Journeys Through Jungle & Drum and Bass Culture'.
Brian Belle-Fortune's spectacular personnel journey through
Jungle, Drum and Bass.
'All crews' is the sequel to Brian's first best selling
book 'All Muss Big Up' giving readers an insight into
the evolving scene from its humble beginnings, from the
mid-eighties right through to 2004. This second novel
features interviews with many of the high profile artists
in the Drum and Bass scene giving a unique insight into
the ongoing events in the underground world.
'All Crews' takes us back to the hedonistic summer of
Sept'88 when Brian attended his first outdoor illegal
rave. Like so many other people back then, hearing about
these raves was either through word of mouth or on your
local pirate radio station. Then off you go to buy a ticket
from some guy in the back of a shop. You never knew its
location until the very last minute, it was during these
times Brians life was changed.
The site of the raves was never disclosed right up until
the last minute, for obvious reasons, which resulted in
Brian following a convoy of like-minded spirits along
the M1 to destination Paradise!
There are many opinions as to how, and, where Jungle
began. Some say the 'Shut Up & Dance' vibe in Hackney,
East London. Others say a producer by the name of Lennie
De-Ice created it with one of the first ever Jungle tunes
entitled 'We Are 'I.E'. In order to give a more overall
perspective, Brian interviews many artists to find out
their views as to how the scene started. Starting from
its early roots in the acid house era, evolving thru into
Hardcore, Break-Beat and of course Jungle. We even discover
that International DJ Andy-C went to his first rave at
just 13! Magic!
We all need beats to dance to, and who makes these beats?
Producers. Brian interviews some of the leading producers
in '97 from DJ Hype, along with others. He somehow manages
to interview Shy FX at his mother's house. We learn that
Shy FX was a talented child, but it was actually his mother
who could see the potential within him at a young age
and wasn't she right!
Pirate radio has always been a major influence within
the scene right from the early days. It's a medium for
not only promoters, but producers, so the listener becomes
aware of forthcoming tunes and events. Eastman's Kool-FM
pirate radio station was a launch pad for many of today's
Drum and Bass DJ's and MC's, Brockie, Wildchild, Skibadee,
Mampi Swift, Ron, Det just to name a few.
Pirate stations always had the DTI looking on, we learn
about some of the station raids with Brian having a stint
with a few radio stations in London, in the company of
Ruud and also Ruud Awakening going under the name of Zy-on.
We discover about how the radio stations are set up from
the technician, station security, right up to the DJ's.
Learning how DJ's would have to soldier on due to other
DJ's running late or not even turning up, some stations
even had a bed within the studio!
After Brian had graduated from Sussex University in 1994,
he was heavily involved in BBC Radio One's 'One In The
Jungle' show. With Radio One in a bit of state at the
time they tried to do something different, trying to capture
a whole new audience, consequently in come: Shy FX, Goldie,
Navigator, Brockie, Kenny Ken, GQ, Moose, A Guy Called
Gerald, Rap, Det Roni Size and Dynamite. The show was
a real roller coaster ride with Brian's enthusiasm for
Jungle and drum and bass, trying to raise its profile
and awareness to a national level.
With the sets being pre recorded each of the DJ's chose
which MC's that they would work alongside with. Brian
includes some great stories about them, including Kenny
Ken having to bring down his own mixer and decks, along
with the infamous incident involving DJ Rap and Moose's
Out of the studios of Radio One we travel towards Soho,
London as we visit Blackmarket records. This was one of
the scene's influential record shops, dating back to '92.
The Drum and Bass section was run by Nicky Blackmarket
alongside the dark soldier Ray Keith. Brian talks to Nicky
discovering how he and Ray Keith were able to set-up the
Drum and Bass section of Blackmarket.
Raving for some people is their life, people work through
their jobs within the week to scrape enough money to get
out and party each and every weekend. A place to lose
themselves through escapism, that's what really kept the
scene ticking. Ravers coming from all walks of life black,
white, yellow, brown, old and the young along with the
rich and poor, all joining together to make up the Drum
and Bass scene.
Ravers would attend certain clubs religiously such as
AWOL at the Paradise club or Grooverider's and Fabio's
Rage, to name a few. Brian talks to many ravers about
their own experiences, he talks to one raver in particular
who twisted her diaphragm and was so desperate to go back
out raving she laid flat out on the floor listening to
Jungle tapes solid. Now that's hardcore!!!
Behind the raves are the promoters these are the guys
who put on the parties, from booking the DJ's, arranging
the venue right through to sorting out the security team
on the door. We find out quite a lot of what's involved
from behind the scenes of Telepathy and World Dance. He
interviews each of the promoters as they reminisce how
they got into the scene and why they decided to put on
their own parties.
DJ's and MC's are very influential within the scene as
many of us have a desire to become either a DJ or MC.
Brian talks to Skibadee, Hype, also Kemistry and Storm.
Even Brian himself had stint at DJin' as he DJ'ed at the
'Reclaim the Streets' demo in London.
We fastrack to 2004 as Brian took a stint out of raving
and returned to form the second half of the book, to find
how the scene had development since he left.
The Internet has been a big change in the scene with forums
such as DOA (Dog's On Acid) along with DNBA (Drum and
Bass Arena) both running, were people can chat to each
other and discuss the scene from home and abroad. The
DJ's and Producers themselves use the Internet even having
live chats with punters.
The way Jungle Drum and Bass is produced today has drastically
changed over the years. Brian talks to some of today's
leading producers such as BCUK, Hospital's High Contrast
and Formation's SS. He visits SHY FX's new studio, which
is a complete contrast from back in 97. As today it consists
of a MACG5 running on software and some sleek monitor
Radio has changed with technology, though the BBC continue
to play Drum and Bass with the successful Fabio and Grooverider
show which has been on air for 6years, to the introduction
of digital radio spawning 1Xtra with DJ's Bailey, Flight
and L Double flying the Jungle Drum and Bass flag high.
Brian was invited to attend one of Bailey's show whilst
live on the air.
The technology revolution has also affected the way we
shop especially Blackmarket Records. With competitors
selling online, at cheaper prices e.g. Red eye records
has a large customer base outside of the UK. The independent
record stores have started to suffer. With the way the
medium is distributed as well with vinyl not being the
only format the way the tune is distributed now with the
digital revolution of MP3.
2004 saw the first Drum and Bass weekender in Spain which
Brian had the opportunity to attend. Witnessing how big
the scene is with ravers travelling from all over the
world, with Drum and Bass uniting them together for the
weekend. Drum and Bass its self has exploded not only
in the UK but also abroad with DJ's and MC's such as Andy
C, IC3 playing in Eastern Europe. Places such as Russia
a former communist country, now loving their freedom,
a newfound sound.
Overall as you can tell this book is mind blowing and
explains the underground Drum and Bass scene inside out.
Talking not only to the Ravers themselves but also to
leading DJ's, producers, MC's etc, there are plenty of
interviews with the people involved in industry and some
good stories too.
The way in which Brian has written the book you feel
that you are with him every step of the way, with him
travelling year by year as the scene evolves. It is a
must buy for any Jungle Drum and Bass fan or anyone wanting
to get into the scene and understand its cultural past.
The one thing I would say the book lacks is mainly concentrates
on London. With people like the V crew based in Bristol
making a huge impact on the scene, who can forget the
Midlands with events like Quest hey I'm biased!
Written by Xtra-C Flashbackin' & Rewindin'