From the early days of Bad Company, co-founding Dogs On Acid and record label BC Recordings, to hitting the number one spot in the UK charts, this junglist superstar needs no introduction. As promised, we grabbed five minutes with the man of the moment, DJ Fresh, while he was recently in Hawaii..
How are you keeping and how is Hawaii?
"Amazing. Really really happy blessed and inspired at the moment."
What's been keeping you busy lately?
"Putting together my new live show, doing a lot of DJing, and working on my new album and follow up single to ‘Louder’."
How did it feel to be number one on the iTunes single and album charts?
"Amazing, I think it goes to show how far UK bass music has come. It's really being accepted now by the mainstream in the UK. Very proud to be spearheading the effort!"
What was your initial reaction when Lucozade asked to use your track?
"I was over the moon. Lucozade asked me to send them stuff I was working on, and ‘Louder’ seemed the obvious match but I was really happy when they came back and said it was perfect for them!"
Recently you've masterminded some very popular remixes, what is it that makes a track stand out enough for you to remix it?
"It's got to have a good hook, and something that will fit into the sound I'm pushing at the moment. I've been using remixes as a chance to experiment with the new future jungle sound I'm pushing."
Of late your releases have appealed to two very separate markets, i.e. the dark bass of 'Future Jungle EP' seems to appeal to the heads where as tracks like 'Louder' have a more wide spread commercial demand - did you intentionally decided to make tracks to suit the different audiences?
"Yeah, I've always been a bit schizophrenic musically. I like so many different things and have lots of conflicting influences. So I've been focusing my grimy filth mentality into the remixes and my new song ideas into the DJ Fresh releases."
It can sometimes be hard for a drum and bass DJ to maintain authenticity and respect when crossing over to the more commercial side of the spectrum. How do you manage to balance this and stay popular with both sides?
"I hope I'm doing that! I've been part of d&b for a long time and have made a lot of the historical d&b anthems. ‘The Nine’, ‘Planet Dust’, ‘Tarantula’ (with Pendulum), ‘Tombraider’ ‘All That Jazz’ etc. so I think the heads know I'm a junglist at heart… I always come back with grimy heads tunes alongside whatever else I’m doing."
'Heavyweight' was an absolutely massive track and when it was released it was near impossible to go to any rave and not hear it being dropped. Is it more satisfying to create something that will go down in history and be classed as a d&b anthem, although it appeals to less people, or something such as 'Louder' which appeals to millions but may lose some underground fans?
"Both. I've been picking up new fans with the new song based stuff but I feel a duty to remember my roots and the people that have supported me along the road to where I am now."
Why do you think drum and bass is becoming so popular at the moment?
"Because it's real UK music. It's exciting, high energy and forward thinking, and finally people like Radio 1 and MTV are giving it the support it needs to be taken seriously."
How is the scene different now from your days as part of Bad Company?
"In the late nineties d&b was almost a form of breakbeat jazz. It's influences now are much more mainstream, trance, electro, house, hip-hop. But d&b always changes and takes influences from what's going on around it, I think that's why it's been so resilient over the years, it's always there in the background growing and changing. It's very difficult to describe exactly what d&b is. Maybe it's more a way of life."
'Louder' is out now on Ministry of Sound.
Words: Nicola Elliott
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