Rep Your Area: Cambridge

Rep Your Area: Cambridge

The Rep Your Area series is back! A chance for YOU to big up your local ends and explain why ravers should make a mission there for some nocturnal fun. The clubs, the players, the sounds… If you’re keen to big up your own manor, get in touch via the comments box below.

Rep Your Area: Cambridge is brought to you by longstanding blog contributor Jamie S23 and Warning resident Rossco Cynthetic… 

Roots and Culture

With Ross being only 25 and getting into the drum & bass scene around 2000, he missed the majority of early events in Cambridge which helped to develop the scene. The likes of Eclipse, Temptation and Love of Life sadly passed him by, although this isn’t to say he’s not aware of how the scene took place. Ross has a firm knowledge of producers and tunes from the 90s, highlighting seminal releases, MCs and DJs such as Roni Size’s 1997 debut album New Forms, MC Fearless breaking through into the scene in 1995 and the exceptional quality of DJ Zinc’s sets.

One of the biggest influences on Ross were illicit trips to The Sanctuary, Milton Keynes. He talks fondly of the Accelerated Culture & One Nation event from 2004, the Bryan Gee set especially… “This was a huge event, The Sanctuary was like nothing else, the production, crowd and vibe of the venue was next level and was without a doubt a venue I won’t forget in a hurry.”

(Street)Wise words…

Around this time, Streetwise was still in existence. One of the only independent record shops in Cambridge to support drum & bass scene, Streetwise was a fine dealer for Ross’s vinyl addiction. He describes these times as an important part of Cambridge’s involvement in the Drum & Bass scene with the likes of local lad Nu:Tone’s releasing countless tracks from 2001 onwards on the likes of Soul:r, Beta and New Identity. His brother Logistics wasn’t far behind with Streetwise heavily supporting his game-changing ‘Now More Than Ever’ release on Hospital.

“These guys were flying the flag for Cambridge,” says Ross. “Producing quality music which was certainly influenced by their surroundings and the local scene. This was also around the time when Spoonfed, a regular night held at Fez, played a massive part in the education of the new generation of ravers.”

Warning: 18 years deep and still going strong

Naturally the main drawer for all D&B fans in Cambridge is Warning. The biggest promoter of drum & bass in Cambridge, it’s not just shaped the local scene but its influence can be felt across the whole of East Anglia. And has been for the last 18 years.

Cambridge as a city played a vital role in the birth of hardcore and it’s crossover to jungle. Ross pays respect to the likes of Stuart and Dave Banks, the promoters behind Eclipse in the early 90s. He also has a close working relationship with Pete Edwards, the man behind Warning. “He’s really helped with my progression as a DJ,” says Ross. “In a way he’s taken me under his wing. The effort Pete puts into the local scene is second to none.”

Warning celebrates its 18th birthday in April this year and is held bi-monthly from The Junction.

Get the flyer, join the convoy and call the party line…

Aside from the regular club nights, Ross enjoys nothing more than the other side of Cambridge’s nightlife – the once frowned-upon illegal parties that John Major tried his hardest to put a stop to. Needless to say, the alternative parties are still going pretty strong locally. For Ross, this is just like turning the clock back to the 90s rave scene.

“Although I wasn’t DJing in the 90s, I can imagine that the illegal parties of today are the equivalent of how it was back in the day,” he says. “The best part of these events for me is that my sets can be obscure to the point of dropping ‘94 jungle with something released last week and everybody gets it.”

Recently, Ross took great pleasure in playing a set in rural fenland… “Playing in the middle of a farm with everyone covered in mud is great!” he laughs. “In a way it releases the inner hippy in me!”

Danger Danger!

In terms of current local talent, Ross is a member of the Audio Danger Records crew, a label that has grown in rapid succession since its first release by BMK in March 2010. Keen to support all types of underground music, Audio Danger’s latest release ‘Destroy Everything’ by Skuff is a full on UK hip-hop album featuring a variety of local talent including Inja and S-Class and really showcases what Cambridge has to offer. This home grown label really does prove that if you have enough dedication and a strong passion for music you can achieve the impossible, with all of their previous vinyl releases initial runs selling out in record time.

As an Audio Danger Records DJ, Ross has accompanied the label overseas with regular DJ bookings in Vienna for a jump up night called Switch.

“It’s a totally different type of DJing,” he explains. “The crowd are really interested in technical mixes and are always keen to know what’s coming next. That’s not to say they are all standing gazing, the Vienna crew are just as mad about drum & bass as we are”.

He’s also visited Austria where Audio Danger hosted a label night in Kufstein alongside Savage Rehab and label co-owner Jimmy Danger.

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.