What was your first experience with Jungle / DNB?
Doughboy: The first time I heard Dnb was 96, Club Sol, Hazeus! What more could be said! I had been spinning for about 5 years and it hit me like a Mack truck that I wanted to hit others with!
Roger: First experience was a rabbit in the moon party in NC and in the basement was the "jungle" room. The music was so foreign to me. people were moving anyway they wanted. I would leave and keep coming back to investigate. Then my old roommate from college showed up with jungle sky cds and I was in love.
Jeremy: Roger and I started hanging out in 1994 and started going to clubs like 688 very shortly after. Can't recall the exact first experience with DNB but it was that year. I recall quite a few DJ Odi tapes, some epic Hazeus sets, and some road trips to hear Dieselboy and Phantom45. Once we realized that we could buy the same records that we heard in these sets and mix them our own way... it was on.
Edo: Around 92’ I started listening to early rave music, happy hardcore or hardcore if you will and anything with rave stabs and a bassline. Shortly after electro, breaks, and west coast house made their way into my musical rotation. I’m pretty sure it was 95’ when my mates from Chattanooga talked me into going to rave in Ohio which just happened to be the first Family Affair. I was on my way over to join everyone to hear Doc Martin and just about when everything started to kick in, I was overcome by these insanely fast breakbeats. I remember looking at my friend and say what is that sound? What is that!?! It was Gang Related & Mask – Bass is Rollin’ and when those amens hit it was all over.
D:RC: When I started learning how to DJ in 1989 the specific term 'Jungle' wasn't being used yet, but around 1990/1991 I remember there were house records I started collecting that incorporated faster breakbeats within the 4/4 framework. They called it hardcore. Records like SL2 - On A Ragga Tip and Awesome 3 - Don't Go. Those were the bigger records that turned me on to the more underground hardcore sound like The Scientist (aka DJ Hype) - The Exorcist and Nasty Habits (aka Doc Scott) - Here Come The Drums. Eventually hardcore basically split in half into a 4/4 and a breakbeat scene and the ragga influence kind of took hold with records like Ed Rush - Bludclot Artattack on No U Turn. After that I think the term "jungle" started getting used around 1994 and the chopped amens became a trademark of the sound. By the time Shy FX - Original Nuttah came around in 1995 it was full-fledged jungle.
Dawn: Honestly , its a bit organic. I started getting into Techno through Industrial. I have always been musically inclined from an early age. I Play guitar and was in a few bands.Never more than that. at that time i was into punk and really all sorts of stuff. Was into Ministry , Skinny puppy ,Kmfdm ... You know. Heard James brown is dead and kind of just followed that. It was like 1993 when i heard Sons of a loop da loop era on Suburban Base recordings. It was over after that. I was hooked. Got turned on to guys like D.Cruze , Hype, A sides , 4 Hero. Started actively looking and wanting this sound.
Tell us about the early rave / jungle scene in ATL or ATH. Who were the promoters you played for and where were the events? What were the crowds like?
D:RC: When I moved to Athens to attend UGA in 1993 I had the hardest time meeting people who were into dance music besides 'Late Night Disco' at the 40 Watt. After about a year I met DJ 43 at a club called O'Malley's where I applied at for a DJ job. Then I met some ravers in my graphic design program who introduced me to Liquid Groove and the early Atlanta scene. the first local Athens event I went to was 'Beat Bar' at O'Malley's thrown by Sabrina Sexton and Jason Weil. By 1995 I was completely obsessed with jungle, driving to ATL to buy records, but it wasn't something I heard played out regularly at local parties except for Bobble's events at Boneshakers. He gave me my first gig to play all jungle in front of a crowd.
That same year I banded together with DJ 43, Neil McDonald and my roommates Paul & Ray and started Phungus and started throwing our own small events. By 1996 those events picked up steam when Clay Ivey and Christy Dickert joined the team, and we started throwing full on raves in Atlanta. I also formed an all jungle crew called Playtheavy with Duda and GK Enjul and later Weatherman, Organik & Assembly and crew manager Brian Blessinger. 1998 - 2002 ended up being the "golden years" for D&B in Athens. We ended up bringing some of the biggest names at the time with the help of Christy @ Encore Agency: A-Sides & Embee, Stakka & Skynet, Total Science, DJ Lee, Marcus Intalex (We had a young Mayhem open for that one), Vegas of Bad Company, Roni Size & Reprazent, Dieselboy, Hive, Sage, Stu of C4C, Sinthetix. As far as venues I would say Boneshakers and Mean Mike's were the main spots hosting several well-attended weeklies, but also AMF, Tasty World and The 40 Watt for one-offs. We also had an amazing afterhours scene - S/O Gabe and Foundry St and Organik's 'Clubhouse'!
Roger: The scene was really small. 20hz cartel. Bobble.Hazeus. Little Jen. It was always in the back rooms and on any kind of system someone could throw together. We played on whatever we could. we had so much fun being loud. That's why we got into djing, to hear our records loud!
We played in Birmingham a lot and playhouse kids was our first gig. In a warehouse in the basement. In atl it was pleasure, liquid groove, starchildren, permagrin, iris/esp 101 at the pyramid and then the church. Lots of little one offs. If I left out anyone from the early days please forgive me! We played at after hours a lot. This place called the ruins we basically lived at and that's where I really got my chops and comfortable on a big sound system. As a dj i think if you can play on a hodge podge system then you can play on a true sound system.
Jeremy: Man, the early jungle scene in Atlanta was pretty underground. We were usually in the second room or only got real early or real late time slots. We got our start at The Ruins, used to be able to go up there and just practice on a loud system. The first time I spun out was for Sonic Soldiers at a party at an old meat packing warehouse here in Atlanta. Richie had me at a prime spot in the second room and I remember it being such a good jump-up set that as soon as I was done he dragged me into the main room to keep spinning. Amazing night! Starchildren used to have us out for good parties, Vinyl Boy, Liquid Groove, Pleazure, Permagrin - I'm probably missing a few but when these guys started to bring in the big UK players that is when DNB took off in Atlanta. Local DNB events at The Church and Club Sol were always packed out with junglists. We were residents for Jennifer at Pleazure for a while and got to play some BIG rooms for thousands of people, opened up for some of the biggest names in DNB. It was a great time.
Doughboy: Dark and dirty, always in the back room of the large events, but always with this "real" understanding that it was all about the music and the vibe. I would pretty much throw down dnb anywhere, anytime and for anyone, even throwing all night parking lot events with my brother, the late DJ Quirk. Always had a love for the basement @ The Church playing for Iris. As far as the crowd goes.......always considered them family.
Dawn: Well, that's a loaded question. there was little Jungle back in 93' . I managed to find a guy by the name of Hazeus. Saw him play and actually saw the birth of the Atlanta Jungle Scene. The Riddim Ryderz. I started playing afterparties and house parties. Really got my start at a place called the Ruins. After that , I am honored to have played at a lot of pinnacle venues for our scene. Pyramid , The vault , Fusion , The church , Studio Central, Nomenclature , The mark ,Masquerade hundreds of times For and as resident with Permigrin , !80 Degrees , Iris , Household ,Bass wars , Koncrete Jungle and 45 Entertainment. Then on to helping move the jungle club nights with The Globe and starting up Club Twinns With Negaverse which later hosted Versus.
The Jungle scene has always been close knit. True Heads.
Edo: After having a revelation in Ohio I dedicated my soul to this music but I quickly realized that here in the land of house & breaks there wasn’t a whole lot of people that shared my faith in this new religion. It was a constant battle and we fought hard to establish a foothold in scene. Sure there was a night that was ran by Hazeus but we didn’t get the big jungle acts like they did up North and out West. So I started my own production company. Shady. We threw a few parties. Had a lot of fun. A few years later the local promoters caught on and the rest is history.
How have you stayed connected to this music for 20+ years?
Dawn: I have just stuck to my roots. The essence is still there. Rough and Rugged .
There are so many more aspects and personalities now. You can always find a sound of Drum and Bass you can relate too.
Edo: Cutting my teeth on jungle, it didn’t take much to embrace the original jump-up sound, then techstep, and atmospheric drum & bass but once I really became comfortable with my abilities and where I was as a dj, I branched out and started playing electro & breaks, sort of returned to my roots. This allowed me to expand even further and I played 2 Step Garage which progressed into house & downtempo then techno made its way into my heart. All the while I stayed with my true love and followed the music into liquid funk, neurofunk, & techstep. So my love for electronic music has pushed me along all this time.
Jeremy: I have been in and out. That sums it up I think. I moved away from Atlanta for a while and had nothing to do with electronic music for a few years and then moved back all while falling in love with Dubstep. I ran Atlanta Dubstep for a while with some friends here in town and then ended up moving away again. I have a lot of friends that came up in the local scene at the same time that are still heavy in the industry and it has kept me involved on the sidelines following their success.
Roger: DnB and the scene to me was more than just music. it was a lifestyle. we lived and breathed it for so many years(still do). i feel connected to it. it's a part of me and who i am.
Doughboy: I keep loving it and keep playing it. Even when I'm not getting near the same amount of bookings playing DNB as opposed to Trap/Dubstep/House, I still research and procure tunes as well as support local and rising artist on various platforms. Basically, I maintain a constant inflow of music from a large range of genres and sub genres.
D:RC: I would say drum & bass is my "default", as it's the kind of music I've been closest involved with over the years. The basic framework of it lends itself to so many moods and styles, I've been able to come back to it time and time again. As a DJ there's been times I've focused less on D&B in favor of other styles, but even then, I think it's more of a reflection of evolving crowd demands. Privately, I've always listened to D&B. Obviously the internet has made it easier to keep up with emerging trends and sounds, and discovering fresh new talent keeps me interested.
What is your take on Jungle / DNB these days?
Jeremy: It has def evolved but it is still DNB! I can get into all of it. Will always be pre 2000 at heart but I still listen to everything. Favorites these days are all Atlanta based.
Roger: My take is that its changing like its always done. all music goes through changes. it's a living thing and as new people begin to make it all new styles emerge. i listen to as much dnb as i can find. i wish there were more events but i am so glad that promoters still have dnb at either stand alone events or in a side room. especially recurring nights (torch).
D:RC: I think that technology has finally caught up to the genre, but also democratized the process of production. More people than ever are getting involved - it's a truly worldwide phenomenon. I don't think it's a coincidence that some of the best producers working in EDM today have a background in D&B. Mastering D&B production or even dj-ing is a pretty high bar to clear but it's helped immensely in pushing up the general level of quality. I think lots of modern dance music owes a debt to D&B in that sense, but I also like how D&B has retained its rigorous standards and character, almost to a fault. Sometimes I am a little worried that the insular world of D&B is a little hard to navigate by a casual listener and we're not gaining as many fans as other genres. Maybe we just have to accept that's the price to pay for having standards of excellence LOL.
Edo: I love the direction that drum and bass is headed. The beats just keep on coming and the talent just keeps getting better.
Dawn: At times a bit over produced. But Im happy to see it finally getting a larger reach and appreciation. From Dark dungeons to main stages. Truly Massive. The U.S. Scene and producers are making hella noise these days.
Doughboy: It's ridiculous. The production quality is stellar. Each sub genre has its standouts yet there are always new names putting out quality tunes in the sub genres which I primarily focus on. And truthfully it's great to see more DNB acts getting proper recognition at bigger shows and festivals.
Can you give us a tip from your dj'ing experience over the past 20 years?
Edo: Slow it down every once in a while, the music takes on a whole different attitude when you go 160bpm.
Dawn: A cliche . Keep it real. That simple.
Doughboy: Stay organized and be redundant in your organization, if possible. I have had to reorganize my music collection numerous times throughout my career due to neglect and procrastination. STAY ON TOP OF YOUR STASH! Knowing your music inside and out and knowing where to find anything at a moments notice gives you the ability to make your set anything you want/need it to be for whomever the audience may be, even if it's just you
D:RC: I'm from an era where the DJ as a personality is secondary to what they can offer. Tuning into your dancefloor and giving them the best experience of their life in that moment is some of the most rewarding experiences you can have. Some of my favorite DJ-ing experiences ever have been in dark cramped basements with 40 people losing their minds to music they've never heard before, and no one knew or cared who I was. Properly mastering your craft is way more important than getting your Facebook numbers up or curating your Snapchat stories - at least in the beginning.
Roger: i still have as much fun djing in my basement by myself-being loud and dancing- as i ever did playing out at gigs.
my tip is love what you do, so you can do what you love
Jeremy: Never plan a set.
I would like to thank Don, Damien, Roger, Jeremy, Eddie & Darcy for taking the time to this interview. The whole crew is playing @ a special edition of Torch DNB: 100 Years of Jungle on 7/8/16
DOUGHBOY (aka DADDYDOUGH)
DAWN (aka DON DARKO)