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With voting now open for the 2016 “We Love Jungle” awards, we spoke to last year’s double winner, DJ Hybrid who won best breakthrough DJ and Producer. Hybrid spoke to another winner from last year, Missrepresent about his own career and the impact of ‘We Love Jungle’ on the global scene.
First off, thanks for your time out – I know you have recently been traveling, was that holiday or pleasure, and how has 2016 been for you?
Yeah I have recently got back from Canada where I was out doing a couple of shows in Calgary & Toronto which was amazing. 2016 overall has been a good year! I’ve been working hard in the studio, working with more labels and been doing lots more bookings.
Since winning the awards, have you seen a positive outcome in terms of bookings or press than normal?
Yeah sure I did notice a rise in the amount of messages and positive feedback I’ve been getting from labels, promoters and fans.
November last year 2015 you released your debut album “Mixed Origins” on your own label Audio Addict which reached number one in the Juno download chart. How did that make you feel and what’s like hearing your music played out?
Yeah it was great to work on an album and I thought the timing was right as it was just after the awards that I started working on it. It’s always a great feeling to know that many people are supporting your music and it’s a surprise sometimes with the charts when you end up getting into the top 5 let alone number 1. It’s nice to hear my tunes played out at raves but I cant really enjoy it myself as I cant help but obsess over mixdowns and whether that snare needs turning down 1db etc but I think a lot producers have the same problem though.
You did a lot of research on putting that album together, on how the greatest albums of all time were compiled. Can you describe your emotional attachment to the music, why it means so much to you to craft art and care about everything you do?
Yeah it was something that I really wanted to think about as a concept album not just 14 individual tracks – but an album you would listen to from start to finish. I think I’ve always been a creative person and I’ve always loved music so when I combined the two and started working on my own tunes it was quite easy to get fully wrapped up in it. I don’t leave the studio most days! Overall though I think I do obsess about things like mixdowns and the overall sound so sometimes all I care about is getting the tunes sounding right, so if that means staying in all weekend to finish a mixdown then that is the most important thing on my mind that weekend.
You played your first international festival, Let It Roll this year. How was it?
Let It Roll was great! I love the fact that it is a 100% D&B festival it just shows how strong D&B is at the moment that it can hold a whole festival to itself! It’s one of my most memorable shows I’ve done so far in my career, even though my flight was 2 hours delayed and I got to Prague airport 1 hour before I had to be on the decks. It all worked out in the end and it was an amazing experience.
Jungle has had a massive year this year. Do you think the awards have helped?
Yeah I think it certainly has! For the first time in years people are looking at jungle in a whole new refreshed way as they know now that its not just about old skool jungle but there is a whole new wave of producers and ravers that love that authentic jungle sound or classic drum & bass sound. I also think the awards will play a very important part in the future of jungle as it will catalog over many years who were the newcomers in each year and also its not like the D&B Awards or D&BA Awards where Andy C is going to win best DJ every year, it gives other people a chance who have pioneered and revived this sound to get the well earned respect they deserve. Jungle has undoubtedly been revived!
Everyone knows everyone within the scene, I described it like a bit of a very large family wedding recently. Feuds, rows but we all get on for the love of the music. Who would you say are your closest family members?
I would say that Mike ‘DJ Vapour’ is someone who brought me through into the scene at first and has helped me a lot over the years so I owe him a lot. I have known Tobie ‘Serial Killaz’ for many years now as I used to work in a record shop and order vinyl from him at Nu-Urban. More recently i’m now working with him on his label Serial Killaz. Also for over a year now I’ve been working quite closely with Ray Keith, he has remixed a couple of my tunes and i’m working on tracks for Dread Recordings as well as remixing some of his tunes in the near future.
I like to ask this, but if you could only take 1 track to a desert island, and had to listen to one jungle track forever, what would it be and why?
That’s a hard one! but I think id have say RIP by Remarc which may be an obvious choice but its the ultimate combo of breaks, bass and vocals, the full package!
You had massive EP “In Too Deep” released on Serial Killaz August this year with a couple of bangers in there. 5 huge tracks taking back old jungle influences mixed into the new. How important is it it to you to fuse together new and old, and push things forward?
I think it’s very important to me as that’s sort of my style, I’ve just always loved the history of this music as much as the modern day sound so I’ve always tried to put that classic or ‘golden era’ sound as some people say into my own production. I think people will always love the authentic sound of Jungle and Drum & Bass no matter how far into the future we get.
For the kids coming through these days that don’t know the history and the roots, what would you say to educate them?
First off try and listen to as many old jungle tape packs as possible and work your way through the years and try and notice the change in sounds. I would also recommend looking for any jungle drum & bass documentaries as there are a lot floating around the internet, with them you can get an idea of how the raves and the culture used to be back then. There is a website where you can find all Jungle drum & ass documentaries in chronological order its well worth checking out.
You have had other releases on Dread, Natty Dub and Ruffneck Ting can you tell us about the success of those?
The Natty Dub EP that dropped last month has probably been one of my most successful releases in the last year and was number 1 in the Trackitdown.net chart and the Juno chart. The label has a huge following so its good to be involved in it. My debut release on Dread will be dropping early next year part of the Dub Dread 6 compilation and my debut Ruffneck Ting EP should also be dropping early next year.
You have played in countries like Canada, Romania, Belgium and Czech Republic. Where is your favourite place abroad and any places you want to visit?
I’ve always loved Spain and places like Barcelona etc but I would really like to get out to America, I was in Canada a few weeks ago and it was amazing so I would love to do a tour across America and Canada in the future.
So this year, the DnBA awards had a critics choice where a selected panel of 50 chose am artist to win, not on a public vote. What do you think of that concept?
I really like that concept actually, I think it very much needed in the awards as people always seem to moan about the results voted for by the public so at least this gives other people a chance that may really deserve it. Break obviously being one of those people and I don’t think anyone could deny that Break isn’t deserving of an award even though he may not of won one so far in his career he is everyone’s favourite producer.
“We Love Jungle” are pulling together more content to help spread the jungle love at the moment. What would you like to see more of?
I think what they are doing is great and somebody really needed to step up and focus on something that was specifically related to just jungle rather than all other D&B. I think I would like to see regular mixes, podcasts, interviews and charts of what tunes DJ’s are playing or what their all time favourite jungle classics are. It would be nice to hear who the original Jungle pioneers favour as their breakthrough producers, DJ’s and labels. Maybe focus on new labels and artists which is the most important thing in the future of our scene so we should all be looking to the future not just the old skool and that’s exactly what We Love Jungle are doing with the Awards, highlighting the people who deserve it and letting people know who are the next big names to keep your eye on.
Production. What new tricks and tips have you discovered this year?
Id say I’ve been pushing sounds this year as far as I can with distortion and other methods. One thing I’ve been experimenting with recently is layering the same sounds over each other in Kontakt and then driving them through loud as possible to make them distort and it creates a sort of phasing effect on the bass which makes a really loud heavy bassline.
Mixdowns, any eq tips for our readers?
Less is more! Don’t have your bass too loud in the mix or it will limit the overall mixdown and it wont be as loud. If your mix is nice and even then you will be able to turn it up loud without having to over compress and process the track. Also one thing I’ve noticed is some harsh high end in some tracks so always check your frequency spectrum analyzer and make sure you don’t have too much of a build up in the high end region which can happen when layering breaks and drums on top of each other.
What are your top 5 tracks at the moment?
1. DJ Cautious – Rough Love (K Jah Remix)
2. Serial Killaz – Jungle Came First
3. Marvellous Cain – The Hitman (Bladerunner VIP)
4. Critical Impact & DJ SS – Bass Over
5. DJ Hybrid & Agro – Murder Soundboy (Benny L Remix)
Who do you rate as best breakthrough for this year in the “We Love Jungle” awards?
There are a few that i think are worth a mention, first off is Brian Brainstorm, I think he has had a good steady output this year and great quality control. Epicentre from Manchester is coming through with some wicked Jungle vibes going into the new year and RMS from Canada deserves a mention as his work rate is great and has a lot of EP’s coming out on some reputable labels.
What’s up next for you in 2017?
First off in 2017 I’m just finishing off my EP’s for Ruffneck Ting & Liondub International, then later in the year i have a compilation album dropping featuring 32 tracks mixed by myself which will also feature exclusive new material from myself. We will also be starting Deep in the Jungle club nights up and down the country featuring artists from the label.
All the best for the next year and awards, do you have any shouts and thanks?
Thank you! I’d just like to say a massive thanks to We Love Jungle who are really flying the flag high for Jungle Music at the moment. Also big up to DJ Vapour, Serial Killaz, Ray Keith, DJ Monk, Cabin Fever, Liondub, Visionary, Dazee, Agro, Callide and everyone at Cygnus Music. Thank you to all the promoters worldwide who have been showing me love, all the artists on my labels, everyone who voted for me last year in the awards and all my friends, family and lovely wife! without them it wouldn’t be possible.
Interview by Aliina Atkinson (Missrepresent) 2017