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Outrage Interview (Part 1)

Outrage Interview (Part 1)

Photo by Missy

Outrage – K Zero 9 – Backlash Records 003 (Feb 2010) by Digital and Outrage

Dubstep fans may not realize it but they have undoubtedly heard J-Tek already – in mixes from the likes of Mala and RSD. Sometimes unclassified, jungle techno, (to be exact) serves as a bridge between the ideas of the past, specifically early jungle/drum and bass and the engineering techniques of the future. The 140-150 bpm tempo provides crossover ability with other dance genres – perfect for dubstep. With it, DJs have the ability to build sets with elements of both Dubstep and Jungle, uniting the scenes. The J-Tek crew is aimed at employing their own identity when creating the music, deriving inspiration from jungle, techno, electro, house, acid, hip hop, dub, and reggae – among other genres.

Leading the J-Tek movement is DJ and producer Outrage, best known as a drum and bass producer. Outrage has been a consistent advocate of abstract music, providing a unique perspective. Cutting his teeth on such seminal drum and bass labels as Metalheadz, Inneractive, Intasound, Commercial Suicide, and L Plates, he now chooses to push the sounds of J-Tek while keeping a foot in drum and bass as well. He took time out to tell his story, share a bit about J-Tek and its connection to dubstep. Peep game:

Interview by Ben Daniels

What did you do before you started djing and how long have you been in the game?
Ah, I started djing as a hobby when I was around like 13, yeah ‘round 13 years old.

13?
Yeah, I started listening to hardcore, jungle drum and bass or whatever you want to call it back then, when I was maybe 11 or 12. I was listening to dance music and it was the time when everybody in school was listening to the local pirate radio stations – or if you were lucky you could get a hold of a pirate station from London that somebody had got sent a TDK cassette tape from that weekend where you’d hear all the big DJs when they were playing on pirate station. You could catch Hype, Mickey Finn, and all those boys playing on Kool FM if you were lucky. But yeah, for everybody, it was like a fashion thing back at school. Everybody was walking around with walkmans listening to cassette tapes of all the big raves or the pirate radio stations or whatever. Obviously everybody wanted to be a DJ, and of course I was one of those people. At the start, it was just because everybody else wanted to be a DJ – you know, you can kind of follow these trends when you are younger, but out of everybody I know, the majority of the people, I’m the one that stuck with it, and ended up putting a lot into it and got a lot out of it I guess.

So yeah I started DJing at 13 um a bought a set of, they weren’t even turntables, they were like, you know back in the day you could get separates – you’d get your amp, your cassette player, you’d get a turntable you could stick on the top.

Yeah
And it wouldn’t have any pitch control or anything on it

Yeah totally
So I bought two of those, thinking they were decks, and I went into the local electronics store and bought an old Sound Lab mixer that I thought was a DJ board to use for records, but then obviously as I was going along, going into a record shops I’d see the guy behind the counter playing with this thing on the side as he was mixing, and I was thinking, what the fuck’s he doing? And I worked out it was the pitch control. And then I bought some, um, what were they at the time? Pro 150’s – they were belt driven and they had pitch control on them. And that was my first pair of decks. I had those for like 2 or 3 years and my record collection built up and I bought a transmitter off a friend of mine and we started a local pirate station called Shock FM which went like 100-meter radius.

Hahaha!
We had this huge fucking antenna that was like 18 foot high and we didn’t even know anything about it – I mean if you had the ideal rig it would be aerial, it would be a meter long maximum, and we had this 18 foot thing and we would each take turns hanging out the window we had to tape it up to the roof – all sorts of crazy shit, and also the local crew used to get together to do a few parties, and then it grew from there. I managed to get a slot on a pirate radio station that was quite big in my home county called Perception FM – it was quite a big a radio station in my home county. And then from there I actually got a slot on London’s Rinse FM, way back in the day. I use to play every Saturday at 5pm and DJ Flight would play right after me and then Stamina MC would play before me – this is when he was a DJ. Emcee Wiley was on there – fuckin’ lots of people who have gone on to do good things came from that station –

Yeah, that’s huge!
So I’m glad to be a part of that from such an early time in my career. And it all just grew from there. I started my own company – a mail order service where a lot of the big record labels would send me boxes of their promos to send out to DJs for them. So basically I would advertise to DJs that could prove they were playing out and doing radio shows and they would send me their fliers and proof and we would put them on a mailing list and they’d subscribe and pay a certain amount to receive a years worth of promos from that particular label. I did that for a few years and got to know a lot of contacts through that – got to know Bad Company through that – got to know Dom and Roland too.  I used to go down to Renegade Hardware every Saturday to pick up vinyl. And then my network grew.

I got into the studio in 96 with a guy called Weaver [of Stomp and Weaver fame] and we produced our first track that got released on Flex records. I enjoyed being in the studio – it wasn’t like I was hands on I was, kinda sitting on the fence telling him what I liked and didn’t like. At that time I was more interested in playing out and DJing and then it wasn’t actually until 1999 or early 2000 when I met Amit, at that time he was going under the name Tronic, when I actually decided I wanted to take the production more serious. We hooked up in the studio solid – we must have made 200 tracks together. Our relationship grew from there. We had a few releases together. I could go on…

What year did you start on Rinse FM?
Fuck, what year was that? Probably around 99 or 2000 – it must have been because at that time I was going down to Music House every Saturday, which was a cutting house. It was basically where you would go every Saturday, where everyone would go to cut their dubplates. It was the smallest shack in East London down Holloway road in London. It was open from like one pm to maybe one am on a Saturday and everybody from Grooverider to Andy C to DJ Hype to Randall – you’d walk in there and you would see any of them just sitting there cuttin’ dubplates. If you were behind the queue, behind one of those guys you’d be there for hours, so you’d make sure you got there at like fuckin’ 10 am to make sure you got your place in the queue. But there were the times when Grooverider would send a courier with a pack of DATs – he’d obviously booked a session and you’d think you got first place in the queue and Paul would come and open the door and then he pulls out a big wad of DATs that Grooverider express delivered and booked his place and you be like, still sitting there for 5 hours. I was going there every Saturday and that was about the time I met Amit, round about the time I was doing Rinse FM so yeah, I’d say 99 to 2000 and maybe even 2001 I was there for a couple of years.

Is it safe to say then that your musical influences are a lot of the DJs you just mentioned?
Um, yeah, I mean back then, I was really into what ED Rush and Optical were doing and at the time, when Bad Company came out, I knew those guys before they even made The Nine, and when they were down at Renegade Hardware I was really into their kind of dark, still kind of dance floor industrial sound that they were doing. Id say the biggest contrast I was really into before then was – you had your intelligent drum and bass and before that you had your Logical Progression Bukem stuff and you had the Metalheadz sound, which at that point I hadn’t really gotten into. I mean, I was into Platinum Breaks 1 and early Mettalheadz stuff but it wasn’t a sound I really followed. I was really more into the rolling kind of techy stuff at that point when it came about. It wasn’t until Digital and Spirit came about with tracks like Phantom Force, that actually cut the whole scene in half – cuz the whole scene was just fuckin’ that kind of techy stuff. They came along with Phantom Force and just smashed the whole scene in half and then the whole scene just kind of spread out and started growing and changing and evolving and became really good – it was a really good thing. And for me that was THE sound when Digital and Sprit came about. With their collaboration sound it really got me.

Check out Outrage’s label J-Tek Records: http://j-tekrecords.ning.com/

Outrage also recently re-launched his D&B label Backlash Records: www.backlashrecords.co.uk

Be sure to read Part 2 of this interview tomorrow.

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