It’s 1997 and a 17 year old Rebekah Teasdale is just finishing work at a French restaurant in the centre of Birmingham. With 30-odd pounds worth of tips in her bag as she steps out into the cool night air, she fixates on the crowd of people waiting to get into the nearby Que Club. Towering above her in its home of an ornate former Methodist church, she’s passed it night after night, fascinated since she started DJing a year ago.
Few DJs represent the spirit of UK dance music like Jack Adams does. A lifelong student of hardcore, drum & bass and grime, he is utterly devoted to the culture, obsessive in his eagerness for discovery, and passionate in his want to share his knowledge with others.
Over the past decade, he’s had it all, lost it, and rebuilt himself in such a way that he’s now more confident, more creatively minded, and more comfortable with his art than ever.
“The John Peel show is what I used to listen to when I was young, ’cause it just used to baffle me. Hearing fucking black metal, then a techno track, then a drum & bass track, then some Motown. It made no sense, but perfect sense”
In the end, Jack put a stop to the series, as it had begun to take over his life. While not planned, each show took a solid two days of prep, and having gone head-to-head with some of the world’s best DJs, figuring out how to top those names was proving difficult. Radio has always been a huge part of Jack’s life, though, and he’s certainly not disappeared from the airwaves, now hosting a monthly show on NTS instead. The back-to-backs are something he’d like to revisit, he says, but on a less regular (and less stressful) basis.
Grime quickly became a new obsession, with Jack going to see crews like Roll Deep and Ruff Sqwad perform in Brighton, before following the sound to its roots in London around 2008. There, he got involved with MC and producer Jammer, of Boy Better Know fame. “I learnt how to make grime in Jammer’s basement, so I don’t think it can get more grime than that,” Jack says. “I had a very good grime education, directly from Jammer, and working with Trim and Badness and all the people like that. I feel very lucky that I was able to learn from the source.
“I’ve always liked collaboration, I love the collision of ideas,” says Jack. “I like the fact that you do something which is the sum of two people’s parts, it’s not one person, it’s not the other.” He also admits to getting bored when left alone in the studio for too long, and being liable to “piss around with something for fucking ages and not get anything done” — an issue most can relate to.