Dazee: Ruffneck Substance
You may have noticed the recent return of a certain Jungle/D&B institution. The fact that it’s in beats-obsessed Bristol-based makes it sort of a cultural double drop. Ruffneck Ting! Resident DJ/producer Dazee was as brimming with infectious energy to speak about the Ruffneck ethic now as she no doubt was back then, particularly as a special anniversary album is soon to drop, the selection lovingly hand-picked and digitally remastered…
In fact this attention to detail was a big part of the Ruffneck Ting approach to the live nights, wasn’t it Dazee?
We put a LOT of energy into making it look good and sound good. I actually painted all the backdrops myself and Rachel – original Ledge/Knowledege crew – would put them up.
It was that love, care and effort that paid off and the good vibes started from there. People also seemed love the fact we had Ruffneck The Dog captured on our flyers too. Ruffneck was the personification of the night. A Junglist!
There’s much talk about those legendary 90s nights at Ruffneck Ting – and L Double’s set at the RECENT night was apparently great – it can be similar to those classic depictions of nights at the Blue Note or Speed. A lot now relies on anecdotal evidence. So Dazee, what was your typical Ruffneck night like?
Full of 15 year olds apparently! Ha ha! Twas the age before ID and the amount of people who’ve told me they used to come to Ruffneck Ting when they were mere basically feotuses is quite frankly, alarming. However this is kinda advantageous now because many of our original ravers are still up for it.
So can you cite five tunes that sum up RT?
‘Damn Right’ Probably the tune I’m most proud of. It was a big moment for me back then hearing Micky Finn rewind it at World Dance in London
‘Quest’ Shimon/Andy C. This evokes memories of Dreamscape and Universe as much as Ruffneck but “Night Flight” on the flip definately takes me
back to Ruffneck at UWE
‘Mode 1’ I.Q Collective. This is the later Ruffneck years, touring Ruffneck, the Escape, Cardiff… the car on two wheels going up the high street trying to get there on time after playing on One In The Jungle!
‘Warning’ Roni Size. I’ve great memories of playing at a club in Newport, Wales, loads of Ruffneck Ting crew with us!
‘Set Speed’ Krust. All the full cycle stuff from that era was incredible. Krust was actually our resident for a while too.
How regularly would the RT crew convene in central Bristol?
I think we did it every couple of months. There was a time when we took Ruffneck on tour and we were doing a couple of events in different cities in one weekend. But Ruffneck was always an occasion, a special event.
We started a smaller club called Roar to satisfy our jungle appetite between the Ruffnecks. We worshipped at the church of Randall and Ruffneck Ting was definitely inspired by the pilgrimages we made to AWOL. Kenny Ken, Micky Finn, L Double, Grooverider, Hype, Kemistry and Storm, Brian G, Frost, we loved em all! You should see our tape packs!
Bristol is heavily entrenched in music, traditionally: beats are part of the DNA. You’d find underground spots around Stokes Croft in the same way as a new Banksy piece would appear there: part of the streets. So what is the vibe like there now and what sort of producers and vibes are abounding?
Well Roni Size lives a few streets away and Critical Impact is round the corner. Meanwhile Die is not only continuing his long service to D&B but is also repping an ecclectic gutterfunk sound, bringing a totally new vibe to the dancefloor.
We have Dutty Girl repping hard and rapidly gaining notoriety and the dub and reggae scene is also going from strength to strength with DJ Derek, Three Kings High collective and new girl on the block Sasha Steppa.
SO bridging it and bringing it up to now I hear there’s a Roughneck Ting album due out November 11: what’s it consist of?
The RT album is 20 of our original releases, digitised for the first time: original jungle vibes. It was always the Ruffneck Ting sound that came through and you can definately hear that with the collection on RNT20. Our tunes were all about big basses, crisp beats and vibes-ing samples, some with deep sensory elements, others with more than a touch of funk and a real sense of fun.
Following that will be my ep which is definitely reppin the original Ruffneck Ting sound: Dancefloor friendly, rolling basses, samples and some recognizable classic breaks but with a more current production sound. We have an amazing ep from K-Jah next and a remixes to follow with all my favourite producers reworking the classics. Jinx, Saxxon and K-Jah have already come up with wicked remixes and hopefully we’ll be seeing tracks from Aries, Bladerunner, Serum, LionDub, Cabin Fever and Dawn Raid soon.
This ‘new jungle’ vibe is in your mix too I note (see at end)
Most of these producers confess to having had Ruffneck Ting Records in their collection and say they were inspired by our sound back in the day. As well as this myself and Markee are collaborating on some vocal tracks. There’s new tunes on the way.
On the Substance front I believe there’s something not well-known?
Well surprisingly few people realise that Substance was originally a collective not just one person: both me and Markee produced most of the tracks released as Substance on Ruffneck Ting and for some releases a producer called John Shales worked with us too. Mark and I also did solo releases and other collaborations on Ruffneck Ting and Breakbeat Culture was created to continue with a more tekky sound that was emerging from the combined sound of Substance and Decoder.
John also set up his own label called Colourstone and I had releases with him on that too.
Check Dazee at the Westfest on October 28. Live image by Nick Holbrook
Dazee’s soundcloud is soundcloud.com/dj-dazee, and a recent mix below