Jamie links up once again with the legend that is DJ Phantasy for an end of year breakdown of what’s hot (no pun intended!). A huge remix of ‘Fire’ incoming plus something special with long term friend, UK Apache. Check it!
Demolition Man and his massive jungle anthem ‘Fire’ caused mayhem on the dancefloor in ‘95, especially the Urban Shakedown remix which no doubt sold bucketloads. It’s also had quite a few remixes since, what makes yours different? Will it appeal to both the new and the old crowd?
“When I released ‘Junglist’ with Doktor, Demolition Man messaged me and told me how much he loved the track and asked me if I could remix ‘Fire’ for him. Demo is a legend and ‘Fire’ was a massive track so it was an honour to be able to do the remix for him.
I always want to make music from the heart and that was the vibe I was on in those few days in the studio. I sent a rough demo to Demo (no pun intended lol) and he was straight back to me telling me he loved it. So I went in and finished the remix for him.
I had been playing a dub version out to test the track before this virus madness so I could see that it was working on the dancefloor. It had that mix of a new modern jungle vibe but with a touch of today but again, with some original flavours from yesteryear. It’s quite mad how it is coming out on the same day UK Apache is dropping his follow up single to ‘Nuttah 25’ that I produced, two jungle vibe tracks in one day. Talk about when one bus comes along they all come together ha ha!”
It’s bound to be asked so I’ll do it now – any chance of a vinyl run?
“You’ll have to ask Third Eye about that but talking about vinyl, I have recently re-released some of my old Liquid Wax back catalogue and the response has been amazing. Records I made 25 years ago still selling on represses, love it. We have some more vinyl represses coming in early 2021 so please look out for that.”
The original roots of the scene have certainly never left you and that’s certainly evident from reading your book ‘Three Generations Deep’. This year it would seem your love for the early jungle sound has taken a bit more of a front seat, especially with the recent repress of Liquid Wax classics with more on the way. Has this been one positive to come out of 2020?
“Whilst 2020 has been a terrible year for our industry, this break has given me time to work on other things that my heavy touring schedule meant I couldn’t. My wife had me do some stuff that I had been putting off for years plus I have, as you mentioned, repressed some of my old Liquid Wax back catalogue.
I have also been working on a fitness brand with two friends (Lee and Micheal) which is ready to launch in January 2021, these are DNB HIIT, Jungle HIIT, Rave HIIT and UKG HIIT. I have spoken with some of the biggest brands involved in those genres and they are on board with this fitness project as well which is great.
I’ve also set up some new labels with various artists I work with and I am always looking out for new talent that emerges from our world. Trust me when I tell you, there are some seriously great young artists coming through.
I also have been in the studio lots and I have been learning new things about production, mixing and mastering. I have been working behind the scenes on some other things as well but I will leave them behind the scenes haha, but as my Twitter handle used to say ‘involved in more things than you may realise’. Well I had to take this time out to do something to keep me occupied.”
Pete Cannon is championing the original way of production using vintage equipment and making it look as easy as dropping some Apple Loops into Logic! Have you considered going way back in time for one last stab on the Amiga?
“Aphrodite used to confuse the hell out of me with all those numbers. The zeros and one’s flying all over the place. I would just be like errr, what do I press?”
If you could name one thing from that era of production that you miss, what would it be and if possible, has anything taken its place?
“Nothing ha ha! Apart from the fact that we never knew what we were going to do when we went to the studio. We used to just go in and vibe and see what came out. Everything is way too technical now. Producers working on snares for hours. Back in the day we just threw them all in on top of each other.”
Flip the script to ‘Jungle Fever’, the forthcoming virtual club smasher from yourself and legendary vocalist UK Apache. This one sounds like it’s screaming for some DJ VIP specials! This wasn’t your first time working with the ‘original nuttah’ was it..
“Ah, UK Apache, the legend. I have worked with him for years. We are close friends and he has often told me I am the only person in the music industry he trusts which is a lovely compliment. In fact, ‘Jungle Fever’ was meant to be on my album Generations that dropped in June this year but because he had ‘Nuttah 25’ coming out he asked me to speak with Shy FX just to make sure there was no clash.
I spoke with Shy and we agreed to hold off on the release until ‘Nuttah 25’ had dropped. Shy told me what he had planned and I knew it would be a massive project from them all.
I have made a few other tracks with UK Apache that have done really well. ‘I Say, You Say’ and ‘Gimme Da Gal’. He is such an easy guy to work with as he does what he does seamlessly.
I know what else he has planned for 2021 so expect some big music dropping from him and some of the collaborators he is working on.”
Could it be said that this is a long term professional friendship or does it go deeper than that? It’s well known that the drum and bass circle is pretty small, that must mean you guys have some wicked stories no?
“We have some funny stories we could tell but he has sworn me to secrecy for when he writes his book ha ha.
UK and I are great friends and we talk a lot. When he retired from music I was the only one he kept in contact with, so it wasn’t easy to drag him back into the music. It took me nearly 18 months to convince him to come back and then to explain to him how things had changed so much since back in the day. He has adapted well and to think a song he wrote 25 years ago, still goes off so much, that’s amazing. I’d love it if ‘Jungle Fever’ had the same longevity.”
One for UK Apache. The lyrical flow sounds just like Michael Rose’s ‘Tempa’ dub for Micky Finn, was this the main influence for the track?
“No, the main influence for the track was the legendary Tenor Saw from his song called ‘Fever’. There’s two parts to the track, the singing and then there is the chatting and rapping part which is my style usually but I wanted to pay homage to the late great Tenor Saw.
What you need to understand about that flow is, at that time, that era, a lot of the reggae artists had that flavour and style; for example, Tenor Saw, Micheal Rose, King Kong and Black Uhuru to name a few.
We also recently released ‘Nuttah 25’ to celebrate 25 years of Original Nuttah with Shy FX and it marked the anniversary of when I got involved in jungle music. I also wanted to give respects to the music and the fans that helped my track become arguably one of the biggest jungle records of all time, so ‘Jungle Fever’ was born.
This track is also showcasing the return of UK Apache and is the first of many tracks that I have coming in the pipeline.
Phantasy, do you think this style of upfront jungle will make a comeback in your 2021 sets alongside Macky Gee? That said, has it been something that’s crept in and out over recent years or has it been a solid ride of jump up, foghorns and big festival anthems?
“First of all, I am not and have not been a fan of the foghorn, so one thing the pandemic has done has allowed us to reset and bypass that style of dnb ha ha.. Sorry to all my pals that made it and made it well but I can’t lie!
Regarding jungle in our sets, we play everything in our sets, it’s not just jump up, rollers, liquid, we play everything and it doesn’t matter if the tune was made last week or 20 years ago, if it’s a tune it’s a tune!
We change our set to suit the crowd in front of us, we’re quite adaptable like that but one thing is for sure, that wall of energy when we are all on set together, is something I miss so badly. I cant wait till we get back out again performing again with the lads, it’s the only thing I have missed during this pandemic, the performances, the jokes on the road and meeting the ravers at clubs and festivals.
Skibadee recently had a socially distanced event and the vibes there were incredible considering everyone had to sit down, well kinda lol but you know what I mean…
All those people there having a great day out, that was like taking the biggest pile of whatever it is that people take these days and doing it all in one. The feeling of seeing everyone together having a great time, I wanted to do it again the next day.”
Talking of Macky, how’s the rest of the SASASAS crew? The recent Worldwide Drum & Bass streams have been really good over this lockdown and Shabba seems to still be on the fishing hype. What’s the crew saying? Is everyone looking forward to Christmas?
“Yeah they’re all good. We speak all the time. Everyone is just missing going out and meeting up and performing. Everyone is doing their thing to keep themselves occupied whilst we wait for everything to open up. Can you imagine the vibes on that first show out of lockdown ? Jheeeeeze!”
Have you been lucky enough to score some overseas bookings? If so, anything for NYE?
“We were offered New Zealand but it meant 14 days of quarantine and isolation in a hotel room when we arrived before the tour started, meaning we could be away for up to a month. It wasn’t really an option being away that long on what is going to be a strange Christmas for everyone this year. Macky just did a show in Estonia a couple of weeks ago but they don’t have the same quarantine restrictions as NZ does, he absolutely loved it!”
We spoke about the book earlier which was certainly a highlight of the Christmas season last year. Any plans to do a follow up or has the story been officially told? I know you’re a big fan of merchandise (and quite rightly so!), does that mean you have anything in store for fans for the near future?
“The book has been such a great thing to do. It is still selling to this day. It was like therapy for me writing that but I don’t have any plans at the moment to write another one. However a book on the industry in general I think would be nice and juicy, what do you think? Haha
I’m always looking at new ideas and ventures so follow my socials and sign up to my website to be able to stay up to date with the news before it happens.”
Any shouts or big ups?
“Thanks to everyone who supports me and this incredible music scene we are involved in, no matter what part you play.”