The set from Bristol’s Pev & Kowton is an eagerly anticipated one this weekend. The duo is perhaps best known for their Raw Code b/w Junked 12″ on the Hessle Audio label from 2013 – two forward-looking slices of audio, aimed squarely at the dance floor.
However, they are also responsible for a slew of fine releases via their own Livity Sound imprint, their main focus over the last few years, where abstract rhythms coalesce with deep bass frequencies for a sound that’s authentically British and excitingly fresh.
Simply described, in their own words: ‘Record Label. UK Techno. Sound System Frequencies. Body Music.’ Livity Sound is uncompromising but not inaccessible, with real substance to the music – hidden depths for mind, body and soul.
Resident Advisor did a good interview a few years ago, which reveals something of the duo’s working methodology in the studio. See here. This twelve minute live jam recorded for RA in late 2013, with third Livity Sound wheel, Asusu is also fun.
But they’re actually playing a DJ set this Friday. No doubt the tremendous new Jinx / Scanners 12″ release on the label, from Forest Drive West, will get an outing. Scanners is no less of a gem on this 12 but isn’t up on YouTube yet. Check out its subliminal vibes in full on Bandcamp.
Either way, we can’t wait to hear what they’ve got in store for us!
Against today’s climate of fake hype, meaningless social media ‘likes’ and equally over-rated ‘stars’, Munich’s Zenker Brothers are a massive breath of fresh air and a rare breed. They’ve no truck with the trappings of fame today. They’re more interested in making and releasing great art, music that will find and resonate with a genuine audience, and it’s an attitude that has seen them thrive through ten years at the helm of their acclaimed Ilian Tape label (and before: older brother Dario was already a seasoned player on the international techno scene when the brothers launched the label, in 2007).
The label often releases without any fanfare. Perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that they prefer it that way after so many years, emphasising quality over quantity and staying true to their roots as fans of the hip hop of Nineties New York (as much as the techno coming out of the US, UK and Europe at that time), due to the rawness and purity of its sound.
The Zenkers are massive collectors of analogue hardware (images courtesy of Slices / Electronic Beats).
This 2015 video interview with Electronic Beats / Slices magazine really nails the attitude at the core of the duo’s style (and their enduring success). ‘(There are) DJs on Facebook that have been at it for thirty years and have much better reputations than some hyped Facebook stars and they don’t even manage to get paid half the money that the stars do,’ rails Dario. ‘I think the whole Facebook thing is a little over-rated too. An artist isn’t just good because he has 50,000 likes on Facebook, that’s completely ridiculous.’
‘These days it isn’t even real any more,’ adds Marco, equally unimpressed. ‘There are numerous DJs that buy their likes and then profit from that,’ clarifies Dario. ‘Promoters that book acts on the basis of Facebook likes. Those are not parties that i’m interested in playing. It’s not about the music in those cases. It’s about making sure the club is packed and that’s not really very important to me.’ Quite.
Label aficionado Skee Mask lends his support, having been forced to cancel his date here last year, due to illness. With more abstract leanings, less focused on the dance floor, his music will act as the perfect counterpoint to the Zenker’s more ‘floor-conscious style. Both acts make this their Edinburgh debut but it’s also Skee Mask’s Scottish debut.
To say they’re a good fit for Substance at the Bongo would be understating things slightly. In short, we can’t wait!
Award-winning Brazilian drum ‘n’ bass champion DJ Marky returns to the Bongo for the first time in almost ten years (last seen at Xplicit, Moray House, 2008) when he headlines for Loco Kamanchi. Behind one of the biggest, feel-good d ‘n’ b anthems of the early Noughties, alongside XRS (LK, sampling Brazilian heroes Jorge Ben and Toquinho’s timeless number, Carolina Carol Bela and injecting it with some proper favela funk – see below), he’s guaranteed to bring all the warmth, sunshine and colour of his trademark South American sound to nice up our midweek dance.
With over 100k fans on Facebook, almost 50k followers on Twitter and almost as many again on Instagram, tours across Japan, Australia, Singapore, China, Korea, Europe, Russia and both the north and south American continents, these days the man known better to his mum as Marco Antônio Silva is a fully fledged global phenomenon. Over 100 releases deep, his Innerground label is one of the foremost d ‘n’ b labels in the world, while the likes of Madonna, Fatboy Slim, Claude von Stroke, Deadmau5 and Everything But The Girl have all lined up to bag some instant south American street-cred and a chunk of Marky’s funk via a remix of one of their own tunes.
Not bad for a guy who started out playing parties and clubs in Sao Paulo in the early Nineties, before a chance meeting with UK junglist legend Bryan Gee (boss of Bristol’s seminal V Recordings label), in ’98, led to him being introduced to the UK scene. Marky had actually already met DJs Goldie and Hype in London, in ’97, but Gee was so blown away by the young Brazilian’s DJing skills, not least his ability to seamlessly scratch his own funky drum patterns with the records and then mix equally fluidly between them, that he invited him to come back and play in London. Marky went on to be crowned Best New DJ by the British critics/media, in 1999.
Christ, the man’s even put on his own festival (‘DJ Marky and Friends’), having programmed his own tent at the massive Skol Beats festival in Sao Paulo for a decade. After over 20 years in the game with an incessant tour schedule, he’s still one of the friendliest international DJs you’re likely to meet. No wonder he’s also one of the most respected and still very much at the top.
This date happens just a few days after he plays the Supersonic festival in Puna, so there may even be some Indian vibes on the dance floor…! In any case, he’s guaranteed to get a warm welcome from everybody here.
Loco Kamanchi welcomes veteran UK MC/producer Congo Natty (aka Rebel MC) featuring Congo Dubz & Iron Dread on 25th.
Scoring a slew of crossover hits between 1989 and 1992 (Just Keep Rockin’ and Street Tuff with Double Trouble; plus Better World, The Wickedest Sound and Tribal Base), Natty and co mashed up dub, reggae, soul, hip hop, breakbeat and hardcore styles, ushering in jungle and bringing black and white together under one roof – a true pioneer and a proper legend.
There’s a great interview with him in The Guardian, where he talks about what it was like when jungle first broke and the power of music to bring people together, no matter what their colour, creed or culture, among other things….
“Black and white, they should be taken out of the dictionary, in regards to people… By the time jungle came in 94, you’ve got all nations together in London, as one. There’s no colour ting.. Music, for a moment, it cancels out all the shit, and” – he clicks his fingers – “we are one.”
Sentiments such as these resonate deeply with us at the Bongo, especially at fractious times such as these. But, quite aside from all that, jungle and drum n bass has had a massive impact on British pop music and culture and this man is a true original.
After a sell out Hogmanay party at the Bongo last year, Mumbo Jumbo is BACK for Mumbo Jumbo NYE 2016. Welcome in 2017 with resident DJs Trendy Wendy & Steve Austin for the very best Mumbo Jumbo classics on the main floor: expect disco, house, electro, mashups, remixes and more – the perfect ingredients for the best party soundtrack, all accompanied by Bongo Dave on live congas and percussion.
Mumbo Jumbo is the brainchild of Trendy Wendy, originally behind the much-loved Tackno nights, more recently behind the Playgirl Mansions parties and also the owner of The Street bar at the top of Broughton Street, and Steve Austin, who ran the hugely successful Headspin parties for over a decade at the Bongo. With some forty years of DJing experience between, you could say they know what they’re doing behind a set of decks.
Meanwhile, upstairs will feature the very best in deep funk, jazzy breaks, afro-latin and dub reggae from Four Corners DJs Simon Hodge and Johnny Cashback, similarly seasoned veterans of the Edinburgh scene. Simon ran the acclaimed Big Beat nights for a decade, originally at the much-missed Cafe Graffiti and then at Cabaret Voltaire, before launching Four Corners at the Bongo. Having celebrated its eleventh birthday at the start of the year, Four Corners is still going well and the two DJs are equally well-versed in heating up a dancefloor.
This is the one. Possibly the single most important, living electronic artist in our world – Gerald Donald aka Heinrich Mueller, founding father of Drexciya, Dopplereffekt, Der Zyklus and Elecktroids et al – makes his first ever Edinburgh appearance, with the essential Arpanet concept live show, fusing proto-internet vision and next level futurism. Truly unmissable.
Read RA’s news item here. And there’s a great Gerald Donald primer on FACT.
BEN UFO: Arpanet - Wireless Internet
SURGEON: Dopplereffekt - Infophysix TESSELA: Drexciya - Black Sea DJ STINGRAY: Dopplereffekt - Scientist JOHN HECKLE: LAM - Balance of Terror EP DJ ROLANDO: Drexciya - Dr. Blowfin's Experiment (Somewhere in Detroit) DJ PETE: Arpanet - Illuminated Displays BLEACHING AGENT: Japanese Telecom - Mounting Yoko MGUN: Drexciya – Birth of a New Life VELOCITY FUNK: Arpanet – Infinite Destiny GAVIN RICHARDSON: Abstract Thought – Hypothetical Situations (Bermuda Triangle & Galactic Rotation!) DOMMM: Japanese Telecom – Making of Ultraman ADAM RICHARDSON: Der Zyklus - Formenverwandler
NB The Soundcloud post below is from 2012.
Donald also released a new album this year under his (collaborative) Der Zyklus alias:
Big n Bashy welcomes special guest P Jam for his Scottish debut this Saturday. P Jam is a founding pioneer of grime and was a part of Dice Recordings, working alongside Skepta & Big Narstie. He has also produced tunes for the likes of D Double E, Kano, Frisco, Flirta D & Shystie. P Jam has been active in the grime scene again recently, releasing music on labels such as Butterz, Night Slugs, Terror Danjah’s Hardrive Recordings and his own Beatcamp label.
Also, here’s an older interview with P Jam, courtesy of Dummy Mag (published 04/04/13):
With an exciting schedule ahead of him, the grime producer talks reaping the benefits of now.
In a scene that’s healthily supported by both longstanding veterans and bright newcomers, P Jam occupies an interesting place somewhere in the middle. A producer since the very start of grime with well known tracks like Spun A Web and Anger Management with D Double E under his name, he disappeared for four years to return with the EP re-release of the Anger Management instrumental on Terror Danjah’s Hardrive Records and Arizona Skyz – a real set-stopper that still sounds as impressive now as it did in 2011. His taste for the tough drum lines and hollow bass of early grime and his open ear for melodies have meant that rather than having to conspicuously revise or rebrand his style, P Jam has simply been able to continue where he left off; benefiting from the genre’s improved infrastructure – he works closely with Hardrive,Butterz and has also set up his own label Beatcamp – and added interest from long-time admirers on its outskirts – his next release is a double A-side vinyl on Night Slugs’ White Label series. Dummy caught up with P Jam quickly over email to talk about beginnings, new beginnings and the near future.
Could you start by simply telling me how you first started in music?
P Jam: I first started by purchasing vinyl from as young as nine years old with my dad. My dad and my godfather were the ones that introduced me to UK dance music. They used to meet up where I lived, usually on a Saturday, and play Jungle records and recorded Kool FM sets along with tapes of soundsystems.
Your tracks sound like they’re made by someone with diverse tastes, how would you personally describe your sound?
P Jam: I really do find it hard to define what my sound is. It’s probably due to the fact I do love a wide range of music and will try and bring them elements into what I produce but at different times. A lot of my work is probably just a reincarnation of what I loved and listened to so much before I could produce music.
What kind of music do you listen to the most?
P Jam: There’s loads of dance music out there today to listen to at the moment but it does vary from either listening to Rinse, browsing Soundcloud or YouTube or just digging through my library of what I think are classics.
Arizona Skyz immediately caught my ear when I first heard it, did you purposefully go out to make something that ambient and, like, spacey?
P Jam: Yes, I always wanted to make a song that took you on a journey because it was so common in Drum & Bass back in the day but it rarely happens in grime. When I finished the V.I.P I didn’t think people would really take to it because it was quite different to what was getting played in the grime scene but soon as I played it Terror Danjah he took to it straight away.
You weren’t producing for good few years before 2011, was it difficult to get back into producing after such a long break?
P Jam: I think it kind of worked in my favour. The actual time I got back into production was at a time where the club scene was on the rise again so people were open to hear new and different sounds allowing me to basically experiment and not follow anything that might have been imprinted.
Are there any specific differences between the grime scene the first time round and the scene now?
P Jam: Yeah the likes of Butterz and Hardrive building platforms for producers to get heard. That wasn’t happening back then, the focus was more on the MCs than anything else.
Could you tell me a little about how the running of your new label Beatcamp has been going?
P Jam: It’s been an educational and enjoyable at the same time. We’re a year in now and was really focusing on how businesses work in the industry along with finding the right people to work with in the scene. We’ve managed to find all the things needed to help run the stable as best as possible so now the focus is on putting music out.
Are there any particular vocalists you’d like to hear on one of your tracks?
P Jam: I really want to work with Ruby Lee Ryder, there’s not many that have a voice like her.
How did the link for the upcoming Night Slugs White Label release come about?
P Jam: Bok Bok got in contact with me after he heard one of my old tracks he’d been after on my ‘History of P Jam Mix’. I sent him a batch of tunes, Night Writerbeing one of them. Bok Bok picked out that track in particular and asked if he could use the track to release on the NSWL series. I didn’t make it originally for a release I was just gonna have it as a tune to play out so was shocked he picked that tune out.
Finally, is there anything else we can expect from you or Beatcamp soon?
P Jam: BCR002, 003 and 004 will be available this year. The first two will be by myself. The third will be a debut single for Chaos and Order (me and R35) who also have a track forthcoming on the ‘Grime 2.0’ compilation on Big Dada. I’ve got a couple releases I’m working on with other labels as we speak also but that’s all I can reveal at the moment.
The legendary Bongo Club in Edinburgh marks its 20th birthday with a month of celebrations. The party starts on Friday night with a set from one of the world’s best DJs, Ben UFO. Gayle Ritchie finds out more…
Twenty years is a huge milestone for any club to reach these days.
So get on your dancing shoes because the Edinburgh institution that is the Bongo Club is alive and kicking and marking two decades of its commitment to diverse, alternative acts, music and DJs with a month of celebrations.
Despite being forced to move location twice, the club is now firmly rooted on the city’s Cowgate and is as popular as ever.
For those into underground techno parties, Substance – billed as one of Edinburgh’s most important outposts for house, techno and bass music – is hosting a night to remember this Friday (September 30), with Ben Thomson, aka Ben UFO, on the decks.
As co-founder of Hessle Audio, Ben confounds expectations with his seamless dancefloor heavy sets that encompass everything from hard techno to Afrobeat, house and electro.
Over the past five years, Ben has built a reputation as one of contemporary dance music’s most daring and wide-ranging selectors, with his keen ear and razor-sharp abilities enabling him to cut between eras, lineages and mixing styles with dazzling ease and fluidity.
Having cut his teeth in early dubstep and drum and bass, his roots lie in UK rave culture – yet his selections cast the net wider, drawing new mutations of this culture into the orbit of house, techno and other global dancefloor sounds.
In clubs, his sets manage to be simultaneously considered and raucous, sliding from sidewinding broken rhythms into an irresistible four-to-the-floor groove, or broadsiding you with unexpected tangents, old favourites and bizarre secret weapons.
Ben has come far since broadcasting internet radio from two turntables on his mate’s bedroom floor. As well as holding down a residency at London’s club fairyland, Fabric, he stays busy touring Europe’s festival circuit, while continuing his now-eminent radio show with Hessle Audio on Rinse FM.
Substance’s Adam Richardson is more than just a bit excited about the night.
“Ben is obviously much in demand and we’re delighted to have got him on board to play what is a relatively intimate venue,” he said.
“His eclecticism is fitting for the occasion, the Bongo being a broad church both musically and in the diversity of its crowd. Add to that the biggest and highest spec sound system we have ever worked with, brought in especially for the evening, and you have a pretty unmissable party.”
With support from residents Gavin Richardson and Velocity Funk, Friday night is the first of a big run of four parties for Substance up to the end of the year, which includes their 10th birthday on October 28.
Substance has been serving up some of the most thunderous innovators to the capital for ten years so you’re guaranteed a good night out.
The rest of the Bongo Club anniversary month sees everything from grime and UK bass, theatre, funk, spoken word, jazz, hip hop, reggae and rock. Check out www.thebongoclub.co.uk
Tickets for Substance: Ben UFO are available here and here.
The countdown has begun for our Autumn re-opening party! As usual, Edinburgh’s original Roots and Dub lion, Messenger Sound System (est. ‘87) will be here doing this, in a rub-a-dub style, on Saturday 3rd September.
Messenger is proud to present legendary Roots artist Sister Rasheda, Queen of Dub (from the Jah Shaka, Rockers International & Disciples labels), singing anthems like Hear My Cry, Hail H.I.M , Shahamane I for a night of Roots and Culture – Lioness Style!!! All Roots Daughters gather round. Blessings.