From Organic HQ in London it's a little bit too easy to look inwards at the cities self contained scene, but if you step back and take a look elsewhere you will quickly realize that drum & bass is flourishing across the globe.
Calibre, Zero T, Bassbin, Subtle Audio, Spectrum... It's all coming straight out of Ireland...
Although strongly rooted, drum & bass in Ireland wasn't originally well received, Don Rosco lets us in.
"I started doing the radio with Naphta in about 94, and there was zero action in the clubs. Hardcore made a bit of an impact over here in the early 90s, but for Jungle it was a wasteland. We'd get red cards at parties, and the rare occasions we got some kind of venue together, no-one would turn up. We used to get some stick!"
"We just did the radio, and that meant we had to buy stuff that would keep us interested, which meant it had to be musically... interesting I suppose? Without the pressure of the dancefloor, we had free reign. When Rohan came along in about 98 or so and kicked the club thing off with the Bassbin nights, we had to learn how to play to dancefloors, while still keeping it interesting for ourselves. It's something we tried to encourage with our residents (Zero T, Beta 2, Polska, Elmo, among a good few others), and the DJs we booked. Rohan was always on it, looking for the next big thing."
The Bassbin label is often sited as a absolutely fundamental step forward within the irish drum & bass community, supporting early Zero T, Beta 2, Polska and Naphtha. Outside of Dublin in Limerick, DJ Code's Subtle Audio is the other significant label to be releasing drum & bass. DJ Code relates to the initial struggle for acceptance.
"I think the main reason for the difference between the scene here in Ireland and that in the British Isles is that drum & bass / Jungle has always been a niche thing in this country. Over the years it’s been much more mainstream in the UK with events in towns and cities across the land every weekend. And events are generally bigger in the UK seeing as most of the best known Dj’s / Producers are based there, meaning line-ups are less expensive to put together. These factors mean there is money to be made from the drum & bass scene in the UK which, in turn, means that (some) people are in it for themselves, for money, but the focus isn’t as much on the music as it should. In Ireland, even the biggest events aren’t really big money spinners and so the people who put on the events and the Dj’s that play at them are doing it because they love the music. So, the sound tends to be less commercial and attract a more loyal, hardcore following and that means the music doesn’t have to be watered down or tailored to suit a crowd that doesn’t really ‘get it’. Also, because so few people in Ireland are ‘in the know’, there has never been much pressure to have the latest dubplate, promo or to play what is in fashion at any given time. The emphasis has always been on playing good music rather than on playing the latest thing. I have been at nights all over the country since the late 90′s and that has always been a feature of the nights here."
If you look at the irish scene today, the promoters are bringing in the freshest and most innovative artists in. Spectrum promoter and TurnTable TerrorWrists DJ Mark tells us a bit about his own journey and Spectrum's rise to notoriety;
"we were getting a few spin's here and there around the place as The TurnTable TerrorWrists but nothing regular so me and Danny my partner decided no better way to get a spin than to play at your own nights. So we set up Spectrum and ironically had our first night in Feburary and didn't spin at it!
So far our night has moved 3 times and we finally found our home in the Twisted Pepper. We have had some of the freshest drum & bass talent play for us and some established head's aswell.
So far we've had Calibre, Alix Perez ,0=0 , Random Movement , Eveson , Q Project and Jubei coming up we have Seba , Genotype and Organic's own Alexander and Suspect coming over to Dublin before Christmas ! We've also had the cream of Irish talent play for us; Jet Li , Code , Synergy , Fraher , Kodie ,Gooky , Polska , Bad Operator , Craig C & Beatnik.
Our Night has gone from Strength to strength over the last 9 months and we have some big plan's for the next few month's and into next year "
When asked about the key players who have kept the wheels in motion for the Irish drum & bass scene Mark continues;
"My earliest memories of Irish drum & bass are hearing early stuff on pirate radio over here and partyzone on MTV. Going into Freebird in the city centre and buying mix cds, going to the old Bassbin nights in the South William and Met on my own cause Danny and Darren were a bit younger and Andy was away travelling! It hit a barren patch in the mid 2000's before Reach picked up the torch. their night's been going for 4 years now! Then Hertz U, 174, Tribe and ourselves with Spectrum came on as well! Major Players for me have been Beckett and Skeletor who set up the Irish Drum and Bass Website. Rohan, Ross and Naphta with the Bassbin Nights. Colm Synergy the hardest working man in Irish drum & bass with Hertz U Barry, Ricky and Jay with Reach, Fraher with 174 and Steve and Derek with Tribe."
Coming up this November, Organic will be touching down in Dublin for Spectrum featuring Genotype.
Spectrum & Organic Present… GENOTYPE
November 26th 2010
@The Twisted Pepper.
54 Middle Abbey St, Dublin 1.
GENOTYPE [Exit Records]
ALEXANDER & SUSPECT (Organic)
TURN TABLE TERRORWRISTS (Spectrum)
We kick off the first leg of the Organic european tour in style, hitting Spectrum, Dublin’s finest drum & bass night.
Headlining the show will be the one and only Genotype. With his album on D Bridge’s Exit Recordings imminent you know this is going to be a serious throw down. Merging soca and dub influences into a drum & bass framework Genotype is reinventing and redefining the genre.
With Support from Organic’s Alexander & Suspect and Spectrum’s Turn Table Terrorwrists this is not to be missed.
Yo Dublin?! We’re coming to shut you down! Bo!