For those who don’t know, Bizzy B’s Brain label was one of the most futuristic in the early days when hardcore was becoming jungle.From 92-94 they released some of the best junglistic’ardcore there was. Classics like Darkness, Weekend, Dubplate Wars, 2 Dope ep, and artists like TDK whose TOG sublabel was a peak of amen choppage). Brain also put out the debut releases of Marc Caro (Technical Itch), Peshay and DJ Zinc (in the Swift and Zinc eps) and Slammin’ Vinyl’s Mike Slammer and Red Alert’s first 2 releases. Bizzy also released many a classic on other labels such as Slowjam & DarkIII on Whitehouse, Stamina and Raw Dogs Relik on Suburban Base and many more. In 2002 he was producing 2-step and Breaks with his Undercover Agents label and still releasing drum’n’bass under “Warped Science” (latest being ‘After F’ on Charge with DJ Fresh on the same ep). Brian’s eps for us are a new update of the Old Skool sound “New Old School” if you will. Using todays production values so it’ll kick in a drum’n’bass set today.
1. Can you tell us something about when you started djing/producing? Was it hardcore/break orientated music from the start?
I started Djing since the mid eighties, I was into hip hop, Acid house and raga back then and resources and funds were limited so I bought myself a cheap set of decks and a realistic mixer from tandy / radio shack and installed my own pitch controls using variable resistors to make pitch controls, I practiced every day and one day I did my first mix which was
Krush - House arrest mixed with
Kenny jamming jason can ou dance:
When the 2 tunes locked and held the mix for the first time I was so excited that I kept on mixing them for hours as I was scared that if I stopped I would forgot how to mix and be back to the beginning again.
2. What gear did you used making your tunes in the 90s and what do you use nowadays?
The first equipment that I bought was was a casio sk5 keyboard :
And a Amstrad home studio/hi-fi.
I used to play the samples levee and put down one tack at a time to make demos which I would then send in to record companies,
The process was very tedious but I always enjoyed experimenting with making music so It did not really bother me back then and besides at the time I did not know of any other better way to make music.
Later I bought a Commodore Amiga and found Octamed and an aka s950n( see sample below )
totally changed the way I would be able to make music on a low budget, It had a 8 bit sample rate and could hold about 30 seconds worth of sample time ,
Using the commodore amiga I was able to make my first track featuring Blakeski , Revolution / Bleepmainia and A stream of brain releases.
3. What inspires you and which artist(s) are a big influence to you?
Wow , Thats a good one, Life inspires me, The music I listen to , House , Other jungle and hardcore tunes, Going out to clubs and listening to different genres, The crowd reaction in the clubs and the movies I watch for samples.
4. You are using reggae/dancehall samples in your tracks, are these styles a big influence to you? Did you go to any dances/clashes back in the day?
Yes , My father is Jamaican and in my childhood days he was in a band so I grew up around reggae music rehearsals and back in the 80s the area where I grew up in my teenage years I was surrounded by blues parties and dancehall clashes by local sound systems, I remember going to a few in my local community centre on the estate where I lived.
5. When did you recognise Jungle as a style of music?
I have always recognised it as a style of music, It has always been very experimental which has kept it interesting over the years.
6. Why did you start your own label "Brain Records"? What's the meaning behind the name? Will we ever see a return of vinyl releases on Brain or will you only do digital releases?
Well after sending many demos to record labels and getting nowhere , I decided to start my own record label, I always wanted to do music and I had to make an urgent career choice due to my circumstances at the time. The name Brain represents twisted mind boggling music, As for new releases Yes, TDK and myself have a few recent digital releases on www.junglistdownload.com and I have started a personal page on bandcamp.
7. Back in the day you used to engineer/produce tunes for other artists (like Persian Prince, Budda q, Foot soldier etc). Can you tell us something about this process. Are the tunes 100% theirs or did they have input by you too?
Well back then I used to hire my basement studio to selected friends and friends of friends and studio partner and very good friend TDK and Myself used to engineer for these guys and of course we had creative input into the songs but as we were paid to engineer the songs, rights and executive production was the final decision of the artist. But we had a great relationship with those guys so we were also credited for our work where due.
8. When did you start the "The Dream Team"? And what's the philosophy behind the project? When did you first met with "Dean Vincent"?
Dream team was founded in 1994 , It was a name decided by Pugwash ( Dean Vincent ) and myself for all of our collaborations. We first met in 1993 in the laserdrome which was an Iconic jungliest club in London.
9. You are collaborate with several producers like for instance "Equinox", "TDK", "Peshay". Nowadays, it's easy for producers to collaborate even when they live in different/far away places from each other. Uploading a file and send each other links. How did you and the other producers collaborate in the old days?
TDK and I were friends from childhood and grew up in Leytonstone ( My UK home town ) We have always been very like minded on our hobbies, Past time and music. TDK is an awesome producer who has always underrated himself and he has been a pleasure to work with at all times. Outside of that generally to meet other producers We would have to meet up and get talking,share thoughts on production and listen to each others tunes and if there was enough in common I guess things progressed from there, I would invite them round for a session in my recording studio and things would progress from there.
10. Is religion important to you and does it influence your music?
If this question is inspired by some of my music referring to Dark and "the darkside" No its not about evil , back in the day we just used to call a phat tune with synths "dark" and thats it really all ther is to it.
I believe that It is important to keep a pure heart and bee good and I also believe we reep what we sow, and I also believe that there is a creator. But I also think "religion" can also bee looked at as a divider of people is possible a man made thing to control for the better of some organisation, personally I don't care what another person believes were all equal in my eyes.
11. Jungle became big in the UK mid 90's, where you bothered by the way it grew so fast and became quite commercial?
No , It was great for the scene, A lot of the artists that I knew were struggling to sell records, The commercial success of jungle caused a ripple effect in the underground too and pushed record sales up, Which was a big boost for up and coming artists that were struggling to keep the scene alive due to low finances.
12. Please tell me the best party memories from 90's.
Going to the lazerdrome and the dungeons, We would cut our dubplates and take them to the clubs to test the sound , One of my favourite moments was seeing 10 000 people cheer for my track and rewind it.
13. Nowadays it's so easy to find likeminded people online through the internet & social media how did you meet likeminded people back in the day?
For me it was at the nightclubs ,Through record shops ( where I met DJ Equinox ) and sometimes over the phone, when dealing with my dj mailing list as I had many djs contacting me through my record label Brain Records and Brain Progression.
14. What do you think about the jungle revival and the new generation of producers and genres that are influenced by or use elements from jungle like for instance Breakcore and Footwork?
I love it and I hope everyone keep it up, we are constantly creating new genres and experiment with dance music , So yeah its cool.
15. What's the difference between the vibes/scene in the 90s and nowadays? Any positive or negative changes/differences?
Positive changes are great, More technology, More audience to promote to , Social media, We never had all of this back then. The only minus is I don’t meet up up with other producers as much as I did back in the day where we all used to go to music house to cut dub plates weekly.
16. On online groups/messageboards like for instance the "Long live Beautifully crafted jungle"group on facebook there's a never ending (and oftenreturning) discussion about what is jungle and what is drum & bass and is drum & bass jungle and vice versa or what is the difference? There are a lot of new releases without any choppage and more regular drum & bass rhythm patterns mixed with reggae vibes and ragga vocals that are called jungle.. What is your opinion on this? when is it jungle and when is it drum & bass or is it all the same?
Well if I were to simplify my music selection based on that I would have a few record crates:
I would put all of my new skool 175 - 180+ tunes with hard lead synths and strings into my New skool drum and bass crate and all of my warm sounding dubby tunes and ragga style ones with the same BPM into my new skool jungle crate. as for the choppage ones I have them in a separate creat to mix them into those tunes as they go well with new skool tunes in a mix and help it to break up a bit, I think playing too much of 1 style on a set can be too much at times so I like to vary the tunes to suite the crowd I am playing too.
Good music is good music at the end of the day It doesnt matter the genre, If people like it, It must be good I make choppage because I like it but I also make other styles too or I get board making the same old stuff all the time.
17. You've always been one of the diehard junglists who kept
producing/playing jungle even when it became less popular. A lot of producers stopped or
moved on to different styles. But now because it's on the rise again and producers return to jungle again what's your opinion on this.
Its all good, I just go with what I feel and believe and I also believe music has a natrual progression from genre to genre, people are inspired by what they
hear going on we cannot help that we are all human, It would be terrible if the whole scene just died.
18. What do you think about the crazy amounts of money some of your old records go for nowadays? Like for instance the the Dread & the Baldhead [Slam! Records 07] for 211 euro!
Wow thats nuts, Because back in the day we did not have a bug budget to promote or the internet to share tunes so for what ever reason they did not sell very many copies and now there extremely rare and as a result the value went up and as there are not many I guess it makes them highly collectable now so respect to anyone that has bought my tune for 211 euros! I wish there was a way you could get the original for cheaper but that time has now gone.
19. Which of your own tracks/releases are you most proud of and why?
To be fair, I love them all the same, each track had its moment in the studio, but if I were to choose one it would be Second protocol Basslick which sold over 56000 copies in the year 2000 and was the most exciting moment in my music career.
20. You are using the "Amen Break" for more than 20 years. Please tell me the charm of the break? Do you think it's overused as a lot of people claim or is it still magical?
It is used allot, I agree but as long as it still sounds good to me in a track I will use it, Unless you copy another tune beat for beat or just use straight loop used by someone else it will sound the same , But the way I like to use it is different to me each time as I have so many Amen style breaks that are processed differently and I also do more processing in the production of new tracks too which makes the possibilities and sound endless to infinity on what you can do with the amen or any other break for that matter.
21. Time for some lists:
- Name 10 of your all time favourite oldskool jungle tunes
1 Merda Style - Bizzy B and Peshay
2. Itch it up my selecta , Bizzy B and Peshay
3.Remarc - Drum N Bass Wise (Remix)
4 . Shy FX & UK Apachi - Original nuttah
5. M Beat feat General Levy Incredible
6 Dillinja - Deadly Deep Subs
DJ SS The Lighter (ORIGINAL)
7. The Dream Team - Raw Dogs (Shy Fx Relix)
8. Ray keith - Chopper (Shy fx remix)
9. Nasty Habits - V.I.P. Drumz
10. Bizzy B & TDK - Wicked Man 1995
Sorry had to include
11. Dead Dred - Dread Bass
- Name 10 of your all time favourite newskool jungle tunes
1. Morgans Rain ft. Bahia - Bladerunner Rmx big
2. Dreadlock (Serial Killaz & Run Tingz Cru Remix
3. Bizzy B NATRUAL FEILD OF SCIENCE
4. New Vibes JINX
5. Shy FX & T Power Vs Top Cat - Everyday
6. REBEL MC feat TENOR FLY/D GET READY
7. Blaze It Down DILLINJAH
8. Champion DJ (Shy FX Remix)
9. STAMINA - Bizzy B and TDK VIP
10. TDK RAMBO
22. I know you're busy with family, your printing shop, mp3 store, sample store, producing and djing around the world. What are your future plans? Any
new ventures? New releases?
Yes I am currently working on a junglist clothing line ( Junglist 95 and Junglist 94 ) Available from www.jdclothing.co.uk
also I have many new releases on soundcloud https://soundcloud.com/bizzyb2007 and www.junglistdownload.com see the list below In the near future I am oping to get my daughters recorded for a song as to my surprise they can both sing very well, My plans are to carry on djing around the world and release new music and garments for that massive .
※ This interview was recorded on September 28, 2015 ※
Interviewer - Tommy De Roos & Ume(Murder Channel)