“Back then, you might hear an incredible new tune played exclusively on a plate by a DJ like Bukem or Fabio and you’d have to wait for months before you could get it on vinyl. That was part of the magic of the scene at the time. Nowadays, if you hear an amazing tune played on the radio you can typically stream it instantly online. The convenience is great, but with this ease of access, people (myself included) are more inclined to take music for granted to the extent that its impact and mystique is lost”.
When I started listening to drum & bass I was intrigued, inspired and seduced by the faceless mystique and the self-reliant attitude of so many artists and labels exploring this bold new cultural form. That experimental fearlessness, an entry point and an outlier both at the same time, captured a vital moment – one that could probably never be replicated – where no approach was off-limits. In the early 90s, the connections with my musical heroes were the odd dj gig, cassette tapes changing hands, magazines and the liner notes/credits on the record sleeves. Then the internet revolution came, which provided a portal to a (brave) new world and unprecedented access to all of us who had been on the outside looking in.
“I think things are cyclical and in the advent of digital, people crave the physical”
“And I think record collectors will always be buying vinyl and building a collection of good music, then passing on that knowledge to others who might not collect yet, because it’s great and fun and a way of life!”
This is the second installment of the blog’s new series titled “On The Outside, Looking In”. As the title suggests, it is a retrospective sneak view into my guests’ photo albums, collections, musical diaries, hazy memories and internal monologues. The discussion timeline is non-linear, jumping back and forth in times and places, as it would probably be in a real-time conversation with friends, whose music-related work I admire and respect. The concept of interviewing my guests in pairs has been intriguing and thought-provoking, trying to find out how their paths have periodically intersected and eventually converged through music: from rented studio time in the early 90s to custom-made studios and modern production, from raves in warehouses and sweaty basements to transatlantic tours and remixing punk priestess Siouxsie (well, that’s a story for another day), from tape packs and pirate radio to record fairs, eclectic record collections, running boutique record labels in 2019 and everything in-between.
Justice & Dissect
The head title of the series has been inspired from the first Modern Urban Jazz release by Glider-State (Blame & Justice), so it is with great joy that I present the man himself Tony ‘Justice’ Bowes alongside one of the most interesting figures of the new generation of producers Michael ‘Dissect’ Walsh.
“I work for the company. But don’t let that fool you; I’m really an okay guy.”
“A track that has stood the test of time and will still be a classic even if you wake up after a 57-years hypersleep”
‘Hypersleep’ record label
Celebrating the 20th anniversary since the seminal ‘Hypersleep’ first saw the light of day, a track written and produced by Voyager (the primary recording alias of Pete Parsons), the sixth installment of the blog’s “Tracks I Wish I’d Written” series is about the background story behind ‘Hypersleep’. Eloquently narrated in-depth by Parsons himself, an iconic figure of the drum and bass scene and one of the most respected and recognized producers and sound engineers, the story is a nostalgic and colourful account of the series of events that inspired and motivated him to write a timeless classic; a trip down memory lane capturing vividly the atmosphere of the mid-90s drum & bass scene.
The seventh installment of the “Whatever happened to …?” series is dedicated to Foul Play; a pioneering, genre-defining and innovative electronic music act, heralding the transition from hardcore breakbeat to jungle/drum and bass. Being active almost throughout the 90s (the band’s synthesis changed twice during its activity, due to unforeseen circumstances) constantly re-inventing themselves, with dexterous, second-to-none programming and sample manipulation, their illustrious productions have marked indelibly the UK underground music map.
A Frenchman, a card, a broken arm and the epiphany
Saturday afternoon, December 3rd 1994, somewhere in western Athens
He entered the cafeteria, where all his schoolmates used to gather on a Saturday afternoon for coffee and small talk. His mates waved at him. They were sitting on a table beside the big boys. Good choice, he thought, it was always entertaining to overhear the big boys chat about footie, music and clubbing. The main topic was the opening party several weeks ago and the blast everybody had had. He was well familiar with what the big lads were talking about. He and his mates had witnessed what would be a point of reference, a milestone in Athens nightclubbing for the years to come. They were so excited that they had become members that very night in order to jump the queue and save some money on the admission fee. That night a Frenchman was the special guest. He had run across a record of his, earlier that morning. At the time, there were no music genres – let alone subgenres – in his mind. As long as it was electronic and sounded right, he was game.
Saturday around midnight, December 3rd 1994, somewhere in central Athens
They took the last bus service, as per usual, to the city center. It was a good 20 minutes walk to the club, but that was no fuss. They were so anxious about what was going to happen that the distance and the cold were of minor importance. Outside the club a large queue was already forming. Three weeks ago, on the opening party, they were standing patiently one and a half hours in the cold to get in. Not this time he thought. They approached the bouncer and the face-controller jumping the queue with audacity. Upon showing their membership cards they were allowed in, amidst yelling and insults from the people in the queue. He smiled sardonically, as they walked the main entrance, already feeling goose bumps. He couldn’t tell if it were the lights, the smell, the banners, the people, but he would feel the same rush, every time he walked that door in the future. Any regular punter at the time would add to that. Continue reading