DJ Bassikz is a breakthrough Drum and Bass producer from South East London currently establishing himself within the scene. After joining the Biological Beats Agency earlier this year, his productions have gone from strength to strength under the watchful eye of Fatman D. In his first ever interview, Bassikz tells us more about the man behind the music, and what the future holds for his Drum and Bass.
Joanna Louise Ranson: Tell us a little about yourself….
My DJ name is Bassikz but my friends call me Chris. I was born and bred in South London and music has always been a big part of my life. I have a wide variety of taste in music from band and guitar music to the obvious stuff like Drum n Bass, Dubstep and Garage to name a few. I’ve always been into classic Hip Hop too, especially Wu Tang, Biggie, Dmx and those kinds of artists.
I got into mixing when I started moving away from listening to Hip Hop and started getting interested in dance music. I actually used to MC over Garage cause my mate had a pair of decks and that’s what he mixed. I knew Drum and Bass was there but never paid it a huge amount of attention, but slowly started to hear more and more and liked what I heard. A passion started to grow and I got my first set of decks when I was 18.
I didn’t mess about and went straight in, saving up to get a set of 1210s. It’s like being born with a silver spoon in your mouth really but I had learnt the ropes on other people’s decks and kinda knew this is what I wanted to do. I had no second thoughts about parting with the cash and they’re still going strong ten years later.
JLR: There has been a large amount of up and coming talent coming from SE London in recent years, do you think that London plays an important role in the Drum and Bass scene in general?
Definitely, I mean London’s where it started and I love that about the music, and the fact that it means a lot of people in London had a love for the music from an early stage. I think now though the top playas in the game are all over the country and no one needs to be told there’s a huge following in places like Birmingham and those artists are at the top of the game too. I think that’s really healthy for the scene and also international artists are firmly getting the tracks into the main arenas. There are a couple of international producers that are in my top 10 for sure, but still London’s got a hell of a lot to give.
JLR: Where would you like to play that you haven’t yet and where is your most favourite venue?
I love the Fire and Lightbox and thanks to a good friend of mine, Mekar MC, I’ll be playing in both rooms on the same night, the main room and the Bio Beats room. For me, this is set to be a highlight in my career the line up is huge and it’s for a great cause. Bassraizers is set to be one of the biggest events of the year and the proceeds are going to young adults suffering with depression so check that out. My heart will always hold a special place for Fabric; I reckon I’ve spent more time in there than any other venue.
JLR: What’s your set up like and what do you enjoy the most about producing?
I’ve just got the basic home studio really, an iMac, krk rp8s a midi keyboard and use reason and logic. I have no hardware at all. The best thing about production is an easy one to answer, when you’ve got a vibing crowd in front of you and you drop the tune you only finished the night before and then the crowd goes nuts, that’s it right there, that’s what I do it for; the feeling is a buzz that you can’t explain it. It’s something I don’t think I’ll get bored of ever.
JLR: How do you write your tracks? Do you have a particular method like visualizing the drum patterns first for example?
You know what, I’m probably one of the most disorganized people you’ll ever meet and I think that even comes into my production. I don’t really have a method but I’ll always start with a beat then off that I’ll decide whether to do my intro or some bass or the breaks in the drums, but it’s totally random. I go with what I’m feeling most of the time which I suppose isn’t too bad a thing! Or is it?
JLR: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Production side of things, I love the very minimal sort of jump up artists that are really doing it for me at the moment, people like Hazard and Pacso deliver amazing production but not over produced so it starts sounding more like dance floor DnB. The DJs that’s a hard one, I don’t wanna be the cliché and say Andy C even though the guy is a sick DJ, I think there are a lot of underrated DJs out there that don’t get as much love as they should. When I’m playing, I draw my inspiration from the crowd and I think at the end of the day, they’re the people we should be inspired by, if you can read the type of tune they’re vibing off and the way they want the tune to come in, you’re onto a winner.
JLR: What do you think about the current state of DnB in the UK? How do you feel about the commercial side of the music, with Fresh at number 1 in the charts for example?
I really like the Fresh track and I’m surprised it got to Number 1 but he’s a great producer and he deserves it. The commercial side of DnB isn’t really for me, I love Liquid but a lot of the Drum and Bass that hits the charts is, in my opinion, not the real core of the music. It’s not what it was when it started and isn’t the most popular between real Drum and Bass listeners and supporters.
It’s great if people then decide to explore the genre a bit further and realise that they love jump up or liquid or dark rollers but I think a lot of the people that actually buy the DnB singles in the charts are probably not very knowledgeable about the music. I may be wrong but if people are connecting with more DnB through what they’re hearing on the radio and in the charts, then that’s a good thing.
JLR: Tell us something interesting about yourself.
I’m just an average guy, I love what I do and I have a family that I love very much. I don’t have as much time as I’d like to spend on production because I work full time too. 2011 has been a big year for me so far though, with a few tracks being signed to Biological Beats and Twisted Wax, just getting on the Bio Beats team was something I wasn’t expecting, big shout to the boss Fatman D for opportunity to work with the team and to the rest of the Bio Beats fam!
The bookings are picking up loads and I feel like I’m really getting somewhere in a game that is very hard to crack, so it just inspires me make sure I keep moving upwards and hopefully become a main stage regular and give up work, that’s the dream anyways. We’ll see how it goes.
JLR:What are your plans for the rest of the year? Where can we see you and what can we expect?
I’ve got a lot of bookings planned for the next few months, up and down the country alongside some great artists. My production is slowly getting better so just going to put in some real hard graft and get some more releases out and more bookings. That’s what I’m hoping for.
The rest of the year, you can catch me playing at the Bio Beats tour nights, Bassraizers on Sept 16th, at the Taboo Breakz weekender on Sept 3rd and at Halloween Havok on October 28th as well as lots of smaller events in between. Keep an eye out for Zombies and Foolish Samurai forthcoming to Biological Beats and also the unnamed dub EP on Twisted Wax Recordings.
JLR: Anything else you’d like us to know?
If you haven’t yet, go download the Blueprint 9 mix tape with Mekar MC, it’ll give you an idea of what the Bio team is about and keep your eyes peeled for the Bio Beats album.
I’d just like to thank Fatman D, Lady V Dubz, Mekar MC and Boxer Banton for the support and I’d like to thank Jayline for his nudge in the right direction with regards to production.
Big love to my missus for putting up with the noise seeing as she can’t stand Drum and Bass and to everyone who enjoys what I’m doing and to Fried for giving me a chance to let everyone get to know me a bit better.