Behind the Rave: Kapow! Interview with Skyz

Hello Skyz and thank you for answering my questions for drum+basics!

Let’s start from the beginning, how did you end up in the drum&bass/raving scene?

Hi Jenny, it all started in about 92 listening to the Pirates (Pulse FM, Dream, Eruption, Chillin) I used to tape shows and play them on my way to School and on my Sharp Mega Box! I was really into the ‘Subburban Base/Moving Shadow and Ram sound’. I remember the first tracks that really stood out for me at the time which were 31 SECONDS, THE DARK STRANGER and LORD OF THE NULL LINES. I was all over them tunes I knew was a musical sound I really connected with. Growing up in my early teens I did the classic bunking of school, playing street fighter in the local record shop, listening to Hardcore & Jungle that the DJs were playing, thinking to myself ‘I want more of this’! So I saved up my money and got some shabby decks from a local pub and started Raving!!

dnbHow did you start organising raves? From raves in the early 90’s, I was fascinated by the DJ and was always at the front going mad to DJs like Mickey Finn, Andy C, Hype & Zinc thinking ‘I want to be doing this, I want to get that reaction!!!’ In about ‘96 I started playing at house parties and youth club discos, but wanted to put on more of a rave party so after a few years I organised a small Rave event called ‘’STILL IN MOTION’’ with my crew ‘Social Sound’ with local DJs & Mcs. That led to a crew event called ‘’SOCIAL SOUNDS’’. I think we put on 7 events over the space of a year with the full spectrum of dance music, starting the nights off with House n’ Garage, Oldskool, Jungle & Drum n Bass. They were awesome nights as each one of us played different music. In 2006 I teamed up with a fellow Raver from Essex (M1) who shared the same style of Music and suggested we put an event on in Essex as it was swamped with Jump-up events and no other Drum n Bass style going on at the time. So we created “DEEPAH” and alternative Drum n Bass events from Rolling, Dark, Jungle, Oldskool, Liquid… We did our first few nights in London in a small bar called DRY BAR in Barbarian and from the success of the night we then held events in Reading & Essex where it really took off with the support from the local Ravers who were into our style. We created a massive following, filling every club we held an event in with artists such as GOLDIE, HYPE, MAMPI SWIFT, FABIO & GROOVERIDER, JUBEI & SP:MC. We also hosted a CRITICAL RECORDS night and DISPATCH that were road blocks! From the success of the DEEPAH nights we set up our own digital label called DEEPAHBEATZUK and had 10 successful releases from producers METH & 2SHY, ATECH, EXIT9, MIZO, EXPECT, NRANGES & UBERMAN and more. In 2009 we were offered Room 2 every month in Essex’s biggest Club Venue “TALK NIGHTCLUB” where DEEPAH found its home. We had 3 successful years at TALK with DJ’s like ICICLE, HAZARD, KENNY KEN, ROCKWELL, DILLINJA, LENZMAN, JUBEI, TOTAL SCIENCE, JUMPIN JACK FROST, and Mc’s SP:MC, RAGGA TWINS, EVIL B, FUNSTA, MESSY and many more. As we slowed down, we decided in 2012 to have a break to focus on other projects, our own lives and day jobs since running an event every month can be quite a commitment.

What’s the best Rave you have been to? I think that has to be WORLD DANCE, HARDWARE, JUNGLE SPLASH, DESIRE and most of the Raves from 95-2005.

From what I’ve heard you are also producing music, what can you tell us about that? I started producing back in the early 90s in the ATARI ST & AKAI days. I went to the Legendary HURRICANE STUDIOS in Deptford & Bagley’s for my Music courses. It was Always for a bit of fun until the past few years where I have been actually completing and mastering tunes I made years ago, and playing them out I have been getting good response. That’s given me the drive to get back in the Studio more and make more tracks.

Favourite Dj & Producer? It’s gotta be Andy C for the early days, Zinc & Total Science for productions. I play a lot of old Drum n Bass and Jungle in my sets so love the 90s Drum n Bass production.

What do you enjoy the most: DJ, produce or organise raves? I think the ultimate buzz for me is playing my own tracks out and seeing Ravers going mad to Music I have produced! That’s the best buzz.

When you are not living drum&bass and raves – what do you do? I work as a Designer/Printer and have just set up my own design company Skydesignz. I have always been into Art & Design and love creating new images, I create a lot of Rave flyers & logos so always looking for fresh ideas…

You are behind the event Kapow! which has its third event this Saturday. How did this come about? I run KAPOW! with Richard Raindance so I am lucky to have his knowledge & experience to help promote and organise the events. It was Richard who came up with the idea and as soon as we spoke about it I knew it was an awesome concept as it was more Of an Umbrella concept for urban Dance Music: different themes, different Music styles but keeping it underground and Rave orientated. I had it in my head from the start how I wanted it to look like and as soon as we talked about a few ideas it all fell into place. dnb

We put production first as I feel most events seemed to have lost that vibe from 90’s Raves where you would go out and see the time and effort spent on production from stage acts to back drops – it’s the small things people remember. Yes of course it’s about the Music but it shouldn’t stop there; we are trying to recreate the original party vibe from back in the days where there is more to look at than the Mc on stage, Djs and Music policy. Each DJ booked I ask to play a certain style, it’s all about the non anthem sets!! Too many Oldskool events play the same old music just in different order. And we book djs who can properly mix (talent over popularity) and know their Music. The music from the 90s (jungle, dnb, Oldskool) was so versatile you could play b sides all night long!! So each DJ booked I request what style to play, it’s all about the Original Rave Music that time and DJs left behind!!! Fancy dress is optional although everyone seems to just turn up in some kind of fancy dress as the flyer designs we use seem to give that feel. Themed production is what most events are missing these days and I want to put more fun & visuals back into events rather than just a few lights and a banner!

dnbHow did you choose the DJs for Kapow?

I’m always looking for new djs and get sent loads of cool mixes and have them playing at work all the time, a lot of the djs I book is from hearing them play out or mixes I’ve been sent, there are so many talented DJs out there that don’t get a chance to play out and most of them have more passion and skills than what I hear out! The last KAPOW! I took a risk and didn’t book a headline DJ as I felt the crowd at KAPOW is all about the music regardless of who’s playing as long as it’s good music and mixed well; and our last event was rammed! We don’t need Likes or Labels, just good Music! So dress how you like and dance like no one’s watching you – this is KAPOW!

What’s the hardest part of organising a drum&bass rave? Agents and set times!!!!

What’s next for Skyz? I’m planning on getting back in the studio and making more music, also have some more dates for KAPOW! next year and want to find more djs and push the brand forward into different areas.

Any famous last words..? REPRESENT YOURSELF! Always think outside the box! Imagination rules the world!

Kapow will be taking place at Work – Bar/Nightclub, 3 Chapel Market, N1 9EZ London and you can get your tickets HERE. Don’t miss this raving experience!

Follow Skyz on Mixcloud.

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