Jamie continues his popular Jungle Roulette series with the one like Coda.
Coda and Switch!, the names go hand in hand. Can you break down the story behind Switch! including its relevance today?
“Switch! started a year after I moved back from Austria to England in 2006. Pandora (my musical partner in crime) and I decided to start an event in Vienna that showcased the more dancefloor/jump up side of drum and bass as Vienna only had, at the time, liquid and neuro funk scenes. Switch! allowed us to play and push the sound we were into. I’m very against niche scenes, but Switch! has definitely become synonymous with jump up in the last few years and in Austria we are the first stop when it comes jump up events, along way from the first few years struggle.
If i remember correctly we had about 100 people for Nicol & Majistrate in 2007! We have progressed a lot from those days and we seem to be getting some worldwide recognition now, with help of our larger scale events we did earlier this year and global exposure from the Switch! Recordings label”.
You moved to Austria in the year 2000, was this move motivated by music at all? How did the scene overseas feel compared to the UK?
“I moved to Vienna after college. I was fed up of living in England and had been to Germany loads in my teens and loved it there. A friend was at Vienna Uni and she invited me to stay for a while, I found a job and the rest is history. No musical motivation at all. However, the first thing I did after moving there was search out the drum and bass nights, namely Trife Side of Life (legendary Viennese crew including D Kay) and to get myself on the Austrian circuit.
The scene was very different from what i was used to in Leicester, my home town, and it took me a while to get used to it. MCs were pretty much for the headline acts only, and the A list DJs rarely came out and were not so well known and there were no horns or whistles?!?! The main acts at events were all producers, as that’s who the people knew from the record shops, something i was not fully used to, and people looked at you blankly when your response to “Who are your favourite DJs?” was “Hype, Grooverider & Brockie”.
They might say “I know Grooverider, but who are Hype and Brockie?!” Drove me mad!
I think I had been there 2 years before Zinc and Kenny Ken finally made it out! That said, I loved the scene, broadly speaking the Trife Side of Life was very Renegade Hardware/Metalheadz orientated, All.Souled Out was for the Liquid Funk, Soul and Mellow crew, Wicked for the Ragga Jungle heads and Mainframe catered for the Neuro / Euro style drum and bass. There were loads of events going on in Vienna, too many to mention. It had a very healthy little scene.”
It’s no secret that drum & bass fell upon confusing times post the millennium in the UK. Do you think this spread further afield? How do you think we recovered?
“I have to say, I don’t think it was confusing. It definitely went back underground though, not a bad thing in my opinion, until the likes of ‘Bodyrock’, ‘LK’, ‘Shake Ur Body’ and ‘Barcelona’ assaults on the charts. While there was maybe a lull around 2000, some of my favourite tunes are from that era. With a genre that’s been going so long there are bound to be peaks and troughs and, for me, I feel that drum and bass had real worldwide presence in the early noughties, probably with the aid of the internet i.e Drum&BassArena broadcasting from various clubs to a global audience. I am not sure the UK needed to recover, just revert back underground and experiment again.”
The scene in 2016 is obviously far healthier and in many ways drum and bass has completed a full 360 degrees of history. What’s your take on this considering you have been involved in the scene from early?
“Drum and bass is very healthy at the moment, yes. It’s going through a very commercial stage. Hearing drum and bass played on prime time mainstream radio is amazing considering it’s origins.
To me though, the scene has become almost segregated by its sub genres, each sub genre doing well in its own right, but you find people not having heard of the top acts in each sub genre, almost like they are isolated in their own little bubble of what drum and bass is.
I’ve done it myself, I only recently came across Liquicity, they’re huge, no idea how i managed to not have heard of them before the other week, my own ignorance! I love that there is immense quality, though, in each scene, I’d just like to see a bit more mingling of the scenes.”
Talking of early vibes, your forthcoming singles via Natty Dub Recordings take on various elements of mid 90’s releases. Was this intentional considering what’s hot right now?
“Not really intentional, it’s just a sound I love to make and it fits very well with the Natty Dub ethos. I’m a huge fan of the V and Full Cycle sound and have often made tracks with their influence. Fat Cap kind of combines all my influences of the 90s, my era I suppose. I was big into Hip Hop and all its surrounding culture. Fat Cap uses Hip Hop samples in abundance and I sampled the Graffiti documentary ‘Style Wars’ for the intro vocals. The sound lent itself to that early Dope Dragon vibe which followed naturally. I guess they kind of go hand in hand, that sound and style of samples.
With Fat Cap, I intentionally made the bassline progress. I get really annoyed at the cut and paste culture in production these days and wanted to make something that progressed. ‘Fat Cap’ has 5 different bass patterns, 3 distinctly different from each other. I know not many will play it past the first 2 progressions though, me too probably!
‘Krusty Dub’ was influenced by an interview with DJ Krust in which described the inspiration and competition between Roni, Die, Suv and co. I suppose is some way I tried to put myself in that place, see what i would come up with. I wanted something that rolled, something that had a different step pattern to the current day drum pattern and was a little quirky. Krusty Dub is just one of the beats I made that weekend inspired by his interview, it’s the only finished one tho lol!”
How did the link up with Natty Dub take place? Anything else forthcoming from this label in 2016 from you?
“I have known Sam for a while now. He, as Cabin Fever, had a release on the same Audio Danger Records EP that Shodan VIP came out on a few years back. I have spoken online with him since. We share a love of the Dope Dragon, Full Cycle, V vibes, as is evident in their back catalogue, and often send tunes back and forth to each other. Natty put out my track ‘Wagon Wheel’ last year as part of the Rise of the Soldiers LP and he has been pestering me for ages for an EP ( an EP would never have happened, i’m too slow in the studio hehe!) but i managed to talk him down to a single release, which is ‘Fat Cap’ & ‘Krusty Dub’. A second will follow, once I am happy with the tunes and their mixdowns!
Later in the year, around Christmas, Natty Dub are going to be releasing a VIP’s dog tag USB stick. It will feature a load of VIP’s from Natty releases, including my re-lick of ‘Wagon Wheel’ (The Jammie Edition). If anyone is interested they should head over to the Natty Dub Recordings Facebook page and PM them your email. When they are ready it will be limited edition so strictly first come, first served.
I will also have another single to follow sometime in 2017 (would have been the other half of the EP had Sam had his way lol), but the tunes are not ready yet, so keep your eyes peeled!”
‘Conman’ and ‘Bad Guy’ are currently doing the rounds of dub at present with a release scheduled on Switch! for November. In terms of selectivity, how do you promote your music in the initial rounds? Do you have a few ‘go to’ DJs who you know will support your music or is it a case of whatever fits? Both tunes are wicked by the way, vibes by the bucketload!
“Yep, my first solo release on my own label, long overdue! I am really poor at music promo to be honest, promo in general is not my forte. In general, my promo starts with my close friends, I’ll send to Serum, T>I, BMK, Cabin Fever, Mampi and a couple of others to get feedback as I don’t trust my own music 99% of the time. I even question it when people come back loving it, almost like, “really?! You’re not just saying this?”.
Once I think the tracks are decent I send them to few A-list heads and people I think might help promote and get the track recognition. I’ll send tunes of all kinds to all people, you never know what they will will and won’t like, and I HATE it when people send me music saying this is one you will like…. How do you know what I like?! Equally when you hear a tune and the person says “I did not send as did not think you liked that kind of drum and bass!?!?! (argh mini rant!)
If I have a tune signed to another label though, I only send to my close friends, not my place to send out, although i will make suggestions etc.
Thanks, all about Vibes!”
The Jungle Roulette series showcases a selection of wicked tunes from way back when and you get to fill in the blanks with your memories and thoughts. Here’s the first one:
Ellis Dee featuring MC Fearless ‘The Real Killer’ was released in 1996 on Collusion Records, it’s very reminiscent as to what’s being played in 2016. What’s your thoughts? Do we see enough MC sample led tunes these days?
“HA! The Real Killer! I absolutely looooove that tune! Big Ellis Dee and Collusion fan! Recently there seem to be more MC tunes coming through, I have been sent a couple from Lowriderz that will be coming out on Switch! sometime soon.
I’m also releasing a tune titled Sky featuring the amazing MC Inja, although this is a full vocal tune, not a vocal intro hook and then drum and bass tune, this is a full verse, hook verse hook thing, something I aim to do more.
I want to do a project with some UK Hip Hop MCs, with the drum and bass rolling background but full hip hop arrangements. We will see, plans and all that.”
A lesser known Pascal tune here from the Super Sharp Shooter E.P titled ‘It’s Personal’. The rolling bassline and moody atmosphere link in well with some of the trends of this year. Has this style aged well? Could you get away with dropping this in one of your DJ sets?
“I don’t think I could drop that in one of my sets these days, although that would have fitted my set a few years back and I would love to do a deeper revival set if the chance arose.
I love this moody roller style and it’s a sound that is coming back around. Voltage’s Rollaz label, Need For Mirrors and Command Strange make some wicked rollaz not a million miles away from this style.”
Going way back to 1994 with this release by DJ Slipmatt on Awesome Records. It was certainly one of the big crossover records at the time and a huge anthem. Do you remember it well? Is it about time drum and bass events mix up the genres in the main arena?
“I can’t say I remember it from being out, a year or two before I was out in the clubs, but I know it from tape packs from the time. You know, I loved the Helter Skelter style of happy hardcore DJ followed by drum and bass and then rotating, but i don’t think it works as well these days, maybe because the scenes that sit well with drum and bass have slower tempos. For me tempo changes don’t work. They’re amazing in short bursts in sets but whole sets – not for me. And happy hardcore and drum and bass are a million miles from each other now.”
If you could name one tune from the 90’s that really stood the test of time for you and one that could well feature in a set today what would it be and why? Any favourite memories spring to mind?
“One?! Only One?? Wow…..hmmmmmm almost impossible to pick one as loads have stood the test of time, and loads still feature in my sets, although admittedly as teasers. I’ll pick one that I often get asked what it is, one that I don’t tease, I actually play it, and is not soooo well known: D Product ‘Faithless’ from the Planet V boxset. Wicked little bubbly tune and can play it anywhere.
There are too many favourite memories to mention as well, but the first time i experienced drum and bass in a proper club is one that will not be forgotten. LTJ Bukem’s Progression Sessions at Leicester Uni’s ‘Venue’ was amazing! I can still clearly recall the night. And I never did find out the name of the girl in the gold skirt I was dancing with that night!!! A well and truly time stamped memory for me that night.”
Any shouts and big ups leave them here 🙂
“First and foremost to my Switch! partner Katja (Pandora) and all the Switch! crew; Ben (BMK) at AEI / Drum&BassArena, my go to for my production critique, he will say it how it is; Big ups to Zen & Serum, two of my main studio influences; Jimmy Danger, Inja and the Cambridge Crew; Big ups to Mampi Swift and Team Charge, a lot to come from this team in the near future; And finally to Sam, Regina and all the Natty Dub Recordings crew, big ups for putting up with my snail paced production and ‘OCDness’ when it comes to mixdowns.”