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A Tribute To DJ Dominator

A Tribute To DJ Dominator
9 Jun, 2017

Rest In Peace The Beast From The East

The drum & bass flag is at half-mast once more as one of the genre’s most respected, loved and energetic leading lights has passed away.

DJ Dominator, Neil Aldred, died of cancer on Thursday June 8. The news follows the announcement of his diagnosis just five days before as his friends and peers shared a crowdfunding page set up by his sister to raise money for alternative treatments and support for his young family.

Famed for his deliciously dramatic orchestral drops, infectious bassline hooks, wry samples, thundering grooves and ability to work with pretty much everyone in the game, Dominator – known fondly to those who knew him personally as Dom – has been a driving force in drum & bass since he emerged in the early 2010s. His music, famously brought to the fore by Grooverider in 2011, has been supported across the board and has been key in the development’s current refreshed and re-energised state.

Neil’s unique influence, presence and respect from everyone in the scene is evident in every direction but it’s felt the strongest in the sheer amount of connections, collaborations and projects he had. He was a prominent member of so many camps and crews: As a producer he was an influential presence on key jump-up labels such Low Down Deep, Biological Beats, Sweet Tooth and Multi Function. A serial collaborator, he was the producer fellow artists such as Turno, Logan D, Heist and Upgrade loved working with because of his talent, his energy, his raw enthusiasm for the music and humour.

He was also the producer MCs love to work with; last year saw him build beats for some of the biggest MC tracks of the year – Fire Workz with Harry Shotta and Eksman and DNB Artform with Harry Shotta, Skibadee, Eksman, Dreps, Grima & Azza – while his numerous collaborations with with Fatman D, one of his earliest and biggest supporters, is a legacy unto itself and has given the dance countless rewinds and riots.

Naturally this in-demand nature and versatility was reflected in his role as a DJ he rolled just as deep as a foremost member of the TNA squad alongside Nu Elementz, and T>I and MCs Azza, Grima, Manek and Rizla, his force was felt as all the major parties from Invaderz to Westfest, One Nation to One Dance and there’s barely been a key scene figure’s birthday bash in the last few years without his name at the top of flyer.

He was also developing his own distinctive brand and crew in the form of D-Stortion. Echoing his work with TNA (The New Age) – D-Stortion was all about creating a platform for his closest kindred spirits and new talent next generation of talent he was at the forefront of.

In the space of just three D-Stortion releases he’d already supported the rising skills of Invictus, K-Motionz, Complex and Subsonic as well as featuring long-time friends such as Turno, Heist and Upgrade. In fact D-Stortion represented everything Dom was about – the sound, the collaborations and the roots. As he explained in his last interview to this site, the brand is inspired by his very first moves in the scene; his own Distortion events in Lowestoft. A clear statement of intent for the way he operating right until this week: unabashed love for the music and a drive to make sure as many people came together through it and felt it as much as he did. A true force of nature… Dominator couldn’t have been a more fitting artist name.

Gone way too soon, the hole he’s left in the scene can never be filled. His music will naturally be felt forever but, just as importantly, his actions and his influence will be, too. In a recent interview I held with Turno that’s yet to be published he described Dominator perfectly…

“Dominator is my brother man! He’s making some of the best tunes out there. We’ve worked together for six years and if you’re not already paying attention to him yet you should be. He’s a key figure in this new wave and has always embraced those classic jump-up elements that made the style what it was in the early 2000s. The scene wouldn’t be the same without him.”

Our thoughts are with Neil’s young family and the many friends he touched and changed the lives of. Hearts are heavy once more; do yourself a favour and pay respect to the man, dig out every Dominator tune you own and play them loudly and proudly. Spend a day immersed in his uncompromised, unique and full-throttle bass world of his mixes Soundcloud and celebrate his game-changing contributions to drum & bass.

This genre was his life and his creations energised it at every single level: from the sets of Andy C and Marky to the murkiest underground rave, even the fitness phenomenon that is Drum & Box. No corner of our world hasn’t been affected by this horribly sad news. Rest In Peace DJ Dominator.

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.
  • Subzero

    Rip

  • Lee Adamson

    Will be sadly missed.. my favourite artist since starting on the 1s and 2s.. peace out

  • Phil Coates

    a nice bloke, I knew Neil and this is just sad, too young.

  • Toby Howieson

    Love that from Turno: ” a key figure in this new wave and has always embraced those classic jump-up elements that made the style what it was in the early 2000s. The scene wouldn’t be the same without him.” So True. Dominator has been my favourite jump up D&B producer since 2013. His track “Gangster” blew my mind. His co-labs with Logan D on Lowdown Deep have all been sick (Monster Sharks, Giant Killer Bees, Rumble, Jump etc etc), his tunes had a big part to play in LDD’s best label nomination last year for sure. So sad.