Fresh from remixing duties – for none other than Manix, no less, soon to see light of day on the fifth installment of Randall’s Stepback Sessions – I caught up with Irish D&B supremo Ricky Force.
First off, I heard that you had roots with Dublin’s Bassbin label…
Bassbin were responsible for my introduction to D&B. After a couple of years attending infamous nights such as Refuge at Switch and Refuge at The Metropolitan, I became a club resident. A few of the older Bassbin members were responsible for some good guidance towards the better moments of a bygone era… to which I was unaware of at the time.
On the label front I must also highlight the importance of Limerick born labels Subtle Audio, Bustle Beats: a very impressive catalogue and a constant flow of quality vinyl releases.
Bassbin was run from a shop, wasn’t it?
Originally Reverb records and eventually Selectah records. The demise of this store saw the demise of a generation. Great store though, it was a good buzz buying tunes and bumping into your mates.
Going even further back what age were you when you caught the bug?
1998/1999 at the tender age of 16 / 17. I’d heard D&B before, but now I was beginning to do a lot of ‘partying’ and happened to stumble across the D&B room at Homelands ’99. Then with the taste of bass, I went hunting for a club night. Refuge at Switch is where I ended up!
So you got into production… what examples of your work are you the most proud of?
If I was to choose, I was quite happy with the way ‘Flow VIP’ and ‘Perfect Organism’ with Mecca turned out.
But I’m never happy with my production to be honest, I’m always learning. I tend to get certain aspects right here and there but I mainly try to focus my attention on the vibe.
So what word generally sums up your love of D&B?
In one word: classic. I’m a sucker for the original elements of Hardcore and Jungle: Breaks, 808s, synths and samples.
How did you come to work on the Manix tune and was it fun to work on the stems, if that was the case?
Randall asked if I was up to remixing it for Stepback Sessions!
It was great fun working with the parts, however – I had to source all the parts myself!
Luckily one of my good friends – Droid – is a walking encyclopedia of UK Hardcore & Jungle. He was able to source the bits I couldn’t.
How do you see the state of D&B right now, talking about these older and ‘classic’ elements?
I see it as quite a healthy scene, globally, a lot better than it was! A lot more people are doing vinyl and selling it now. Including myself with my label Pressin’ Hard Records.
I do a hundred 12s for each release and they sell within days. I don’t think that would have been possible 5 years ago. However I can’t give you a proper opinion because I don’t really pay attention to a lot of it. I usually just keep to myself and work in my own little bubble.
You hear tales of doom & gloom especially re the economy, how has affected you guys?
It’s been tough alright but things are on the up as far as I can see! There’s a whole new generation coming through with the love for the classic sound. Either way the music will never disappear.
You mentioned Randall, how did you meet?
Randall was always my favorite DJ.. I learned a lot from his style. I booked him to play a strictly pre ’94 set at my club night in Dublin called Reach.
It was our first birthday celebration. What a night! I then booked him once more with Kenny Ken for an AWOL set at the same club night. Then recently enough I sent him my last release on my label ‘Falling’, right after that he offered the remix.
What have we got in store with this Stepback Sessions 5 ep? The likes of Dawn Raid, Furney, so many strong people…
I don’t think I can be spokesman but I can safely say I’m delighted to be a part of it. There’s some serious tunes in there. Stay tuned!
Summing up what’s five D&B choices you like, any era?
Here’s SIX in no particular order:
Source Direct ‘Secret Liason’
Peshay ‘The Nocturnal’
Intense ‘Space Time Continuum’
Paradox ‘Life Without Drums’
DJ Crystl ‘Let It Roll’
Tic Tac Toe ‘Ephemerol’
OK thanks Ricky, any shouts?
Gemma, Mecca, Brian, Naphta, Droid, Slug, Dara, Eamonn Doyle, Code, Jay, Randall, Trace, Vapour, Executive Steve, Bailey, Beau, Macc, Tim Reaper, GBW, Equinox, Tango, Beta 2, Fracture, J Rolla, Rupture crew, Jungle Syndicate crew, Ichi0ne, Quality Mark, Energy Collective, Welfare, Tamen, Egres, Manny, Sho, Greenleaf, Cordani, DJ Monk, Saoirse, Translation recs and all my US friends!
Stepback Sessions Part 5 is out March 30