Positive Vibes: Dawn Raid

Positive Vibes: Dawn Raid

An actual Dawn Raid.

How brutal would that be?

There you are, curled up all silent and snug under your Pendulum duvet with your Rita Ora poster above you when these two D&B militants break down your door. The GREATEST video never made.

Picture it: flashing red, blue and green lights, neighbours hammering on wall, horrified mum in curlers.

Luckily pure D&B duo Dawn Raid prefer to smash down clubs rather than front doors. Right now, Red Sonja is their weapon of choice. An ice-cold sub-soaked roller that tickles the very underbelly of jungle heritage, it turns out it’s a very emotional, personal track for the Manchester duo. Damian B rang Ade and Kojo for a chat and a cheeky positive vibes session…

When did this music first take over your lives?

We were both there as young teenagers in awe when the music was brand new. From that feel we have a grounding in the music that not everybody who’s involved in the scene in 2013 may have. We want to draw from that knowledge and experience and hopefully it will define Dawn Raid and our label Hocus Pocus.

Speaking of definition, on your site there’s a mission statement about the sort of D&B you guys love…

We are very particular about what we like in D&B. Don’t get us wrong: in all honesty it doesn’t really matter whether you’ve been listening to D&B for one year or 20 years, because ultimately it’s how we all interpret the music that will allow it to continually evolve and grow. Which is very important.

When writing tracks, or sourcing stuff for the label, it’s more about the vibe and how it makes us feel. That’s what we feel is most important; not whether it’s rinse-out, jump up, minimal, techy or liquid. A good vibe is paramount and normally that is conveyed in how it makes us feel.

So Hocus Pocus is nearing a year anniversary. What news you got for us?

We’re now at the point where we have just released HP004 (The Chameleon/ Just 4 Once) which has been doing well. Now we’re pushing forward with the Escape Artists Vol 1 EP. It features Sterling Sound, Freeze & HP003 representer K Jah… And us of course.

All of this fuses back into the live sets of course: what do you blend into the sets to make the set a full-blooded LIVE affair?

We take our DJing very seriously and approach gigs based on what the night represents and what we are keen to play. We’re very versatile within the scope of drum & bass. We buy and are sent a lot of music of all styles. Furthermore, we have known each other a long time and find it quite easy to respond musically to one another when playing a back to back set. In general we go with our gut instincts, focus on the clarity of the mix and blend. We also have a great MC. BIC understands what we do and what we are about to draw. It’s pretty slick.

I feel that Red Sonja is one made to go off in a club and make people smile, is that the case? Friction loves it.

To be honest, yes and no.

Why’s that?

Obviously, we’re glad that the track has left that impression with you, because the bottom line – like all producers – is that we want all our music to do well, go off on the dancefloor & make people smile! However Red Sonja was written directly from sad life experiences and our feelings at the time. Every component of that track relates directly to our emotions at the time. We know that may sound a bit arty-farty, but it’s true. If you zone in on the vocals, musicality and vibes of that track you’ll find the truths within the song and the emotions it was forged from.

You talk about D&B and the psyche. So what landmark moments lodge in yours? Name four…

Okay. Here’s what we regard as albums that had a massive impact on who we are as artists today…

Dillinja – Cybotron: At that time we were both raving and DJing on the local circuits hard. This was the benchmark. Actually it probably still is the benchmark for a full uncompromising D&B album more than 12/13 years later. Every track is an absolute banger in its own right.

Origin Unknown – Speed Of Sound: At the time there wasn’t a set you would hear that didn’t have at least three or four tracks from this album. In fact we’ve got an old Brockie tape from Roast or Telepathy where 1/2 of the set is that album. The other half was comprised of the next album on our list…

V Classics: We’ll say it again… Every track on this was a banger! Also, each producer on this album has gone onto make a seismic contribution to D&B through countless releases.

Ed Rush & Optical – Wormhole: Wow. This, in our opinion, gave rise to multiple sub-genres within D&B. Ed Rush & Optical’s – not forgetting Nico’s – impact on the scene was so huge that for a while the whole scene tried to replicate their sound. Absolutely groundbreaking! Especially in terms of the fact that they were able to take things a shade darker, but still maintain the funk and, on the whole, stay away from using breaks. That was almost unheard of at the time… Immense.

Now time for your positive vibes tunes sirs…

This is a seriously impossible task! There are tunes like DJ SS Rollidge, Acid Trak by Dillinja and Be Free from Noise Factory we’d add to this as well.

Dillinja & Bert – Lion Heart

This track still makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end even though it’s 20-odd years old now. When I was a nipper, I had a Kool FM birthday party tape from Roast. Ragga Twins & Navigator absolutely rinsed this track over three rewinds and put it to bed. I could probably still recite the lyrics they devour the track with! Ha ha! Also the breakdown before the second drop is sublime.

Doc Scott – Unofficial Ghost

This track defines early Metalheadz. Simple. Armageddon on wax!

Digital – Waterhouse Dub

When this dropped, for me it was a real special time for the music. There were so many really creative artists doing their thing and, at that point, Digital was unique. Everything he released was dynamite. At the time I loved this more than Deadline as they were both poppin off on dub! This is proper rugged, sick and beautiful all at the same time.

Drum&BassArena Editor: Dave Jenkins has documented beats for over 15 years working with the likes of UKF, Mixmag, DJ Mag, iDJ, Bandcamp, Resident Advisor, Radio 1 Xtra and many more.