I’m dropping the impersonal tone I generally employ in these blog posts on this occasion because this is a personal message from me, Hex. On June 2nd DNB Dojo took part in Blackout Tuesday, and I took time to reflect on the problem of racism, both inside and outside of the Drum & Bass scene. That reflection led me to the conclusion that I have not done enough. Angela Davis said it best when she said “In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be antiracist.”
It should go without saying that Jungle and Drum & Bass is a music firmly rooted in Black culture. I’m not going to go into depth on that history here because so many better writers, filmmakers and podcasters have already covered it in immense detail. Rosemary Pitts has posted an extensive list of watching / reading / listening material on the History of Black British Rave Culture over here on Instagram (also available on Facebook here courtesy of EQ50) which I’ll be working my way through over the coming weeks and months. I can already thoroughly recommend Brian Belle-Fortune’s absolutely seminal All Crews as essential reading for the passionate junglist.
Beyond that reading, I’ve been thinking about what I can do both as an individual and as the owner of a platform, albeit a small one. To that end, here are the actions that I’ll be taking going forward:
Donate: I’ve already made personal donations to The George Floyd Memorial Fund, Black Lives Matter UK and Show Racism The Red Card, and I will continue to make contributions to these and similar organisations each month.
Educate: Luke Kessler is dedicating four weeks of Classic Track posts to the contributions of Black originators within D&B and Jungle, and the series will continue to ensure Black artists are properly represented as we celebrate the history of this music. You can read the first of that series here.
Represent: I will be doing more to find, highlight and celebrate the work of Black artists, DJs and label owners within our scene across all of our content; premieres, guest mixes, interviews, reviews and features.
I’d like to reiterate that this space is welcoming to Black people and indeed people of all backgrounds. I listen to all music that comes to the Dojo inbox, and while I can’t promise to feature everything I will always respond and try and provide honest feedback and creative criticism. If that’s something you’re interested in then please get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yesterday we took part in Blackout Tuesday, standing in solidarity with the Black community across the world. Today we return to what we love to do here at DNB Dojo; showcasing music that excites us from artists across the Drum & Bass scene. But we want to make it clear that this isn’t the end of our engagement with the problem of racism.
Going forward, we’ll be thinking about what we can do to better showcase Black artists within our scene, and how else we can be part of the solution rather than the problem. Expect more on that soon. In the meantime, we understand that not all spaces can feel welcoming to people from all backgrounds, not least Black people, and we want to make it clear that this one is.
We listen to all music that comes our way in the inbox, and while we can’t promise to feature everything we will always respond and try and provide honest feedback and creative criticism. If that’s something you’re interested in then please get in touch: email@example.com.
The violent murder of George Floyd, and the many black lives lost previously are an outrage, and we have a duty to not stand silent in the face of racism and oppression. Please join us as we stand with the Black community, not only in the US but worldwide, to demand change.
On June 2nd DNB Dojo will observe Blackout Tuesday, a day of contemplation in solidarity with all those struggling for justice and alongside the movement across the wider music industry. Going forward, we will be looking at how we can help further, and how we can better support Black musicians within the Drum & Bass community.
Drum & Bass Arena have put together something that looks pretty special – a feature length documentary about the genre we all know and love and how it has moved and changed over a 20 year period. Featuring some of the best known names including Goldie, Phace, Riya, Andy C, Spirit, Hype and many, many more, this looks like absolutely essential viewing. Check out the trailer below and hit up this link at 8pm UK time on May 25th to watch the full feature!
Amongst the thousands of bedroom livestreams currently flooding Twitch, Facebook and all the other platforms, the recent Stay At Home festival raised the bar significantly with a massive lineup of tasty D&B. Part 1 raised a whopping £18K for the NHS to help battle the Covid-19 epidemic. Now Goat Shed & Onyx Recordings are back with Part 2 featuring the likes of Amoss, Kelvin 373, Paul T & Oberon and many more, raising money for Age UK. Check out the full lineup above and hit up this link for all the details. Streams will be live from 10am on Friday 8th May until 2am on Monday May 11th.
One for the jungle historians…the iconic State of Bass book has been revised and reissued for the first time since it’s original publication. Written by Melody Maker journalist Martin James and originally published in 1997, the revered tome covers the origins of jungle and D&B and explores the social, cultural and musical roots of the genre we all love so much.
The revised edition bolsters the original content with previously unpublished interviews with the likes of Fabio, Goldie and LTJ Bukem, plus coverage of Roni Size’s Mercury Prize win for New Forms. General release is coming in April 2020 but if you can’t wait til then you can grab a copy right now over at the Velocity Press website.
One for the jungle historians…next year will see the iconic State of Bass book revised and reissued for the first time since it’s original publication. Written by Melody Maker journalist Martin James and originally published in 1997, the revered tome covers the origins of jungle and D&B and explores the social, cultural and musical roots of the genre we all love so much.
The revised edition will bolster the original content with previously unpublished interviews with the likes of Fabio, Goldie and LTJ Bukem, plus coverage of Roni Size’s Mercury Prize win for New Forms. The book will be printed in April 2020 but pre-orders are live now over at the Velocity Press website.
Younger junglists may not be familiar with KMag, but anyone who paid attention to drum and bass in the 90s or noughties will doubtless remember the original source of D&B news. From humble beginnings as a free fanzine way back in 1994, Knowledge evolved to a highly successful print magazine with some cracking cover CDs, before transitioning to an online only format in 2009.
Much to the sadness of many in the scene the site stopped publishing new content in 2015, but now they’re back and celebrating their 25th anniversary with a special one-off edition of the magazine, lovingly presented in book form. You can read all about it from editor Colin Steven over here, and if you like the look of it you can pre-order the book ahead of it’s December release.
Chase & Status’s ambitious new RTRN II JUNGLE project is gathering pace just now, and the latest news to emerge comes by way of a 10 minute documentary explaining the concept and nature of the project. Not content with merely returning to the roots of the sound, the team are going a step further and have travelled to Jamaica to record original roots and dancehall records that they can then sample in order to create original jungle music.
As ways to celebrate 15 years of a musical project and the influences of the sound that gave them a career go, we think you’ll agree this is pretty damn exciting! Give the video a watch below and look out for the first single dropping Wed 29th…
Czech tech imprint Authentic Music have been pretty quiet until recently, but they’re coming out of hibernation in a big way this month with the release of two compilation EPs featuring some of the best tracks from the label back catalogue. The first one is out right now featuring cuts from Hybris, A-Cray, Bone and Peejay & Panorama, and if you like your beats crunchy and forward thinking it should be right up your street.
Besides the Square One EP we can look forward to the next one (you guessed it – Square Two) dropping from Jan 18th on Juno and Jan 25th elsewhere. Featuring another fine selection from A-Cray, Ower, Definate and Hemoglobin, this is equally worth a look if you missed the tracks first time around.
As if all that wasn’t enough they’ve also released the first teaser of their next project, Art of Deception. Look out for more news on this soon, but meantime you can check out the clip of Revaux’s satisfying chunky Solidify below.