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DJ AK1200 Interview
Contributed by: Inaya
Source: dogsonacid.com
Posted on: February 15, 2008 12:09 MST
Filed under: Electronic

dj ak1200

DOA: It's been a bit since you dropped a proper mixed CD. How long had you been trying to figure out where you were trying to go next after the success of your other discs?

AK1200: Great question. The thing is, I didn't know if I was even going to be able to come with another CD, because the market has completely dried up. I have had offers from various labels but, to be honest, what could I do that hasn't been done already? It wasn't until I was halfway through our tour that I realized the only thing I could do that would make any difference at all was to come with a concept that hasn’t been attempted.

DOA: Now, the defining thing about this CD is that you specifically were looking for unsigned hype. What was it about the unsigned producers that excited you more than trying to get fresh dubplates from established artists?

AK1200: It's all been done before, I mean, yeah I could call everyone I know and try to piece together an arsenal of tunes that were from all the big dogs and get as many specials or exclusives that I could get hold of, but what is the selling point to that? Why would that be any different from what I have already done and what my colleagues do when compiling a new mix? I have been around a long time, and I don't know how much is left in me. I know what this music means to me, and nobody else has bothered to take a chance on such fresh talent, yet the level of production can stand right beside some of the best around, so why not put my money where my mouth is?

DOA: Out of all of the DnB forums on the 'Net, what made you choose DOA? Do you think you'd have gotten as good of a response if you tried to do the same with with another forum out there?

AK1200: To be honest, DOA is the only international board I follow. From my past issues and debates with members on the board, I knew it was the one place where the passion for this music existed. I used to think people on the board were just haters but I realized they were just like me, and had strong feelings toward what they believed in, and the only thing they were missing was someone of stature to take them seriously. No, I don't think the response would have been the same if I focused elsewhere. I think the concept on its own would have drawn merit and respect and a lot of attention, but I don't think I would have had over 300 submissions to go through.

DOA: Out of all of the unsigned artists on Weapons of Tomorrow, which ones do you think, with the right push, could be in the big leagues of the DnB scene in, say, the next year?

AK1200: Well as I said, I had over 300 tunes to choose from, and I am sorry to be so bland with an answer, but I think every single one of the 20 artists featured have a great shot at becoming much more of a household name in the coming year. I guess if I had to single out some people specifically I would say Spiritech, Gabriel and Gamet, Fixation and Reborn, Silva D, they all should be more recognized than they are right now. But I truly believe every single artist featured has the talent and ability to become a force to be reckoned with in the near future, and I am just happy to play even the smallest part of that possibility.

DOA: Could you see yourself offering up more opportunities like this to new artists, say another mix in this vein or a label dedicated to seeking out that next, new talent?

AK1200: I am not sure I have the time or energy to do a new label at this point being the family man I am, I have to put the wife and kids first, but if the sales of this CD do well then I have no doubt the label will be begging for another installment. It's basically up to the consumer. I mean, if you think about it, this is the one CD that really makes sense to go out and purchase. Yeah, it helps me, but more importantly it helps the scene and it supports the artists and gives a big 'fuck you' to the system by saying ''we believe in the future of our scene, and we believe in the artists that represent the next generation of DnB, we don't care about a name, we care about a product''. Yeah, its my name on the CD, and that is what may cause the initial attention from the part-time junglists, but it's up to the purists to show the world that DnB is a real music form, when it comes to SoundScan, if this thing doesn’t make the charts, nobody will care and we will prove everyone right that DnB is not worth the effort; but if this thing does take off, it is going to make every label in the world take notice and prove our worth and place in the electronic market. That's just being real.

DOA: I know you, like many, were trying to figure out your place within the scene. Has this project helped you see DnB in a new light, and has it helped you wish to keep churning out product?

AK1200: Definitely. It's made me aware of the bigger picture and shows me how hungry people are in regard to this genre. It has made me realize that all the legendary greats can be put on their pedestal only so long, and there is so much more talent in the shadows just waiting for their chance to shine. There is a lot of really good music out there and most people don't even bother to give it a chance. I learned a lot from this project, and I see that I spent far too much time dismissing what is ultimately the future of our scene. I am genuinely happy for a lot of these people because they get it, they really get it. The concept, the formula, the direction things need to go. I see that now, and it inspires me.

DOA: Aside from the project, what else is going on? Are you still producing?

AK1200: I am always messing around in the studio, trying to find my way. I have never been confident with my own music, and I probably never will be, but I keep trying, and I have a few things on the horizon. I plan on doing a few singles with Gridlok for his P51 label, and I write a lot of downtempo stuff for my own enjoyment. I don't really care about putting stuff out; I mean, yeah the stuff I am gonna do with Gridlok, that will come out, but everything I do on my own is for my own personal gain.

DOA: Can we get a current top 10?

AK1200: Hmmm let's see…in no particular order, but the standard for every show would include:

1. Fixation vs Reborn - The Juice VIP
2. Qemists - Stompbox (Spor remix)
3. Silver - French Kiss thing
4. Demo - OD
5. Fresh - Chainsaw
6. Andy C and Ant Miles - Apparition
7. Roughcut - I Own You / Demigod
8. Stereolith - The World Is Yours
9. ''Ready Or Not'' bootleg
10. Shimon - Humanism

but there is so much more than that at the moment.

DOA: When do you see yourself taking it down and no longer spinning/producing DnB music?

AK1200: I guess as soon as I feel I am not wanted anymore. This music is my life and it has been since I discovered it in 1990. At that point, I had been DJing for a year and there was nothing that affected me as hard as those tunes that molded my career. I am a junglist, and I always will be. I will continue to dedicate my life to this music as long as it will have me.

DOA: I know growing up, many US DnB fans championed two DJs: yourself and Dieselboy. It seems as though many fans linked to you first, based off of your remix of ''Drowning''. When you made that track, did you know it would have as much of an impact as it did?

AK1200: I guess in the grand scheme of things it was that tune that caused so much attention, but I personally feel I had so many more accomplishments before that song. I had such an early start, I was the first US DJ to play in the UK, I was tied to Suburban Base and Moving Shadow in 1991, I was the first person to bring Andy C to America. Before ''Drowning'', I had already remixed Rabbit in the Moon, Crystal Method and the Dub Pistols. I wrote for numerous magazines, some of which I co-published. I was the only American to write jungle reviews for a UK magazine, Mixmag. I mean, this was 1993; [I was] an American telling UK people what UK records to buy. But yeah, here in America, my remix of ''Drowning'' was on the charts forever and became one of the highest grossing DnB records ever in the US. As happy and lucky as I am for that, I still cringe at that tune, and am constantly begged to play that tune every show I play.

DOA: Do you have any pointers to cats who might be trying to get their foot in the door of the DnB scene?

AK1200: I have always felt patience and persistence are the keys to success. It took me almost 8 years to make a name for myself and in those 8 years, I busted my ass non-stop and eventually it paid off. Also, I think people need to ride the fence, and not be extreme in their views. You never know when you are going to need a helping hand, and if you start off burning bridges, it can only make things more difficult in the long run.

DOA: Are you going to be touring in support of this CD? Where can we get your forthcoming DJ gig dates?

AK1200: I am definitely touring for the CD; I think the tour will run from October 26th through the better part of January, I am not sure of the dates booked so far but my agent's website (www.pamdjs.com) will have them listed as they get booked, so if there are any promoters who want to pick up a date, anywhere in the world, anytime, contact them at info@pamdjs.com and for any press related info, contact Catherine@funkydumpling.com.

Thanks very much, and I truly hope this CD is something you feel strong enough about to actually go out an purchase, as this is gonna be one of the few times you get to make a difference and support the artists and give them a chance to be recognized.

Respek, dave ak

AK1200 on MySpace
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