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DJ DB Interview
Contributed by: Inaya
Source: dogsonacid.com
Posted on: February 15, 2008 12:07 MST
Filed under: Electronic

dj db

DOA: Thanks for having a chat with us today! The original Secret Art mix is one of those mixes that was pretty much essential to own at the time as well as most of the tunes which were on it now being legendary. Did you have any clue that it was going to become such a classic when you released it?

DB: Not really, but it was definitely the most personal mix CD I had ever done. So it's very cool that it resonated so deeply with so many people. The genesis for it was actually the free CD we gave away at the opening of Breakbeat Science.

DOA: That's interesting. What was your main motivation for creating a sequel to this great mix? Who are some of the artists that our readers can expect to hear on Then and Now and how did you go about choosing them?

DB: The main reason I did it was simply because people kept asking if I was ever going to. Like the first one, I picked tunes that had been personal to me. Some big, some not so well known. There were definitely a couple of tunes that I was unable to get because the artists/labels wanted too much money (names are held back to protect the guilty :) ). It drove me crazy not to be able to get them. Luckily, I'm still good friends with Rob Playford and he sorted me out on the 5 classic Moving Shadow ones I wanted. There are some quite obscure but really brilliant tracks that are on it.

DOA: Many new additions to Drum & Bass may not be familiar with the absolutely large role you had during the birth of the scene here. When did you first move to the States and could you tell us the story of NASA and its effects on the NY rave scene?

DB:Well, I moved to New York from London in '89 with a box of Acid House & a box of Hip Hop records intending to stay for 3-6 months! Me and a friend started throwing warehouse parties in downtown Manhattan, called Deep. These parties were really the prototype to what became known as raves. Then I got hired as an A&R consultant for Profile records and we started releasing a series of compilations called Best Of Techno.

By now my visitor's visa had run out, which meant that I couldn't leave if I ever wanted to come back. So, while throwing illegal parties that were drawing up to 2000 people every Saturday & being chased by 5 separate legal agencies because of them, I hired a lawyer to sort out my immigration situation. Skip forward a couple of years and an amazing club called the Shelter offered us a Friday night to basically do legal raves.

NASA only ran from July 92 - July 93 & even now refuses to completely disappear from the zeitgeist. There's a long & boring story also about how we threw a NASA Rewind party a couple of years ago & my partner ripped off me & the club we held it at. Enough about NASA. :)

DOA: You seem so humble for someone who kick started so much. Is it true you gave DJ Dara his first residency?

DB: Yup, I was working at a record store called 8 Ball once a week as their jungle guy. Dara came in looking for the promoter of NASA to try & get a gig.
I told him it was over, but that I was thinking of starting something small & underground. He gave me a mix tape & I booked him for Light & Dark. We both played Techno & Jungle back then.

DOA: Sm:)e Communications, which released the likes of artists such as yourself, Dara, Omni Trio, DJ Trace, John B and many more was such an important label of its era. How were you involved exactly with this label for those who may be unfamiliar?

DB:Sm:)e came about because Profile was too Hip Hop driven to be taken seriously as an electronic label. The owner offered Gary Pini and I our own imprint. It actually was supposed to be called NASA recordings, but my greedy idiot/cunt of a partner from NASA could not see how it would benefit the club night. He wanted tons of money (for a name that I stole from the space agency), which Profile was never going to give, so Gary came up with the genius name Sm:)e.

What a lot of people don't know is that Gary and I released the first hardcore/jungle records in the States. We licensed and released 4 Hero, Acen, 2 Bad Mice & Baby D all as singles even before we did the History Of Our World CD. Sm:)e's biggest success though was Run DMC Vs Jason Nevins. "It's Like That" went to #1 in something like 17 countries. We also signed and released Dara's first records, although they never did quite as well as the Run DMC thing. ;)

DOA: Breakbeat Science was definitely an important landmark in the US dnb scene. What's the story behind the conception of the shop and how did it progress over the years?

DB: In 1995, Dara and I were working at a store called Temple. We both were not feeling Techno anymore and DnB was having an explosion, not just in creativity but in the media. Suddenly this music that was considered weird and disgusting to most people's ears was now hot and hip. We kept fantasizing about a NY store dedicated only to Drum & Bass.

Pretty much everyone felt it was a bad idea to take my DJ savings and invest them into a record shop that only sold music that most people couldn't stand. Everything is cyclical and right after we had expanded in a huge new space, 9/11 happened and with it, the dance music economy crashed. That combined with the rise of D&B heads who download (STEAL!) everything for free, has meant that BBS has finally had to close its Manhattan location.

The good news is that we have a really great long-standing relationship with Halcyon in Brooklyn and yesterday, we relaunched our shop within theirs. DJ Clever and I spun new releases for 2 hours and we plan to make that a regular thing. Every Friday from 7.00 - 9.00pm EST, with Dara alternating with us.

DOA: That is definitely good news about Halcyon! Are there any projects that you have got coming up that you'd like to make mention of?

DB:Well I'm relaunching the Breakbeat Science T-shirt & hoodie line, driven mostly by graff artists. They will be exclusively available from BBS Gear.

Not sure if people outside New York know about The Secret Night Of
Science. It's a once monthly night we do, focusing completely on the
deeper side of D&B. It's been going over a year now and its very special
to all who are involved with it. It takes place at a small venue called Love, that just happens to possibly have the best sound system in the U.S.
Check the Myspace for more info.

Stakka and I are working on remixes for the next Ror-Shak single and still hoping to find a "good" UK label to release the album. Any offers?

Also, Dara and I want to go on the road together again, so if there are any U.S. promoters reading this, hit either one of us up. Contact me here or Dara here or at BBS Bookings.

DOA: Thank you so much for your time today. It's been a pleasure. If there's anything at all you'd like to make final mention of, please feel free.

DB:My pleasure, I'm happy to have been asked by DOA.

'Secret Art of Science 2: Then and Now' tracklisting:

1. Danny Breaks - Droppin Science, Vol. 2 (EZ Rollers Remix)
2. Dave Wallace - Expressions Pt. 1
3. Alex Reece - Pulp Fiction
4. Cloud 9 - Jazzmin
5. Deep Blue - Thursday
6. Waxdoctor - Atmospheric Funk
7. Waxdoctor - Never As Good
8. Omni Trio - Nu Birth Of Cool
9. Omni Trio - Soul Of Darkness
10. High Contrast - Sleepless
11. Atlantic Connection - Brasil
12. Klute - Property Is Theft
13. Mutt - Advance Money
14. Ror-Shak - Sunshine
15. Klute - Never Never
16. Ror-Shak - Fate Or Faith ft. Julee Cruise (Club Mix)


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