Jungle Music – Inspiration to the Masses
Jamie S23 chats to Discogs biggest financial supporter Dave Mulheran AKA Bwian Badonde about his latest mix project and how it all started. It’s not often a well respected vinyl collector stumbles across a young producer making beats as if it was 1994. Check it, only on Drum&BassArena.
Vinyl and the original jungle scene are both obviously very close to your heart. Can you think back to one of the first times you experienced the rush of buying a track you had heard on a tape pack and playing it for the first time?
“Ok, this one’s easy. I was about 12 years old and round a mate’s house (RIP Steve). His older brother Paul was upstairs with his mates were blasting out old hardcore tapes. I heard DJ Seduction’s ‘Sub Dub’ and the infamous original version of ‘’Pennywise’. From that point I was hooked by those two single records! This was 1992, I was 12 and I had never been in a record shop in my life. I managed to track down the label information and got my Grandad (RIP Daa) to ring up the labels direct. He sent a cheque off to each one and my first two records arrived 28 days later!”
Do you have any idea how many records you own? Could you say they were all some sort of personal favourite or do you have a select few tunes that you still scratch your head about and think “why did I buy that again?”
“I was buying records from late 1992 up to around 1997. All I had was my pocket money and cash from birthdays, Christmas, odds and sods, here and there, I was a teenager remember and records were £4.50 a pop so I couldn’t go balls out as well as go to the raves too.
Back then I probably had about 1,500 records when I stopped buying them. I sold them in 1998 to a mate (Big up Downsy, can I have them back?) to help buy my first car.
Skip forward 16 years and I uncovered a lost box of dusty old dubplates in my grandparents garage and discovered Discogs. I couldn’t believe there was a resource that not only catalogued the old hardcore and jungle that I still loved but also offered the provision for people to sell their records, to people like me!
I started buying back the tunes I had in the 90’s and then some. The great thing about ‘golden era’ hardcore and jungle is that there is so much underrated gold that most of us never even clocked back then. It really is like rediscovering the music all over again. So to answer your question before my waffle, I probably have about 3,200 or so records and I’m probably only half done. Absolute zero filler, all hand picked, especially at current prices. Old hardcore and jungle records are not a cheap buy these days to get back on the shelves, but that’s a whole new topic for another day!”
If the world flooded and you were left on your own with a Technics turntable and 3 tunes to occupy your mind, what would they be and why?
“Impossible to pick just three as any jungle nerd will tell you! So from immediate thought, it would be The Undergraduates ‘Space’, Da Intalex ‘I like It’ (Remix) and the Mad Dog EP.”
“Well there are a lot of tracks that I really love to bits in terms of style, beats and atmosphere. 3 notable ones I would pick would be Tom & Jerry’s ‘Airfreshner’, Dillinja’s ‘Sovereign Melody’ and a heavy favourite of mine ‘Angel’ by Goldie.”
Switching things up a bit – something topical..The change in demographics in drum and bass and jungle is quite a hot topic at present. How do you feel about this? To quote a well known figure in the scene – Is jungle now ‘too white’?
“I can’t really comment on this too much, perhaps Krave can? The last drum & bass track I really liked or had any interest in was somewhere within the output from 1997-2001 (ish) I’m a proper old stuck in the mud jungle beard stroker and have little knowledge of the current scene, mainly because I think most of it is sh*te…”
“I feel both the drum and bass and jungle scenes are very different to how it was back in the early 90’s. To be honest, I prefer jungle due to the variety of styles and production made from people who lacked equipment and had to make use of what they had. In 2016 software, synthesizers and sample packs are much more accessible.
I don’t feel jungle is now too white, people are just changing and I accept that fact. As long as the products are different and are special enough to catch my ear, I’ll always show support for the scene.”
Let’s talk about your latest mix, how did the link up with Krave take place? What attracted you to his music and how do you feel it fits into the scene in 2016?
“I was uploading a mix to my Soundcloud about a year ago. Some people I follow had reposted some tunes by Krave. There were a few unofficial remixes of some favourites of mine so I listened and was blown away. I started digging around on his page with a fellow beard (large up Enid Bale) and we were amazed at the output. Krave is from my neck of the woods and I then saw his age and thought… whoa, we have a new Tim Reaper here!
I kept a folder of tunes that Krave had made available to the public, bought some from his bandcamp page and once I started talking to him, he sent me a load of his unreleased bits and the mix idea came around. The tunes he makes are right up my street so mixing them was second nature. It was just like drawing tunes from my 1994/5 shelves. The ‘jungle revival’ community is generally a great crowd and I knew the regular heads would love the sound. The mix has really captured a few ears, which is great for Krave as a few labels have already been in touch and this is exactly the effect I was after. This mix is only part 1 remember, I have part 2 in the planning stage already.”
Jungle was all about big vibes and fresh music back in the 90’s. Although this can never be recreated, can it be replicated to a certain degree with the style of music Krave is producing?
“It can be 100% replicated in my opinion and has been done on the regular for a while now. Producers such as Kid Lib, Tim Reaper, Dwarde and Krave really are smashing the genuine 90’s sound in my opinion.”
“I feel the style can be replicated easily, as I’ve done it and so have artists such as Kid Lib and Tim Reaper. It’s just the product that you come out with which depends on the outcome as back in the 90’s people with different backgrounds made jungle hence the massive variety. Really the key to the old school sound is the idea of using inspiration to make something original and fresh so people can admire and enjoy the sounds and reminisce on times gone by.”
Krave, how are you producing your music? Do you start an idea from scratch or are you always taking inspiration from your favourite jungle tunes?
“I have used Ableton Live 9 for around 3 years now. My production is based on inspiration and putting my own spin on things. I don’t like to make cheap ripoffs of songs as it’s trashy and unoriginal which damages the jungle scene in my opinion. I just twist inspiration to make it my own in a sense that I know it’s a bit different. For example, my track ‘Rolling Thunder’ is based on Swift & Zinc’s tunes from back in 1995 so I used that as my inspiration. Arranging a new track as if I was them, but with my style integrated. To retain the old school vibe, you need to look back but add your touch to make them your own so people got something new to listen too.”
Education is always going to be the key, even with new music published for the commercial scene by established jungle producers. Take Sigma’s link up with Take That – no doubt heavily frowned upon by the drum and bass community but is this just people being single minded who can’t see the bigger picture?
“Ultimately for me, the cause and effect of mainstream commercial drum & bass is to capture the general public’s attention which then makes them seek out the original roots of the music. That’s when the education starts and more people discover all the amazing music that was produced, most probably well before they were even born.
The thing is, music is so easily made and distributed today – this creates a lot of throw away gash which really dilutes the decent music available.
Good tunes just get lost. Back in the day, making a tune, promoting it, pressing to vinyl and distributing was in itself a form of quality control. Unfortunately my view here about ‘education’ is a bit romantic and at the end of the day, being a realist… throw enough money at a big producer to ‘sell out’ and he will.”
“I can’t properly comment on this due to my lack of understanding of the music industry in terms of making stuff commercial even though the roots are underground. I feel that people shouldn’t sell out but should be allowed to do their own thing. Ripoffs are the thing that bothers me to be honest overall. I don’t know enough to make a unbiased opinion so I have nothing else to say. One day I hope to be able to comment on the situation fully though.”
Is another mix on the cards? If so, I’m hoping for some VIP dubplate specials to really intensify that 90’s feeling. Do you think that’s lacking from many producers minds who are trying to roll out that classic feeling? V.V.V.I.I.I.P.P.P.P.P
It’s always worth following my Mixcloud as I will upload any mixes I do to there. Working full time it’s sometimes hard to get motivation and time but when I do, I do try and make them a bit thematic and not just a general record bash. VIP’s… now that’s a tricky area. The usual heads as mentioned above have the ability and have made some awesome new VIPs, but on the whole I think it’s best to leave old tunes as they are. That said, should any ‘original’ VIPs crawl out of the woodwork in the form of a dusty old dubplate or glitched DAT… then i’m all over that!”
Finally, what would you like to see in 2016 jungle wise?
“I would like to see the price of the records I own rise and the price of the ones i’m yet to get hold of, fall!
On a serious note the past 2 years have been amazing with regards to jungle being produced and more importantly, being pressed on to vinyl and sold. Not only new tunes but some old favourites being repressed for those that haven’t got the originals or those that do, but want to keep their originals fresh. More wicked jungle being released on vinyl for 2016 onwards is what i’d like to see most.”
“I’d like to see more people go back to the 90’s jungle sound so the scene can expand again. Not to wipe out all music entirely but to grow to the size it was before and even better.”