Huge jungle vibes? Check. Uniquly-realised and high-octane new album? Check. A love of many of the (possibly) overlooked strands that comprise jungle over time? You get the picture… time to talk about it all with Toronto’s Marcus Visionary, and to get heads down and dirty with five jungle killers from time.
Marcus, your music is full of the real, gritty reality of D&B/jungle. It makes me think of sweaty nights where people like Nicky BM, Brockie and the like would tear up the spot… is that a fair portrayal?
Massive respect to Nicky BM and Brockie as they have always pushed the Jungle sound from day one.
I also have to big up Benny Page, Liondub, Serial Killaz, Chopstick Family, Congo Natty, Knowledge & Wisdom, Potential Badboy, Remarc, Shy FX, Isaac Maya, Ricky Tuff, Irish Moss, Yardrock, JJ Frost and everyone pushing the Jungle Sound forward. I was spoiled for choice with these remixes thanks to Curtis Lynch and Necessary Mayhems massive catalogue!
Now you mention Curtis and Necessary Mayhem, what is the link to Computer and the Necessary Mayhem label?
The intention with the Computer LP was to shed some light on the new Necessary Bass imprint setup by Curtis Lynch. It’s an offshoot of his Reggae, Dancehall, Dub label Necessary Mayhem. I figured the best way to give the label some extra exposure was to give music buyers an LP with 11 fresh singles/remixes and VIP mixes. People tend to pay more attention to LP projects. I’m also really excited as this is a follow up to my first full length jungle LP ‘Humble’ out on Liondub.
It’s also a really good look for Reggae/Ragga Jungle music because there are not many LP’s that come out within the genre.
The title made me scratch my head at first. Can you explain why you chose ‘Computer’ as a title?
I had just finished the title track ‘Computer’ by Macka B and Curtis really loved it. I thought it was a fitting title as one of the strongest tracks. I also feel like we’ve got a load more material coming from the hard drive with the efficiency of a computer!
… aaaaand if you had to leave your studio in a hurry and had to take ONE thing with you?
To be honest I’m 100% digital in the box so I would probably pick up my entire computer as well as my hard drives in that situation!
Speaking of tunes from Computer, could you curate a few more?
‘Computer’ has Macka B on it and I suggest everyone take in the lyrics. He knocked it out of the park on that one. The Jungle translated really well with his flow as the original is Reggae. My second favourite would have to be ‘I Don’t Believe it’ featuring the legendary Cutty Ranks. Curtis used a steel drum in the original which was something that you don’t hear very often and I was exciting about using in the remix.
As a fan of dancehall Cutty Ranks is one of my all time favorites so it was an honour to be able to remix his work.
Next for me would be ‘Run the World’ VIP featuring Mr. Williamz. I was never 100 % happy with the original mixdown so this was an opportunity to make it much better. Mr Williamz is by far my favorite Dancehall artist right now. Everything he touches is gold. His style takes me back to my favorite era of Dancehall in the 80s and early 90s.
You’re based in Toronto and there’s mixed reports about the health of the scene there…
In the 90s all the way to 2008 Toronto had the strongest scene in North America. Once Dubstep & EDM hit D&B and Jungle went downhill. We now have a very small underground scene but we’re working hard to keep it going and build it back up.
In 2000 we had a ban on raves which stopped the underage kids from attending events. That legislation created an ageing market with little new blood coming into the scene. We’re still here but Los Angeles has been wearing the crown for largest Jungle, D&B scene in North America for quite a few years now. I’m still optimistic that we can rebuild.
Where does the music take you in terms of live DJing?
I make all of my income touring so I’ve been fortunate to travel throughout the UK and Europe, US and Canada. I usually come over to the UK for the festival season in the summertime. Last year I had the honour of playing Outlook Festival in Croatia as well as Boomtown Fair in England. I’ll be returning to Boomtown this year. I’m still taking bookings for the tour so if anyone in Europe has any inquiries please contact email@example.com
How do you pick up on music on the go, when you’re traveling?
My label partner for Inner City Dance, DJ Lush is a veteran D&B/Jungle DJ in Toronto for the last two decades. He’s also a music addict. He keeps me up to date with releases with the help of our longtime friend Mystical Influence. We make sure that we all are up to date. I also share dubs with several DJs and producers from the U.K.
Marcus could you share with us five classic D&B/jungle tracks that you love, and why?
Lost in the Jungle ‘Progression’, Ibiza Records 92. This is one of my favorite hardcore/jungle tracks of all time. A work of art and a very overlooked track. I named my rave anniversary parties ‘Lost in the Jungle’ after this track. I’ll be celebrating 23 years since the first event very soon with ‘Return to the Jungle’
Rufige Cru (Goldie) ‘Killa Muffin’. In the early days this was when the Jungle sound started to become more prominent in hardcore. Goldie & Phantasy had come to Toronto in 92 for a Pleasure Force rave and this was the sound track. Really exciting and special time in my life. Goldies music and everything at Metalheadz has been a major influence ever since.
4Hero Parallel Universe LP, Reinforced. Reinforced and 4 hero were some of my biggest influences in the early days. The Parallel Universe album blew my mind when it came out. It sounded like nothing else that was out there. Everyone at Reinforced was literally carving the path for the music.
Junglist ‘Congo Natty’. When Jungle was making it’s change into DNB this was an anthem for Junglists worldwide. Congo Natty & Rebel MC’s music was a major influence in the early days of my career.
Roni Size ‘Music Box’. Another major influence was everything V Records, Full Cycle, Dope Dragon and Bristol/London. Big up Bryan G, JJ Frost and the Full Cycle crew.