Hospital Records works toward gender equality with first Women in Drum & Bass London Workshop

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Hospital Records works toward gender equality with first Women in Drum & Bass London WorkshopHospitalRecordsWomeninDNB

“At Hospital Records, Med School and Hospitalitydnb we recognise the gender imbalance within drum & bass. We want to be at the forefront of pushing through a positive change for the scene and music that we all love, towards a more representative community that creates equal opportunities for everyone.”

Being the change that you want to see in the world is often easier said than done—unless you’re Hospital Records, that is. On Sept. 17, the south London drum ‘n’ bass co-op took a massive stride forward in remedying the gender inequality found both within their genre and the wider music industry by hosting their very first Women In Drum & Bass London Workshop.

The Shoreditch event featured an industry-wide panel of tastemakers that evaluated gender issues facing the underground bass scene and brought in Hospital’s Head of Business & Sync Megan Bean to host a workshop on getting demos heard and eventually signed.

The Women In Drum & Bass London Workshop follows a pledge from Hospital Records earlier this year to increase their efforts to sign more women to the label roster and host more female DJs at their flagship Hospitality events. While there is no doubt that the industry is still male-heavy, it’s ultimately refreshing to see record labels and brands alike using their amplified voice in the industry not just to sell the next release, but to bring attention to the social issues that they resonate with.

Kanine, Philth, Becca Jane Grey, and Simula celebrate massive 60-track ‘Drum&BassArena 2019’ [Q&A]

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Kanine, Philth, Becca Jane Grey, and Simula celebrate massive 60-track ‘Drum&BassArena 2019’ [Q&A]Kanine At Glastonbury 1

Birthed out of the UK’s early ’90s jungle scene and rapidly gaining mainstay status shortly after, drum ‘n’ bass has celebrated its popularity at its heights notably in concentrated pockets—although never quite enjoying the mainstream bliss of its newer peers like dubstep and trap in the U.S. However, the veteran genre has shown resilience and a particular resurgence in the past few years as first-time listeners tread new territory, devoted fans continue to push its popularity, and both the underground scene and festival circuit champion diverse forms of drum ‘n’ bass on its stages.

Now, drum ‘n’ bass follows suit in the massive growth of the electronic dance music scene as a whole, but with its own persuasive milestones that signal it intends to stay whether or not the EDM bubble bursts. 2019 has been a particularly telling year for the genre’s success, from it experiencing the most growth of any EDM genre on Beatport until now, to trending when Adele joked about making her own drum ‘n’ bass album. The genre is once again hitting its cyclical sweet-spot in the industry; Pendulum has new music in the works, Chase & Status celebrated 15 years together with the release of RTRN II JUNGLE, and newcomer Benny B landed the genre’s first-ever No. 1 on Beatport.

As drum ‘n’ bass nears 30 years of existence, the scene finds itself in a uniquely exhilarating space where it’s simultaneously unbound by genre limitations and empowered by young and old blood that evolve the sound while maintaining its roots in the underground. All of this finds itself translated in Drum&BassArena 2019—Drum&BassArena’s long-standing annual album, chock-full of 60 tracks, seven exclusives, and a bold appreciation of the multifaceted talent built across generations of drum ‘n’ bass. Recognizing another year of the genre and its momentous acts, Dancing Astronaut has curated a round table discussion from a selection of Drum&BassArena’s most anticipated and coveted artists: Kanine, Simula, Philth, and Becca Jane Grey.

Read our Q&A and listen to Drum&BassArena 2019 below. Check out bonus questions for Kanine at the end of the round table Q&A.


Have there been any noticeable shifts in the drum ‘n’ bass scene in recent years and if yes, why do you think so?

Kanine: Definitely. I think everyone can agree most of the sub-genres have opened up and the lines between them have blurred. I think this is due to two things. Firstly, I think there’s been a change in opinion in the ravers/fans where people now tend to be more open-minded and don’t just listen to one main sub genre. This is probably because of how easy it is to access new and different music nowadays through streaming platforms. Secondly, I think across all styles of drum ‘n’ bass, the production value has increased drastically making it easier to appreciate previously un-preferred music styles.

Simula: In the last few years I’ve noticed a rise in popularity of a new style that people have affectionately dubbed “foghorn rollers,” a style pioneered by artists like Benny L and Serum. It is a hybrid style, incorporating elements from jungle and jump up as well minimal. Many of the new generation producers are now making this style and pushing it. 

Philth: One interesting and very positive development in recent years is the new generation of artist-run labels: 1985, Sofa Sound, Guidance, The North Quarter, Ish Chat, Index… This is a generation of producers who came through around a decade ago and changed the game with their production skills and style, the bar was raised by Alix Perez and the Shogun camp, DLR, Ulterior Motive, Lenzman. Now they are running labels and using their platforms to push things forward again, getting new music out quickly and taking risks that the established bigger labels might be afraid to take. It’s refreshing the scene, and these guys are bringing through a new generation of artists now to continue that breath of fresh air.

Becca Jane Grey: There have been shifts in different aspects of the scene. Consumption, for one; we’ve become a culture of quantity over quality, pressing two tunes per side on vinyl, good music seems forgotten about quickly and doesn’t stay too long in rotation. There aren’t many modern classics. There are novelty songs that do the rounds, bootlets etc. (nothing wrong with these but) they seem to be more popular than original tunes. The throwaway culture doesn’t allow for a good tune to develop in a club environment unless it’s a hyped dub.

Drum ‘n’ bass has both influenced and taken influence from a diversity of other music genres. Name your top three classic drum ‘n’ bass songs as well as three songs that have inspired you heavily (regardless of genre). 

Kanine: Hard pick but my top three would probably be “No Problem” by Chase and Status, “Time Warp VIP” by Sub Focus, and Pendulum’s “Tarantula.” All three are undeniable anthems that will always stand the test of time. So much great music out there so couldn’t possibly pick another three, but I’m a massive fan of techno hip-hop and basically all other bass music. All have inspired me a lot.

Simula: My top three classic drum ‘n’ bass songs are DJ Fresh’s “All That Jazz,” Netsky’s “Pirate Bay,” and Technicolour’s “Ascension.” These are all tunes that got me into drum & bass so they had to be mentioned. The three songs that have inspired me the most are Konichi’s “Field Of Vibrations,” Neosignal’s “Planet Online (Culprate Remix),” and Decimal Bass’ “Dronezone.” All of these tunes have had a huge impact on my work and are still mind-blowing to me to this day. 

Philth: Ed Rush & Optical’s “Medicine (Matrix Remix),” Marcus Intalex & ST Files’ “Love & Happiness” and Konflict’s “Beckoning.” Also Fleetwood Mac’s “Everywhere,” Lynn Collins’ “Think (About It),” Amy Winehouse’s “Tears Dry On Their Own,” Max Richter’s “On the Nature of Daylight,” and Vangelis’ “Blade Runner Love Theme.”

Becca Jane Grey: High Contrast ft Diane Charlemagne’s “If We Ever,” Chase & Status ft Jenna G’s “In Love,” Lenzman ft Riya’s “Open Page.” Also James Blake’s “The Colour In Anything,” Cinematic Orchestra’s “To Build A Home” and Deftones ft Maynard’s “Passenger.”

With all the milestones this year, do you see drum ‘n’ bass crossing over into mainstream anytime soon? 

Kanine: I think drum ‘n’ bass has always had its place in the mainstream. Acts like Sigma and Rudimental are needed to introduce (especially younger fans) to the genre. The less commercial scene has grown massively in recent years yes, but I feel that no matter how big it gets it will always retain its underground sound and feel because that is what defines the genre.

Simula: I would like to think so! With some of the most talented artists to date coming through at the moment, I can only see the quality of the music getting better. A lot has changed in the last five years and I’m excited to see what the next movement to push the scene forward will be.

Philth: Drum ‘n’ bass has flirted with the mainstream for a long time, going back 20-plus years ago to Goldie and Roni Size. Then we stop being cool for a while, and then the media decides to pretend we are on a comeback when really the genre has been pushing on in the underground forever. We had it again a few years back with Fresh, Pendulum, then Sigma, and you’re hearing drum ‘n’ bass in TV adverts again, but really I don’t care about what is happening on Top of the Pops as long as the underground is healthy… and right now we’re at a real high point and showing no sign of slowing down 🙂

Becca Jane Grey: Drum ‘n’ bass has always had a toe dipped in the mainstream. Or rather mainstream music always keeps its little finger in the drum ‘n’ bass pie. The genre is built from the underground, you can’t take that away from it, certain producers have made it more accessible to the masses by softening it up. Just like any other genre that ends up with its 15 minutes in the commercial scene, its because it’s being presented to the masses in a nicer, more gentle, pleasant way. Die-hard drum ‘n’ bass fans call any mainstream drum ‘n’ bass songs that they like “guilty pleasures.” For another cheesy simile, look at it like mainstream drum ‘n’ bass is like asking for a snakebite at the bar: you’ll still get served but the barman will be judging you silently. Producers like Sigma and Wilkinson for example will always bridge the gap between the genre and mainstream music.

Both drum ‘n’ bass and the sub-genres within drum ‘n’ bass itself have evolved tremendously since the early days, from liquid to dark, breakcore, jungle, neurofunk and more; the term “drum ‘n’ bass” has been expanding to encompass a lot of different meanings. For you personally, what is drum ‘n’ bass?

Kanine: Anything 160-180 BPM that has drums a b-line. There never has been and never should be any rules. If people like it then who cares!

Simula: Drum ‘n’ bass is music you can lose yourself in. It is an escape and a release. Everyone likes different sub genres and in my opinion that is a great thing. Anyone and any style is welcome in drum ‘n’ bass, and that is something truly special.

Philth: Breakbeats, dark rooms, big subs. Futuristic music, making you lose yourself on the dancefloor…. the anticipation as the DJ builds you up to the drop, then the satisfaction as the bass hits you in the chest. No other music is as physical as drum ‘n’ bass, and that sensation of being squeezed by bass is what hooked me on the genre as as kid and has never let go. No matter what sub-genre, it’s all about the bass really, isn’t it?

Becca Jane Grey: Drum ‘n’ bass is a melting pot of culture, angst, happiness, expression, euphoria. It’s the meeting of seemingly every type of person suddenly having something in common. The energy and emotion it stirs seems to connect us all in a similar way. For me, I enjoy the softer emotive side of a vocal-heavy drum ‘n’ bass tune, but spend more time these days listening to vocal-less, beat-heavy nastiness. And the latter definitely makes me run faster at the gym… The genre for me is the variety of sub-genres that we’re lucky to have, with talented producers spread across the board.

There’s no arguing that drum ‘n’ bass is virtually a mainstay of the UK dance music scene, but are there any other places that you’ve either played or been to that have burgeoning drum ‘n’ bass scenes? How has the fan base for drum ‘n’ bass changed throughout the years? 

Kanine: The whole of Europe has pockets of drum ‘n’ bass fans of different sub-genres, and as an DJ it’s been lots of fun travelling and experiencing these different communities. Coming up through the jump up scene, I played a lot in Austria and Belgium in my earlier years. Austria has a wicked open minded crowd who tend to like any style you play for them. Events like Switch! XL and Mainframe in Vienna are always mad parties. Belgian ravers in the clubs prefer a certain jump up sound which I’ve strayed away from but the bigger Belgian events, like Rampage are some of the best parties in the entire world. In recent years I’ve spent a lot of time in the Czech Republic which has an amazing scene for drum ‘n’ bass – which is probably why they’re home to the biggest (and best!) drum ‘n’ bass festival in the world, Let It Roll.  

This summer I’m doing my debut New Zealand and Australia tour which has completely opened my eyes to the global reach of drum ‘n’ bass. The demand for the genre down under is actually crazy and shouldn’t be slept on

Simula: Every country that has a drum ‘n’ bass is different from the next. I’ve played all over Europe in the last three years and it’s interesting to see the differences in the music and the ravers. One thing all these countries have in common is that there is a constant influx of younger listeners and ravers that influence trends in the music. I can see drum ‘n’ bass continuing to spread to new countries and new fan bases.

Philth: When I first started raving, it was primarily a UK thing, but nowadays it truly is a worldwide movement – every country you can think of will have a drum ‘n’ bass scene whether it is big or underground. The internet has helped to spread the music so rapidly and as artists social media helps us to reach new fans. I’ve played in the U.S., Australia and all over Europe and it’s always a special moment seeing people in a different country singing along to my music <3

I hope the current tragic political situation in the UK doesn’t restrict artists ability to travel and take our music to new places, I love meeting people in new cities, trying new food, experiencing different cultures all united by our love of bass. Just last month, I played an amazing party up a mountain in Spain and met a crew of DJs pushing a sick style of dark rollers – I live for these moments and hope we can continue to share these experiences with our European cousins.

There’s been an accelerating decline in nightclub venues with the number in Great Britain declining by 21 percent from December 2017-2018. What do you think this means for the underground scene, in particular drum ‘n’ bass? 

Kanine: This is always really sad to see. The nightclubs, especially smaller ones, are the lifeblood of the drum and bass scene. It’s how communities, movements and sounds are born. Also, I think it’s important for society to have places were people can go express and enjoy themselves whether it be as a punter or as a DJ.

Simula: The UK is known for its underground music, from drum ‘n’ bass to garage to dubstep, they all started here! I think if the number of nightclubs continues to decline, the nation will lose something very special. With drum ‘n’ bass widely played at festivals and huge events across the UK, I don’t see the scene slowing down just yet, but declining numbers of nightclubs is never a good thing.

Philth: Losing venues hurt smaller promoters the most – the bigger promoters will always be able to find another 1,000-plus venue but the small places are where you get the most exciting nights with DJs taking risks and making true connections with the crowd. When I talk to my friends who run nights in London they say it’s the lack of venues and high DJ fees (driven up by the super-promoters who can pay more and lock DJ’s in exclusively) that are making things harder for them. I just hope that we can continue to have a wide cross-section of parties – it’s the small grassroots events where new DJs get an opportunity to earn their stripes and fans get a chance to see artists up close and personal. I think it’s important that in the current climate where the big parties are firing we don’t lose sight of the small intimate shows – I love playing these parties so much and always will.

Becca Jane Grey: The distinct lack of small, good venues (good sound system, 200 – 300 cap) in London (I can’t speak for other cities) is not helping the scene. Unless you have a loyal following (Rupture for example) or a die-hard fan base, or a promoter willing to spend loads on big acts that will sellout, you’re not going to be able to push certain sub-genres of drum ‘n’ bass. 

Cable is a larger venue but an example nonetheless. It was a staple for so many ravers at the time and when it went, it hit the drum ‘n’ bass scene pretty hard.

I think the decline in venues means promoters are facing an uphill battle trying to push to the fore underground labels and artists who deserve to be heard. Not impossible, but certainly an obstacle to overcome.


You’re regarded as one of the leading jump up acts right now, but you’re also incredibly versatile with your sound as well. What’s the key to specializing in your niche while still evolving and producing outside of your brand?

Kanine: Thank you. I think it really depends on what kind of artist you want to become. For some acts like Benny L, Serum and Macky Gee – they have an undeniable style that they have perfected and their brand follows suit. On the other hand there are acts like Chase & Status, AMC and arguably Noisia who have their own brand and fans but touch on different aspects of the genre. For me, as a fan of all forms of drum ‘n’ bass, it’s much more rewarding to branch out my production into different styles while still keeping one brand and sound behind it all. It’s also fun to keep people guessing.

Congratulations on having your latest single “What I Said” featured on Spotify’s New Music Friday UK playlist not too long ago. Why do you think Spotify picked up this particular track?

Kanine: Cheers was great to see! Was a cool feeling seeing it playlisted along with some UK chart toppers. Initially I never planned to do anything with this track but it seemed to connect with a lot of people so I’m really happy I put it out. I’m guessing the people over at Spotify felt that same connection.

Photo credit: Jack Kimber Photography

Mazare Drops A Melodic Drum and Bass Song : Nothing More

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Mazare & Luma have combined to create a wonderful melodic drum step track titled Nothing More. Luma brings her remarkable voice to the table where Mazare and his drum and bass production skills combine to make yet another massive dnb track. I was first turned on to Mazare after hearing Seven Lions mash up the

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Exclusive: Kove delivers subtle and smooth ‘Echoes’ as first 2019 offering

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Exclusive: Kove delivers subtle and smooth ‘Echoes’ as first 2019 offeringPressshot Kove E1553700584123

In his first release of 2019, British producer Kove offers a powerful liquid drum & bass number on Drum&BassArena.

“Echoes” looks to kick off Kove’s year in fine fashion, measuring out a subtle and smooth track with vocalist Ben Duffy. Duffy’s vocals cast an almost mysterious spell on the track’s swift-moving beat, giving the entirety of “Echoes” a enigmatic aura. Kove’s production is better than ever on this newest offering, leaving listeners wanting more and wondering what’s in store for the remainder of the year.

The track marks Kove’s return to Drum&BassArena for the first time since late 2017, where he unleashed his four-track In From the Cold EP. The style he returns with is similar, too, though “Echoes” delivers a more subdued sonic experience than energetic tracks like “Valkyrie.”

He told DA in 2017 that the drum & bass scene “seems super healthy at the moment” and shows continued support for the ever-evolving genre through its ups and down across the globe.

Mat Zo thrills with new VIP mix of ‘Vice’

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Mat Zo thrills with new VIP mix of ‘Vice’Mat Zo Self Assemble

Back in September, Mat Zo released his standalone drum and bass track, “Vice.” The track blended Mat Zo’s signature sound across genre and tempo. Filtered-down half-time sections, pitched-up vocal runs, three unique builds and drops, and immaculate synth lines made “Vice” a true example of how much of a virtuoso the Mad Zoo head truly is. Despite the display of skill that is “Vice,” Mat Zo has never been one to leave things alone. The vocals in the original came from an unfinished but great clip called “Stoned Clip 1.wav,” which can still be found on SoundCloud.

“Vice” was released under Mat Zo instead of his drum and bass alias, MRSA, and now it’s clear why. He knew he’d be playing around with this track for a minute, as well as playing it live. The VIP mix has the same atmospheric build as the original — an 8-bit, synth wave, fueled by the city-at-night feeling. The bass bends, and the energy builds and breaks down in more and more unique ways. “Vice – VIP” is polished, reworked, and truly exceptional. It’s even the exact same length at 6 minutes and 53 seconds.

Reaper Burst Onto The Scene Dropping Fire

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I stumbled upon a dnb remix of Pendulum’s Granite by a newcomer Reaper. I absolutely love that people can seemingly come from thin air and produce such quality music. Artists such as 1788-L, SWARM, i_o, all have burst on the scene dropping straight fire; You can add Reaper to that list. With under 1k followers

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Iconic drum and bass ‘lifer’ Spirit has passed away

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Iconic drum and bass ‘lifer’ Spirit has passed awaySpirit Drum And Bass Rip

Spirit, an iconic pillar in the UK’s drum and bass scene, has passed away. The producer, real name Duncan Busto, had previously gone into cardiac arrest on August 13, according to reports, and eventually his family was informed he had suffered irreparable brain damage. For drum and bass musicians and fans, the loss marks the end of a lasting legacy. The news prompted tributes and respects from artists including Andy C and Ben UFO.

Busto’s career as a standard bearer of drum and bass began when he took a job at Redeye Records, a record store in Ipswich. His love of bass music quickly took hold, compelling him to put his own stamp on the scene. By the late ’90s, his self-taught skills as a bass music producer were making noise on labels like Timeless and C.I.A, and receiving support from genre stalwarts like Goldie. By the year 2000, Busto was spreading the gospel of drum and bass full time as both a respected artist and label boss of Inneractive Music.

In an interview with UKF from 2017, Busto labeled himself a “Drum & Bass Lifer” –  and a truer assessment couldn’t be made. The producer contributed over two decades of music to his genre, all the way up to his final solo release Murderer / Cold Call through is own label this past April.

H/T: UKF

Photo Credit: Melvin Kobe

X-Altera – Compound Extraprotus

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x-altera

Detroit-based producer Tadd Mullinix is a man of many names and many skills. From his hip-hop tinged instrumentals under his Dabrye moniker to his acid and techno releases as JTC, Mullinix has never strayed from creating from an array of genres and perspectives. Fittingly, the eclectic producer has just released a new jungle-inspired single, titled “Compound Extraprotus” under his new X-Altera alias.

Coming just a week before the self-titled X-Altera LP drops on Ghostly International, “Compound Extraprotus” is a dark and textured approach to jungle that showcases Mullinix’s grasp of a wide-range of production styles. A close listen exposes an homage to electronic cultures of the past, with Mullinix finding inspiration in “the deep, melodic techno of Detroit and London.” With two X-Altera singles already out, an album to come on June 15th, and the release of a Dabrye LP earlier this year, Mullinix continues to position himself as one of Detroit’s top purveyor of underground sounds.

H/T: Resident Advisor

3lau Drops Massive DnB Remix to “Star Crossed” off Ultraviolet LP

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3lau stepped into 2018 with a mission, to turn heads with a diverse sound that he had yet to divulge in with his highly-anticipated LP “Ultraviolet”. The tape itself will go down as one of the best Electronic compilations of the year. Setting the tone for the rest of the industry, the new sound of

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Pendulum Announce New Album Coming Very Soon

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Pendulum took to the Ultra stage back in 2016 to revamp the legendary career of the group. Since, fans have been yearning for new music from the group. Rob Swire, Gareth McGrillen and Paul ‘El Horney’ Harding and later added Ben Mount, Peredur ap Gwynedd and KJ Sawka have become a tough act to get

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