Jun 3, 2005

Dub Plate Pressure

If you haven't already checked Kid Kameleon's guest appearance at Gutterbreakz you should head on over. Excellent piece on neo-ragga junglism with a heavy emphasis on the Toronto axis and an equally stellar mix to go along with it. That, plus being nearly at the end of my MA thesis on Toronto jungle put me in the mood to post the city's all-time jungle anthem - "Dub Plate Pressure" by Mystical Influence and his brother Sniper.

This tune came out in 1996 and was meant only to be background filler on the Syrous info line. But the response to it was so huge that they pressed up a batch and folks like Marcus caned it to death for the next couple of years. According to Mystical, it remains so popular to this day that they continue to press up a new batch every six months only to watch it sell out immediately.

The tune gets started with a crashing hip hop-paced break, backed by a guitar you'll recognise from the first Das EFX record (can't remember which song). Sampled vocals by MC GQ are chopped and echoed about. At 2:50, in comes the rinse. Amen business. Two minutes later, a new twist and that North American Remarc bass-via flanger tears in. GQ's screaming his head off about rudebowys and bumbo clots and you're bouncing around with your headphones on waving your lighter 'til you notice the lights are on and your neighbours can see you. Ahem.

mp3 - Mystical Influence / Sniper "Dub Plate Pressure"
(Vinyl Syndicate 1996)

There's a remix too but it's kind of silly.

@ Discogs
@ Play de Record ?

Re-live your Toronto junglist past for the first time @ Sigma Forums


In related news, I just discovered that Shut Up And Dance have an mp3 shop featuring a good portion of their early catalogue plus some more recent garridge stuff. Find it here.

Jun 2, 2005

Dubstep Ambassador

Cross-posted to riddim.ca

North American dubstep heads live on message boards and internet radio. If you thought was it difficult to find grime on this side of the Atlantic, try finding these tunes. A typical pressing is between 200 and 500 copies, and that's if the track ever makes it beyond dubplate status. Don't even bother with p2p - it ain''t there. But one man has got the hookup. Joe Nice has been building trans-Atlantic links to the London dubstep community; hitting FWD and DMZ, meeting the people who make it happen, and bringing the vibe (plus an armload of dubplates and CD-Rs) back home. In the last year and half, Joe's internet radio shows on Gourmet Beats and Breaks FM have become essential listening for the far flung North American scene who lock in their RealPlayer and get on the AIM chat.

Riddim.ca recently caught up with Joe who fills us in on how he got here, what he's up to, and where we're headed.

1. // How about a little introduction to Joe Nice...

1. A DJ currently residing in Baltimore, MD. (Go Orioles! Go Ravens! )
2. The co-CEO and host of Tuesday night internet radio show on GourmetBeats.com.
3. A member of GourmetBeats, 2CharmingCrew and BreaksFM.
4. Recognized as America's dubstep ambassador.
5. I love fresh squeezed orange juice.
6. I'm hoping Miriam Gonzalez (PMOM March 2001) will marry me.
7. I am thankful for the things that I have.
8. The Police are amazing....not the dudes in uniform...the 3 man band.
9. In my opinion, John Coltrane is the best musician of all time. Coltrane played tenor sax better than anyone played any other instrument. This includes Jimi Hendrix on guitar. I could listen to Coltrane all day. Naima.....wow, what a tune.
10. I was born in Southhampton, UK. My parents are from Trinidad.
2 // What's your musical background and how did it lead to dubstep?

My musical background really comes from my parents. As stated earlier, my folks are Trini.....so i didnt grow up listening to what the other kids in the neighborhood listened to. My father was in a steel drum band when he came to the states. I played trombone in high school. Steady dose of soca and calypso. Reggae and dub was also a given. Same with steel drum music. The Mighty Sparrow is still performing today....40 years strong. MS is to calypso as Fela Kuti is to AfroBeat....or Elvis is to rock. He's a legend. I also loved old school r& b....All Green, Luther Vandross...etc. From there, I fell in love with 80's music...not sure why, i just did. i then discovered Prince and i'm not sure i've been the same. I've been to a lot of concerts, Prince is the only performer i've seen that's better everytime you see him. he never gets old.....

3. // You belong to a pretty diverse crew in Baltimore that includes Brother Pinch and Light Touch spinning UKG, Ricky Ricardo playing grime and yourself spinning dubstep.  Now before I heard you on GourmetBeats radio, I knew baltimore mainly for the Bmore club sound.  What has the response to dubstep been like there?  Is a scene coming together?

The response has been steady, but positive. it's human nature to reject or be less receptive to something different. Dubstep is different...there's no two ways about it. The more I play, the more i see people getting infected with the virus. Kode 9 refers to the sound as a virus...and that definition makes sense. A virus is incurable and constantly mutating. Once you're hooked on this sound, you want more of it. What we listen to is constantly changing. We have a weekly event on Sunday nights in BALTIMORE called Delivery. The event doesnt specifically focus on the 2CharmingCrew's sound, but we do play frequently and we try to include all sounds @ our event. All positive vibes.
4. // What's your sense of North America in general? It seems like grime is getting all the press but dubstep is steadily making inroads and getting established.  How does the future look to you?

Grime is fine.....if you have the right vibes and energy, it works. I believe grime gets pub because of it's mild resemblance to US hip-hop. People know what hip-hop sounds like and there's a natural and somewhat logical progression to grime. The beat structures are different, but the energy is there. Maybe it's me, but i'm finding more and more people are losing their affinity with hip-hop. People are tired of bling, bottles of "Cris" and 26" rims on your ride. People actually want to listen to music that doesnt involve disrespect or opulence....i'm finding people actually
want to listen to MUSIC. Dubstep is that MUSIC. I think the future is bright for dubstep. I recently played in Atlanta and exposed the sound to the people....they're hooked. it's brilliant music that needs to be heard....and heard often.
5. // You were in London a while back and you checked out the first DMZ all-nighter.  Can you describe the scene, the space, the sounds?

The location is @ Mass in Brixton in an area of the building called 3rd Base. Keep this in mind....the building is an old church...St. Matthews church to be specific. The space holds about 350 people....the sound system is a 12k turbosound with no limit.

that's all the "technical stuff".

the sounds.....this was the best event i've ever been to. from start to finish. when i arrived, it was dark outside...when i left, it was daylight. It was a physical listening experience......most specifically the Mystikz / Loefah portion of the night. it's one thing to hear bass....it's another to feel bass. I swear my teeth were vibrating; especially when that Coki tune called "Haunted" got reloaded 4 times !!!  the crowd really made it happen also.....true supporters. the people there have a true connection with the music.....for whatever reason, the mcs, the beats....whatever it is, they were there for the sounds.....they werent looking for girls or boozing up. it was about hearing fresh tunes and being a part of the dubstep community...NOT a scene...community.

I'll be back again....it's an event that must be experienced.

6.  // What else did you get up to while you were over there? Can you tell us about the people you met and the links you made?

I went to FWD>>....this was my third time there. the first time was Feb  2004. of all the FWD>>s i've been to, this was the best one. I dont remember which dj went on first, but Plasticman and Kode 9 were the other two djs. they ripped the place apart. PlasticPeople is the venue where FWD>> is held....a small venue with a massive sound system. for me, there really were only a few people that i havent met....i met everyone a while ago in December 2004 and my first trip in Feb 2004.

the next night, a few of us went to Brixton for the Roots Manuva show @ the Brixton Academy....good times. I also went around town, hit a few record stores and really indulged myself in London.

the people i met....i love them all. everyone there is supportive of each other.....no negativity.

7. // Did you get a sense of how the London crew sees the North American scene?  Do they see a scene? Are they waiting to see what happens or do they have plans to get the music and the artists over here?  The grime guys are starting to get into it but the dubstep scene still seems very localised right now.
A little bit. i think the heads in the south believe there is a scene. they know there's a scene....more and more people are starting to get involved. we need more people in the states to push the sound. My friend JohnAsk (a local dub dj) would always tell me, "Joe, this is the future. this is next level....all people have to do is hear it."
it's the truth....once people hear it, they're usually hooked.

8. //From what I've heard on your show, you've got a good hookup for exclusive tunes.  Did that come out of your London trip?  Do you get CD-Rs sent to you?  Do you press up dubplates on your end?
Some of the beats came from my trip....some come from cdrs....i always press dubplates -- for a few reasons:
    1. Not every venue has cd players.
    2. You cant trust cd players.
    3. I like the feel of a dubplate. there's a distinctive smell and weight of a 10" press. there's nothing like it.
9. // How long have you been doing radio shows and playing out?

the radio shows...about a year and a half. i've been playing out for 3 years, dj for 10 years. The radio shows on GourmetBeats and now BreaksFM are vital. Anytime i have an outlet to play fresh beats on a consistent basis, i'm all for it. Me and my former roommate (DJ Tai) and another local dj named DJ DeStar would always do the show on a rotation. for the first three months, it was the three of us. Tai would play the first Tuesday, i'd play the third uesday. We were happy with the few listeners we had, but I felt there was more that we could be doing....

I went to London in Dec 2004 and JDaFlex invited me to his radio show. I met the staff and I saw how much work goes into a 2 hour show. Ever since my return, the shows have been excellent.i learned a great deal about how radio shows should be done. i incorporated some of what i saw that night into our shows and the results have been magical.

10. // You've had a busy month playing events and on air in DC, Baltimore and Atlanta.  Can you tell us just what you've been up to?  What do you have planned for the coming months?

Basically, i've been playing my radio shows on BreaksFM and GourmetBeats. Atlanta was fun.....the venue wasnt real busy but the people that were in attendance were on the sounds.
For the coming months....well, June's gonna be busy. I've got my radio shows, the pre-Starscape party in Washington, DC on June 17th, the 2CharmingCrew takeover on June 22 @ Club 5 in DC and a dub / dubstep show in Brooklyn, NY on June 25.
There's also Montreal.....gig on August 17th...and there's a few other things that i dont want to jinx right now. I'm keeping active and that's good.

11. // What tunes and which artists are you feeling right now?  Is there anything on the horizon that we should keep an eye out for?

Tunes....i think i'll drop a top 20 here. No order....just a list.
1. Loefah - Monsoon Remix (right now, my tune of the year.)
2 .DJ Pinch - Quwwali ( a future classic people. it's up there with all the other classic dubstep tunes we all know. Sholay...GiveJahGlory...Fat Larry's Skank...Quwwali is in the "team photo".)
3. Skream - I
4. Random Trio - Haunted Remix (automatic reload on this tune. )
5. Loefah v Skream - 28 Grams ( wobbler !!!!!! )
6. LWiz - Untitled
7. Digital Mystikz - Walk Alone / Neverland
8. D1 - Veto
9. D1 - Untitled
10. Distance - Vicious Circle
11. Plasticman - Death By Stereo VIP
12. Digital Mystikz - Mood Dub
13. Search & Destroy - Transition (I'm not sure where you put this tune. it's too breaky to be dubstep, too hard to be broken beat.....it's just a damn good tune. More witchcraft from Lohan.)
14. Loefah - Encona
15. Random Trio - Troy
16. NType - The Ritual VIP
17. AppleBlim - Girder Dub
18. Shackleton - Relentless Morning (abstract madness)
19. Distance - Taipan (how angry is this one?)
20. Skream - Indian Dub VIP
things to look out for...wow.
Skream's album.
Loefah's album
Kode 9's album.
and....loads of releases from just about everyone...including, Skream, Distance, Boka Records, SLT MOB, Hotflush...and of course, Toasty. Everyone likes Toasty !

12. // For those who don't know, can you fill us in on the Billy Ocean Shuffle?
MAN...i'm not even sure i know what it is. Something i made up really.....you know how when you dance...you shuffle your feet a bit? Well....i'm home one day, just listening to some tunes on my PC. next thing you know, a Billy Ocean tune (Caribbean Queen) was on and i started to get into a little dance. No reason at all....just feelin the tunes. i mean....everyone does this sort of thing at home....singing in the shower...in the car...etc. Anyway, that's how it happened....Billy Ocean + shuffling feet = Billy Ocean shuffle.
It's not a dance that's real specific....it's not like the running man, or popping or locking...or anything like that. when you let the music do the work for you, that's when it's right.


Joe Nice live @ Sonar 5/28/05