Tuesday, 9 April 2013
SubVersion Stop 186: SubVersion Interview 4: Jungle Syndicate
You've been holding the Jungle Syndicate events for over two years now, with established Jungle and leftfield Drum & Bass names like Dub-One, Equinox and Chris Inperspective passing through. Do you think any of the energy from these experiences inspired the starting of a label?
Absolutely, since we begun our events in London we've had built a strong friendship with all three of those artists, and Equinox and Chris Inperspective were two of the first people we turned to for advice with starting up a label. Their experience in drum & bass with their own labels was obviously a big part of it, but as well that they sit in one of the small niches of drum and bass that we would be promoting and looking to for signing artists. This was a big part of what we wanted to do as a label, use the reputation for the style that we promoted at our events and apply this to tunes we'll be signing, to really define the Jungle Syndicate sound across the board; hopefully in time we can sign some of the artists we've been blessed to work with at our events!
Cool. Now, your events are situated in at least two locations: London, and Bristol. Do you feel this logistic diversity - putting on two successful nights in two different hotbeds for music - reflects well on the type and amounts of audience members you have for the regular Jungle Syndicate event?
Yeah we seem to have grown quite a good regular crowd in London and Bristol, and recently we've had a few successful events up in Manchester as well; so it definitely goes to show that there's an audience out there for what we're pushing - which is great, as we've only put on lineups that we as ravers would want to see and it turns out that there's a lot of likeminded ravers out there who feel the same!
Speaking of Chris Inperspective, have you and him considered releasing a split 12' on Jungle Syndicate and Inperspective in the near future?
Definitely would love to do something like that. Have spoke to Chris numerous times about doing something between Technicality and Jungle Syndicate, that we still plan to do at some time… haven't really thought about doing something with Inperspective Records, but of course would love to!
I was thinking a Dub-One b/w Chris Inperspective and Paradox remix B side would be grand. This leads to the next question. I've noticed how your London Rhythm Factory lineups over the years haven't always changed heavily, but that this is a good thing. As a) it creates an 'in house' stylism for the events, and b) punters get to know and appreciate the ability of the DJs over a wide range of styles. Is it a conscious decision by Jungle Syndicate to do this?
Yes and no… As I said the lineups have always come out of what we'd like to see and in turn what we feel others would like to see, a certain element of this comes down to "That guy is still a badman… and I would love to see him again, let's get him again!", so we will regularly have people like Equinox, Bkey, Smyla & IJO on our lineups just because we feel it's been a while since we've seen them in London, or it's been a while since we've booked them and feel they slot nicely with the rest of a certain lineup. But as well as you say they represent very much of the style we're going for with Jungle Syndicate, so they're always in our thoughts when we're organising a lineup… Every now and then we will try reach out and get something special, so whether thats to get someone like Paradox down, or get Dom & Roland to do an exclusive amen set, that's something special, but the meat of some of our lineups definitely comes from a selection of favourites. Someone like Equinox is perfect for this, as he's so flexible and so talented as a DJ we know we can ask him for something different each time, yet still be perfect for Jungle Syndicate.
Do you reckon instinct plays a fair part in your role as promoters then? For example you couldn't or wouldn't want to book bigger name acts, as they clash with the underground stylism that makes everything so hardcore and to-the-bone raw?
It definitely plays a large part of it, also being involved as a Syndicate means that every choice is made from a group discussion and a group decision, so if anything if massively out of place from the ethos of Jungle Syndicate in general or just out of place with the rest of a lineup one of us will usually bark up and we'll look for a more suitable booking that we can all agree on. As for bigger name acts we've had to be quite careful with who we think of, because while they might be truer to the traditional "jungle" sound than we are they aren't what we're trying to achieve, and anyway it's not it's any skin off their nose not getting a booking from some little underground night, they're getting regular bookings every week playing the same bag of tunes out.
Speaking of tunes, could you name 3 Drum & Bass / Jungle tunes that have or would be played at Jungle Syndicate that you'd recommend to newcomers of your events?
Dillinja - Jah Know Ya Big
Probably one of the greatest tunes from the mid nineties back when all that was coming out was absolute gold. The kind of tune that very much built the foundations of what we are still trying to do nowadays; maybe not the exact same style, but the same vibe, the same energy, the same life as what was going on around this time.
Dub One - Cry of War
Without an absolute shadow of a doubt, it is probably one of the most filthiest drum and bass tunes ever made… an absolutely disgusting massive reece powering through the tune, with such chunky breaks and such an aggressive style to it; instant mosh pit material. Think this has probably been played out by a majority of the DJs who have played at Jungle Syndicate, or probably will be played by them at one point.
Pish Posh - Corrupt Cops (Evol Intent Remix)
Again a really filthy track that represents a time that a lot of our crew had started going out and tunes of this style were filling events like Therapy and Renegade Hardware. This was the kinda stuff that we'd love going out and seeing for a good few years until it started disappearing and there was a distinct lack of this music, which was one of the reasons that our crew felt to start getting involved with our own nights so we could put on the music that we love and stop whining at other events for stopping putting it on.
What are you drawn to socially apart from the music in terms of gatherings of people having a good time?
I think the beauty of being in such a niche genre is that you appreciate how small and intimate it is. I've become friends with so many people through going out raving, and that's probably one of the best things. I remember going to a club in London called Braindrop ran by the McMash Clan and I met so many amazing people through that, and that was something I loved so much; and in turn it's happened through Jungle Syndicate and it's such a beautiful feeling. You just instantly have something in common with people so there's a good reason to chat and get to know them, and then in most cases you realise that there's a lot more in common than just music. Some of the best nights I've had out have been ones where the lineup may not be strong enough to keep me glued to the speaker all night long, it's when I'm floating around the club drinking and chatting shit to mateys.
What's your favourite venue for Jungle Syndicate so far? For example, I've always loved The Rhythm Factory best for Technicality.
Collectively I know that in London a lot of us would rate Jacks as our favourite venue, and we did manage to do an affiliated event there for Sound Flow Festival warmups… however it didn't work out very well for us as the venue isn't too well known these days, it's a little out the way (though it's only round the corner from Cable it doesn't really seem to work like that) and it's a bit large for us. So in London Rhythm Factory is very much going to be our home for the forseeable future, we know exactly what we can do there, we know that sometimes with the right lineup it could be uncomfortably full but also with a slightly more unknown lineup (or a bad date) we can do alright numbers. We also feel it's come a long way since we were first started doing stuff there.
In Bristol we loved the first place we did it at, a great little function one stack crammed into some tiny 100 capacity venue that was so intimate it was great, that was called Chesters and it sadly closed down before we outgrew it which was a shame. After a while of moving around the Bristol crew settled at the Croft for their parties, which is another wicked small venue that they put on wicked parties there for a small budget, but it's not our favourite. That has to go to the Black Swan which is probably a lot of our favourite venue in the country; it's just got such a wicked vibe to it, it's a little grimey and on it's own it's literally just a warehouse out the back of a pub, but with the right attention, lighting, sound systems and decor it transforms into such a unique place, and with its bonfire out the back it's an awesome venue in the summer.
As for our other ventures in Manchester and Devon they haven't really been going long enough to decide for theirs, and they're still jumping around venues trying to find the right one… so we'll see.
That's all good to know. Especially from a budding promoter's perspective who may be thinking of setting shop in the UK. So what would be your number one "Don't Do" as promoters? It doesn't have to be a rule, simply something that's unwise that you'd prefer others avoided.
The number one don't do is easy, and it's very much a rule we've abided by since the very beginning, and when expanding our events elsewhere we've made sure all new promotions teams work to this rule… and that's never work expecting a successful event, because if you think it's going to be a success then you're likely to think you can pay artists out of the door money or something like that. Then when it all goes tits up and you've got to explain to an artist that they won't be receiving the agreed amount they're going to (rightfully) get a bit pissy. You should always give the artist the agreed price and if they have the respect to say "look your event didn't do so well, here have £50 back" or something then that's up to the artist. Regardless of how the night does the artist has still come down and done his thing, even if he's just playing to 5 people he still deserves the same money as if he's playing to 500 people. Our reputation is extremely important to us, so keeping the respect of the artists is our number one concern.
Finally, I've had fun interviewing the Jungle Syndicate crew. But where can punters find the fun on JSR001 - what shops is it available in?
Thanks very much, have really enjoyed the interview, much respect out to everyone involved with and/or using Subvert Central! As for finding the JSR001 vinyl you can buy it direct from us from www.JungleSyndicate.com and also get it from Chemical Records and Toolbox Records. We also have our digital label launching on April the 15th on www.JungleSyndicate.com and then at the beginning of May from all good MP3 stores. Thanks again!
Find out more about Jungle Syndicate, and others' views at Subvert Central