Fickuss: Blazin’ through the up and comers

So its time to get parochial and it’s not because it’s nearing September and we’re in Melbourne! It’s because this week in Melbourne the spotlight is well and truly on local drum and bass DJs and producers.

Starting things off this week  is Blazin’s “Up and Comers” night at Melbourne drum and bass HQ, the lounge. A field of rising DJs have won spots on the night to strut their stuff.  To find out a little more about the origin of this event, I caught up with one of Melbourne drum and bass’ multi-taskers, Fikuss.

1. How long has the up and comers night been running?
This will be the first one! Well the first official one anyway… we’ve always been into giving young DJ’s a chance to strut their stuff at Blazin’. I think it’s a really important thing and something that has been overlooked somewhat in the past in Melbourne. Hopefully it will be the first of many. I hope the heads come out and support the night because its something that we very strongly believe in… building the local scene is what Kombatbass and Blazin’ are all about!  

2. How are DJ’s selected to play?
All DJ’s had to email me and send in a mix of theirs on CD or via internet. We listened to every mix a number of times and then started narrowing it down according to the originality in tune selection, mixing skills, flow and style of the mixes. It was quite hard the entry standard was really high, much higher than I expected, and in the end I had to knock out a couple of DJ’s due to them getting booked at internationals since we started the comp.

3. Who would you say are some of this night’s success stories?
Well for everyone who is playing on the night it will be a highlight I guess because it’s always really exciting to play at a major gig for your first time. I know for a fact that every DJ who was in the winning 5 is very dedicated and will be improving out of sight in the next year or two so it just remains to be seen who the major success stories are….

I also caught up with all five “Up and Comers” in order to get a little insight into their influences and styles.

Valuetime has been mixing for just over five years, and is also appearing at the local line-up gig:

1. How did you get into mixing dnb?
Drum’n’bass is music made for DJing, and I think that’s the correct format. For me, DJing is basically the best way to listen to it.

2. Are there any  producers, djs or labels that are particular favourites?I’ve bought almost every Hospital record from the last two years, and my favourite producer is Matrix.

3. What would you say is your style?
Tuneful, energetic and a positive vibe

4. Any clues as to the set you’re gonna play?
 I have no idea what specific tracks I’ll play. Probably a variety of stuff that’s fun to dance to, and probably a few tracks that people haven’t heard much of.


Scholtzy has been mixing just on two years, and has a detailed account of how the drum’n’bass bug bit him.

1. How did you get into mixing dnb?
Pretty random actually, I was really into old school hip-hop & trip-hop ala dj krush back then, a mate from school who dj-ed (Pete) was trying to get a hip-hop show on street fm, so one day we both went to street fm headquarters to try and get a show. I walk into the station and hear this musical chaos, which Pete told me was drum n bass, it had an instant appeal to me, the moody basslines and rolling drums and all the subtleties in between, it struck me as a type of music that is meant to be played loud, but at the same time it still remained musical and intelligent. The guys playing it I later found out were Rux & Lex, I tuned into their show for weeks and within a couple of months got some decks, but still mainly for hip-hop funnily enough. I went to DMC to buy some hip-hop battle records, and walked out with 4 plates of dnb…am still yet to buy a hip-hop record. It took me about a year to figure out what was going on label / artist wise, I actually listened to every single release that came out at DMC…I would walk out mentally exhausted from music overload. It was the only way for me to discover the music, couldn’t go out cause I was underage. Somehow I taught myself to mix at the same time, it was a matter of 3 steps forwards, 2 steps back for the first 6 months, then things started to come along.

2. Are there any  producers, djs, or labels that are particular favourites?
Too many at the moment, Klute, Calyx, Teebee, Tactile crew (Chris Su & SKC), Phace, Break, Silent Witness, Noisia (Drifter), D-Bridge, Commix, D-Kay, Pacific, Breakage, Mav, Seba and Fanu.

3. What would you say is your style?  
Deep & heavy sounding dnb, for me it’s about tunes that are danceable but still manage to take you somewhere…it’s all about the vibe of the thing. There has to be more to it than rude synths and wobbly baselines to get me dancing.

4. Any clues as to the set you’re gonna play?
Due to playing most of my sets earlier in the night I have always had to hold back a bit, this is going to be my first opportunity to properly build a set up in front of a crowd, expect to hear a lot of brand new bits and pieces from the artists I mentioned above, all of them consistently producing quality music

Next up, its Leejay, who has been mixing drum’n’bass since about January of 2001:

1. How did you get into mixing dnb?
Well I had a go at other styles of music, starting off with a bit of 2 step. Then got my hands onto some old Helter Skelta tape packs and then knew dnb was for me.

2. Are there any  producers, djs, or labels that are particular favourites? Ummmm yeah. Alot of the stuff D.Bridge and A.I are bringing out are doing it for me. As Far as fav Djs….Friction and Zinc

3. What would you say is your style?
 Well I play a bit of everything really, but I like to keep the liquid vibes flowing..I like my tunes soulful

4. Any clues as to the set you’re gonna play?
Na man, all gonna b on the fly…have a few tunes I wanna play, Other than that you will have 2 wait and see

Zero Hour has been mixing for about three years but listening to drum and bass before the urge to get behind the decks took over.

1. How did you get into mixing dnb?
Basically I needed to change directions in music. I had been playing guitar in several bands and was getting very frustrated at the lack of progress I was making. I ended up writing and producing sum music with a friend which was purely studio based and involved a lot of drum programming and electronic based sounds mixed with some live sounds. This kinda forced me to pay a lot more attention to electronic music which I hadn’t before. When I could see that this project was also not working out I had developed a more serious liking, in particularly for DnB and decided I would like to get some mixing equipment and try dj-ing. I told a few people, who laughed at me and said it was a big change to make etc. and about 12months later I committed myself to sum equipment and have never looked back. I’m looking forward to writing and producing again when I get some more equipment together.

I have played out here and there but I guess this year is when I have decided to take dj-ing a bit more seriously as well as try to put back into Melbourne’s DnB scene & represent sum of the sounds I’m into.

2. Are there any producers, djs, or labels that are particular favourites?
I was always a sucker for futuristic atmospheric sounds so Good Looking and Bukem have always been up there for me. ASC, Polar, Mav, Big Bud, Blu Mar Ten, J-Laze, Makoto, and Fanu are guys I always watch for releases. Labels I like to watch are Covert Operations, Warm Communications, Fokuz, Subtitles and Strictly Digital.

I’m also a fan of the harder darker tecky sounds such as, BSE, Phace, Noisia, Corrupt Souls and TeeBee.

3. What would you say is your style?
Definitely on the progressive/atmospheric/future sounds tip. I like more tecky flavours and I like things to flow rather than mash up. There is a lot of atmospheric/techmospheric producers putting out quality tunes and atmospheric stuff has a lot more spring in its step these days…..so deep but still plenty of energy to move the dance floor.

4. Any clues as to the set you’re gonna play?
Beats in Space…….Future sounds from the deeper side of DnB…..plenty of quality new releases to showcase what’s been going down in the deep end.

 DJ Will is also on the lineup,  although not exactly a local (he’s from Tas) he’s been mixing for about the three year mark as well. 

1. How did you get into mixing dnb?
 Heard Grooverider play in ‘99 and was immediately hooked on dnb.  Started mixing using mp3s and an old pc before I managed to save up enough money for a pair of decks. 

2. Are there any producers, djs, or labels that are particular favourites? Grooverider for converting me to dnb, Evol Intent for keeping it dark and all the Tassie boys. 

3. What would you say is your style?
Varied. It depends on the time, place and atmosphere.

 4. Any clues as to the set you’re gonna play?
Now where’s the fun in that?  

The Up and Comers showcase at Blazin’ is on this Thursday night at the Lounge.  Check ITM whatson for more details.