival was kicking off big time. We had Absolute Old Skool in Bristol, which I was promoting with Mike from Lakota.
I was also playing at loads of other nights all over the country like ILLUSION in Stoke, RAINDANCE in London and loads of others. Although I totally love playing Old Skool it was getting a bit annoying not have any new tunes to play. Anyway around this time I met a guy called Simon Dark (Darkus) and we set up an online record shop called Warehouse Wax and we would buy Old Skool record collections off people and sell them online. Simon was a painter and decorator by trade and one day I was helping him out on a job in Easton and we were listening to some Old Skool on his ghetto blaster and he said “wouldn’t it be great to make an Old Skool tune”.
This sounded like a great idea to me, as it would give me something new to play. So I rang up AUSTIN who had produced a lot of the early stuff on SUBURBAN BASE and was also a good friend of mine… We booked some time in the studio with him and went up and made “All Night” which became Warehouse Wax number 1. AUSTIN thought it was hilarious to be making Old Skool hardcore again but we managed to persuade him (with pound notes) to get involved and start making some tracks for us.
B: How had you got to know Austin in the first place?
VJ: When I first got into Producing Hardcore back in 1995, I done a few tunes and sent them to this label called Tech-Step who were advertising for up and coming artists to send in demos. They rang me up and said they wanted me to come to the studio in London and re-do the tunes. When I got to this geezers house and he said we were going to Austin Reynolds studio I nearly fuckin’ fell over. I did two releases with those guys, which we’re Earth 1 and Earth 2. Austin and me have worked together on and off ever since.
B: By 2004 you'd just released "We're Not Dead" which kind of brought the original rave producers of Bristol full circle, back to their roots. At that point, rave culture was almost 15 years old...what were your feelings about how far the Bristol scene had come by then?
VJ: It was at the beginning of 2005 that the album was actually released and it did bring ORCA back out or retirement but only for one tune, they never did another one after that, not in this genre anyway. Unfortunately though the same was not the case with SUBLOVE. The tune “Rubber Band” which they had featured on the album was actually the last tune Jody produced as SUBLOVE before starting WAY OUT WEST and as it had never been released, I got it mastered and put it on the album. People just assumed it was a brand new SUBLOVE tune, but nobody actually asked me if it was or not so I didn’t say anything.
The Bristol scene was predominantly a Drum & Bass thing. The Old Skool nights were losing momentum by now but Drum & Bass was going from strength to strength.
B: And then just after this time, it all went a bit wrong...
VJ: Yeah you could say that. It was in February 2006 that I was arrested for conspiracy to supply cocaine. I got caught with a Kilo of the shit. I was never actually selling it myself… and that’s the truth, if I was I would say so, I’ve got nothing to hide and I have served the time now anyway so what have I got to lose?
Basically what happened was, a mate of mine asked me to pick this package up for him and he offered me a lot of money to do it. I was a bit skint at the time so, like the dopey twat that I am, I said yes. It all came on top and I was arrested and remanded in custody straight away. I never even made it back to my house.
It was a nightmare… as I sat in the back of that police car, everything I had worked towards came crashing down around me and I knew that I wasn’t going to get bail and that I was looking at a heavy sentence. That was the most horrible feeling. I was on remand for 10 months and then got sentenced to 7 years of which I served 3 and a half. I am still on license until 2013, which prevents me from playing abroad, which is a major annoyance.
B: Coming out of that period, what had changed for you?
VJ: To be honest, prison actually sorted me out! I was in a bit of rut before I got nicked, although I didn’t realize it at the time. I was just plodding along, smoking ridiculous amounts of weed and not really having any direction in my life. The first 3 months I was in prison it was all doom and gloom and I convinced myself that my DJ career was over.
But I stopped smoking weed and read a few books about being positive and using the power of positive thinking to turn things around in your life. I started to apply that and realized that I could actually turn this into something positive and get something good out of it. The prison service can actually help you out with certain things, but only if you are willing to help yourself. So instead of spending my time being a cleaner on the wing and taking whatever drugs I could get my hands on I decided that I would spend my time educating myself.
I ended up in an open prison in Kent and I started to go out to Canterbury College studying CCNA (Cisco Certified Networking Associate), which I completed and am now a qualified Network engineer. Whilst doing this course I found out that there was a Music Tech course at the college so I enrolled for that. I skipped the National Diploma and went straight onto the HND, which I continued on my release and have now finished. I am just about to start on the BA, which means, all being well, that in a year’s time I will have an honors degree.
So prison changed my whole outlook on life really. I am really positive now and I believe that if you focus positively on your goals and really believe in yourself, you can achieve anything.
Whether you think you can or think you can’t, either way you are right.
B: With over twenty years of experience in the game, what's your feeling about hardcore as it stands today as a big commercial enterprise? You've got all the old guard still in there at the top, but the raves are as packed as ever...
VJ: Well that is quite a complex question isn’t it? Hardcore as a commercial enterprise? Do me a favour; as far as I see it Hardcore is not a viable commercial enterprise at all these days. The digital age in which we live has had a massive Impact on the music scene as a whole and this includes Hardcore. Vinyl sales have become almost redundant with even the bigger Hardcore labels only just managing to keep their heads above water.
Digital downloads is apparently the way forward but the amount of money you actually make is miniscule and a really good hardcore release on MP3 will do about 300, which is nothing. The problem is that less than 5% of the music that gets downloaded is actually paid for, the other 95% is downloaded illegally and that is a fact that was published last year in the IFPI Digital Music Report. People are file sharing and these files are good enough to burn to a CD and play out.
There are no compilations anymore either. Warner and Ministry have stopped doing Hardcore compilations altogether. There is still the BONKERS series, which has been going for years, but even the last one of those only sold a fraction of what they have in recent years. All the events have now started to do CD packs from their events instead of tape packs. This poses a couple of problems. One is that they are a lot better value in that you get a lot more music for your money when you buy a CD pack and the sound quality is just as good as the compilations. This is great for the consumer but it has obviously hit compilation sales quite hard. Also there is no track listing on CD packs, which prevents people from being able to go and buy the tune, and no money is actually being paid to the artists whose tunes appear on them either. I could go on about it all day but I can’t be arsed… Its all politics of which I am not and don’t intend to get involved with.
So yeah, the big event are still packed, but is Hardcore, as a whole, really a commercial enterprise? I would say not, especially when compared to yesteryear… Yeah there is a lot of people who are making a decent living out of Hardcore, but the only people who are making any real money now is the promoters of the big events.
B: What's your take on the Hardcore Breaks and Jungle Tekno styles that have emerged in recent years?
VJ: Yeah, I like a lot of it, there is some really excellent tunes coming out and some really talented producers, but I just really wish there were more people into it. I had high hopes for Hardcore Breaks when it started but it didn’t really take off in the way I had hoped it would and now the same has happened with the J-Tek sound. Both genres have a lot of dedicated contributors who are passionate about what they are doing and both have a small but loyal underground following, but its really difficult to get a new genre off the ground. It’s a shame.
B: You've also recently got into the electro-house or 'crack house' sound, what is it about that style that grabs you?
VJ: Again, I was getting bored… Do you think I have attention deficit disorder or something? HAHAHA. None of the new music that was coming out was really floating my boat… I don’t understand the majority of dubstep, I love some of the sounds they are using, but really can’t figure out the beats, I think to myself, how do you dance to this?
My mate sent me a Soundcloud link to one of Zincs crack house mixes and I instantly liked it. I’m not sure why, something about it reminded me of the original House vibe from ‘89, but there was also something fresh and new about it and some of the tunes incorporated some of the better elements from dubstep. I have been buying lots of tunes and have done a few mixes, which are up on soundcloud, but I am still yet to do a gig in this genre.
B: Did you feel Zinc’s decision to drop D&B in favour of that style was a brave one?
VJ: Yeah, that was quite risky, but I think he had got to the point where he just was not interested in doing Drum & Bass anymore, he had already decided he was going to quit Drum & Bass and take a year off anyway. The guys a fuckin’ genius in the studio so I’m sure he had no doubts that he would be able to reinvent himself without too much trouble. CLIPZ did the same thing as well, quit Drum & Bass and is now producing various other styles under the guise REDLIGHT.
B: Looking to the future, what have you got in store for us and where do you want to take the sound next?
VJ: Do you know what? I’ve been asked this question before and I usually say: I am going to do this or I am going to do that, but things change over time and ideas evolve and a lot of the times things don’t pan out exactly as you intended… not always in a negative way… Sometimes you might have a better idea and decide to focus on that instead. But I look back at old interviews and think… I never did end up doing that.
So for now all I’m going to talk about is something that I know is set in stone and that is FUTURE RAVE ANTHEMS 4. It’s a compilation series that is released in digital format only, by SLIPMATT and BILLY BUNTER's label CAN YOU FEEL IT MEDIA. TWISTA done the first one, FAYDZ the second one and Volume 3, which is due for release imminently, was done by FLASHBACK. The task of sorting out Volume 4 has been entrusted to me, and I am chuffed about it, as I have never been asked to do anything like this before. So at the moment that is my main priority: compiling, producing for and eventually mixing this compilation.
As far as where do I want to take the sound next… the answer is I don’t really know? I am in a transitional period at the moment and like I said I am concentrating on making tunes that will sit comfortably under the banner of FUTURE RAVE ANTHEMS. I am listening to lots of different genres at the moment and drawing inspiration from all of them. If you go and check out my mix from this years Glastonbury Festival (available on Soundcloud) you will see what I mean. It ranges from Breaks, Ravebreaks, Jungle, Electro House and even a bit of Dubstep.
I really like what REDLIGHT is doing at the moment. I like the way he is not conforming to any one specific genre with his productions; he is doing different styles and trying to break down the boundaries between genres. Some of his stuff sounds like Electro, some sounds like House, some sounds like Dubstep and some of it is really Oldskool influenced. But it all sounds like him and that’s really cool because in the past it was kind of frowned upon. People were using lots of different pseudonyms and setting up different labels for different genres. REDLIGHT is saying, “Fuck that, I do what I want and if you don’t like it then Bollox to you”. I really like the idea of not being tied down by any genre. If you are influenced by different genres then surely you should try to express that in your music.
I think that there is a lot of crossover starting to occur between genres at the moment, some of the Dubstep is starting to include a 4/4 kick which makes it sound a bit like Electro House and there is Breaks producers starting to venture into Dubstep… some of the dubstep sounds very Jungly, Electro producers like RACKNRUIN are coming out with tracks like Soundclash which is quite obviously Jungle. PYRAMID are starting to incorporate more rolling breaks into their tunes. It’s quite an exciting time and I can’t wait to see what is going to happen next.
So that’s maybe the mindset I will try to come at it from once I have finished the album and completed my final year of Uni. Or maybe I’m talking utter bollox? Only time will tell.
B: Let's chat about some of the choices in your selections here; two huge mixes, a year in the making! It must have been a painstaking process to whittle it down to these forty-odd tracks...
VJ: Yeah it was difficult. When you originally asked me to do the mix I sat down and wrote a list of tunes and there ended up being over 100 tunes on there. That’s why I knew there was no possible way I could fit this onto 1 CD. So thanks for letting me extend it to 2, otherwise I would not have been able to do it.
B: Firstly let's talk about the awesome Radio Vinyl Junkie intro! We've got The Clash, The Ruts, B.A.D, and Beastie Boys...some raucous punk, reggae and dub influences going on! How important was that sound to you prior to rave music?
VJ: It was very important to me. It was the soundtrack of my youth. I’ve still got most of my old records and have even bought some of them again on CD recently. I still listen to some of them when the mood takes me.
B: For the first mix, you've got an earlier house and techno vibe going on, and even though this is jam-packed full of classics it never feels like you're anthem bashing! For me these tracks are all damn near perfect, that amazing combination of early house, rave and hardcore elements all sitting together in total harmony! It feels like that time period was really 'lightning in a bottle', never to be repeated...
VJ: Well the early house sound was where it all started for me all those years ago in the Ku Club and although I wasn’t a DJ back then I still managed to acquire the records. The tunes on here are all very special to me and each one reminds me of something or someone from my past, as do most of the tracks on the second mix.
For example Strings of life reminds me of sitting on the edge of the swimming pool in the Ku Club smoking a spliff, The Phantom reminds me of going to the Thunderdome in Manchester with my scouse mate “Sprout”, Energy Flash reminds me of a travelers party in a place called Forrest Hill near oxford, Space Face reminds me of a young guy called DJ Gravedigger at Hungerford mixing with no headphones, No Idea reminds of my mate Squeaky who took a trip at Hungerford called an Agent Orange, he was fucked up and later some traveler dude said he had marked the blotters out wrong so my mate had actually taken 4 trips and not one… All the tunes on these mixes mean something. That was really the defining factor of whether a tune made it onto the mix or not.
Thanks for complimenting the mix as well mate, I did spend quite a lot of time planning the running order of things so for you to say they all sit together in perfect harmony makes all the time spent on it worthwhile. I hope all your readers will agree and get as much enjoyment out of listening to them as I did mixing them. Your right, these times will never be repeated… there was something more organic about the tunes back them. It was more about the feeling than the structure or arrangement of the tune. If it felt right then it was right, regardless of whether that section was 3 bars shorter than it should be.
B: The second mix is on a tougher tip, with that early 92 sound, the incredible breakbeat hardcore styles! What is about that incredible sound that appeals to you so much?
VJ: I don’t know really, it’s hard to put your finger on it. It was probably a combination of lots of things. I think the do-it-yourself attitude of the kids that were making the music was a lot to do with it, the way they were sampling from Hip-Hop, Techno and whatever, then chucking a sped up Funk break over the top of a Reggae style bassline and it just sounded awesome.
This kind of goes back to what I was saying just now about incorporating different styles into your productions, which ultimately adds excitement to the finished track if it is done properly. Also lets not forget that there was some really talented producers who were just fine tuning their craft at this time. People like LIAM HOWLETT, ROB PLAYFORD, AUSTIN REYNOLDS, JODY WISTERNOFF and ACEN, to name a few. It really was a magical time; those who experienced it first hand will understand what I am saying.
B: Sub Love feature with three tracks, plus you've got some of the early Moving Shadow classics on here too. Would you have liked to sprinkle some more local tracks or later jungle sounds in here if you'd had room?
VJ: There were originally 5 SUBLOVE tunes, but I had to lose a few. I loved their sound; it was raw and totally different from everything else. You could always tell a new SUBLOVE tune when you heard it. Jody is also a real good mate of mine and my first ever studio experience was with him… I was hooked after that… So I blame him for everything HAHAHA. I also wanted to use some ORCA tunes but they all got dropped by process of elimination… Sorry Dave and Darren!!
Moving Shadow was, and probably still are, my favorite label ever. They were the first label to put me on their mailing list as well. I only bought Shadow 1 and all the rest were sent to me. Rob Playford was, in my opinion, one of the most innovative producers around, second only to Liam Howlett. I can’t believe he doesn’t do tunes anymore… Or maybe he does and I just don’t know about it.
As for later jungle… No not really… there was never going to be anything post 1993 on here. This obviously excludes the 2 tracks from my own label Warehouse Wax. For me 1989-1993 are the years that were really special.
B: Well thanks to you for providing one of the best set of mixes I’ve ever heard! Before we wrap this up, have you got any words of wisdom for those people out there just starting out in DJing or production?
VJ: My pleasure mate… Glad you like them.
Advice to people starting out would be… Be dedicated, be passionate about the music, be positive and try your best to be as original as you can without alienating yourself. And don’t ever give up… You are going to get knockbacks… just pick yourself up and keep on pushing.
Most importantly, believe in yourself 110%.
And if there are any budding producers out there who want to submit a track for consideration for the forthcoming FUTURE RAVE ANTHEMS 4, please get in touch.
A massive thank you to John for contributing this mix and interview, a true legend if ever there was one!!
'We're Not Dead' and 'We're Still Not Dead' are available in strictly limited edition quantities by emailing Vinyl Junkie direct : HERE. Both albums can be purchased together for £15, but get your orders in quick because there's only a handful left!!
Byte presents B-Mix 004:
01. RADIO TUNER INTRO*
02. RHYTHIM IS RHYTHIM – Strings Of Life
03. RICHIE RICH – Salsa House
04. RENEGADE SOUNDWAVE – The Phantom
05. HOUSE SYNDICATE – Jam The Mace
06. THE MCKENZIE – Party People
07. D-SHAKE – Techno Trance
08. LIASONS D – Future FJP
09. GTO – Pure
10. LEFTFIELD – Not Forgotten
11. S.I.L – Windows
12. EON – Spice
13. TOXIC – Original Style
14. ZERO ZERO – The Sanity Clause
15. SUB SUB – Space Face
16. PROJECT ONE – A Great Day
17. NEW SCENE – Out Of Control
18. COLD SENSATION – Return
19. BELTRAM – Energy Flash
20. ECCENTRIC – Its Brutal
21. MODULAR EXPANSION – Cubes
22. SET UP SYSTEM – Fairy Dust
23. LFO – Brainstorm
24. ALTERN 8 – Infiltrate 202
25. ASMO – Jam The Dance
26. RHYTHM SECTION – I Can Take You Higher
27. 808 State – Cubik
*RADIO TUNER INTRO
Includes excerpts from:
1. The Clash – I Fought The Law
2. The Ruts – Jah War
3. Sex Pistols – Interview On Bill Grundy Show
4. The Clash – White Man In Hammersmith Palais
5. Big Audio Dynamite – Sightsee MC
6. Joe Strummer – Unknown Interview
7. Beastie Boys – Fight For Your Right To Party
8. New Order – Blue Monday
9. Moby – Glastonbury Festival 2000
01. EARTH LEAKAGE TRIP – No Idea
02. THE PRODIGY – Android
03. KROMOZONE – The Rush
04. THE PRODIGY – Pandemonium
05. 2 BAD MICE – Waremouse
06. G DOUBLE E – Fire When Ready
07. RAGGA TWINS – Shine Eye
08. GENASIDE 2 – Narra Mine
09. PLASTIC JAM – One Love
10. DSKF – Feel The Power
11. SUB LOVE – Maniac Music
12. ACEN – Close Your Eyes (Remix)
13. HYPER ON EXPERIENCE – Ascention
14. SUB LOVE – One By One
15. SUB LOVE – Always In My Mind
16. NEBULA 2 – X Plore H Core
17. KROME & TIME – Manic Stampede
18. PHUTURE ASSASSIN – Ganja Madness
19. HOUSE CREW – Maniac (Remix)
20. OAYSIS – Incredible Bass
21. DJ MAYHEM – Stormtrooper
22. FAST FLOOR – Plight Of The Innovator
23. DANCE CONSPIRACY – Dub War
24. MAD RAGGA JON – Original Bad Boy
25. PHUTURE ASSASSIN – Unbrake My Hardcore
DOWNLOAD : Vinyl Junkie - Lifetracks Mix 1 (320 Direct Link)
DOWNLOAD : Vinyl Junkie - Lifetracks Mix 2 (320 Direct Link)
DOWNLOAD : Vinyl Junkie - Lifetracks Mix 1 (192 Zip File)
DOWNLOAD : Vinyl Junkie - Lifetracks Mix 2 (192 Zip File)
DOWNLOAD : Vinyl Junkie - Lifetracks (Artwork)
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