Darkened rooms, throbbing bass, flashing lights and smoke….
It took me some years to get into the rave/club scene. When it started I found it quite intimidating.
People at school used to go to illegal raves (this was in the early to mid 90’s) and do pills but I never went. Instead I spent my time playing basketball and Streetfighter 2 on the SNES.
Also I just didn’t get this music which just seemed to go thump, thump, thump.
It wasn’t until I went to university in 1998 and first tried ecstasy that I really ‘got’ it.
A friend bought some pills and we all had a half each. We felt so good we decided to drive from our student halls in High Wycombe to Oxford in my friend’s car – a red escort with lowered suspension, a banging sound system and a weedy 1.1 engine. Matty put in a jungle tape and ‘Ricky’ by Remarc and Lewi Cifer came on. The sound was dark but so atmospheric, I felt like a different person listening to it, or rather that I had entered a different world. I can’t quite describe the feeling but some of you will know what I am talking about.
From then on I was hooked. This was in the very late 90s and me and my friends would travel down to London go to drum and bass nights at clubs like Fabric, The End and Mass.
We would all go and just get totally lost in the music, letting the beats dance our bodies into the early hours. I think I was one of those people who always had a big grin on my face because quite often people would look at me and smile or say hello and share a hug.
Unfortunately I found lot of the drum and bass at the time to be a bit samey. To be honest often I couldn’t even distinguish between the tracks except for obvious anthems like ‘Messiah’ by Konflict (Still gives me goosebumps!)
So one night we went to Fabric. It was fairly early on in the night and we went into Room 2 and this music was playing that just blew me away. I’d never heard music like that before, in my mind I described it as ‘jungle-y hip-hop.’ I loved it! it had massive breakdowns and build ups when combined with the :cough: ‘atmosphere’ made for an amazing experience. Things then got even better. Out of the noise these words started repeating ‘hip hop hip hop phenomenon hip-hop….’ and when the tune finally dropped I knew that this was it. This was what I had been looking for. Something truly revolutionary, vibrant and fresh. Food for the ears and the feet.
The problem was when I got home I have no idea how to find this music again. I didn’t even know what it was called and had only vague blissful memories of what it was like, my memories were pretty vague and there was no Internet to speak of in those days. Two friends came to the rescue. One, Matty, with a recorded show of Adam Freeland on kiss FM debut in the track he had written himself with BT and Kevin Beber. Hip-hop phenomenon. One of the great things about this if that Adam was debuting the track on the radio and you could hear how excited he was about it, advising ‘Turn up the bass bins for this one.’ Soon after my mate Paul came around with ‘Elastic Breaks’ – a free mix by the plump DJs on the cover of ‘Mixmag.’ I still love this mix, which exemplifies the breadth and potential of the breakbeat sound.
I had already started mixing drum and bass and but now my focus switched to this new sound.
Soon after my friends in Bristol started producing their own tunes and I dipped my toes into the water by buying a Roland MC 303 groove box. Again I was hooked and soon moved on to a computer set up. I was so excited to get that computer but then I couldn’t figure out how to use it until my friend Henry came and helped me! From there I’ve never really stopped making music. It’s so magical to me how you can start playing with some sounds and beats and something new can just arise from nowhere. It’s like you can create your own worlds just by using sound.
So now I just want to share all these ‘sound-worlds’ I’ve made and really connect with people through them. I firmly believe that that’s what music is about – connecting with people. It’s not about being ‘cool’, it’s not about looking good, it’s about sharing a feeling and realising that we are all the same deep down.
It doesn’t matter what your background is, what your job is, your salary, your gender or your sexuality. It’s about feeling the music and seeing past the other people differences to recognise the similarities, breaking down the barriers between us.
So let’s connect!
I’d love to hear your stories of classic nights out, festivals or musical epiphanies.