For the benefit of the ignorant, what do you do for a living?
Well at the moment, apart from my music, I do still have a 9-5 job working for an I.T. Company as a technical advisor, but hopefully that’s just temporary. Myself and DJ Rapid (also from Ruud Awakening) are currently putting a lot of time and money into building up our studio setup, and the plan is to go full time in there in about 9 months time if all goes well.
And how did you get into drum and bass?
I’ve been involved in the music since way back in 92 when jungle was born. I started raving at events such as elevation and world dance, and just became hooked. The music just touched a nerve with me, like no other music ever had. I was stunned at the powerful emotions just a few beats and a fat bass line could create, and as the music developed along with technology it just got better and better. I was also really proud to know that this was our sound. The first dance music genre to be born in the UK, or more specifically London. It represented the vibes coming from our streets, and has evolved through the influence of our street culture.
What does your music mean to you?
My music is just a part of me that I'm able to express without being tied to the everyday boundaries that the establishment has created. It's my release when I get angry or stressed out and its my drug when I just want to have a good time etc etc. same as most people I guess.
What made you decide to DJ rather than any other part of the scene?
Hmmm. well I just loved the music, and wanted to get involved as much as I could. I’d messed around on a few of my mates decks, started buying tunes and would always have a go whenever given an opportunity to play, I took my records everywhere I went just in case there was decks there He he. Until I realised that I wanted to take this as far as I could, so I bought a set of decks, and set to work!
What makes a good DJ?
There are lots of factors that make a good DJ. Rhythm, All the skills, a good understanding of the music, blah blah blah, but the main thing is that you’ve got to be able to keep the crowd entertained it’s a s simple as that. That is what your there for, and that is why people pay money to come and hear you play. Any DJ can play the latest top 10 tunes straight off the shelf that are doing it at that moment in time, but people get bored easily, and so the important thing is you have to have a different sound. To get noticed in the first place you need to have your own original style. And not sound like 90% of the other DJ's trying to break through
What type of records do you enjoy hearing? What are your influences?
I’m really into the “moving shadow” stuff at the moment. Mans like “Dom &Roland”, “Rascal & Clone”, are putting out some really impressive beats right now, proper deep shit. But I also try to play a lot of exclusive stuff from unknown up n coming artists, as a lot of the new talent coming through are producing some really heavy tracks which are not getting as much exposure through the big boys. (Any up n coming producers out there would like there music exposed on my show, and have got what it takes get in touch!)
I like most styles of drum and bass as long as all the right elements are there, and play quite a diverse set as most people who’ve heard me will know. Keeps it bubbly.
Where do you think DnB in general is heading?
I think right now Drum and Bass is at an interesting point. A lot of the new stuff coming out these days is more vocally, or easier listening for the novice bass head, and so it’s becoming increasingly easier to market, and therefore more attractive to the commercial world. That’s why I believe “Shake your body” by Shy FX, and “Body Rock” by Andy C and Shimon wont be the only tracks to hit the UK commercial Charts this year, and this can only be healthy for the scene, as Drum and Bass will always have its true followers, who will benefit from the diversity created by this extra revenue. Good things to come I believe.
It's taken you a long time to end up being thought of as one of the top DJs in the scene, what do you think have been the major factors in getting you big and who are the people who have helped you the most?
Hehehe. I wouldn’t say I’m “one of the top DJs in the scene”, right now. I’m just doing my thing as and enjoying the ride. So far the response I have been getting from everyone has been wicked and I've received a lot of support from a lot of people, which I really appreciate. I think I’m where I am now because I’ve been lucky enough to be given a platform to show what I can do. I think I would need to Big up DJ’s Chillem & Syras for giving me a chance on Ruudawakening about 3 years ago, and still supporting me heavily today. Also working closely with Steppa has taught me a lot about how the industry runs and introduced me to a lot of important people in the scene, I definitely owe him big time! For that. MC’s Eskman and Herby of course goes without saying, Bo Bo Bo as we have been rinsing each and every Friday night for time now, and have been on some memorable trips abroad!! They have definitely helped raise my profile no doubt. Also DJ Fluid (a proper nice guy who is prepared to give new talent a chance) for bringing me into the ONENATION fold. (A little tip for budding artists is to be persistent, and if you’ve got what it takes it will happen. Trust).
Do you think the Up and Comings, represented by jungleravers.com will only break through once the veterans (5-0, Moose, Ragga Twins etc) step down?
No not at all. I think that a lot of the jungleravers crew are already making a name for themselves. They have there own followers, and are playing at some really impressive venues, which are often rammed. Mans like Kraft, Flight, Stealth and Funx are defiantly getting their names about, which is all good. As I was saying earlier, because the scene is getting so much more popular, the demand for more new talent is continually increasing, and the ravers are starting to realise that there is more to drum and bass than just going to hear the same old DJ’s, and MC’s week after week. You just need talent and a bit of determination. It’s all there for the taking. You have just got to prove that you deserve to be up there. I mean take MC Eksman for example. He has broken through, because he is baaad! It’s as simple as that. He has put the hours in and worked really hard to get noticed, and now the promoters know they need to book him because that’s what the people want.
You've played in all over the UK and are starting to break into international territory. Tell me about the different clubbing atmospheres in different countries?
Well from the countries that I have been lucky enough to visit, I found it’s a very similar vibe throughout. Because the music breaks all language barriers, people tend to react the same wherever you go. They all want to hear slamming basslines, crisp beats, and just bare rhythms. And they always make loads of noise! Although I find in places like Slovenia for example, they make different noises from somewhere like Estonia. Hehehe. Seriously though, in all the countries I’ve played in, the vibes are always the same, everyone just wants to have a good time. Also Tape packs and videos from events like ONENATON, and BEST OF BRITISH Etc plus the power of the Internet have helped teach the rest of the world what Raving to Drum and Bass is all about, so there usually pretty clued up and want to hear cutting edge beats which they’ve never heard before.
Where do you hope to take the Stylee sound?
I’d love to break into the U.S. because they are really starting to get the bug for the music now, and have a massive drum and bass culture developing over there, and I would also like to take my sound to as many other countries as I can and learn about there own cultures, but the most important thing for me is to focus on my beats, as I’ve been working really hard over the last couple of years to learn the skills required to engineer my own stuff and its only now that I’m starting to really flow with the equipment. Especially as I’m now working with DJ Rapid, who is giving me an extra perspective on the music I’m creating, and the results are quite exciting right now.
What has been the best night of your DJing career so far and why?
Hmmm difficult. but I suppose the one Night that sticks out the most for me is when I played at an event called Vodkafields which was held in the middle of the countryside near Leeds. It basically consisted of about 6 or seven massive Tents, and a load of funfair rides scattered around them. The Drum and Bass Tent had the fattest system, and as a result pulled in the most crowds by far. Myself & DJ Chillem with MC’s Eksman and Herbzy were really feeling the vibes, and so were the raving crew. who were all going completely nutty the whole way through the set. DJ Fluid who was next up, got held up in traffic so we ended up playing for about 3 hours, which really gave us a chance to go deeper. Other DJs that played that night (all smacking it up big time!) were Randal Ed Rush, Usual Suspects, Steppa, and Snappa. MC’s were Skibadee, Eksman, Herbzy, Mojo, and Verse. It was a sick night no doubt.
What is your favourite club to play in and why?
Its got to be the Warehouse in Leeds as its got a crisp system, and the DJ Box is right in the crowd. So you get really close to the ravers, which gives it that intimate feel.
What is your favourite club to go to and why?
The End. As it is for true Bass heads.
Who is your favourite DJ to hear, (yourself excepted) and why?
Probably have to say Andy C, as he is still leading the way as far as quality productions go, but I think mans like Peshay and also J Majik are really the ones to watch this year, as they are taking the music one stage further trust me!
How did u get involved with Steppa, and what was your best joint effort?
I met Steppa, when he was working for flex records a couple of years ago. I approached them for mail outs, and ended up getting to know him really well. We both have similar views on the scene as a whole, but have contrasting styles on the decks, which is why I think we work so well together. We always try and have a laugh when ever were out and about, and this rubs off on the music, which in turn rubs off on the peeps on the dance floor. The Best night we done together would probably be Event Horizon at the Warehouse Leeds late last year, as it was a sell out crowd that night, with hundreds of ravers being turned away.
But the ones that got in really made the most of the night, staying rammed right until the end at 6 in the morning. We did a 4 hour rinse between us with Steppa doin 2-4, and myself doin 4-6, with MC’s Eksman, Herbzy and Mojo. It was a really enjoyable night Forrila staying rammed to the end, and everything seemed to roll out nicely.
Finally, what are we going to see from Stylee in 2002?
First of all watch out for myself and Rapids latest track entitled “new way” out on Dubplate very shortly, plus a few more interesting bits in the pipeline ;) and Steppa and myself will hopefully get a chance to do a collaboration or two this year, if we can find the time to get it on as its difficult with him being in the north and me being down south. Also expect some big tings coming from Ruud Awakening 104.3fm London and www.ruudawakening.com worldwide. We have just started our own monthly night down at the dungeons Club (which is one of the original rave venues from way back). And so far the first three nights have been road blocked! Also catch me at a rave near you (see www.jungleravers.com or www.djstylee.co.uk), and each and every Friday Night 10-12 Ruud Awakening 104.3fm London and ruudawakening.com worldwide with Eks and Herbz, and special guests.