Ahead of DJ Vapour‘s set at Shut That Sh*t Down Stepback Sessions on 26 December at Brixton Jamm we sat down with him for a chat about his 36 Hertz label / mastering service and his latest venture, old skool e-commerce site Hardcore Junglism.
How did you get into the drum & bass / jungle scene?
A mate of mine passed me a Devious D tape from an event called Eclipse that used to run in my home town of Cambridge. The first track on it was Menace by Rufige Kru which blew me away. I started buying more tapes and then records, saved up for a set of turntables and started DJing in 1992.
From there I started playing at local events for mates and then hooked up with some guys who put on events called Life 4 Land whom I used to play for a lot. I started building my own studio and working on production around 2001 and then everything went from there.
How did Hardcore Junglism first come about?
Through a massive lack of being able to find digital copies of long forgotten old skool hardcore, jungle and DNB tracks. You can get the usual compilation albums but all the real good stuff was not available digitally. Obviously we have great ties with a lot of these artists so we started working on the idea.
It took over a year to get everything set up but we went online in March and the sites been non-stop since. It’s great having the site cos we get people emailing us from all over the world telling us how much they enjoy the site and the artists are really happy to have an outlet they trust to sell their music through so it seems to have struck the right chord with the scenes true fans and artists.
What’s the idea behind it?
Simply to create a huge online archive of this great music – it’s more than just having a store we wanted to tell the stories behind the labels and the artists and enable people to get the music in a way that is going to mean the artists get paid. We also help to stop illegal file sharing and work closely with the BPI to ensure that our artists and labels are protected from the people who feel it is ok to give their work away for free.
What artists/labels do you feature in your online store?
We try to stick mostly to music released in the 1990s but do feature some material that is newer if we feel it fits in with the “sound” of that era or if a label is still running to this day. We feature exclusive content from the likes of DJ Crystl, Coolhand Flex, Foul Play, DJ Monk, Skeleton Records, Uncle 22, 4 Hero, DJ Junk and much much more. The list of forthcoming material is growing by the day, so plenty more in the pipeline.
What plans have you got for the site?
We’re working towards our first year anniversary next March and will be doing a few things for that. Customer feedback has moved us towards more merchandise next near and we will of course be adding more great music and interviews.
You also run 36 Hertz, tell us about that…
36 Hertz has been running for many years now I set it up to put out some of the great music I was being sent every week. There are no plans or empire behind it, I just release what I like – from my random weirdness from my studio or other people’s music. I like to showcase new producers and don’t put out tracks with the care of selling loads, I just like to get good music out there.
At the moment I’m fiddling with a couple of album ideas and SR & Digbee and working on a LP for us. We have been doing quite a bit of nu skool old skool which is new tracks that have been made to sound like old skool hardcore style sitting at around the 140bpm mark so expect some more of that as well.
And you’re running a mastering service as well… give us an idea of how that works, and what artists/labels you’ve worked with?
36 Hertz Mastering came about from me starting to master the 36 Hertz releases and other people asking me to do theirs as well. To be honest it’s got really busy over the past two years and keeps me busy for quite a lot of the time.
This year I’ve completely rebuilt the studio and gone back to 100% old skool analogue style utilizing a classic Hill Audio mixing console and various other bits of gear. I do work for everyone from the biggest DNB labels through to new producers looking to get help with mixdowns and masters.
Tell us a bit about your promo mix…
The mix is a kind of showcase of what kind of stuff you can expect to hear form me when I play at STSD vs Stepback Sessions on Boxing Day. I picked through some of my favourite tracks from the early 90s and tried to put something together with a few more unknown tracks
Looking forward to the Boxing Day event?
Of course! The August event was a superb night with a really friendly vibe but the main thing was all the DJs dug really deep and played superb sets all night so I’m hoping for more of the same on Boxing Day. I’ve been sorting out loads of wicked tracks for the night as well, so can’t wait to play them.