We’re happy to launch our Local Focus series, a series dedicated to promoting local scenes, DJs, producers, promoters, and overall electronic music industry faithfuls. We kick off the series by having a chat with some of Ireland’s most instrumental drum and bass figures.
Ireland has an abundant and somewhat prolific history for electronic music. An island that is celebrated for folk songs, folklore, pints of stout and bono’s sunglasses, has somehow produced a coruscating landscape for dance music, along with seminal figureheads within electronic music’s history itself.
When we speak about Ireland’s history within dance music, one way or another, drum and bass has been left out of the conversation. When it comes to what goes on in our basements from Friday to Sunday, we as a nation have been known to push it faster, harder & grittier. It would seem logical that Ireland would have a vibrant drum and bass scene when you think of the essence of the genre and the nature of an Irish crowd.
Despite what many do think, there has been a dedicated and active drum and bass scene in Ireland, for many decades now. The scene also coincides with a vast amount of pinnacle drum and bass producers, that have been boasting pioneering drum and bass records through these decades.
When the sweat clears out from our basements and the studio’s have transformed into Starbucks, the names of Calibre, Don Rosco & Stacks, Zero T, Naphta, Ricky Force, Jet Li and more will echo through the walls of those hallowed buildings and tell a tale of Irish drum and bass.
I chatted to some local drum and bass faithfuls to learn more about the scene in Ireland and to find out who’s writing the next chapter in Ireland’s drum and bass story.
Drum & bass has bees somewhat of an uphill battle for many within the scene in Ireland. In a country with such a rich dance music history, why has drum and bass remained on the sidelines in many aspects?
Executive Steve: That’s the kind of question you could write books about tbh, but I do have a few theories I guess. It’s weird because If you think about it DnB is probably the only kind of “bass music” that hasn’t really died a death here over the years. There was a few years when there were Dubstep parties practically every night of the week but they basically barely exist in this city any more, there are periodic attempts to get UK Garage revival nights up and running, there was a period twenty years ago when you couldn’t move in this city for nights playing prog house and breaks. For most of that time even the Techno people who are old enough to remember will tell you that Trance and Hard House were much more dominant forms of music up and down the country then than Techno was. Electro House was huge for all of six months before disappearing leaving no trace behind of its existence other than some really unfortunate haircuts. Through all of that, there’s always been a few DnB nights plugging away, and just getting on with it. There’s weekly radio shows, there’s labels, there’s producers, there’s Djs, there’s parties. One weird feature is how it all very much happens in parallel with the rest of dance music in this city though – I have no idea what the reason is for that, but it’s been a feature of it since the 90s at least, even there was a (busy!) web forum for Irish Drum and Bass, and another web forum for general clubbing chat and tune talk about Hard House / Trance / Techno etc and there was absolutely zero crossover in membership between the two. That kind of weird segregation was carried over to Facebook then, so you have half a dozen DnB facebook groups and barely anyone from the DnB scene spreading the gospel in groups like Four Four (and they’re eejits because Four Four is great). There were definitely days when Dublin DnB drew much bigger crowds, it must be said – time was when Bassbin could pack out the Temple Bar Music Centre (as it was back then) with just their residents.
Techno was always big here obviously enough, but nowadays it’s kind of hoovered up the audiences for other types of dance music to the point where it’s practically the default electronic music, meaning that people first getting into dance music most likely have their first encounter with it and if they’re inspired to create or participate then that’s where they’ll gravitate to. There’s a whole plethora of nights run by crews promising House, Techno and Disco, in various proportions and when you have forty years of that to dig through, why alienate people who just want a solid groove all night by suddenly switching the BPMs to something wildly incompatible? It’s very hard (but certainly not impossible) to make DnB sit well on a lineup with other types of electronic music, without careful and thoughtful curation and programming.
The other big factor was emigration, DnB when I first got into it always seemed to attract an older crowd at the time, people who’d come of age to the Prodigy and Altern8 and stayed on the Hardcore train as it mutated into Jungle and then Drum & Bass, there was definitely a moment when you stopped seeing those kinds of people around as much as they aged out of going out, and then when the global financial crash happened a lot of people who would have been at every night just disappeared off to Australia overnight; the next generation of young promoters all seemed to want to put on Deep House nights; there was a sudden weird and jarring generation gap in Dublin where everyone was either under 24 or over 30 and nobody knew how to promote to the other side of that demographic gap. Lots of nights in lots of genres folded or gave up, but Drum & Bass is more or less still here, even if nobody knows about it. I had a gig a few weeks ago where I brought down an MC and a microphone, we were hammering out the tunes and passing the mic back and forth and the promoters literally had no idea that there were people in Ireland who did that or who could do that, purely because, well, I guess you have to go to a DnB night to hear people doing that. So it’s nice to show people how well DnB can work in a club context; when all the stars align, and the energy is there, there is nothing that lights a fire in the right room like a massive tearing bassline hitting you square n your chest while amens get cut to absolute shrapnel.
End of the day though no matter what happens, there’s always going to be, in any city on earth, a small and dedicated group of nutters who want to stay up way past their bedtime and dance to something fast and complicated, and as long as I’m still breathing I’ll be doing my best to make sure they know I’m there to help them do that.
You’ve been running drum and bass parties in Ireland for many years. Can you give me a brief history on some crews and figures that may have been instrumental within the Irish scene?
Executive Steve: The very early years have been told many times elsewhere, but in a nutshell Don Rosco & Stacks (RIP) were the first to play Jungle on the Dublin airwaves, on Jazz FM, and later on Power. The first generation of heads here had it tough man, they’d hitchhike to London to buy records, grab three copies of everything they liked, and then hitchhike back and sell off two of them. Qudarophonic and Bassbin were the two main nights back in the 90s; Quadrophonic had all the backing and the financial muscle and the clout, they gave Calibre his first release, and a star was born. Bassbin had the people, and initially a rougher and artier sound, a huge roster of residents each with a distinctive style. Every Friday night if you were into DnB you went to one or to the other and I never really met anyone who got in the habit of going to both, it was some proper local city rivalry thing playing out a few streets away. Bassbin went on to do extremely well internationally, a successful label, parties in Dublin and London, a record shop… Rohan and Naphta, Polska and especially Steo, Beta 2 & Zero T would be well known in DnB circles, and all of them (bar Rohan who has found his true outlet in photography) are still recording and releasing music.
Once Bassbin wound things down here after their 10th birthday party that was kind of a weird moment, but nights like REACH, Renegade Noize, Springfield Crew, Hertz-U, Tribe, Absys Records, Spectrum, The Northside Jungle Collective, RAID, Poster Fish and 174 all filled the gap pretty quickly, even at a time when venues were already shrinking in number. A new generation of producers came through – Ricky Force would obviously be very well known by this stage (Tim Reaper once asked me when we were building a statue of him), but there’s also Detboi cooking up heat on labels like Metalheadz and Over/Shadow (the new label project from some of the people who brought you Moving Shadow back in the 90s. Mecca is out there doing bits on labels like Subtle Audio and Skeleton, Ronin O’Blivion had a very well-received album out on OMNI Music this year. Absys records was founded here ten years ago by Sho, who had just arrived in Dublin and was looking for a foothold, ten years later he has a thriving label,a record shop in Fairview and a studio space, he’s releasing critically acclaimed records featuring talent from all over the world, and pushing his own idiosyncratic take on deep, techy ambient music, 170 bpm bass experiments and straight up DnB as well. Of the younger heads the InHabit crew are quickly building a rep for themselves as an extremely well-curated imprint for techier minimal sounds.
More recently the Initial crew did weekly Sunday night parties for five years, Spectrum and the Springfield Crew continue to do their thing, there’s a welcome trend of cross-genre party promoters like the Rubadub HiFi, Intakt and Slither coming to look for the odd DnB night to either fill their second room, or else to give their crowds something they might not have been exposed to before and that’s something I really hope to see more of in the years to come too. This is all a very Dublin-centric answer though – outside of Dublin, the crews out in Limerick deserve a mention – Code has been doing his own thing with Subtle Audio since 2006 and it really is one of the quietest and biggest and bravest success stories in Irish electronic music, and nights like Wardance and Wanz are keeping it moving forward down there too. The Galway scene gave us Rua Sound and their Foxy Jangle sublabel who have released a who’s who of bass music and new school Jungle, everyone from Tim Reaper to Sully to Sam Binga to TMSV has had a beat or two on one or both of their imprints. Big shouts to the Sub-Version soundsystem too, as well as the Puzzle crew. Down in Cork Jet Li is flying the Kerry flag, collaborating with Calibre, while the likes of Mike Fate and N-Monic and Tone push other flavours. Crilli are as always killing it stone dead up in Belfast as well.
Tim Reaper & Coco Bryce have featured on Lobster Theremin recently, which is predominately a house and techno label. Is drum and bass becoming more interchangeable with more popular four to the floor stuff?
Executive Steve: I think the whole genre purism buzz made an awful lot more sense back in the days of having to buy records every week and only buying the ones that you could mix with the ones you already had. People have thousands of bangers on a USB stick now, and they can cherry pick the best of everything that’s out there, and honestly that’s so much better. I think people starting out in music now approach It from a mentality of “I want to play music” and not “I want to play genre X and pretend nothing else exists”, and that is just ridiculously healthy and hopefully a sign of great things to come in the years ahead.As for why a label like Lobster Theremin would want to get Jungle people involved, I think that kind of rootsy and whimsical but still super authentic buzz that Coco Bryce and Tim Reaper really exemplify is just something that resonates well with anyone making more more lo-fi, organic dance music based around samples and a certain mood. On a completely other tangent you can hear people like AnD, Donato Dozzy, Forest Drive West, Pessimist, ASC and Sam KDC and all the Samurai Records people joining dots between harsher and colder strains of Techno and 170bpm+ plus sounds, and that is a kind of sound that I would have thought has an awful lot of potential to get people in Dublin interested in things that are a little bit different. Who knows what we’ll see when things reopen?
What does the drum and bass scene in Ireland look like in 2021?
Executive Steve: The clubs were shut all year apart from the five weeks they were open and I had four gigs in the space of that time, and honestly I couldn’t begin to tell you what the scene looks like apart from that. It’s more important what the landscape looks like – and against a background of closures and gentrification and monoculture things will always look bleak. At the end of the day you have to trust the message of your music, you have to trust that no matter what happens humans will always have a deep , perhaps even primal urge to lose themselves in a crowd, and humans will always have an emotional need to find themselves, find friends and explore their potential in a new creative community, and anyone who invests time and energy into creating contexts for that, regardless of the tempo they’re pushing, needs to be conscious of the fact that there will always be a need for dark rooms and bassbins no matter how many hotels get built on our dancefloors and no matter how long the pandemic ranges. We’ll all see the other side of this one day. Until then stay safe and look after each other.
What parties first drew you to drum and bass in Ireland and how did you stumble across them?
Misha Freshin: My first experiences with DnB were the radio station in GTA III and then a bit later in the FIFA Street soundtrack. The club night which drew me more into Drum & Bass was in fact a Dubstep orientated night that took place every Wednesday called ‘Strangeways’ in the Lost Society (now Farrier & Draper) run by Gary Devitt, Rob Connolly and Stephen O’Brien. The lads used to have D&B in room two and I have massive massive love and respect for them and what they curated or that to year period, an era, subsequently putting me deeper in love with Bass Music and Soundsystem Culture.
Has emigration ever come to mind in order to pursue music ?
Misha Freshin: Emigration has indeed crossed my mind many times especially when one can see the culture and communities surrounding it in other cities. However, I am on a mission to push the sound here on Irish shores and to ensure that our music is represented.
What younger DJ’s and collectives involved in drum and bass in Ireland should I be on the lookout for?
Misha Freshin: To be honest with you I’m not too sure about younger DJs, producers or collectives pushing the sound. I mean inHabit Recordings is only three years in the running and that’s pretty young for a label, I suppose. But I will of course give you the names of a few heads to check out and to be on the lookout for! ; Altex, Ambit, Artois, Bad Operator, Boey Audio, B-Origin, Crilli, Code, Conkan, Degree, Initial Crew, Jet Li, Kaper, Lewis James, Nebula, N-MON1C, Rua Records, Rudimentary Records, Smacht, Spectrum, SteppA, Steo, Subtle Audio, Tone Walsh.
If we were to have this conversation in 5 years time, what would you like the drum and bass scene to look like in Ireland?
Misha Freshin: In half a decade from now there will be at least one annual festival dedicated to Soundsystem Culture and all Bass Music i.e Dubstep, DnB and Jungle. As well as regular weekly and monthly dances packed to the rafters.
Massive love and nuff respect to everyone running the riddim sharing in the dance. Praying for the Nu Renaissance to follow the plague. See you up the front in 2022.
Do you feel like you’re apart of the electronic music scene in Ireland? Or is drum and bass very much its own entity?
Ambit: Being a drum & bass DJ in Ireland, I do feel like part of the electronic music scene but the drum & bass scene in Ireland is quite small. What I have noticed over the years is that often when I say I am a DJ and people ask what I play, they raise their eyebrows a bit when I say: drum & bass. I guess they would expect me to say ‘house or techno’.
What radio stations and podcast series should I be checking out for some good Irish drum and bass?
Ambit: Dos75 pm on Unknown.FM, Subtle Audio show on Jungle Train. Prior to Covid, Radio Na Life with Executive Steve aka Smacht, would have been the main one for me bringing the freshest sounds and dubs, which hopefully will be back on air soon, as well as BreakBeat Flavr on Phever.ie.
You recently supported Tim Reaper in Wigwam for Slither. The promoters were new to running drum and bass, do you think you might have converted a few heads that were ignorant to the genre before?
Ambit: That was a great night! I would hope so. Having been involved and slightly obsessed with this genre for years, for me seeing the crowd feel drum & bass on the dancefloor is an exhilarating and I definitely felt it on the night.
Can you give some advice to younger DJ’s who want to get into drum and bass in Ireland? Who should they be talking to?, where should they be going? Etc..
Ambit: I would say start with developing your style and record mixes that can be listened to on soundcloud for example. Be authentic and go for the style that you really feel.
As per who to talk to, things have changed for the scene since Covid but hopefully we will have proper nights back and running soon, there are a few dnb crews/promoters in Ireland with Initial who used to ran a great dnb night in Berlin 2 pre Covid, Spectrum DnB who were involved in bringing big names over to Ireland, Springfield Crew Massive, and Sol Fud who also run a label Inhabit Recordings and Evolution DnB further down the west in Cork.
Get talking to people on the scene, you may even make great friends along the way. DnB is a great little community and I have made some of the best friends within the scene here in Ireland and outside over the years.
You’re a longstanding resident on RTE Pulse, how have you found listenership change over the years?
Nick Fury [Spectrum]: Yeah we’ve being on pulse for a while now. Must be 7 or 8 years . I think the listenership has been steady and the fact we play all styles defo helps we really try not to pigeon hole ourselves . I think it tends to peak and trough, DnB always seems to be the boy in the background with Ireland being essentially a house and techno Island . So we really have to fight to stay relevant.
How has the lack of venues affected drum and bass in the capital?
Nick Fury [Spectrum]: Yeah that’s a good question I think it was always hard to get promoters to take a risk on us anyway because it can be so hit and miss here & nights can range from really good to terrible. Looks like Ryan in Bow Lane is receptive to DnB so hopefully we can start to rebuild the community in there.
What Irish drum and bass should I be delving into? I want to hear about the classic’s I’ve missed, the unsung heroes and the up and comers.
Nick Fury [Spectrum]: The talent from over here is insane which really goes to show how under appreciated it is which is such a shame. Zero T from Dublin and Calibre from Belfast are probably 2 of the biggest names in the whole scene , Zero T and Beta 2 just released there debut searchlight project on Goldies fallen tree label. Ricky Force is killing it on the jungle scene has been for years. My partner in Crime Steo is probably one of the top 3 vocalists in DnB at the minute, consistently releasing on North Quarter, metalheadz and Dispatch, Jet Li has release out with Calibre who barley works with anyone & on Steve Digitals Label.
Unsung heroes would have to be Rohan, Naphta & Don Rosco from Bassbin who basically kicked the whole scene in Ireland, Jay, Barry and Ricky from Reach who carried the torch after bassbin in Dublin. Conor Code running the Subtle Audio label in Limerick, Executive Steve & Mark on Radio Na Life who’s weekly radio shows have been going for over 10 years & Collie Hertz-U Doyle Dublin soundman extraordinaire.
Up and comers to watch, I’d say there’s some nice talent bubbling away at the minute. B-origin is making some lovey stuff on his own and with Steppa as Aux 2, Sloey is defo making some nice bits, Mike Fate from Cork has a release about to drop on Jubei’s carbon label. Adum from Boey is making moves & MC Kenna killing it. JMC and Degree form Initial killing it in the studio as well also big up Slither nice to see a new bass night pop up especially in these crazy times.
Can you give me an insight into some drum and bass scenes in counties outside of Dublin?
Nick Fury [Spectrum]: Yeah there’s some regional stuff around the country as well which is great . Like I said before Conor Code has Subtle down in Limerick. Mike Fate has one of the best nights in the country with his Evolution nights in Cork and he has a great roster of residents. JJ, Kerry & Rob. I can’t forget, Brian, Jet Li and Pat Source, the Cork OG’s. If you’re old like me you’ll remember the club nights down there and the legendary jungle republics on Valentina Island. There’s Drumology, Chill Step and Crilli in Belfast. Dave makes some banging tunes as well. Ernie was the king of Galway, when I was making my way and I heard a rumour there’s a new night starting soon there . Hago in Derry he’s back as well.
You’re involved in various styles of electronic music, how did you fall into drum and bass on your musical journey?
Sharpson: Growing up on 90’s MTV, I’ve always loved dance music. In particular, I was obsessed with Daft Punk, The Chemical Brothers, Faithless, Underworld and The Prodigy. Even before I knew what Drum & Bass actually was, I always gravitated towards that fast paced, breakbeat sound. In fact, the first CD I ever bought was Kelis feat. Andre 3000, Millionaire when I was about 9. It’s not exactly Drum & Bass but it’s close enough. When I was even younger, I remember declaring to my brother’s that Bomfunk Mc’s Freestyler was my favourite song ever. Still an absolute jam.
But the first proper ‘Drum & Bass’ track I distinctly remember trying to understand the genre was Pendulum’s remix of The Prodigy’s Voodoo People. I finally knew the name of the sound that I’d always loved; Drum & Bass. I loved The Prodigy, and that remix introduced me to my new favourite band: Pendulum. As cheesy as they became, they’re earlier tracks were next level. I loved the idea of live bands playing dance music and got to see them when I was 14 in the RDS. Still one of my favourite performances.
Around then is when I I became obsessed with all things Drum & Bass, IDM and Jungle. I really got brainwashed by the culture and the identity. A total jungle convert. I remember my older brother’s friend was the only kid on the street who could download tunes illegally and he gave me a rake of Aphex Twin, Squarepusher, Evol Intent, Ben Sage, Zero T, Utah Jazz, Calibre, London Elektricity and Aphrodite.
Those were really formative for me as a musician as that’s when I started producing and DJing as Double Screen. I started off making Liquid, IDM and some really terrible Jump Up. It’s funny to look at it now because years later, because I’ve gotten to meet some of these people who really influenced me. A few years ago I was lucky enough to support Aphrodite in the old Voodoo Lounge. Just before the lockdown, I got to spend the day at Hospital Records in London. This year, I did a piece for UKF on Irish Drum & Bass producers and got to interview Zero T. I have a feeling my 14 year old self would think I’m pretty damn cool (even if I’ve put on a few more pounds than he would have liked).
What Irish drum and bass DJ’s influenced you early in your career?
Sharpson: The radio heads definitely opened up my DnB palette. When I was studying for my junior cert, I used to always listen to Executive Steve and Quality Mark on Radio Na Life. Steve really introduced me to Half-Time Drum & Bass and the more dub-reggae jungle sounds, and Mark introduced me to some of the deeper and neuro styles.
Another class show was Spectrum on RTE Pulse. In fact, the first ever time I got some radio play (well digital radio), was on their show. They played my track ‘Your Voice’ almost 10 years ago now. Listening to those shows, I started to understand the versatility of Drum & Bass. Much like House music, it’s got a crazy number of sub-genres, each with their own scenes.
In terms of producers, Calibre and Zero T have always been up there for me. I play piano and therefore gravitated towards the more melodic sounds of Drum & Bass, so those guys were huge influences for me. I was lucky enough to catch Calibre downstairs in the Twisted Pepper. Scream was playing upstairs, and my mates were pissed off at me because I wanted to stay for Calibre’s whole set. Definitely worth it.
I also got to give credit where credit is due. An unpopular opinion, but an incredible Irish Drum & Bass producer is Noisestorm. He’s obviously known for his EDM sound, which somehow discredits him as a Drum & Bass producer, but regardless, Eoin is an exceptional talent and one that no one talks about. He might not be everyone’s cup of tea because of his mainstream appeal, but I still think the guy’s a genius.
Are you planning to run any drum and bass nights in the future? How do they compare to running a techno night ?
Sharpson: In April, my label Choki Biki Records, is bringing over Club Glow. That’s Denham Audio, Borai, LMajor and ManiFesto’s collective. Even though Club Glow is known for their Breakbeat sound, LMajor and ManiFesto play a lot of Jungle and some Drum & Bass, so I’m counting that as one.
I’m also working with Crane Club on bringing over some Drum & Bass acts, as well as techno acts who play a lot of Drum & Bass, but alas, I can’t announce anything yet.
In terms of the difference between organising a Drum & Bass gig compared to a techno one in Ireland? It’s totally an uphill battle. In Ireland, Drum & Bass just doesn’t have the cultural impact that Techno or House does. Even bringing over an icon like Aphrodite can be a gamble trying to get people in the door. Sometimes it’s not even worth the artists’ time to come over as they usually have to take a small pay cut, and probably won’t get the numbers. Why bother when they can sell out in any venue in the UK on any given weekend. On the flip side, for a lot of Irish promoters, it’s just not worth it. There aren’t a lot of Irish promoters who specialise in Drum & Bass anymore, it’s mainly house and techno one’s who will book a DnB act that’s popping off. It’s extremely expensive to bring over a big UK Drum & Bass act to Ireland, and almost impossible to try and organise a country tour for them.
Another factor is that Drum & Bass isn’t suitable for your average punter. It has a syncopated rhythm and a fast-paced tempo which instantly turns off people who are unfamiliar with the sound and are just looking for a boogie on a night out. Because of the speed, you’ve really got to let loose and skank, you can’t really half arse it. It’s kind of like going to a metal gig, you’ve got to prepare for some head banging.
The lack of interest in Drum & Bass is why I started my Sharpson project. I wasn’t getting any gigs, no one was listening to my music, so I just started to release House and Techno. I find a lot of Irish Drum & Bass producers have to do the same. I sold out and I don’t regret a thing.
Breaks are pretty popular right now, do you think drum and bass is easier accessible through the popularity of breaks at the moment?
Sharpson: I think there’s a hint of truth to that. Maybe Liquid and Jungle influenced stuff. I think Irish crowds appreciate the melodic elements of Breaks at the minute, and therefore are gravitating towards Liquid and ambient Drum & Bass. Artists like Bailey, Nu-Tone, Aphrodite etc. But I can’t see Deep or Jump Up acts like Hadex, Phibes or Disrupta making the rounds here. Weirdly enough, the Irish Drum & Bass scene has always been very much into Metalheads and that kind of Tech-Step sound, but I just can’t see the younger generation getting into it, not from their breakbeat influence anyway.
Personally speaking though, I’ve definitely been enjoying this breakbeat resurgence. It’s why I started Choki Biki Records. It’s very rare for me to be into a genre that’s currently in the zeitgeist and I’ve been milking it harder than ever. I’ve about 14 years of old project files of IDM, Liquid, Jump Up that I’ve been reworking. Even my latest tune ‘4 Ur Ma’ was a track that I started around 9 years ago, and it’s only now that I’ve felt I could release it and Irish crowds would dig it. My track ‘Skinny Mysterio’ came from a 174 bpm Liquid Drum & Bass track I’d made when I was 16, and I just reworked it recently for a contemporary Irish audience.
I kind of stopped releasing it as ‘Double Screen’ about 3 years ago now. However, I think now the Irish scene has shifted enough that it’s a good time to start releasing Drum & Bass again. I’ve been sitting on tunes for years that I haven’t bothered putting out because I didn’t think there would be an interest, but I think 2022 will be a good year for it. I just hope that this Irish Drum & Bass resurgence will last long enough for me to get these tunes out there.
You’ve been involved as a booking manager in a number of venues in Dublin over the years. How popular do you think drum and bass is in the capital as of late?
Ryan Hayden: Drum & Bass is alive & well in Dublin, all though it’s popularity is not as widespread as house & techno, you have to do a bit more digging if you want to find yourself a DnB party. Any of the venues I have been involved with over the years have always welcomed drum & bass parties with open arms, be it myself throwing the party or one of the many talented collectives within the city. The type of crowd the DnB scene attract is second to none, there is no ego, there is no camera phones or private booths & table service, it’s just about getting lost in the high energy music, it really is a special atmosphere.
What venues have been important for drum and bass in Dublin over the years?
Ryan Hayden: The thing with drum & bass parties in Dublin is that 99% of the time they are held in intimate venues, which for me really adds to the experience. Fibber Magees basement was the home to Energy Collective for a long time, that was probably the first proper experience I had with DnB on a night out, which gave me the inspiration to throw our own monthly illicit DnB parties in Sweeney’s basement (Now Mulligan & Haines on Dame St). Other venues I have enjoyed going to over the years to catch some break beats have been Turks Head, Berlin D2, Twisted Pepper/Wigwam & The Pint/The Sound House.
Are there any Irish drum and bass label’s I should be keeping an eye out for?
Ryan Hayden: Yeah for sure, Altex’s imprint Boey Audio based in Leitrim is a personal favorite of mine with some sick releases from Irish artists such as B-Origin & SteppA. You’ve also got ‘Inhabit Recordings’ & ‘Absys Records’ both Dublin based & pushing the DnB / Jungle sound. Rua Sound based in Galway also deserves a shout out, they have some great releases!
Going into 2022, can we expect you to be involved in some drum and bass parties in Dublin?
Ryan Hayden: Yeah you can definitively expect to see some really cool stuff launching in the new year, not just in Bow Lane Social Club but across Dublin, possibly even a reboot of the Drum & Bassment if we can find the right basement for it! Also big shout out to Initial, Spectrum, Sol Fud, Rubadub, & Rise, just some of the collectives in Dublin that I am sure have plenty lined up for the new year, be sure to check em out & follow if you wanna skank out to some DnB & Jungle when ever we finally get back to dancing in clubs again.
Thanks to Executive Steve, Misha Freshin, Ambit, Nick Fury, Sharpson & Ryan Hayden for their insights.
Photo Credits: https://www.instagram.com/ycm_media/
Deign Credit: https://www.instagram.com/erikburka/