Welcome to a series where we ask some of bass music’s finest to choose five tunes from any era and in any genre that have inspired them, influenced them, and maybe even changed their lives.
My mum would always try and get me to like some of the drum & bass she was playing and I just wouldn't. I remember even saying to her, "I’ll never like another genre, metal is my life."
Cannibal Corpse “Hammer Smashed Face” (Metal Blade Records, 1993)
I know it’s a weird one to start with but this is the very first track to really and truly influence my attitude towards music and what I listened to. As a boy growing up, I really didn’t have specific taste in music; I kinda just liked whatever I came across. That would usually span from anything like Meatloaf to Steps to Will Smith to Venga Boys to Fatboy Slim–I was very much a radio listener, a Now [That’s What I Call Music!] compilation listener and just liked anything, really.
The specific moment I discovered Cannibal Corpse I can remember so clearly, it’s almost weird. I was lying on my couch, feet up, in the small apartment my mum was renting and we were watching Ace Ventura. There’s a scene where he walks through the crowd of a death metal show and I remember hearing the music and thinking, “Whoa, what the hell was that?” I needed to know so badly that I found a friend who had a copy on VHS tape so we could look at the credits and see what band it was—and there it was in all its glory: Cannibal Corpse.
From that moment on my taste in music really changed and I turned into a die-hard metalhead. This led me to buy Metal Hammer magazines just for the compilations so I could discover other bands, which leads me to my second selection.
Slipknot “Wait and Bleed” (Roadrunner, 1999)
A few years after discovering Cannibal Corpse, I’d not yet found another band that I’d fallen fully in love with. I was in the center of town skating, trying to get the courage to ollie a four set of stairs. [Laughs] A friend walked up to me saying, “Check this band out, this album only came out this week,” and he gave me one of his headphones. He put on “Wait and Bleed” and I was like “HOLY F***!!! This is siiiiiick!!” The whole album was the first time I truly binged on an album. I became obsessed and had it on loop for months.
Twisted Individual “Bandwagon Blues” (Formation Records, 2003)
By the time I was 16-17, I was a full-blown metalhead. My mum was a DJ and always mixed drum & bass downstairs in a dedicated room in the house. She would always try and get me to like some of the tracks she was playing and I just wouldn’t—I was a metalhead. I remember even saying to her, “I’ll never like another genre, metal is my life.”
One day I was walking past the door of the mixing room and her new boyfriend was having a mix and dropped Twisted Individual’s “Bandwagon Blues.” I remember stopping in my tracks and walking in going, “What’s this? I kind of like it.” My mum was obviously shocked. To this day, I still have no idea what appealed so much about this track; maybe it was the womps that I’d never heard before? Whatever it was, it was at that moment that something in my brain twitched because I started to learn to mix and my love for drum & bass flourished from there.
Shouts to SKisM, by the way, who said, “The obvious natural progression from metal was to dubstep,” which made me laugh. [It was] very much the same for me but with drum & bass!
TC “Where’s My Money?” (Caspa Remix) (D-Style Recordings, 2008)
At this point in my life, I was a typical raver/DJ-type guy. My life pretty much consisted of working 60-plus hour weeks and making drum & bass for fun whenever I could under the name DJ Dose. I had made a couple of dubstep tracks for fun under my new alias FuntCase—“Gorilla Flex” and “Make Our Day”—but at the time I still wasn’t really convinced by the genre.
I would go out most weekends to drum & bass shows with a bunch of other ravers and DJs and I remember being at the Opera House (now known as O2 Arena) in my hometown of Bournemouth at a Valve Sound System show and two of the DJs on the lineup were Dillinja (my idol producer) and Shy FX. At a certain point in the night, Shy FX rewound a track he was playing and through the Valve Sound System speakers, a loud ass phone rang. The crowd instantly recognized this as the intro from “Where’s My Money?” by TC and cheered, but this version was slower and very confusing!
The drop kicked in and the reaction was mixed around me—some were confused, some were like, “Why the hell would you drop this?,” and some went “WOAHHHH” and loved it. I just stood there in awe at the sheer amount of bass, pure attitude, and aggression this new track and genre had. I didn’t know how to dance but I was so amazed by what I was hearing I just didn’t want to—I wanted to actually listen to it.
That moment was probably the main reason I ended up liking dubstep and pursuing it seriously. Pretty sure about two days after that I ended up making “50 Caliber.” Shouts to Shy FX, TC and Caspa for changing my life.
Joker “Tron” (Kapsize, 2010)
To end I thought I’d throw in a track that really amazed me when I heard it. Once again I am at a show in my hometown of Bournemouth and was at a popular local dubstep/reggae/drum & bass event called Dubnium (now known as Dub Optic). I was there to see the dubstep legend Mala who would really show me what was out there in the dubstep world. At that point, I hadn’t really listened to much of what was around. I was mainly into Bar 9, Trolley Snatcha and Sukh Knight. It was about 20 minutes in and Mala was playing an insanely good set. I was in my element standing next to Trolley Snatcha, who I had become friends with, and we were just watching Mala spin these crazy-ass dubplates off of acetate and vinyl. The soundsystem was amazing—I believe it was Iration Steppas soundsystem—and then…
…Mala suddenly drops “Tron” by Joker.
I was pressed at the very front of the crowd onto the rail, a little to the right of him and I remember the crowd’s reaction and me just getting one of the most intense set of goose bumps of my entire life. I can’t even describe the atmosphere at that point; it was like the whole world shut off completely. We were elevated into the acoustic atmosphere of space, a bubble was wrapped around me, this crowd, the DJ, the speakers and the music that was being played at a perfect volume, perfectly EQ’d and just for us, everything was just absolutely perfect. That was a very special moment that I will never forget as long as I live.