Deep in the Jungle
Jamie links up with DJ Hybrid to talk about the recently released ‘Deep in the Jungle Anthems 3’ that’s been smashing all of the digital download charts. Are futuristic retina scanners the way forward for jungle DJs? Find out below..
Another album! And what a massive one it is. 33 tracks of pure fire! What’s your favourite one? It must have taken an age to compile that many tunes that you were happy with releasing?
“We always do a big compilation album every year now and spend most of the year compiling it! It’s very hard to find 33 tracks that we are happy to release all at the same time but we bulk it out with VIPs and remixes.
I would have to say my favourite would be either K Jah’s massive remix of ‘Rough Love’ by DJ Cautious or ‘Burning Up’ by RMS. Both very weighty tunes.”
Quite a few of the tracks featured on the album take a heavy dose of influence from jungle tunes made famous in the 90’s. Take ‘Kung Fu Tiger’ by Jumanji, the same samples were used in Ganja Crew’s ‘Tiger Style’ which coincidently featured on Jungle Mania 2. Do you think producers use these influences to produce unofficial remixes without official clearance or is it just a way to pay homage to the past?
“It’s more to pay homage to the past as there is a whole new generation of Junglists out there and although they may know the original classics or recognize certain samples from old tunes, what they expect is updated, modern production where the levels are as strong as modern tunes, mix well and stand strong alongside modern drum & bass.
One thing that I am sure most people have noticed over the last few years is a lot of the old jungle classics are being remixed in various forms for the modern dancefloor. This is mainly due to the fact that there is a whole new generation that jungle music appeals to and a market for it once again which I think is great.
“What we do with ‘Deep in the Jungle’ is create that feeling of revival even though we don’t necessarily have a back catalogue that extends back over the last 20 or so years.”
Talking of Jungle Mania 2, this was probably one of the biggest selling jungle albums of the mid 90’s. Do you think these type of albums were good for pushing out jungle to the masses and how important were they to the underground?
“I think they were massively important. Singles and EP’s can get lost over the years but I think the big jungle compilation albums from the 90’s remain iconic even to a non Junglist 20 years down the line.
I think from an underground perspective there would of always been people who were not so happy for jungle music to be popular within the mainstream and wanted to keep it underground. What I have noticed over the last few years is how many young people genuinely love jungle music and go to all the raves.”
On the first play of ‘Deep in the Jungle Anthems 3’ I was pleasantly surprised to hear a mix of styles. This isn’t a typical new school jungle album which fails to deliver actual jungle music.
“That’s the main thing we try and do as jungle is now a very wide genre. We feature all these styles and try and innovate the sound whilst remaining true to the roots, something which some modern jungle labels seem to lack or forget about. Jungle is well over 20 years old, it has developed past that original sound and everyone’s definition of jungle music is now different. Some people like amen tracks, some like the more ragga sample based tracks and then a lot of people like the more futuristic sounding ‘Bladerunner’ type vibes.
We keep all of these things in mind when we compile our compilations as we want to appeal to the wider audience of Junglists, not just one group.”
What do you think is the hardest part about creating an album in the jungle scene of today? Do you feel pressure to deliver something authentic?
“I would say trying to please everyone! Everyone’s definition of jungle is completely different now so you have lots of people debating whether certain tracks constitute as ‘proper’ jungle or more ragga drum and bass.
I personally love all of it and don’t really see why certain groups of people want to try and slate the modern jungle sound just because every track doesn’t have an amen break in it!
It’s interesting as originally jungle music attracted very open minded people but it seems these same people that were once open minded 20 years ago have now become narrow minded and don’t like to see change from that original sound.
It does create a certain pressure when compiling jungle compilation as you almost want something in there for everyone, all different styles, but as many people have said before you can’t please everyone.”
Talking of REAL jungle, could you name your top 3 jungle tracks from the 90’s? What influenced you to become the producer you are today?
‘P-Funk Era’ – P-Funk
“This track got me hooked on jungle as I always had a very eclectic taste in music growing up and I was very open minded. There was something about the ambience and vocal and then the rhythm of the break which just got me hooked and I would say that same euphoric ambience is something which I try and get across in my own production.”
‘Terrorist’ – Ray Keith
“Obviously a predictable choice but one of the original jungle anthems! This track has influenced me a lot and made me pretty much obsessed with the reese bass which I use in many of my tracks.”
‘King of the Beats’ – Aphrodite
“One of the first vinyl records I bought when I purchased my first set of decks, again the reese bass is what got me hooked on this tune and also because my love for hip hop I found this tune very influential.”
I think it was a lot to do with the breaks that influenced me to become the producer I am today, my love for hip hop and movies such as ‘Wildstyle’. The whole idea of crate digging and finding breaks was something that I really enjoyed. Combining that with when I first started going to raves and the pure energy I felt from jungle and drum and bass music – it’s all been a huge influence in what I produce to this day.”
On a remix tip, could you name one jungle tune that you would love to official remix?
“I’d have to say ‘RIP’ by Remarc. I think all the different vocal cuts and samples in that tune I could come up with quite an interesting modern take on the original classic.”
I’ve noticed you have totally nailed that deep, rumbling bassline technique in your production – what’s the secret? Do only die hard junglist producers know of a plugin that’s closely guarded these days? It would seem so!
“It’s something I’ve been working on for many years now but there was a time where I just couldn’t figure out how to get that authentic sound. I watched a couple of YouTube tutorials on how to make the authentic jungle reese bass and I suppose I’ve just built on that over the years. I wouldn’t say there is a specific plugin but quite basic things like adding a bit of distortion usually gives it that authentic feel.”
The label ‘Deep in the Jungle’ has been nominated for an award at the prestigious We Love Jungle Awards this year. How would you celebrate if you won and what would it mean to you? On the flipside, if you lost to another big label, how would you maintain motivation?
“It would be great if the label won, not just for me but for all the artists involved. We have worked with quite a few new artists over the years and helped them work towards their debut releases so if we won it would really show we have managed to establish ourselves within the modern jungle scene.
If we won I would love to be able to celebrate it with all the artists on the label, I’m not sure how many of them will be there on the night but would be a laugh to see how many of us we could fit on the stage to collect award.
On the flipside though I wouldn’t be disheartened if we lost to another big label as we are still a relatively new label compared to most in the category and some of these labels have much bigger artists involved than ours so i suppose were the underdogs in that respect.
If we didn’t win this year then it’s just something else to work towards for next year and i’m extremely motivated and positive for the future of the label as our fan base is rapidly growing every day.”
Sales of the album look to have been smashing it, is this the biggest release yet for the label?
“It must be our biggest release yet as the original ‘Deep in the Jungle Anthems’ had 23 tracks and then the 2nd installment had 28, so it seems to be growing every year. The previous albums also made it to number 1 in the download charts so we were expecting it with this one.
I suppose the new challenge would be to see how long we can hold the top spot for!”
People will always reminisce about vinyl and ‘the good old days’. Do you think ravers of today will look back in 20 years and say that same thing? Obviously this time around it will be all about “how great USB sticks were”.
“I think people will just forever reminisce about ‘the good ole days’ as in the 90’s as that will forever be the golden era of jungle, there’s so many documentaries and books which will forever make that era iconic.
It’s hard to think whether people will look back 20 years from now on this era. I think technology has probably come about as far as it can from lugging round a box of vinyl to taking a USB to a club unless in 20 years time were all playing tunes off our phones or futuristic retina scanners?”
What’s next for the label? Any temptation to go down the vinyl route for certain tracks?
“We have a huge year lined up and lots of new artists that we are bringing through as well. Lots more compilations and a side project set up under the ‘Back to the Jungle’ brand where we will be focusing more on the original old school jungle sound.
In regards to vinyl, we have tried in the past with certain projects where we have set up a sort of crowd funder type project where if enough people show interest in the vinyl we will get some pressed but we always seem to fall short of the target. As much as I would love to be doing vinyl releases for the label it just doesn’t look like it’s on the cards currently.”
Who would be the biggest honour to sign a track from?
“I’d have to say Bladerunner as he has been a massive influence in my own productions but also to me he really represents the modern jungle sound and has innovated and kept it fresh over all these years.”
Any shouts and big ups?
“I just want to say thanks to everyone who voted for me and the label at the We Love Jungle Awards, all the artists involved in my labels and everyone helping to make it happen. Also massive big ups to Ray Keith, DJ Vapour, Serial Killaz, Liondub, Visionary, Cabin Fever, Dazee, Callide and all the Cygnus Music team and also everyone who has helped me along the way!”