Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Days Like That Vs Local Action at Plan B Brixton, Friday 24th September


After three rammed parties at the Russian, Days Like That are once again teaming up with one of the UK’s best new labels - Local Action, and heading south...

We've o finally pin down a man that was responsible for establishing the 2-step template from day dot and taking it to places way beyond its time back in the late ‘90s – Noodles!

One half of the legendary Groove Chronicles duo with El-B, their productions remain a massive influence on the UK’s constantly evolving dance music scene, and 1998’s ‘Stone Cold’ is considered by many – including Burial – to be the defining garage track. Days Like That resident DJ Para and DEA Projevt veteran will be playing a set showcasing his new Yosh! Records label.

Representing for Local Action are three DJs that sum up all that’s fresh about London’s underground music scene in 2010... Deadboy’s been responsible for some of the best dancefloor cuts of recent years, including the bonafide anthems ‘U Cheated’ and ‘If U Want Me’ (the latter on Glasgow’s trailblazing Numbers label), and as a DJ he’s one of the best around, cutting between garage, UK house and his brilliant R&B refixes.

Funkystepz currently host one of Rinse FM’s best shows, playing the freshest house and UK funky around with plenty of their own amazing remixes and individual productions.

Fis-T meanwhile has just released one of the biggest singles of the year, his staggering, floor-killing ‘Night Hunter’ – battered by Jackmaster, Loefah and Oneman. This guy has serious potential, and we’re beyond psyched to be presenting his debut set.

Finally, residents Tom Lea (Local Action) and MJE (Days like That) will be playing the best garage, house, dubstep and everything else in between. Best of all, it's FREE before 11pm and only fivers in after. See you down there.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Who remembers this one? 003: Groove Chronicles 'Stone Cold'

Probably the definitive product of the Groove Chronicles alliance of El-B and DJ Noodles, 'Stone Cold' took the two-step sound to another level. Sampling Aaliyah's vocals from her track 'One in Million', the Groove Chronicles duo gave her smooth sultry breathes into dark, hypnotic husks by wrapping them around jazzy keys and erupting the mother of all basslines midway through the track. A stone cold classic that still sounds like some dark future r&b shizzle all these years on.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Sunship on Ministry of Sound's Essential Garage show

Headliners at our next Days Like That rave, Sunship were this week's guests on the natty Ministry Of Sound Essential Garage show. There's nuff exclusives and upfront remixes from the men themselves, some proper vintage gear from Tuff Jam, Todd Edwards and Dem 2. There's also Rusko's future garage-styled 'Hold On' what we featured on the blog last week. Basically, it's the bollocks. So stream it here.

Essential Garage : 28th June 2010 : Sunship

01 : Macy Gray - Lately (Sunship Remix)
02 : Groove Control - Beautiful(Tuff Jam Unda-vybe Mix)
03 : Songstress - Seeline woman (Todd Edwards Mix)
04 : Party Hard - Let's Go(Sunship vs Chunky Mix)
05 : New Horizons - Find The Path (Tuff Jam Mix)
06 : Dem 2 - Desire
07 : D-note - Say What You Want (Sunship Mix)
08 : Jodeci - Freak 'n' You (MK Mix)
09 : Reach and Spin - Hyper
10 : Cock And Bull Kid - Misery (Sunship Dub)
11 : Hackney Soldiers - Hold Tight
12 : Sunship ft Charlise- 4u4me
13 : DJ Deller-Romantic Call
14 : Shut Up & Dance - Moving Up
15 : Youngsta - True VIP
16 : Untitled - Untitled
17 : Rusko - Hold On ft. Amber Coffman
18 : Sovereign - Chi Ching
19 : Sunship - Love Suicide ft. Robbie Craig
20 : Sunship - Saturday ft. Buzzkat

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Rusko on a future garage tip

Nice little summer two-steppa from dubstep-not-dubstep don Rusko. It's off his recent album 'O.M.G.' and definitely captures the sweet sunny vibes of classic vocal two-step with a future flex - and even some tranced-out synth action towards the end. And good to see Rusko still reaches back to his UK roots now he's a celebrated LA-living studio badman - producing for M.I.A. and Britney Spears.

Sentinels Interview

We don't know much about Sentinels, but what we do know is this. They are influenced by a decade of listening to pirate radio stations in London. They make deep, futuristic but fun synth-lead two-step, neon grime badness and future garage. They hate souless wobble music. And their bright rave-steppa 'Love Rhythm' is the freshest, bounciest blast of future two-step we've heard all year - when Whista dropped it at last month's Swivel party it sent us running to the decks in that classic open-mouthed 'what THE FUCK is THIS? stylee within the first 6 bars. Oh and Garage God Todd Edwards is a fan and inlcuded said track on his recent podcast for ultra-hip US mag XLR8.  Prop and plays from one of.... actually, fuck it, THE garage scene's biggest legends? It's definitely a good look. So basically, we don't know much about Sentiels, but everything we do know - and have heard - from them points to big tings for this mysterious production force. We thought it was time to get to know more, so we hooked up with James from Sentinels to get the low down.

DLT: First up, who are you and where are you from? What's the story behind the Sentinels name?

J: We are Sentinels, from North and North-West London, Finchley and Edgeware area. There are two of us James and Steve. I (James) take on engineering duties and online stuff and Steve does more of the DJ side of things and also does production. The name came about after driving around and seeing a sign on the road. I think it was for a house building company strangely! It made me think of the X-Men bad-guys and when I got home and looked the meaning up it felt right. It means 'watcher' and a sentinel was a type of Roman guard. I like the idea of the music being influenced from standing back watching things, like people, places and the motion of our city, London.

DLT: You describe your sound as inspired by a decade of listening to pirate radios in London. What were your earliest musical influences on the underground side of things?

J: We went to the same school together and both seriously got into UK Garage. Lush FM was an important station where DJ Luck and MC Neat were residents, Heartless Crew, DJ EZ and the like were all massively important. Getting decks and having banter on the mic was an essential part of growing up for us. Later Steve got into drum & bass and I went down the dark garage, grime and dubstep route. Steve's come back round to the vibes again and I really can't stand the souless dubstep wobble thing anymore, not to say that loads of artists associated with dubstep aren't great. It feels closer to gabba than the Horsepower, Bias, Darqwan stuff that the name comes from. Luckily there is this new breed of garage coming through again and some fringe artists and labels keeping things exciting.

DLT: As well as classic hardcore, the biggest retro influence we can hear in Sentinels music is UK garage - what was your entry into the garage sound? Which producers inspired you early on?

J: It's funny that the classic hardcore thing gets mentioned coz at the time we made tunes like 'Love Rhythm' the genre wasn't at the forefront of our minds, but I understand the comparison. We both grew up exposed to hardcore, from tape-packs to DJs at youthclubs and leisure centres in our earlier years. On the garage side of things, I think a whole range of garage artists do it for us. A lot of what you support with your night crops up. Dem 2, anything 2-step on Locked On, MJ Cole has been consistent throughout the years. Artful Dodger are a bit of an obvious name to check, but they could handle the delicate swing of garage so, so well.

DLT: A lot of people seem to be reaching back to those times and they seem to have inspired so much that is relevant today - be it Burial, Ramadanman, UK Funky, Peugot adverts! What do you think the classic UK garage sound has that so many other genres or sub-styles don't? Do you think it got mistreated or, at least, misconstrued first time round?

J: I think that the two-step pattern allows so much scope to play with. The subtleties of shuffle itself is a whole world of exploration and then you have the delicate balance of light and dark, male and female that all the best rave music deals with equally. I think the genre got closed off to people the first time round due to the associations with rude-boys and violence but I feel there is unfinished business to be had with garage. I respect entirely the nostagia factor of garage of many producers, intentionally or unintentionally but our aim is to push things forward and look to the future. I think two-step will outlive this funky galloping beat pattern that is becoming cliche, I'm not hearing much of a development with it yet. There is not as much room to play.

DLT: How did you first get into production? Did you have a musical background from a young age?

J: Our story is the pretty standard one of getting decks, vinyl and then moving on the making beats on a PC with no formal training. We use Fruityloops and still do for the majority of our productions although Logic is getting used for more recording and mixing these days. I think the Fruityloops program itself doesn't get enough respect in the audiophile world, but so many of our more successful contemporaries use the program to make amazing tunes. I think JME, Skream, Ramadanman (if I am correct) all use the program and cook up such sick beats.

DLT: Where can people hear your releases? And what have you got coming up? Any interesting collabs or tings on the card?

J: We are pleased to announce our first release on L2S Recordings which will be 'Love Rhythm' and 'Synaesthesia' coming out over the summer. Look out for our mix I have done for the Fundamental Mixology series. We'd also like to start up a vinyl and digital label with Fundamental, I'd like to push colourful synth-lead two-step, there are not many labels putting it out yet and hopefully it will become a vessel for our productions.

DLT: What's your exact involvement with Fundamental?

J: I started the site a month ago because I felt there was a need for a garage portal on the net that covers the contemporary sound and there are a few of us involved now with the project. There is so much good garage coming out (and not coming out!) and there needs to be a channel for it all. I didn't want to just create another hype blog, but start a directory for newcomers to get to grips with all of the artists making two-step as well as provide up-to-date information to the more educated heads. There are a few artists and labels that get do great things for the scene that I support, but already get enough press coverage and net hype (say Hotflush or Hyperdub.) Fundamental is about those artists that fill in the gaps. Dark Sky or Submerse are perfect examples. We support all sides of two-step from artists like SBTRKT, XXXY and Pangaea to the future garage boys like Whistla, Night Audio and Fortified. Hopefully it can help the scene build and grow and get more respect from those not in the know yet.

DLT: Safe James, now for our DLT quick questions:
5 favourite garage tunes of all time?

J: Very tough... off the top of my head...

1. MAW feat India- To Be In Love (MJ Cole Remix)
2. Wookie- Battle
3. Dreem Team vs. Artful Dodger- It Ain't Enough
4. Nu Birth- Anytime
5. Colours- What U Do

DLT: 5 favourites tunes of all time?

J: See above. lol.

DLT: Best DJ moment to date?

J: Nothing yet under the Sentinels guise really. But we are ready for bookings!

DLT: Who's going to win the World Cup?

J: I'm starting to fancy Holland you know. I think that ex-colonial dutch thing could spur them on. Hopefully it will be England of course, I'm just a realist!

Thanks loads to Sentinels for their time and also their sick summertime mix which you can download here. Also be sure to check out the Sentinels own Soundcloud page to keep up to date with all their killer fresh beats.

Friday, 25 June 2010

DLT Mix 003: Sentinels

Summer, summer, summer time. North London production duo Sentinels drop our third Days Like That mix - a nostalgic 45 minute smash of sweet summer bangers, cheeky bass badness and classic two-step anthems. We'll have a full interview with the Sentinels boys, currently causing a rave ruckus with their future classic 'Love Rhythm', up on site next week too. For now download this badboy, slap it in your stereo and get the summer vibes flowing.


N'n'G- Right Before My Eyes (Remix)
Dream Team vs. Artful Dodger- It Ain't Enough
Reservoir Dogs feat 702.- You Don't Know
Amar- Sometimes It Snows In April
M.A.W feat. India- To Be In Love (MJ Cole Remix)
Cleptomatics- All I Do (Bump and Flex Club Mix)
Ed Case- Something In Your Eyes (K Warren Mix)
Some Treat- Lost In Vegas
Colours- What You Do
Sia- Little Man (Wookie Mix)
Azzido da Bass- Dooms Night (Timo Mass Remix)
Teebone feat Sparks and Kie- FLYBI
Sticky- Golly Gosh 2
Jameson- Urban Hero
TNT- Unique
Same People - Dangerous
Beatfreaks- Speakerbox
DJ Narrows- Saved Soul

"I did the mix using 2 CDJs and a Technic 1210 but all of the tunes were vinyl uploads or vinyl from our collection of UK Garage that we started a decade ago (I feel old saying that!) It starts with bumpy vocal two-step and goes a bit darker towards the end and ends up with the dark garage that preceeded the grime and dubstep era. Highlights for me are two of my favourite garage tunes of all time the MAW MJ Cole mix of 'To Be In Love' and Cleptomatics' 'All I Do', also I pulled out the old trick of mixing 'Flybi' into 'Dooms Night' which we always used to do back in the day haha! Wookie's remix of Sia's 'Little Man' is also a highlight. I really enjoyed it and I think it gave me a reminder of how decently produced most of the classic tunes are, the songcraft and sequencing of the tunes are sick. They may not be louder than say a modern fidget house tune, but there is a much greater dynamic in the mixes and everything on vinyl is generally much better mastered than most modern digital mp3s that float about. Truly days like that. Bring 'em back!"
James (Sentinels)

 Days Like That Mix 003 - Sentinels by Days Like That

Who remembers this one? 002: B15 Project feat. Crissy D & Lady G 'Girls Like Us'

Can you tell it's summer? Viiiiiiiiiiiibes!

Garage legend Todd Edwards gives away remixes on Soundcloud

Is there any garage head in this world than hasn't got love for US producer Todd Edwards? It's no overstatement to say that Todd Edwards is unanimously the biggest single influence across the garage sound. His mad scientist use of vocals and his ability to splice and dice them into seamless, otherworldly instruments of their own has been running like a constant grain throughout the whole evolution of UK garage - from Tuff Jam to Burial everyone owes a little to Todd The God. And somehow he's even more relevant than ever - headlining Fabric, remixing the biggest artists around and influencing a whole new wave of producers. We've even heard on the garage grapevine that he's putting a new mix album together for Ministry Of Sound.

But we digress. The real reason for this post is coz he's giving away a shit load of unreleased remixes on his Soundcloud right now. Yep, over 20 unreleased dubs, remixes and refits from a true master of the art just waiting for the taking. Props, indeed.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Who remembers this one? 001: Sunship 'In The Pocket'

Can you believe this track is over 10 years old? One of Sunship's less celebrated classics (for classic it definitely is), 'In The Pocket' was the opening track on their 1998 album 'Is This Real?' which, in our opinion, is pretty much the most underrated UK garage LP of all time. But that's another post altogether. As for 'In the Pocket'... it's everything we love about Sunship's sound. It's smooth, soulful, musical and slick, but also raw, bumping and - even listening today - futuristic at the same time; Noel McKoy's soulful tones bending blissfully across the bouncy steppa beats and almost-but-not-quite-rave stabs. The perfect summertime steppa - it's in the bounce!

Thursday, 17 June 2010

DLT Props 001: DJ Whistla

Like any music heads, there's a shit load of people out there that we think deserve more props than they get and seeing as we've got this (cyber)space at our disposal our 'props' series will be all about giving them to them - simple really, innit. We just want to put a little focus on the inspirational, the undercelebrated and the interesting heads both past and present -  be they DJs, producers, promoters, label owners or simply music enthusiasts. And our first subject - one DJ Whistla - fits easily into every one of those categories.

Both a serious connoisseur of the old school garage sound and a huge champion of the 'future garage' movement (it was arguably him that coined the term), Whistla is a man dedicated to reaching back to the true - and diverse - essence of UK garage and giving it the future he feels it never had first time round.

If we were talking about a less passionate being or a more jaded DJ, then it would be easy to take his often expansive 'future garage' ideas as little more than empty rhetoric or vacuous PR spin. But we're not. Unconcerned with hype, fads or ego, Whistla literally lives and breathes this sound. His DJ mixes online have revealed pages of garage history that we never really properly examined (check out his mix of underground legends KMA Productions here ), his L2S label gave the world a bountiful supply of quality modern garage before the sound had become en vogue once more and he's generally a top bloke; enthusiastic, unpretentious, impassioned and friendly. We're also pretty honoured to say he's been at every Days Like That so far - so double props for that one.

On paper, or screen to be more apt, the theoretical term 'future garage' is almost a contradiction in terms. And in many ways that's the beauty of the way Whistla executes it in practice. Listen to anything Whistla has his hand in and it's at once unmistakably classic in feel but futuristic in form. Ghosts of pirate stations past given a new lease of life, Whistla beats always take vintage, nostalgia-flooding garage - and rave - flavours into another dimension altogether without ever shape-shifting their essential form; the swing, the soul, the shuffle, the late-nights-driving-through-London, the renegade FM crackle and bittersweet optimism is always seeped into his sound.

The most recent - and arguably best - examples of this are the products of Whistla's four-track EP out next Monday on  L2S. A dubby soul drenched, rave-reflective garage track, 'Never Again'  has strains of classic Reinforced Records, Todd Edwards and Dem 2 mixing beautifully. Another 'ardkor rave meets bumping two-step garage (ravage anyone? maybe not!) 'London Love Story' is a ruder, more angsty affair, while 'No-One' is a dark string laden gem.  The fourth track 'Only Treasure' has more classic rave sounds, garage shuffles and a touch of vintage Horsepower to it - which is always a good thing. 

Anyway, if you're still wondering what the hell this 'future garage' thang is all about, then don't fret. Whistla did this pretty natty introductory mix last year which is below and there's also a wicked and highly insightful interview with legendary journalist Blackdown here. So that should get you clued up.

Whistla - Future Garage An Introduction by Whistla

Days Like That 6th August with Sunship, Dem 2, DJ Para and more

Ok, we're back. We've been keeping it on the low down for a while, London life has kept us on the grind, but we've got our next line-up locked and we're seriously hype about it. For any two-step or garage fan, our headliners Sunship should need little introduction. And, for us, they're the perfect booking. Tracks like 'Try Me Out'  are basically a two-step soundtrack to London summertime and feel-good 4/4 bumper 'Friendly Pressure' with Jhelisa always brings a smile. And anyone that can make a post-Artful Dodger-era Craig David sound THIS GOOD gets massive props in our book. Anyway, they'll be rocking a 90-minute set - serious!

After smashing up the floor with dangerous dubs and elusive exclusives, the legendary Dem 2 are now back as residents while our mainstay DJ Para (DEA Project) is a man on a mission thanks to his fast-rising Yosh! Records project - bringing garage back into the future. Love's True Flavour from kindred East London spirits Wifey teams up with our mysterious underground hero DJ Haus for a set of vintage garage influences - think MK, Todd Edwards and beyond. And resident MJE completes our bill. It's gonna be bad all day (and night). You know what to do. Facebook event is here. We're back on it now so hold tight for more mixes, interviews and news. And some serious Sunship appreciation posts.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Swivel - London's future garage night

The UK's resurgent UKG/two-step/future garage movement is getting another shot in the arm with the arrival of London's first true future garage night - Swivel. Like our own more nostalgia-tinged night Days Like That parties, Swivel will take place in Dalston's den of rave the Russian Bar and begins its journey on Sunday 30th May with a line-up that will get heads from all ends absolutely hype. Two-step futurist Spatial headlines alongside Maddness from the legendary mid-'90s outfit KMA Productions - an act that straddled the lines of soulful two-step, deep jungle and dubby 'ardkor like no other in history.

Essentially, though, Swivel is a label night for Whistla's definitive future garage label LS2 Recordings - a label that has been taking the best elements of classic UKG and pushing them into the future they never quite realised first time round. Interested to kknow more? Well check out this introduction to future garage mix by the man Whistla himself. Or read this seriously indepth interview with Whistla by the legendary blogger, journalist and artist Blackdown here. Or get yourself down to Swivel itself on 30th May where Whistla will also be playing alongside Littlefoot b2b Erra, M2J and Forty Four.

Friday, 30 April 2010

Days Like That gets a big up in Le Cool

We've just spotted that those taste-making, impeccably on-point types at London newsletter Le Cool have marked us out as one of the essential thangs to do this weekend... Sweet Like Chocolate yo! They've only gone off on a random one and somehow get us confused with 24-hour garages (petrol stations, if you will), so we'll know who to blame if we get a late influx of 4am wash-outs asking our doorman to run about inside in search of the Rizla and jazz mags. Not that we've ever bought either of them from a petrol station in a drug-fucked drunken stupour ourselves, of course.
Anyway, it's a MASSIVE honour to be mentioned and you can check it out (as well as loads of other handy cultural signposting for your weekend) here. It scrolls left to right, in case - like us - you're a bit of a spoon and don't get to grips with that first time.

Days Like That was also hyped as Critics Choice in this week's London Time Out. Big tings agwan.

DJ Para Interview

DJ Para. Two-step heads know him as one third of legendary outfit DEA Project. Hip hop and urban heads know him as the once prolific and hugely successful Para Beats. His mates known him as P, his postman knows him as Anthony Hawley. We know - and thank - him for smashing up our dance time and again. And for being a general badman.

Since we booked Para for the first time last year, he's become a key part - and now resident - of all that Days Like That is about. He's got an unparalleled love and knowledge for classic garage that knows little bounds but also a refuelled desire to push the sound forward into the future. Inspired by the reactions he got when he played at our February party and a new generation of producers and ravers keeping the garage vibe alive, he's been back in the studio and writing new garage beats like this. Which we reckon can only be a good thing.

His story is a pretty epic one. He's been a restless pirate radio DJ, an underground two-step hero with DEA Project, remixed a Spice Girl (Victoria Beckham, if you're wondering) and his prolific production work has dropped everything from dope hip-hop beats to rowdy electro-house. So we thought it'd be a good idea to throw a few questions his way and find out about all that has taken him here and his recently reignited love for the UKG.

DLT: Easy Para, hope all’s good. First of all, lets take things things right back. What were your first musical influences?

P: My mum was always playing soul music around the house when I was young, so from an early age I was exposed to musical greats such as Shalama, Kool And The Gang, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackon and so on. I started collecting 7" singles from when I was about 5 or 6 and had a several electric pianos that my mum bought me. So I was always messing around playing keys.

DLT: What was your route into DJing itself?

P: My route into underground music and DJing started when I was very young , about 13 years old. I used to live in Kennington and many of the ‘older lot’ (friend’s older brothers and such) were into the acid house and what became the hardcore jungle scene. A lot of them were DJs on a pirate station Destiny 99.3fm which was also based in Kennington.

A few years later, I met a guy called Love Dove Jay who was on Eruption FM, and started tape mixing stuff like Acen’s ‘Trip to the moon’ then scratching. I’d seen people mix before, but scratching just blew my mind, at that moment I said to myself ‘I wanna be able to do that’. From then I bought some belt drive Citronics of him and started buying records and picked up mixing really quick.

Me and Love Dove became friends and he used to take me on his radio show on Eruption 101.3fm, which is where my taste for pirate radio started. From then on it was onwards and upwards.

DLT: What was the first garage beat that really caught your ear?

P: Black Science Orchestra’s ‘New Jersey Deep’. It's not really a garage track but back then the scene was more house and garage and this was the track that really got me into that sound. At that time I was into intelligent drum and bass, so it was right up my street.

DLT: How did you first get into producing yourself?

P: I used to DJ drum & bass/jungle/hardcore and I always wanted to make my own track but back in them days you needed a full studio to make a tune and I didn't have access to one. I remember when I was around 13, a close friend lent me a synthesiser and a four-track cassette recorder which I would use to record basic piano melodies and chords with. It wasn't until I was 16 when I was studying music technology at the Brit School that I had my first opportunity to get my hands on a fully operational studio. Brit School is were I learnt most of my technical and theoretical knowledge about music tech and composition.

DLT: The D.E.A. Project productions really stood on their own - you could always tell one from the first 8 bars. What do you think made them so unique?

P: We definitely had our own sound that wasn’t your typical ‘garage sound’, a lot of the sound modules and synths we used were not generally used for garage and I guess our drum and bass influence also contributed to the original sound.

DLT: At a time when garage tracks were suddenly hitting the charts, DEA Project releases always felt like an underground secret - the real deal. Were you consciously trying to take things in a more underground direction?

P: No not really, we used to make tracks we liked and tried to be ourselves. Obviously there was a time where we tried to make more commercial sounding music but somehow is always retained that gritty or underground edge.

DLT: There always seemed to be a subtle jungle influence to DEA Project tracks, the deep dark warmth of the basslines, the use of clipped female vocal samples and more obviously through direct samples like Pascal's ‘P Funk Era’ on ‘Nasty Boys’ and the vocal from Aphrodite's ‘Music’s Hypnotising’ on ‘Music’s Hypnotising’ … a lot of your tracks also almost felt like soulful underground jungle slowed down to a more accessible pace… was this the intention?

P: Because myself and Lally are from jungle drum and bass backgrounds our tracks would always tend to have this influence. Lally had released many tracks in the jungle days. For me personally. I guess I was trying to fulfill my creative needs that I didn't within jungle.

DLT: Who were the jungle producers that you had the most respect for?

P: Dillinja, Goldie, LTJ Bukem, Rufige Kru, 4 Hero and DJ Crystl.

DLT: Every DEA Project fan seems to have their favourite… what’s yours?

P: ‘Come And Get It Girl’… love the b-line and scatty drums!

DLT: What were you favourite memories from back in the day?

P: To many to mention, but here’s a few randoms

Cutting dubplates at Music House and JTS (cant’ beat the smell of a freshly cut dub)
Playing at Pure Silk at Wembly NYE 1999 to a crowd of 12 thousand people!
Climbing on roofs and putting up aerials (pirate radio days)

DLT: Does it surprise you that heads are still digging back over tunes you made 12 - 13 years ago? 

P: Most definitely. The Youtube generation has made me realise how influential my music has been. It’s funny because at the time you don’t realise what an impact you are making.

 What do you think caused garage to fall back in the first place?

P: After people started to get number 1s in charts and stuff, the focus of everyone in the scene seemed to switch from making good underground beats to trying to get that hit record. I myself plead guilty to it. We were narrow minded. We shifted the focus off building a great underground movement and taking it worldwide to new audiences. By this time new forms of garage were evolving such as grime, dubstep and whatnot, so traditional 2step/4x4 garage was becoming less and less popular, thus the breakdown of the scene. That how I see it, of course there were many contributing factors. I could be here all day talking about the if, whats and whys, but what happened, happened. I don’t think it could have been prevented.

DLT: You seemed to drop off the garage scene around 2001, but were still involved in lots of other musical projects like remixing Victoria Beckham, dropping hip-hop beats and your fidget house/electro projects… can you tell us a bit about what you’ve been uip to recent years? 

P: After garage fell off a bit, I started to produce r&b, hip hop (for the record I had always produced hip hop, but never put anything out so people didn’t know about this side of my production). Anyway, at that time everything was about MCs and crews. UK hip hop was coming up and getting more popular, and because I had a love for it and knew how to make ‘real’ sounding hip hop beats I started doing production for artists. I had numerous record deals and at the time I was managed by 19 so work was coming in thick and fast. When Channel U first launched, I had five videos on the playlist at once, so as you can imagine things were pretty hectic.

After the Para Beats ft Carmen Reece ‘You Got Me’ track came out and didn’t do as well as expected (chart position wise), I decided to take a break from music. I had been working constantly on music for the last 10 years and I needed a break to assess my life and future direction. So I started doing web design and development for a few years, still putting out the odd track here and there, but not really being 100% engaged in music.

In 2008 I started getting into fidget house and electro stuff. It was refreshing to be back into a dance based music genre again, back to the club vibes! I released a few electro and fidget tracks in 2008/2009 which got a massive response. I am still making house music of various flavas, I will be releasing a few new tracks soon

DLT: You seem to have relit your passions for garage and have been rolling out beat after beat in the studio - what re-ignited your love for the sound?

P: Playing at Day Like That made me discover a whole new crowd of people that are into proper garage. It gets tedious playing to the same sort of people, seeing the same old faces everywhere you go. So it’s refreshing to play to people that were not necessary there back in the day, but they love the music nevertheless. They are into the music because they love it, not because its the ‘in thing’.

Having people come up to me and request obscure underground DEA tracks just confirms ‘these people are into the music proper’. Trust me I hate playing the same old tunes everyone plays, Days Like That gives me the opportunity to play quality old school beats that don’t generally get played in your average garage do. For me it’s about showcasing the best underground beats and that’s what I love doing.

Also, for me the Future Garage movement has given the music a new lease of life. It’s everything garage could and should of evolved into but didn’t. DJ Whistla (Sub.FM, L2S Recordings) contacted me and asked if I would do a remix for one of his Future Garage tracks. I heard the track and I loved it, so of course I wanted a piece of the action. I did the remix and ever since have been building garage beats again.

Don’t get me wrong I have always built garage beats even through the hip hop days. I would do at least one a year and put it out on DEA, last of which was last year’s ‘So High Remixes’. But being introduced to the Future Garage stuff has fueled my passion for producing, DJing and evolving the garage sound. There’s is so much good music about at the moment from all corners of the planet, it’s a pleasure to be able to play a whole set of completely fresh garage beats. It feels like an underground secret at the moment. We all love old school, but as a DJ nothing is more exciting than playing new underground music.

DLT: Where do you think garage can go from here? Can it stand alone as its own scene again or do you think it will only exist within its more recent successors like UK funky, modern bass music and dubstep movements?

P: I think now is the chance for the sound to stand alone and go worldwide, there are so many people discovering and evolving the sound at the moment, it’s exciting times.

DLT: 5 favourite garage tracks?


1. Todd Edwards ‘End This Hate’
2. Black Science Orchestra ‘New Jersey Deep’
3. Crazy Bald Heads ‘First Born’
4. El-B ‘Among The Stars’
5. Mood II Swing ‘Do It Your Way’

DLT: What was the last track that totally blew you away?

P: I.D. and Skinnz 'Shimmy'

DLT: What do you get up to when you’re not writing beats?

P. Think about writing beats!

If you managed to get down this far then BIG UP. As that was an epic (although well worth the read, you no doubt agree). So you can reward yourself by checking out Para's new tracks HERE.

DLT Mix 002 - DJ Para (DEA Project)

Our second Days Like That mix drops from DLT resident DJ Para, who just about any true two-step head will know as one of the driving forces, alongside Richard Laleye and Lloyd E Holder, within legendary underground garage outfit DEA Project.

To say that the DEA Project are a fundamental reason as to why Days Like That even exists is a total understatement. Between 1997 and 2000, the South London outfit wrote what were in our opinion some of the best, most forward-thinking and unique two-step tunes ever laid to wax and the idea of hearing those tracks, back-to-back, at our own rave were the very reason we started up the pre-cursor to Days Like That (called - slightly naffly - Sounds Of Our Youth) last February and asked Para to come down to play. It was a dream booking. A bit of nostalgic indulgence to hark back to the days when we'd puff weed as clueless teenagers in our parent's sheds and mix red-eyed through DEA's arsenal, getting blown back by every beat. And DEA Project classics sets were not something we'd ever seen done at any other rave. So why not do it ourselves, eh?

In fact, it's always struck as a bit odd that DEA Project never really got the recognition they deserved for such groundbreaking two-step sounds. We all know just how many props the likes of Groove Chronicles and Zed Bias (quite rightly) collected for taking the two-step funk of UK garage down the darker direction that fed into the birth of dubstep, but DEA Project's legendary discography seemed to get forgotten about a bit by all but the most voracious two-step hounds.

Odd, also, because they had a sound totally of their own. Whether we're talking the bleep funk badness, sub booms and natty shuffle of 'So High', the jazzy future-soul of 'Circles Of My Life' or the cheeky cut-up funk of 'Nasty Bitch' you can tell a DEA Project beat from the second it drops. And boy do their tracks drop. If there's one thing, DEA tracks had above all others pushing that darker, minimalist two-step sound, it was the drops... find us one dance that doesn't go batshit when 'Come & Get It Girl' flips into that boomerang funk bassline and skankin' drum shuffle. Nope, didn't think so.

Luckily for you, that very track is included on this mix but, other than that, Para hasn't gone on the producer's ego trip that some might. But then Para's always been a DJ first and foremost and this is most definitely a DJ's DJ mix, sharing the sounds that have inspired him and taking us on a proper journey through UK garage and its many underground evolutions. First going right back to the soulful 4/4 garage sound that ruled the London Sunday scene and nights like Spreadlove Project back in the mid-90s, Para pushes it up into the bumpier Tuff Jam-styled sound that followed (Tuff Jam's killer remix of Soul II Soul's 'Pleasure Dome' features), before dropping into two-step with Groove Chronicles's beautifully light remix of Conner Reeves blue-eyed soul nugget 'Read My Mind', Dem 2's 'Baby You're So Sexy' and even working right into some proper proto dubstep badness. It's ruff.

Don't just take our word for how absolutely rude the selection is, though. Download the link below and work it out for yourself. Oh and come down Days Like That tonight to see the badman bust it out in the flesh. Nicely.

Days Like That Mix 002 - DJ Para (DEA Project) by Days Like That

Friday, 23 April 2010

Thursday, 22 April 2010

DLT Mix 001 - Dem 2

The first in our series of Days Like That mixes comes from underground dons Dem 2 - the two-step legends that seriously exploded with the release of 1997's classic 'Destiny' .

With a totally unique, alien groove of madly spliced vox, shuffling beats and killer hooks, 'Destiny' remains a truly timeless and definitive two-step anthem (and was arguably the first) and still sounds fresh as fuck today... some 13 years on.

Pretty damn prolific in their day, their back cat of remixes is a never-ending list of two-step classics from the more well-known anthems like their remix of Tina Moore's second single 'Nobody Better' and SJ's 'I Feel Divine', through darker more left-of-field moments like their bass-heaving 'Da Grunge' mix of their own US Alliance beat 'All I Know' on Locked On, to the lesser known gems like the raw almost-forgotten, darksteppin' rework of Wamdue Project's house anthem 'King Of My Castle' under their Moral Fibre guise which never came out and we've only ever heard on one of those Pure Silk CDs (think it was an Ayia Napa one).

Funnily enough, Dean from Dem 2 has chosen not to whack any of them on their DLT 001 mix but it says shit loads about both his record collection and their own discography that it's pure sickness and garage goodness all the way.

From the bumping shimmering soul of the TJ Cases remix of Thump 'n' Johnson's'Valley Of Love' to the weird, whacked and way-ahead-of-it's-time breakbeat funk of Dem 2's dub remix of Divine Styler's 'Directrix', it's full of the dark, dubby infectious funk that Dem 2 once owned and builds into plenty of quality, bumping 4/4 bizzle from Todd Edwards, Nice 'n' Ripe records and the punchy bass badness and skippy keys of Big Bird's 'Flav' on the Flirt EP.

We also got Dean from Dem 2 on email for a little chat ahead of his set at Days Like That on Friday 30th April.

DLT: The Dem 2 sounds was distinctive for mutating and cutting-up vocals to build that mad alien funk. What were your main influences on that tip?

Dean: My influence on chopping up vocals was Cabaret Voltaire and I started doing it in my productions as far back as 1987.

DLT: You were always cited and celebrated as one of the true leaders of the garage scene back in the day and the hype was backed up by tune after tune. How come you never got round to releasing an album?

Dean: We did do a Dem 2 album but it didn't get released as the record company followed the scene change and didn't know how to market it. We're still thinking of releasing it as 'Dem 2: The Lost Tapes' as it is forward thinking and timeless.

DLT: Why did Dem 2 seem to disappear for a while? Did you feel garage had lost the funk?

Dean: Dem 2 will never be totally quiet, it just got put on the back burner while I got married, had my little girl, invested into property and worked on my book. I am going to be doing some remixes soon for various labels and also supplying music for my Film4 project. It definitely lost something, not sure what, maybe it got too fragmented.

DLT: Are there any exclusives in your mix?

Dean: There are no exclusives on there, otherwise it's not exclusive anymore. To be honest, I only really play my exclusives when I smash up a venue so I'll be bringing plenty unreleased Dem 2 bombs with me to Days Like That.

Download the first Days Like That podcast from the links below.

Days Like That Mix 001 - Dem 2 by Days Like That

Days Like That 26th February 2010

The first Days Like That at the Russian Bar. Scott 'It's A London Thing' Garcia got the place going nuts early doors, Ramsey & Fen smashed it and had the whole the crowd singing along to their classic 'Lovebug' when they dropped the volume down and also dropped a little personal favourite in Todd Edwards remix of Sound Of One's 'As I Am', on a lively one all night Para caned out DEA classic after DEA classic ('Circles','Nasty Bitch','So High') as well as classics like this, before resident MJE took over for his second set. Sick night, rammed out floor, proper good vibes all night and great crew... big up all DLT crew and extended family, classic first night.