Tag Archives: grime

Grammy award-winner Flowdan headlines Bongo for Uplands Roast

20 May 2024 -

Flowdan headlines Bongo for Uplands Roast this Thursday night, the first time a Grammy award-winner will have played the club in more than a few years and it’s set to be a road-block.

If you’re not familiar with the former grime MC and founder-member of east London’s legendary Roll Deep crew, this recent interview he did with Ammar Kalia for The Guardian is not a bad place to start at all…

He helped create grime and his baritone growl causes frenzies on the dancefloor. Now that the MC is finally getting his dues, what are his plans? To conquer America – and create more mayhem.

It has been two days since Marc Veira, AKA Flowdan, woke up to a flurry of messages and missed calls congratulating him on becoming the first British MC to win a Grammy. “I wasn’t expecting to win so I wasn’t waiting for the news,” he says by video-call from his east London home. “I still haven’t even celebrated. I guess it means I’m a newcomer in the US, even though I’ve been doing this for 20 years.”

At 43, Veira has spent the past two decades applying his baritone growl to tracks guaranteed to cause a frenzy on British dancefloors. As a founding member of the UK rap collective Roll Deep, Veira played a key role in the birth of grime, alongside fellow members Wiley and Dizzee Rascal, while a long-running collaboration with producer the Bug created classics like the bass-heavy dubstep staple Skeng. Towering over 6ft, his beard peppered with grey hairs and his gold tooth glinting when he delivers his patois-inflected bars, Veira is an experienced marshal of unruly crowds, finally experiencing mainstream recognition.

His best dance/electronic recording Grammy award, for the track Rumble, caps a momentous year. It takes EDM pioneer Skrillex’s knack for gut-churning bass frequencies and UK co-producer Fred Again’s skill with a sample, and adds a skittering drum beat that interweaves with Veira’s high-tempo yet somehow languorous flow. Teased in DJ sets throughout 2022, the menacing track soon became a staple of arena shows, reaching its greatest power when dropped to a crowd of more than 100,000 people at Skrillex and Fred Again’s Coachella headline set in 2023.

Ever since, Veira has noticed a different energy among the crowds he performs to. “In the UK and Europe,” he says, “people know who I am but now they are responding to me with more intensity. It feels as if I’m getting more respect, like I’m the people’s champ.”

It is a response, no doubt, helped by another dancefloor smash Flowdan has had a guiding hand in over the past 12 months: Chase & Status’s Baddadan. Moving away from the crawling dubstep influences of Rumble into thundering drum’n’bass, Baddadan has become an emblem of the genre’s recent revival and reached No 5 in the UK charts. A Boiler Room recording of Veira performing the track in October captures the crowd erupting through four wheel-ups. It has since been viewed more than 6m times. “It was instinctive to put that one down,” Veira says. “Saul [one half of Chase & Status] sent it through and I just followed, since it’s music I’ve known my whole life.”

Indeed, Veira’s entry into MCing came through the 90s birth of drum’n’bass. After discovering a knack for rhyming and storytelling at 13, thanks to a homework assignment to write a poem, Veira began picking up on the style of formative drum’n’bass MCs such as Skibadee and MC Det. He realised that they were giving the sound system culture of his heritage a new form of bass-weight. “Listening to them on the radio awoke something in me,” he says. “They were English and Caribbean like me, so I began to emulate their lyrics. I was too young to go to the raves but I kept hearing how sick they were. It was a world I wanted to be a part of.”

It wasn’t until he met Wiley at college as a 16-year-old that Veira started finding his own voice. By 2001, the pair had formed Roll Deep and planted the seeds of grime. Now he was old enough to go to raves, Veira was the one on stage performing and creating the chaos. “There would be times,” he says with a smile, “when you’d get to a performance and the promoter would say, ‘Try not to get them too rowdy’ – which is not down to us. I remember some clubs had a ban on Pow! (Forward) [a 2004 grime release that Veira features on] because of how mad people would get when the song came on.”

While members of Roll Deep went on to achieve solo success, Veira kept seeking out unusual collaborations that were focused on keeping that sense of dancefloor madness alive. Producer Kevin Martin, AKA the Bug, was drawn to Veira’s vocal tone and their work has produced some of the loudest, most aggressively vibrational music you can hear at a club. “Sound system culture isn’t something I got to experience because of my age,” Veira says, “but when I started working with Kevin, he showed me what it’s like to create a sound so big it moves people. When you are the front guy, it’s a powerful machine to control. I’m proud to command the bass, vibrations and people.”

Their most lauded track is 2008’s Skeng, which emerged from only their third recording session together. “I was just about to leave the studio when Kevin convinced me to stay and work on the track,” Veira says. “I didn’t really want to be there, so I was being a spoiled brat and only using a minimal style, trying to get away with one word a line.” Ironically, that laid-back feel is what gives Skeng its raw, menacing power. “Kevin basically gave me an opportunity to be myself,” he says. “His audience might be from a different world to what I was used to, but we were all trying to channel the same energy.”

Ultimately, it’s this flair for crowd mayhem that has given Veira longevity in a young person’s game. He no longer sees himself as a grime artist, a rapper or a drum’n’bass MC. “I am the ultimate UK vocalist,” he says, with only a hint of mischievousness. Now the US is calling, with tour plans in motion, Veira will be taking his distinctly British brand of vocals global. “The UK scene has always been exciting, whether we’re winning awards or not,” he says. “I’ll keep doing what I’ve always done – and I’m celebrating every time I’m on stage.”

You can still grab a ticket for the event here but don’t sleep, as these will definitely sell out.

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Steve Stamp Q&A

26 February 2020 -

We’re buzzing to be welcoming Steve Stamp aka DJ Steves (Kurupt FM) from genius BBC comedy People Just Do Nothing to the building on Thursday 5th March, not least as he’s co-headlining with jungle legend Randall!

TICKETS (SKIDDLE)

TICKETS (RA)

Promoters 23 Degrees caught up with him for a quick chat before the gig.

How old were you when you first started learning to mix? Which DJ’s inspired you to start?

Around 15 I think. I had some basic belt drives and me and Beats would go back to back after school. We were inspired by the West London pirate radio DJs. A lot of the time I didn’t really know who they were but I remember people like Oxide were playing the darker stuff that I was most into. I also had one tape with Deekline where he was scratching over garage, that was the maddest thing I’d ever heard. Blew my tiny mind.

Your sets are on ode to the Garage sound, what are your top 3 Garage slammers?

It’s hard to pick but there’s a few that have stood the test of time. Stuff like Roy Davis Jr ft Peven Everett – Gabriel, Active Minds – Hobsons Choice, Groove Chronicles – ‘Hold On’. They always existed on the classier end of the garage spectrum, very sexy production. They’re not tracks you’ll normally hear in a rave though, what I hope I can do with my sets is introduce some of the less obvious party tunes and show people some classics that they might not have heard before.

With Garage fully back on the map right now, which of the new school producers are you feeling?

Ah there’s loads of people making good beats. Conductah, Murlo… In terms of new stuff I’m more into grime: Sir Spyro, Swifta, Rudekid, Spooky. What I love about the scene is that a lot of these guys are selectors and their music emerges out of the radio and rave culture. It’s all connected and that’s what keeps it so authentic.

You’ve played in Edinburgh before with the rest of Kurupt FM, how was it? Are you excited to return?

Scotland is always messy. Weird shit seems to happen every time I’m there. DJs ending up in ambulances, McDonalds lock-ins. I blame the Buckfast. Need to add that to my rider actually…

We had Danny Rankin aka Decoy perform back in 2019, he had some serious Jungle music up his sleeve, do you ever sneak in some Jungle/DnB into your sets?

I’ll leave that to the pros. We’ve got Randall on the lineup with me and he’s told me that I’m not allowed to go beyond 140bpm. I mean he hasn’t actually said that, but he’s a legend and I know my place.

Any dubplates/suprises up your sleeve?

At some point during the set I sometimes like to surprise the audience by going briefly into character as Steves and doing a bad mix. So if you hear that then that’s why. And you’re welcome.

Finally, taps on or taps aff?

Taps aff. Trousers down. Red Stripe in each hand. Eyes closed.

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Grime pioneer P Jam makes his Scottish debut for Big n Bashy, Sat 12th Nov

09 November 2016 -

 

p-jam-free-jams

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.

Here’s a quick interview with Terror Danjah by Soundplate that accompanied the above podcast, back in February.

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.

P Jam’s Arizona Skyz VIP and Insomnia feature on ‘Hardrive Presents Hardwired’, out now. A release date for the Night Slugs White Label is yet to be announced.

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Big n Bashy welcomes pioneering grime and UK garage producer Jon E Cash, Sat 2nd April

31 March 2016 -
JonECash
Following President T and Sir Spyro, who played the club in February, Big n Bashy welcome pioneering grime / ‘sublow’ producer Jon E Cash (Black Ops) plus Dread D (aka T Williams) on Sat 2nd April.  More info about the Black Ops label / crew here, here and here. 
More info:
Back back in the day, before Grime there was Garage: too many types to mention, be it Chocolate Sweet Boy through to 2 step through to the darker vibes that started dubtep…….In between these times were DJs, producers and labels boldly breaking ground with new sounds and laying the foundations for future current UK sounds.
One of those producers is the mighty Jon E Cash, who had his own, signature sound and style which forged and heavily influenced the sound we know as Grime today as well as starting the much revered Black Ops label which was responsible for close to 50 releases breaking many new sounds and producers such as: Dread D, Charmzy as well as Jon E Cash’s own productions which are still in demand to this day.
Joining us on the night: Jon E Cash will be on mic hype duties alongside a very special suprise guest of Black Ops fame on decks playing classic Black Ops dubplates to make regular DJs weep.
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Bass music innovator Zomby headlines for Electrikal this Friday 25th March

24 March 2016 -

Zomby

Bass music innovator Zomby headlines for Electrikal this Friday 25th March and we’re super-excited to be welcoming him to the Bongo.

Zomby – a beast perhaps as mythical as Burial in UK bass lore, but with the ability to take the essential characteristics of numerous genres and fold them into a neat origami-like masterpiece. After his ode to carefree hardcore anthems with ‘Where Were You In ‘92?’ and digital dub classics like ‘Strange Fruit’ and ‘Spliff Dub’, he’s now graced us with both the the funky-ass ‘Let’s Jam!!!’ series and a stone cold eskibeat with Wiley (just to tick every damn box).

There’s a good interview with him from 2013 on Pitchfork and this much older one (from 2009) on FACT is also quite revealing.

This mix for Dazed is a good reflection of what he might be expected to play for the club.

And this more recent mix for Benji B on Radio 1 shows a more introspective side.

Tickets and more info here

 

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Grime legend Prez T headlines Big n Bashy with Rinse FM’s Sir Spyro, Sat 6th Feb

04 February 2016 -

PrezT
Grime legend President T comes to Bongo with Sir Spyro (Rinse FM) on deck.
Spyro_ro6bwn

Prez T is performing fresh off the release of a new album to follow up his 2008 classic “Back Inna My Face” and has been appearing regularly on radio sets across the country. Spyro has been holding down his regular slot on Rinse FM with “The Grime Show” and has also produced one of the biggest tunes in the scene this year “Side by Side”, vocalled by Prez T, Big H & Bossman.

There’s a good interview with Prez T on this website.


Tickets: £8 (adv) / MOTD

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Godfather of grime Slimzee headlines Electrikal (Fri 6th Nov)

03 November 2015 -

slimzee700

We’re all very excited about the arrival of ‘godfather of grime’ Slimzee at The Bongo Club for the Electrikal Sound System crew this Friday. The hype for this event has been incredible (as you can see from the Facebook event), so if you don’t have a ticket already, you’ll either want to grab one now or make sure you arrive early to avoid disappointment!

DJ Slimzee, co-founder of the massive Rinse FM and member of the legendary Pay As You Go Cartel was born in East London and grew up immersed in pirate radio with the likes of Dizzee Rascal & Wiley.

Fast forward to 2015 and Slimzee is regarded as one of the UK’s true underground heroes, still calmly demolishing clubs around the world with ease. He boasts an unrivaled library of custom grime dub-plates and rare classics.  Combined with a perpetual hunger for fresh, forward sounds, there is nobody in the world that can deliver a set like Slimzee.

SLIMZEE’S GOING ON TERRIBLE from Rollo Jackson on Vimeo.

Joining him on mic duties for the first time in Edinburgh will be the London City warlord, Riko Dan, part of the original Roll Deep crew.

Also making their Edinburgh debut will be the mighty Kahn & Neek, founders of the vinyl only imprint Bandulu and the duo behind Gorgon Sound. Rest assured that they will be bringing a bag full of exclusive vinyl dubplates to literally obliterate the depths of Edinburgh’s Cowgate.

We are also pleased to be bringing some troops from Too Much Hype and Levels Syndicate in Glasgow through to join our very own DJ Era for a massive b2b selection to warm things up.

Taking over Room 2 will be Astral Black tastemaker Jaisu, spinning some of the funkiest 45’s in existence.

Powered by the Electrikal Sound System.

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Bongo Lives! ’14 FESTIVAL (27th Apr-4th May)

15 April 2014 -

 

BongoLives_brochure_front

One year on from re-opening in the underground and The Bongo Club is well and truly settled in our new home at 66 Cowgate. After the success of the inaugural Bongo Lives! Festival in 2013, we’re back for another celebration of the arts and music we all love.

As this year also marks the 20th birthday of our sister organisation Out of the Blue, it seemed like a great reason to have an even bigger celebration.

Without you, we’re nothing.

Community is at the heart of everything we do and the aim of Bongo Lives! 2014 is to celebrate the community that is the backbone of any vibrant arts and music scene. Without the love and hard work of our supporters, The Bongo Club and Out of the Blue wouldn’t be the stalwarts of the Edinburgh music and arts scene that we are today.

If Edinburgh is a village, as the local saying goes, our village is made up of people who support the arts through thick and thin. We’ve had our ups and downs at both Out of the Blue and The Bongo Club but we’re still here and we’re not planning on going away anywhere soon!

With the vital support of many people, we intend to flourish as an integral part of Edinburgh’s cultural landscape for thousands of local people and visitors alike for many more years to come.

Big Narstie

CLUBWISE

Check out the special guest acts playing at Four Corners (Diesler of Tru Thoughts / Ninja Tune fame) on Fri 2nd May, Big n Bashy on Sat 3rd May (Base Defence League, featuring grime artists Big Narstie (pictured above), Big H and Logan Sama), plus the one-off, May Bank Holiday special with house/techno player Saytek on Sun 4th.

The Black Diamond Express portrait

GIGWISE

Bongo Lives! is all about The Black Diamond Express (pictured above), Thurs 1st May, which is sure to be hopping as they prepare for their big Canadian tour in June plus an evening curated by the excellent Braw Gigs, Sat 3rd, featuring Muscletusk headlining.

Rally & Broad

THEATRE/CABARET

We’ve four companies and seven events in total (including the ‘Wonder’ Workshop), not least the mighty Rally & Broad (pictured above) and Creative Electric with newcomers Illicit Ink and Edinburgh Stage School supplying the rear-guard action.

Kirsty_Whiten_gate

ART/JAZZ

There’s the launch of Brian Kellock and Dick Lee‘s inspiring Spirit Of Jazz workshops and a brand new Bongo commission for Kirsty Whiten (see picture above) – much-loved former Bongo/OOTB regular and rising star of the international art world.

With all our regular midweek club nights, I Love Hip Hop (Tuesdays), Champion Sound (Wednesdays), Hullabaloo (Thursdays), also running as usual, if you’ve not made it down to the ‘new’ Bongo Club in the last fifteen months, what better opportunity to do just that? See you at the bar!

Slainte

OOTB_aerial

OUT OF THE BLUE IS 20

This is just the start of these celebrations (set to continue for the rest of 2014) down at The Drill Hall but the Arts Market and Open Studios (Sat 3rd May)are sure to be a real highlight for many.

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