With his debut album Tranmission dropping on Ram Records today, with a sound that is at once forward-thinking and classic, we caught up with Basher to find out about his influences.
What we got was not just a collection of incredible artists and killer tracks, but a few choice stories that take you deeper into the history of the big man himself.
Get to know!
An obvious choice for someone of my generation but how could I leave them out. I was introduced to their music in 1992 when I was just a ten year old kid with a walkman. A friend of mine lent me a tape with the word ‘Experience’ crudely written in red marker on it, I don’t recall where I was when I first played the now legendary album but I do remember the track in particular was rave anthem ‘Out of Space’ unlike anything I had heard before. I was blown away and instantly hooked on their sound. It was a direct result of this that got me into listening to old skool hardcore & jungle.
Without a doubt the most inspiring and influential record label to me. From day one I have looked up to and aspired to Ram and have so many great memories surrounding the label from hearing Andy C smashing my local under 18s party with the late Stevie Hyper D to getting the call at 2am from Andy himself in 2006 wanting to sign me. However, like many people I’m sure, my first encounter with Ram Records was hearing Origin Unknown – ‘Valley of the Shadows’ or ‘31 Seconds’ as me and my friends used to call it back in the day, such a simple yet captivating piece of music it has everything that a great D&B track needs and is as close to perfection as it gets!
Buy Origin Unknown – Valley of the Shadows
My first memory of hearing Bad Company’s music was back in 1998 in my local record shop (Slammin Vinyl). I went down as per on a Monday to get the week’s latest offerings and much to my surprise Jumping Jack Frost was behind the counter having a mix. There were a lot of people in the shop watching and I remember it being quite loud so there was a good little vibe going on. Next thing I know Frosty switches into ‘The Nine’ and the place goes nuts, there was even a guy in a wheel chair rocking by the speaker and for about 2 mins that shop was a full on rave. Everyone was asking what the track was and we were told “It’s some new guys on the scene”. Everything changed for me after that, Bad Company’s music blew me away for years after and still does today.
Calyx & Teebee
Although I had heard of both Calyx & Teebee in their solo careers it was only when they teamed up as a duo that I became turned onto their music. I met Calyx in 2006 through a mutual friend and soon found myself in his studio listening to some of his and Teebee’s forthcoming album at the time, ‘Anatomy’. Instantly I felt dwarfed by their production skills and this completely changed my outlook on how I set about making music. I’m good friends with both the guys now and they continue to inspire me and push the boundaries of my production.
Buy Calyx & Teebee – Make Your Choice
My dad was a big fan of their debut album ‘Blue Lines‘ around the turn of the 90’s and would often play the vinyl indoors, and I always remember the track “Unfinished Symphony” was my favourite. I would ask him to put it on again (I was not allowed to touch the record player) and although I was too young to realise at the time it was of course subconsciously turning me onto breaks music. Over the years I have continued to follow the great work of Massive Attack and have been inspired no end by the legendary band.
When I first made the transition from hardcore to jungle I brought some tape packs and was introduced to Ray Keith as just a DJ. Little did I know he had produced some of the biggest classics in the game, it was only in the coming years that it dawned on me that the white labels and ‘Renegade’ tracks I had been playing was made by him. His sound has been such a big part of my productions for as long as I can remember and I don’t think that will ever change.
You can’t talk about D&B influences and not mention the Bristol sound and the one producer that stands out for me is DJ Die. His tracks are always original sounding, way ahead of their time and always has the crossover appeal the means no matter what style of D&B you like there is always room for a DJ Die track. My biggest memory of his music while growing up is hearing the anthem ‘Clear Skyz’ at Bagley’s nightclub in 1998, the track was so different from anything else at the time and there was not a DJ who didn’t play it. That track and many others from him are still in my box today.
A man who needs no introduction, I defy any D&B producer who say’s they haven’t been influenced by this legend in some way or another. You can always identify a Dillinja track straight away; his sound is so distinctive and bold. However there was a time I used to avoid his tracks because it made my speakers distort in my bedroom and I would get complaints no matter how loud I had it. But it was when I started going raving I then understood what the mighty Dillinja sound as all about, “bass” and lots of it. It’s impossible to not be inspired by his techniques as a producer as everything he does goes so against the grain yet works so well.
Buy Dillinja – Hard Noize
The synth master Vangelis was someone who I was subjected to by my dad as a child however it was in my early 20’s that I rediscovered his work through my love of film Director / Producer Ridley Scott. His score work for film is unrivalled IMO, you can get lost in his epic, timeless music and go on a journey into sound and that’s inspiration in itself. I looked to his work allot while writing my debut album and I think you can hear it come out in the record.
Ed Rush & Optical
Last but by no means least Ed Rush & Optical. It was around 1997 when I first started hearing about this duo, there was allot of hype around their debut LP which became the classic ‘Wormhole’. I was playing allot of jump up at the time and it was listening to these guys that introduced me into the more deeper, techy side of Drum & Bass. Shortly after their LP they released a killer tune on V Recordings called ‘Funktion’. That was the track that really secured them as one of my favourite producers, and this has never changed, I even got a tattoo of the symbol from their Virus imprint on my leg but don’t tell Ram that 🙂