Opportunities to meet true pioneers are few and far between, sitting down with Mikey Dread and Ras Kayleb was not only a humbling experience but an incredibly engaging and thought provoking one. We could have sat and discussed travels, gigs, music and technology for hours after the camera stopped. They hold a level of knowledge that only comes with 40 years in the game and we’ve got a lot of appreciation for this legendary sound. They’ve provided an ample amount of good times for us lot at carnival over the years and have been doing so long before we joined the Bank Holiday wave in Notting Hill. It’s with great pleasure that we present to you this interview with Channel One Sound System, true pioneers. We’ll be backing them at this year’s Red Bull Culture Clash and the duo certainly are more than confident when it comes down to defending their title. Channel One do not mix their words when it comes to the competition, as far as they’re concerned, there is none.
Channel One will be competing against Annie Mac presents Magnetic Man, Major Lazer and Boy Better Know on Wednesday 7th of November at Wembley Arena for Red Bull’s Culture Clash. You can join them by entering ‘Get On Stage‘.
For more information on Culture Clash head HERE
As Red Bull’s Culture Clash rapidly approaches and readies itself to takeover Wembley Arena it’s bigger than it has ever been before, mirroring this is the epic rise of Bass Music. Regardless of the generic umbrella terms Dance Music is as big as it’s ever been – except now with a massive dollop of Roots and Reggae influence. Alongside Hip Hop vocals which take as much of a style-cue from Jamaican Singjays the lineage of Sound System culture is deeply rooted within British Youth Culture, it just happens now that Diplo et al have blown this up into a worldwide pop phenomenon.
If you know little about this dynamic I’m referring to, it’s essential to reach for YT’s ‘An England Story’ a record that charts the various idioms, styles, names and legends that narrated at least three generations of raving experiences from Sound Systems to Jungle raves and beyond. Rave culture, bass culture - whatever you want to call it, provides a great narrative to British dance music and the politics of dancing is a great way to disseminate youth and subcultures. We can trace this cultural lineage way back to before Acid House, M25 Free-Parties and the like, you could even say this whole thing we love and adore began up North with Mods venturing to the Twisted Wheel for all-night Soul Dances, listening to obscure import records that went a little deeper than the usual Motown records popular at the time. We’ve loved partying all night on these shores to new and exciting music, it’s an essential part of our cultural fabric. Not everything is derives from Jamaica, equally Bass Music owes as much to Chicago, New York and Detroit. With parties in Moss Side taking cues from across the pond and effectively birthing Acid House in the mid-eighties.
Drawing lines between the varying off-shots of British Youth culture and dancing is nothing new, in examining these trends and overlaps of influence. Jeremy Deller’s Acid Brass Band project springs to mind as one of the most entertaining.
What we determine as ‘Raving’ these days isn’t necessarily the big warehouse or free parties associated with the 80s and 90s it’s a lucid term that acts as an umbrella for whatever your bass driven poison. From Hardcore to Jungle, Drum & Bass to Garage, Grime and Dubstep; it’s now becoming increasingly more difficult to distinguish the nuances of ‘Bass Music’ and such is the rapid rate in which producers drop records and mixes appear online, scenes get distorted, genres have little time to breathe and an eco-system of fans, parties, radio shows and the like fail to truly get going. Right now so many different sub-genres and influences sprawl out of London alone it would do the producers a diservice and restrict their creativity in many cases to bracket them in boxed scenes. The likes of T.Williams and Redlight are testament to this. Like many others right now they seem so at ease on the buttons they can transpire to produce near enough anything, with an abundance of bass at its core. This is arguably what Red Bull are trying to achieve with their Culture Clash event. Bringing as many practitioners and champions of “Bass Music” under one roof to battle it out, each however with a distinctly British or Roots sentiment to their sound.
Such as we can probably trace the politics of dancing and the culture of raving back to the Twisted Wheel, each of the sounds represented at Culture Clash which seem to be driving everything from the UK Charts, to Skrillex and Deadmaus by some form of bastardisation can trace partly what they do back to Roots and Reggae Culture’s nearest relative Dancehall. Ragga has provided the rhythm for much of our Dance Music sounds from Hackney Hardcore to Grime, the most clearly replicated is in the form of the MC. Although this maybe derived as tenuous – underlying the way in which these cultures function, their very existence can easily be traced to the influences from Jamiaica. When discussing this with original forefathers who have been building sounds and playing reggae parties for 40 odd years, they’re quick to dismiss, although in essence the rudiments are very much aligned.
So many lines can be drawn between them from the engineers that borrowed a great deal in artistry from the likes of Saxon and Channel One and built casmic sounds for Drum & Bass raves like Valve or the very notion of Dub Plates and cutting Dubs how that has transpired into all the varying scenes represented throughout Red Bull’s Culture Clash. It’s surprising that The Heatwave haven’t been called up for the event. Their own Showtime tour and DVD brings all the varying MCs in the UK representing much of this Bass Music landscape and has them rhyme over Dancehall. Their Showtime DVD is a must watch for fan and observer alike.
The fact that Culture Clash is now taking place at Wembley Arena and features the likes of Annie Mac, this is no longer an underground phenomenon. Red Bull’s early offerings catered to a niche audience but as Dizzee Rascal’s ‘Dance Wiv Me’ blew the doors wide open a flurry of Grime and UK Hip Hop talent have besieged the UK charts. Couple this with the worldwide acknowledgement of what has become Dubstep or what is deemed ‘Dubstep’ along with a heavy mix of cocktails (you cannot underestimate the roll drugs has to play in this politics of dancing either) Bass Culture is enjoyed the world over. This isn’t a bad thing either, for long have many great artists suffered from the suffocating nature of the Underground, now they’re getting paid and with that a certain antipathy towards events like Culture Clash arise. With the inclusion of the very best around this doesn’t simply pander to mainstream tastes or Diplo obsessives. It’s a fair and worthy representation of this thing we call ‘Raving’ albeit with one or two questionable inclusions they capture this linage from Channel One to BBK.
Red Bull have a pretty great competition for fans of any of the sounds representing. You can join them on stage by submitting a playlist of 5 tracks you think would win a clash, to be chosen by the Sound you like most. I put together a couple of tracks trying to, as much as possible to chart this lineage in five records, albeit not chronologically.
Rolled North to Tufnell park the other night for System. Been a while since I’ve gone to a dance and actually enjoyed being there. Big dark space, weighty sound system and a freshly cut dubplate’s, a formula a lot of parties/venues seem to have dismissed over the past few years.
If you’re missing what certain parties used to offer when ‘Dubstep’ was still rooted in sound system culture and roots reggae you should definitely reach System.
Good seeing familiar faces again out to, JJ, Tri Funk, Grand, G Double, Quest, Heny, Jay 5ive, Youngsta, Squarewave, Syte and all the others I may have forgotten to mention.
Big up to Mala and Vivek for showering down the dance.
Feeling this collab between Stüssy and Alakazam. Operation Radication is the result of a close collaboration between Alakazam & Stüssy and features a wide range of clothing and artwork designed by Alakazam and art directed by Stüssy. Inspired by Jamaican & British reggae & dub LP artwork. Alakazam have created a mix tape inspired by the collection. Radio Radication is a mix of dubbed out Reggae jams, hand selected by Will Sweeney. Presumably it’ll be available at our good pals The Hideout.
For all the Reggae and Dub heads out there. Following a recent conversation about Dub and all things Roots and how strangely I don’t really know much about New York Reggae, other than the odd bit of Hip Hop lineage. I was put on to this documentary. Lloyd Barnes, aka Papa Wackie was an instrumental figure and this documentary is pretty amazing in its exploration of his mini-empire sprawling from the Bronx. To be honest, anything showcasing NYC street culture circa 86 is always worth a gander.
The CAMP (Basement) 70-74 City Rd, London, EC1Y 2BJ
£6 Advanced tickets // £8 before 11PM, more there after.
Limited Advanced tickets: HERE
Facebook event page: HERE