The Bay B Kane Years “1989 – 1994”

Bay B Kane has been making Jungle and Drum & Bass since it’s origin, being in the music game for three decades. It’s fair to say the industry has changed a lot in that time but his commitment to the scene hasn’t. Still making beats and releasing music he has plans stretching into 2018 on both digital and vinyl formats. We recently discussed his early releases and pivotal tracks from the nineties including “Hello Darkness” and “Quarter To Doom”. Other topics include studio equipment, cutting dubs and a fascinating insight into how he met Peshay and his work on the “Protege EP”.


You are without a doubt one of the original pioneers of drum and bass. Can you explain to us how you first got involved in music and how you started producing?

First of all, I think it is important to mention that I started out on my musical journey as a hip hop MC in 1987. My MC name was Double T (which meant Turkish Terrorist) along with my then DJ partner Mr E and together we were called Eastside Chapter.

We were signed to a small independent label called TUF Records from Forest Gate and eventually released a double A-sided twelve “Sucka / Not My Style” in 1989. We had worked really hard during those two years with TUF but were getting nowhere, we realised we needed a new sound and, more importantly, we wanted to do everything ourselves so that we could have complete control over the music which we would release in the future so we parted company with them.

One night in 1989 I was at Dougies Night Club in Clapton, East London, and heard a tune called “Depth Charge” by J Saul Kane and everything fell into place…

Right there and then I knew this was the direction I wanted to go musically. We got straight down to business putting ideas together picking out samples of breaks and other different sounds and within a few weeks Break The Limits was born!

Right at the start of 1990, we released a 6 track EP called “Break The Limits Part 1” which was an immediate underground smash and went on to sell somewhere around 5.000 copies. Over the next two years, we had nine more releases on BTL. In March 1992 we released 500 white label promos of an EP called “Fragmental” and within a couple of weeks, we were approached by XL Recordings who wanted to sign us. I would not allow them to sign us under the name Break The Limits as I wanted to keep that for us as I fully intended to continue the BTL journey, it was our identity and something I was very proud of and did not want XL having a say in what we did with it. So, after much back and forth we signed a deal with XL for a large amount of money but under the name Nu-Matic and the “Fragmental EP” by BTL became the “Hard Times EP” by Nu-Matic.

Almost immediately XL wanted us to go on a live PA tour covering much of the UK promoting the “Hard Times EP”. While preparing to start this tour a friend of mine put me in touch with a young up and coming MC called Morris (Maurice) who turned out to be pretty exceptional, he had way above average skills plus charisma so became part of our live shows along with longtime friends Satin Storm (Travis & Donna) who also joined us as our dancers on stage…

At this point (I’m quite proud to say) I pretty much discovered and gave the young MC Morris his first major break and in later years he became one of the best known and most loved Jungle / Drum And Bass MC’s of all time…. MCMC!

So without going into too much more detail, I’ll just say that shortly after returning from the live PA tour myself and Mr E decided to part company… This marked the end of an era as it was also the end of Break The Limits as I left him to continue as Nu-Matic on XL and did not feel it fair to continue BTL with one of us missing. It also marked the beginning of a brand new era for me as now I would embark on the rest of my journey in music solo… it was kind of scary but exciting at the same time (as stepping into the unknown often is) and I had a lot to do but I was focused and ready.

Your first solo release was the “Ruff Guidance EP” that contains the classic hardcore track “Theme Spirit”. This was championed by the likes of LTJ Bukem and DJ Hype, were you surprised by how well it was received? What did you think when you first heard it being played at the clubs and on the pirate stations?

The “Ruff Guidance EP” was the introduction to what would become my own label and was my first solo release. The track “Theme Spirit” was my personal take on “The Theme” which was a track on the “Hard Times EP” on XL so in a way it was me giving XL the middle finger openly and a way for me to have closure on that whole situation… I had to come out swinging and felt like this track would make the necessary impact, which it did. Having said that I can’t say I was surprised at how well it was received but I can say that I was hugely relieved to be off to a flying start and it is always great to hear your own tunes being played on the radio.

Where and when did you produce that EP? Can you remember what equipment was used for it?

At the time when I produced the “Ruff Guidance EP” Mr E and I still hadn’t yet parted company completely as we still co-owned the studio which we had built together as BTL. We had an agreement to use the studio two weeks on then two weeks off so that we could both get work done without stepping on each other’s toes and it worked for a short period.

When I recorded that EP I was using an Atari 1040 STFM running Pro 24 midi sequencing software. The studio also had an Akai S950, Juno1, Kawai K1, Alesis Quadraverb, Seck 24/4/2 Mixing Console and Tannoy DC200 Monitors

Did that studio situation last long or did you find somewhere else to record?

As far as I can recall I think it lasted about 3 months and by then it was clear that we needed to resolve the issue of the studio and go our separate ways for real. Sticking to the two weeks on two weeks off rule just wasn’t working any more. We sat down and went through everything that needed to be divided fairly and I ended up with the studio within that deal which I then moved to a new location which was a unit within a property owned by Chris Energy of Hit N Run Records. This was only short term as I knew this would not be the permanent base that I was looking for.

You often hear stories of techniques people used in the studio to try and maximise the equipment back then. How did you find the technology those days, any tips or tricks you can give people as there seems to be a hardware revival at the minute as well as vinyl?

For instance, the Akai S950 was an amazing machine but very much lacking in sufficient amount of memory. Sometimes I would set up and edit certain samples, run them through the mixing desk with full EQ treatment plus other effects then re-sample the output at a lower rate. This meant I could save valuable memory for more elements and it also gave certain samples (especially drums/breaks) a unique sound and texture.

Sometimes I would also use a technique called “time compress” which is the exact opposite of “time stretch”, the result is rather hit and miss and does not necessarily work with everything but when it did work you could get great results and it would also save some sampling memory.

Yes, vinyl has made quite a comeback in the last couple of years which is great. I have been reissuing some of my older tracks as current Discogs prices for sought after titles are nothing short of ridiculous! It gives me great pleasure to be able to offer some of my back catalogue (which is extensive, to say the least) at a reasonable, affordable price plus at the highest possible quality. I am now partnered with Music Preservation Society which is run by a good friend of mine, Robin Allinson.

As far as your label you followed up “Theme Spirit” with the “Bay B Kane EP”, to me this really started to define your sound. Hip hop and ragga samples, classic breaks, rave stabs and those distinctive large bass lines. With the exception of “Sax In The Jungle” it’s quite a distinctive shift from RGR 001. What led to that and can you tell us a bit about this period?

RGR 002 (“The Bay B Kane EP”) was where I felt I was ready to start putting myself out as a brand. Developing a sound as an artist was equally as important and needed to be in tune with the underground music movement. My style drew from all different elements that appealed to me such as hip hop, reggae, dub, lovers rock, soul, funk and ska. Black music in general was and still is, where I draw most of my inspiration from as its what I grew up listening to. To this day one of the most exciting things for me is taking a sample and using it in a completely different setting than it was originally intended and creating something brand new with it.

By the way “RGR 001 / 002 /003 / 004” as well as “The Mystro EP” on Jack In The Box and “The Grey Matter EP” on Kikman were all produced within the time period of roughly three months before we finalised the split and I moved the studio to a new location! That should give you some idea as to how busy and focused I was during that time and determined to build a solid foundation.

You made all those in three months?? That’s mad! Everything you’ve just said brings me on to what is personally for me one of the all-time best hardcore EPs of all time. The Return Of Bay B Kane! All four tracks are undisputed anthems, did you realise those tracks where special when you made them and what was the reaction from the first few people who heard them?

Thank you, I appreciate your words! “Hello Darkness” is a very special track to me personally and if I am totally honest then I’d say I expected it to have a big impact as the “Dark” theme was just beginning to creep in on the scene here and there and I wanted this EP to take that to the next level. The best and most positive reaction I can remember was from Micky Finn who went absolutely mad about “Hello Darkness” which I had cut for him on dub. He was the driving force behind me making two further remixes later on but pretty much everyone who heard it was into it almost instantly.

That EP features “Quarter To Doom” which was co-produced with Peshay, can you tell us a bit about that session and how you guys hooked up?

I had printed my home phone number on the label of “The Bay B Kane EP” (RGR 002) and my first encounter with Peshay was when he dialled those digits. He started talking to me about how much he liked the EP and how he was a DJ trying to catch a break into the scene and how he had so many ideas for tunes… He went on and on so enthusiastically for what seemed like hours, hahaha…

I was impressed by his enthusiasm and positivity, plus the fact that he had a lot of front just phoning me out the blue and was able to keep me on the line without me getting annoyed.

I told him I would look into making some time available and having him come through the studio but I couldn’t say when and that I’d have to get back to him and to hold tight till then…

Well, he rang me daily from that day forward for about a week, sometimes several times a day, so in the end, I gave in and arranged for him to come to the studio.

One Wednesday in August 1992 Peshay came to my studio with two large cases of records and enough hyperactive positive energy to last for days! He was seventeen years old and more eager to get stuck in and learn to create than anyone else I had ever met before (or since)… Mind you at this point I had no idea how good he was as a DJ either which would come later. That day we spent about twelve hours in my studio and created what would later become the track known as “Quarter To Doom”.

What was a typical recording session like for you? Based on what you’ve said you seemed to go at it pretty hard.

Back then I would start most days around midday and work eight-ten hours typically and it wasn’t unusual for me to write and complete one track per session. Maybe even put down the basics of another track to continue with the next day. I generally won’t start a new track while I have one on the go unless I’m just messing about with ideas. Once I moved the studio to another location my work hours and patterns changed due to the fact that I had 24-hour access and found I could work much better during the night.

You mentioned a lot of your 1992 releases were all made around the same time. The “Grey Matter EP” seems to have slipped me by completely. Checking it on Discogs I see that it was the first release on Kikman but never seemed to get past the promo stage. It’s also widely different than the other tracks you were making at the time. It’s almost house and garage in places and there’s one track which has a strong Euro Techno feel to it. Can you tell us the story behind that EP?

“The Grey Matter EP” was an experimental project which I had no immediate plans to release, in fact, I held on to it for about a year until one day I played it to Noah Charlery (the owner of Kikman) who absolutely loved it and wanted to release it. It was very different in comparison to the usual output on the label so we decided to start a sub-label under Kikman called UFO Recordings. That’s why it has the cat number KIK / UFO 001, only 300 white label promo copies were ever pressed. It may have been too ahead of its time or just simply bad timing but whatever it was this EP just didn’t catch on like the other stuff I was releasing on Kikman and RGR so we decided to not go ahead with a full release. Today second-hand copies sell for at least £50 and that’s if you can find one for sale.

You continued to release stuff in 1993 for your own label, Kikman and then White House which has some seminal classics in its discography, how do you view this period of your production and experience in the music scene?

My deal with White House in early 1993 was one of the absolute highlights of my career in music as it gave me the freedom to really expand my brand of Jungle / Drum and Bass on a bigger platform without having the restrictions placed upon artists when they are signed to a label. My deal with them was a production deal where I granted White House license through my label Ruff Guidance to release my music. All rights remained with me and it was the only way that I would ever agree to a release on White House and all praise is due to the label manager Andy Bailey who was by far the best label exec I ever worked with. He is the one person who helped me more than anyone in the music business during the 1990s.

You are probably aware of what’s going on with producing vinyl at the minute, Robin and others are all having issues.

I am aware of the current problems in releasing vinyl due to unreliable pressing plants, a substandard product having to be re-pressed multiple times, the ridiculous waiting times involved and the fact that there were no pressing plants left in the UK until very recently. The arrival of a brand new state of the art pressing facility in Portsmouth running under the expertise of the man like Phil East “Vinyl Presents” is now leading the way to a brighter future in vinyl production.

What was it like running a label and pressing records in 1992/93?

Running my label was really not very hard as I had been doing this since 1990 and had built a great working relationship with all involved in the various stages of production.

I used JTS in Hackney for mastering and metalwork then Vinyl Cut which later became Tell Tales for my pressings who were in Stratford. Looking back I can honestly say that I never had a problem, worth mentioning in all the years that I used their services which is pretty amazing… Big shout out to Keith (Jah Tubby) and Joseph (Abashanti) of JTS Limited and Terry & Darren of Tell Tales wherever they may be today.

Whilst we are on the subject of vinyl and JTS, where did you used to get your dubs cut and do you have any unreleased material from that era?

Lets first clear something up… I am not a DJ and never have been, I’m strictly an artist/producer and have produced under many aliases. I have cut countless amount of dubs over the years for many different DJ’s and in that case, it was always the DJ’s choice as to where we cut them. I used to spend many hours cutting dubs at either JTS or Music House although left up to me it would have always been JTS but DJ’s used to favour Music House as they were cheaper and when you’re Micky Finn or Kenny Ken and you have 20 dubs to cut in one session every bit of saving is a blessing!

I have a whole bunch of unreleased material, especially from 96-97, some of which I have released exclusively to my Bandcamp, specifically Unreleased Jungle gems Volume One and Two.

I have also released one or two bits on vinyl in recent years and will release more next year.

You recently repressed the classic 1994 “Thunder”, what’s the secret behind that monster bass line?

The bass on Thunder is an 808 kick drum with full decay which I then distorted through the mixing desk (analogue distortion sweet spot). I then added a mixture of effects through the Alesis Quadraverb.

I’ll take this opportunity to say that by the time Thunder was created, in fact, quite sometime before summer 1993, I moved my studio from the unit in Chris Energy’s building to what became known as The Fridge.

It was a purpose built detached building which was originally a cold storage facility for meat products at the back of a shop front that used to be an old butcher shop but was now a kebab house. The cold store was there unused so I made a deal with the owner and leased the cold store from him. I built my own entrance to it through the alleyway next to the kebab shop then had all the electrics rewired and made it into a studio.

It was a unique and amazing place that had an otherworldly atmosphere inside, no windows, two feet thick insulated walls and a door that I can only compare to an airlock.

Pretty much all of my White House releases were written in The Fridge and by then the hardware in my studio had grown twice as much if not more. I still had the Atari 1040 STFM computer now running Cubase V3. I also had a Seck 24/4/2 Mixing Desk, a Roland Juno1, Yamaha DX7 Mk II, Roland SH101, Roland TB303, Korg M1 Rack module, two Akai S950’s, an Alesis Midiverb II, Marantz Solid State Reference Class Amp and Tannoy Berkeley 15 inch Super Gold Dual Concentric Studio Monitors.

Later I added an Akai S1100 and remained in The Fridge until the end of 1996.

The “Thunder EP” saw a return to working with Peshay. How was it for you seeing how he developed and what are your feelings about that EP in general?

I actually never stopped working with Peshay from 1992 through to around 1995 and the fact that he did a remix of “Thunder” for me at my request was simply because I co-produced and engineered three out of the four tracks on his Reinforced Records debut “The Protege EP”. A remix of “Thunder” and full credit on the “Protege EP” was all that I asked for in return but only got the remix, zero credit on his debut EP on Reinforced but that’s a whole other story on its own which I don’t think is appropriate to go into here.

By the way, The Rood Project “Thunder” 2017 repressing did very well.

I also repressed “The Return Of Bay B Kane” and the double vinyl 8 track “Survival Techniques EP”.

That’s a real shame about not getting credit for the production on the Peshay tracks. Especially considering it’s one of the most highly regarded early drum and bass releases. You did get a mention on the Chris Energy EP for the track Around also on Reinforced, you made an excellent amen VIP of that track which never came out that you’ve now self-released. What can you tell about this track and it’s VIP mix?

I don’t want to say too much more on the Peshay “Protege EP” except that I put a whole lot of time and energy into making these tracks what they are and making sure that his debut release, on such a respected label, would have maximum impact. I wanted very little in return (nothing financial) only because of who Peshay was in terms of my friendship with him and he has always maintained that he had no part in me not getting credit for the part I played and that it was others behind the scenes. Whether I believe him or not is irrelevant now, although at the time I was mad as hell and felt totally betrayed by him which led to us not speaking for 10 years but we reconnected in 2005 and got past all that.

Chris Energy was, of course, a long time friend in the music game stretching back before the rave scene. Here is a fun fact, Chris is the person who got me my first deal with TUF Records!!!

When I did the “Around” remix for Chris there was no Reinforced deal in existence but later when they approached him I was happy for him and at least he made sure I was credited on the label for my work.

I put the VIP version together as I felt it would give him leverage for a second release but for whatever reason he didn’t want to know and dismissed it so I kept it in the archives for many years.

Lastly, looking forward, what’s next..?

Next up is something big that has been in the works for a long time which is the re-release of the entire Break The Limits back catalogue on Mental Groove Records out of Switzerland.

This is a big deal to me as it will mean that the BTL legacy will finally be preserved and safe from extinction and future generations will be able to access and hear this music which was right at the beginning of the explosion point of the underground rave culture…

Big ups to Robin Allinson for pushing me to get this done and his help with cleaning up the original audio files, also a massive shout out to Olivier Ducret of Mental Groove Records for working with me to ensure a good deal was agreed upon and his belief and passion for the music.

There will be more re-pressings of classic Bay B Kane music next year as well as new music on vinyl. Digitally, I will continue to push the sounds that we all love. Ruff Guidance has a whole bunch of new releases lined up by various artists. I will also continue to release music on Boomsha Recordings and there is a new Bay B Kane solo album in the works which will be my seventh solo album when it lands.


Thanks for having me and peace be upon you all.

The Making Of Lord Of The Null Lines (Foul Play Remix)

Before we begin, have you ever wondered what a Null Line is? Let Alex from Hyper On Experience explain…

“It’s from the theory of special relativity. A null line is the path of a massless object travelling at light speed. Because at that speed you don’t experience time, all points in the universe will appear no distance away.”

Like any good scientific theory, Hyper On Experience productions were also complex and intricate in approach but when Alex and Danny sat down to produce Lord of the Null Lines it’s safe to say neither of them could have imagined the effect it would have on the drum and bass scene. The often overlooked original spawned a series of remixes which make it one of the most iconic pieces of nineties electronic music. It has been reinterpreted by some of the most respected names in drum and bass including Photek, Total Science, Aquasky and most notably Foul Play (including a second mix alongside DJ Randall).

Using a variety of sources for inspiration it’s perhaps most known for its liberal use of Predator 2 samples. Whilst these help to add character its the way they are integrated with the tracks other elements that give Null Lines its own unique identity.

We caught up with John from Foul Play to discuss their remixes of the track.


The original Lord of the Null-Lines was created using a wealth of sample sources, what elements did you have to craft your remix?

We were given a DAT containing all the samples from the original version…… and there were a lot! This was our first ever remix for another artist, previously we had only ever remixed our own tracks. Hyper On songs were always brimming with ideas and samples coming at you at an amazing pace and Null-Lines was no exception. We basically just sat there and listened through all the samples and went yes, no, yes, no until we had the ingredients we wanted for our version.

How does your remix differ from the original?

Well, our take on Null-Lines is a stripped back version in the truest sense. We took out all the ravier elements from the original and delivered a mix with a darker feel. We focused on the Predator 2 samples and a couple of catchy basslines.

Who worked on it and where was it produced?

We produced it at the Foul Play studio which was at Steve Gurley’s house in Milton Keynes. At that time there were three of us in the group and we worked on it together, Steve Gurley, Brad (Steve Bradshaw) and myself.

What equipment did you use?

Pretty sure this was before we had a hardware sampler so it would all have been done with the Amiga using OctaMED. Not sure what we were using at the time for mixing and monitoring but it would have been cheap.

What was the reaction to it?

I think this was one of those rare occasions where something was universally loved from the outset. Even from the test press stage, I think Moving Shadow realised they had a hit. I can remember being at the Sanctuary in Milton Keynes just after the 20 or so test presses had been sent out to the top DJ boys and hearing everyone on the lineup playing it. At the beginning of the night, nobody had heard it and before the end of the night the crowd were going crazy for it, and this was even before the main promo mailout. Then when they had gone out all the pirates started playing it, after that it just took off, I remember everyone being excited about its release.

Can you explain the track’s arrangement and the theory behind its structure?

Well as I said before it was our first remix so we didn’t really have a process as such, we just went with our gut. The main thing I remember was the speed we did it, probably about 3 hours from start to finish, arranged, mixed and recorded to DAT in one afternoon. I remember Brad playing the intro 808 bassline and we decided to start the track with it, unusual I know but it seemed the right thing to do. An interesting fact which Sean Deep Blue told me is the 808 bass sound in the Helicopter tune was sampled from the Null Lines intro.

I think Steve Gurley may have played the second bassline, I certainly remember him playing the two melodies that come in over the top of it. I don’t remember us pondering over anything through the rest of the track too much, we just went with the first ideas we had and it all just went right on the day, sometimes it just goes like that (especially when you’ve got a genius like Steve Gurley at the controls anyway).

Are there any other versions that remain unheard?

Not by us but I do remember somebody doing a bootleg version of it with a few changes. A few well known DJ’s had started playing it and the guy had cheekily pressed it up but Rob Playford got wind of it, found out where it was being pressed and put a stop to it. As I recall, the guy in question was pretty unhappy and a few threats were thrown about but nothing ever came of it, it really was a little bit Wild West back then.

I assume the cover for the second remix was a reference to that?

I think the title must have been a dig at the bootlegger yeah.


How did the re-remix with DJ Randall come about?

We were in a club one night where Randall was playing, Brad had disappeared for a while and when he finally showed up he said “I’ve been chatting backstage with Randall, he’s coming to the studio on Monday” it was as simple as that. He came to the studio and we did it in a day. I’m not sure if it was originally meant for release or just as a special for him to play but I know Rob Playford was really happy when he heard about it as Randall didn’t appear on wax very often and it eventually got a release.

With all these versions do you have a favourite?

My favourite mix is the first one we did.

I always wondered what the answering machine message left by Ray Keith for Rob Playford said on a rare test press release for your remix, can you enlighten us?

I don’t have a copy of the answerphone message version, until this moment in time I had no idea it existed!

The story goes Ray had his car broken into and had his records stolen, DAT’s taken everything. He left that message on the Shadow answer phone explaining this in relation to something he should have done for the label but now couldn’t. The answer phone message was added to the test press but was not kept on DAT… I’ve reached out to someone who has the vinyl so if I can get a recording I’ll send your way! Alex doesn’t have it either…

Notes from Alex Banks on the original version of Lords Of The Null Lines

This was a big deal for Danny and me. It was the first time we did a tune at 160 beats per minute. There was much debate in the shed as to whether we should make a tune that fast. In fact, on the floppy disk, the working title was just “160BPM”.

The melancholy intro was done on a Korg M1. I had programmed it so that some of the notes weren’t in time. Rob Playford asked if I had played it in live? I said “Yes”, but I lied…

The “We’re gonna rock ya!” sample came from my sister’s friend’s daughter. One afternoon we were sitting in the small courtyard that separated the shed from my sister’s house. Harriet was about 5 years old and I was demonstrating my dictaphone while getting her to say cool shit!

The bass note was from a sample CD. I remember sweeping the midrange eq ‘till I hit the sweet spot. The effect was a preset for a Zoom FX unit at Purple Rain.

Breaks are from Norman Cook – Skip To My Loops and the synth sound came from the A to D Sample CD.

The bell sound that comes in at the end was a late addition. Danny said, “I think it needs an extra sound at the end there.” I said “Nah mate, there’s enough in there already”

We have this argument about this bell sound and eventually put it in. Now it’s my favourite part of the tune! In Poland when I played Lords everyone in the crowd sung along to the bell sound! When Foul Play remixed it they asked for this sound, but I had lost the M1 card it came from. I was gutted!

Thanks to John and Alex for their help in putting this post together. John will represent Foul Play at the AKO Beatz Halloween Jungle Special on Saturday 28th October at Bar 512 London.

In Conversation With Blame

During the early to mid-nineties Blame released an impressive collection of genre-defining singles on Moving Shadow that ranged from big room anthems to groundbreaking experimental excursions into techno influenced drum and bass.

In 1991 he launched onto the scene with “Music Takes You”, an instant classic with its euphoric chords, in your face beats and Seal vocal samples. In the years that followed he adopted a more pioneering approach to production, still learning his craft yet fuelled with a creative desire to push boundaries he went on to record groundbreaking titles like “Essence” with longtime friend Justice and “Transitions” with fellow Moving Shadow artist and graphic designer Deep Blue. It’s no small feat that Goldie heralds “Essence” as the greatest Moving Shadow release of all time.

We caught up with Blame to discuss this period and the years that followed at GLR and beyond.

It seems to be a common theme that people from a design or art background end up producing music, how did you make that transition?

I’ve always seen a lot of similarities between design and making music. Placing sounds in the right place, leaving space where it’s needed, having taste for style. Having a contrast between colours or sounds. It was a really natural transition for me having that design background. It just felt right.

Tell us about that first time in the studio with Justice…

That day blew my mind. I realised you could go into a studio and come out with a record a few hours later! That was a dream for me. I started saving my money up and booking the studio whenever I could after that first day. We loaded up our favourite drum samples like apache, our favourite hip hop vocal snippets and it all just came together. We made a track called Death Row that day which was released on Chill Records.

Tony (Justice) told me about those Tuesday night studio sessions, what was that like for you?

They were amazing times, but quite frustrating in certain ways for me. I used to have ideas in my head that I couldn’t get out because I wasn’t skilled enough musically. It took me years of practice and persistence to be able to get what was in my head out onto tape.

How do you feel about those early productions?

I like them all for what they represent, they are all steps in the musical journey! Sometimes when I listen back I can’t even remember making certain songs, it’s like I’m listening to music someone else made, and then I realise it’s one of my tracks. That’s quite a mad experience! Continue reading “In Conversation With Blame”

DJ Windmill Talks Divine Inspiration

Divine Inspiration is a classic example of early drum and bass produced very much in a hardcore style. A sampled atmospheric breakdown pitched up, rugged amens and the Tragedy drips that sound slightly out of time. This looseness gives it a great sense of character and urgency that quantising would have probably destroyed. I caught up with Windmill to discuss the track, LTJ Bukem, the Legend Records crew and DJin.

I read you made Divine Inspiration in two hours, is that true? Tell us about its production.

Yep, that’s true! I had the ideas for the samples and literally knocked it together in two hours one morning! It’s interesting you mention the tragedy samples (good spot by the way as they are not from Isao Tomita “Mercury – The Winged Messenger” as a lot of people think, the vocal sample is from the same song) the intention was to clean it up. Both that sample and the loop. I wasn’t totally happy with the track but I took the rough demo on DAT to Bukem’s and asked for his thoughts, the next thing you know we are on our way to Music House in Holloway Road for him to cut a plate! Peshay just happened to be there and they both started playing it out heavily from then.

What was it like in Music House getting that plate cut?

Pretty cool! I was playing out at the time so it was a good opportunity to pick up some new tracks. There were loads of guys in a similar boat so I was happy to swap my tune with them. I think Tayla was in there too if I remember rightly.

Bukem played Divine Inspiration at Dreamscape 6 and it immediately stands out for being so incredibly raw and almost aggressive. What does it mean to be part of a set that also introduced us to Atlantis, Gangster, Palomino and Hall Of Mirrors?

At the time, Danny Bukem was the best DJ around in my eyes. In terms of style and tune selection so him just playing it was a buzz for me! I remember being at Dreamscape and hearing him play it and my friends and I were going nuts! I didn’t really give it much thought at the time as I was only 19 and partying as much as I was playing out. It was certainly a real honour that someone like Bukem was into what I had done though, that to me was the benchmark and a real seal of approval! Continue reading “DJ Windmill Talks Divine Inspiration”

The Making Of Renegade Snares (Foul Play VIP Mix)

Undoubtedly Foul Play were kings of the remix during the mid-nineties drum and bass scene. Their mixes became some of the most celebrated anthems of the day and managed to bypass divides in the scene that were forming, you would just as likely hear a Foul Play remix at Jungle Fever as you would Dreamscape. Most of these remixes are still heralded as classics today.

This is the first part of a series in which John from the group gives us the low down on some of the highlights from their remix catalogue.

First up is Omni Trio “Renegade Snares VIP” with added notes from Alex Banks (Hyper-On Experience) who engineered the track.

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What elements of the original track did you have when putting this together?

When we remixed it the first time we had all the samples from the original as well as all the midi files for the musical parts such as the iconic piano, but with the VIP remix we only had the vocals as we made it at a different studio using hardware sequencers so we had to recreate everything.

The original remix is one of the most iconic tracks in drum and bass history how does this version differ?

Because our first remix was so popular the plan was not to stray too far from what we’d done before. As I said, it was made in a different studio using different equipment so our first task was to basically recreate what we’d done previously but with some pretty subtle changes to give it a new lease of life.

Why did you decide to make another version of the remix?

We made it on request from Rob Haigh (Omni Trio). He wanted to include our remix of Renegade Snares on his debut album but thought that that particular version had already been done to death, so he asked if we’d do an update.

Where did you produce this one?

We made it at the studio belonging to Hyper-On Experience in Beccles. Since Steve Gurley had left Foul Play the previous year we’d worked at a number of different studios and always had great results with the Hyper-On guys so decided to make it there.

Who worked on this VIP mix?

Myself and Brad (Foul Play) plus Alex and Danny (Hyper-on Experience) worked on it. Although Alex and Danny were credited as engineers their role was much more like co-producers. Alex’s musical ability was particularly invaluable when recreating the musical aspects of the original track.

What equipment did you use?

The track was entirely sample based so we used the studios Akai S1000 sampler and it was sequenced using a pair of Alesis MMT-8 hardware sequencers.

What was the reaction from the artist and label?

As far as I know, everyone was really pleased with how it turned out. It would have been given to a few select DJ’s to try out (which was why it was named VIP remix) and must have gone down well with them because it made the album without any changes being requested.

Can you explain the tracks arrangement and the theory behind its structure?

As I said earlier we decided not to stray too far from our first remix so that was our guide for this one. We often like to start our tracks with something fun for DJ’s to play with during the mix in, and this was no exception. The pitched snares and gradual percussive build up before the vocal and 808 bassline drop is all designed for the dancefloor, leading up to that iconic piano breakdown. The main addition that wasn’t in the first remix was the second more dubby bassline that appears midway through. This was basically down to the fact that it was 1995 and Jungle was king at this time, so we thought it would be nice to reflect that in this version. it seemed to work as the dancefloors always seemed to respond well to that section and the track as a whole.

Added notes from Alex Banks (Hyper-On Experience)

It was the third visit from the Foul Play boys, Brad and John (the first being “Total Control” and “Stepper”). The session was set up by Rob Playford and I don’t recall speaking to the boys before they arrived. I was mighty impressed by the way they approached the remix. John placed a copy of the original remix on the turntable and pressed play. The first sixteen bars were an Amen snare played in a simple pattern and he said: “Do that again but run it through a phaser or something”, so we did. The remix continued following the same format as the record, but with minor changes here and there. I thought this was genius and have used this process myself.

The musical elements were pretty straight forward. We had the samples and copying the original piano parts were a sinch. We used the Korg M1 extensively. The Piano and string are an obvious example. The pad sound was the sample from Omni Trio’s original track. We spent a little time working out which chords were used, this dictated the range of bass and string sounds.

John asked at one point if I could tell how good a musician Omni Trio was from the samples?! It was all major chord samples played up the keyboard, so nothing special! I didn’t know what to say! I thought it was odd as I was far from being in any way competent around a keyboard!

As a side note. I can remember completely failing to achieve the very 1st programming edit! It was like I’d forgotten how the equipment worked and was trying to blag everything! Luckily I regained control of my brain and settled into my regular manic editing mode… The main drop features a tricky rhythm working the 808 bass note against the snare of the “Think” break – lovely. The second drop is a variation on bass and rhythm – classic.