Thursday, March 25, 2010


Despite it being our 2nd Birthday Celebration, we put down the Champagne bottle for a bit, and had a little chat to 1Xtra and Metalheadz legend Bailey after he'd shaken CULT to bits at the beggining of the Month.

You’re well known for playing it across the board style wise. Is that something you’ve always done?

With any DJ their job is to make people dance. People pay their money to come and see you, and dance and have a good time. So if I’m playing a certain style and it’s not going down, then I’ll change the style and go whereever the crowd want to go. You can’t just go in and be like “I wanna play all my dark stuff tonight” and leave everyone in a right mood! You’ve got to give the crowd what they want each and every time.

So going right back, what originally turned you on to mixing D&B?

In 1988 I was bang into my Hip-Hop, big time b-boy, breakdancing, the whole culture when it first came over to the UK. But it started getting a bit slow for me; I liked the fast breaks and bass lines. A friend of mine was playing House music at the time, still in its early days when it still had breakbeats in it, and that was lot more exciting to me. When I went to the clubs, people were a lot more friendly than in the hip-hop clubs, all different colours and types of people all getting on, loving the music, which was a lot more energetic.
About 91 A Guy Called Gerald made a tune called “Anything” and that was it, I was like “I’ve found my sound”. I just followed it right through from the beginning, through Hardcore into Jungle and then into where we are now.

And what about music outside the genre - do your tastes stretch beyond that?

Other than when I’m playing out or doing radio, I don’t really listen to drum and bass at all, because you can overdose on it. So up and down on the road I try to vary what I’m listening to. I like to play other stuff out as well, special occasions, if they ask me to play on the beach at Sun and Bass, am I gonna say no? I’ll play whatever you want!

In your opinion what makes a good D&B tune - what makes you want a tune in your box?

A good driving bassline helps! But really it’s got to have an element of soul to it. I was brought up on Mowtown and Reggae, songs that are really personal and have a lot of emotion in them. Sometimes you don’t even know what it is, but it just feels right. There can be massive tunes out there that everyone else is caining, but if I cant listen to it again and again and again and enjoy it, then I won’t play it.

You must get sent a lot of new music for your 1xtra show, plus you do your bedroom sessions every Tuesday, where you listen to tunes sent to you by unsigned producers live online. Is there anyone who stands out, that when you see their name come up in your inbox you have to listen to it straight away?

There’s a guy called Hybris, who’s just had a tune signed to Critical, and every single bit he’s sent me has been really, really good. There are a few people who are almost there that I’m keeping my eye on, Phil Tangent, Heavy One from Japan, about six or seven guys that are worth looking out for.

Are you finding that D&B, in terms of the tunes you’re getting sent, is moving in a certain direction or is it staying as varied as it always has been?

These days where everything’s about that fast food lifestyle, “now, now, now, I wanna be famous” people will tend to follow trends. D Bridge comes along and makes tunes in his particular style; all of a sudden I’ve got 100 minimal tracks that are D-Bridge but not as good. People try to clone Pendulum, people try to clone Hazard, It happens all the time. What I look for are people who aren’t bothered about that. They’re just making sounds they’re feeling. If they’re feeling it, you can hear that through the music. That’s more important to me.

There’s been a big concentration of producers coming out of Russia and Eastern Europe recently. I imagine you get a lot of music from that end of the world - they’re making moves at the moment aren’t they?

They’re making moves everywhere! Not just Russia. D&B is a very global thing now. I’m getting music from parts of the world I wouldn’t expect to get it from. I played in Puerto Rico a couple of weeks ago and there’s a guy out there who’s lived there his whole life and he’s got a tune coming out on Metalheadz soon! The music is coming from everywhere. Second home of D&B was Germany at one time, and then it was the US for a while, then that died down. Now Russia is picking up. It’s everywhere!

You just mentioned Metalheadz. You’ve been a long time Metalheadz resident, what exactly is the connection there and how did it happen in the first place?

A friend of mine, MC Flux, was also good friends with Kemistry & Storm. Back in about 94 – 95 he introduced me to them at Voodoo Magic, Rob Playfords night. I was just doing mix tapes for myself, the passion of it, going down the record shops, buying tunes, handing tapes out to my mates. So when I mentioned I was doing Pirate Radio at the time, they tuned in. They didn’t say anything until I saw them the next time and then said look “Goldies doing this Metalheadz thing, at the Blue Note, we want you to be a resident” I obviously had no idea about what Metalheadz was gonna become. So they brought me in really. I’ve been resident for Metalheadz for 15 years now, a long time.

In all your years in Drum and Bass, what would say is the craziest thing you’ve seen that you’re allowed to tell us?

People always falling off stage man! At the Custard Factory there’s a pool in the middle of the venue and they drain the pool and put the sound system in there. Just behind the stage there’s a little gap between the stage and the edge of the pool. Grooverider stacked it and disappeared down the gap once! This pool’s about seven foot deep, I didn’t know whether to laugh or jump down to help him or what!
Generally you see random crazy people out all the time. This year at the Drum and Bass Awards I saw a guy dressed all in blue Lycra. I mean head to toe - there was a red one too.

For those who know, there’s the famous Dogs on Acid Photoshop thread of you. Are the forums something you like to keep your eye on? Because I know there are some DJ’s who are quite against that. They make a conscious effort to stay away and not read the forums and message boards.

The thing is a lot of DJs and producers take pride in what they do obviously. I’ve noticed that you can have ten people bigging you up but if that one person slates you, you’ll be in an absolute rage! That’s why I kind of stopped checking out the forums. As for the photoshop thread, I love it man! You know there were a few dodgy images, I wasn’t insulted by it, I just got that it was people’s sense of humour; I’ve got quite a dark sense of humour as well. I feel quite flattered that people are taking time out to graft my face on to some random image!
So I’m not totally against the forums; I really don’t have time to go on them anymore to be honest. There’s a lot of positive things on them but also a lot of negativity. What people forget is that it’s all a matter of taste. What’s the point in slagging someone off? If its not your thing then go and check someone else.

Some quick fire questions to finish:

Favourite country to play in?
New Zealand, easily.

Vinyl, CD or Serato
For me at the moment for convenience, CDs.

How many records do you own?
A lot, can I be bothered to count them? No.

Favourite tune of all time?
Burning Spear - Marcus Garvey

If you could own any producers hard drive, any genre?
Bryan G - he’s always had brilliant taste, and helping bring through that many great artists he’s got so many unreleased dubs from the old days.

Words: Nidal
Photos: Yemi Akinpulumi

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