2009: Mr Bang-e (NeuroFunktion)

Mr Bang-e on the decks

A lot of DJs use dubs because they fit in with their label operations, not so with you, what's the attraction?

For me it's all about the opportunity to play the best music in the best format. I've been cutting plates of various descriptions for around 15 years now. I started cutting down at Music House in the mid nineties - all the main players used to visit and cut new tracks there. I've heard some of the biggest Drum & Bass tunes ever produced cut in those studios.

Music House have long since moved on, and so has the technology surrounding DJs and production, but history taught me a lesson that having tracks engineered and cut by someone who knows what they are doing will always give me a sonic edge over someone that hasn't.

Do you see what you do as a platform to promote producers?

Absolutely. One of the best parts of DJing is meeting other DJs and producers who become friends and support me along the way. But it has to be a two way street. There is a responsibility of trust when a producer passes you their work, not to pass it to others and to represent it in the best possible way. I'm an honest critic - if I don't like a track (no matter how exclusive) I won't play it. But if it's something I'm into, then I give it 110% support and commitment, spending money to get the track cut so it sounds the best it possibly can. And it works, recently I hooked up with Raiden and played him one of his own 'specials' cut by you; he was blown away by it and could not believe the depth in sound over and above his own CD version.

Which producers are you liking the most at the moment?

Lots :) I keep hearing music sales are on the decline, the quality of Drum and Bass production most certainly is not. I'm into the deeper side of Drum and Bass, so I'm feeling the skills on that side more than anything else.

Phobia has recently set up his own label called Coded Music and got some excellent stuff coming from what I've heard. Jubei is on the same label, but normally produces on a slightly deeper more minimal vibe. I'm really feeling his sound at the moment. Vicious Circle have some killer cuts due on their album later this year and my one to watch for '09 I think is Cern from New Zealand. Almost every track I hear and think 'what a tune' is by him at the moment.     

The main man for me at this time is Raiden though. He is currently changing his style away from the heavily techno-orientated sound for which he has become synonymous and moving towards his old 'bassline and breaks' roots. Chris is a real pioneer in my opinion, he built a whole new sub genre of Techno infused Drum and Bass. Now it has evolved into something he is not feeling quite as much, so he is moving on. A lot of people are going to be blown away when these tracks drop.

Ever thought of starting a label?

Only briefly, I looked into what would be required through AIM and MCPS with a view to running a label off the back of my night, but doing it right takes a lot of time and commitment from what I’m told. I never do things by half and currently I’m stacked out with DJing and promoting etc, so something for the future maybe.

You play in Holland a lot, what is the DnB scene like there? How does the music differ from the UK scene?

The Netherlands is a great place and their scene has a loyal and committed following. I first got involved over there around 2002 and it was really good to be playing over there when Dutch artists such as Noisia & Black Sun Empire began emerging. I think those guys breaking through on the World stage helped define the Dutch scene and nowadays they have some massive nights that are very similar in musical content to the likes of Renegade Hardware, Tech:nology, Central Beats and my night in the UK. Like a lot of central European countries though, they are not so big on MCs yet.

Tell us about your night.

Well, it’s called ‘NeuroFunktion’ which is a play on words describing a process of the brain, and the sub-genre pigeon hole that is ‘Neuro Funk’, first donned around 1997 to describe an underground style of Drum & Bass that the likes of Ed Rush, Optical, Nico and Fierce were producing. It’s a style that has grown and evolved over time and epitomises all that is good about the music for me. I built the night around this style and it usually features quite heavily in my DJ sets. A friend of mine once joked that I played ‘thinking man’s Drum & bass’, so when I started the night, NeuroFunktion seemed the best name to sum it up.

Neuro has been running for almost a year now, every two months at a small club / bar in the centre of Peterborough called AJ's. I’m really happy with how it’s going - we always get a full on party crowd. The night is best summed up as ‘underground’ I think. AJ’s owner, Arry and his team really work hard and support my ideas; I couldn’t do it without them. We also have a hotbed of talent regarding resident DJ’s / MC’s including TKO from Breakbeat Kaos & Infrared recordings and have at least one well known guest DJ / Producer on each night. Last time up we had Raiden who smashed it, our next night is Saturday 2nd May (Bank Holiday Weekend) and Break is coming up from Bristol to guest on that one.

What's was your best gig of 2008?

I’d have to say my Birthday gig @ Cheeky Monday’s in Amsterdam. Cheeky’s is a weekly institution for all the heads out there. Its a great place to play, really intimate, and the promoter Loz knows how to run a night. The crowd really know their beats too, so I can usually play all the deepest angles without fear of losing them. My best gig was the middle of summer, the place was rammed as per usual and because of the weather it was like playing in a Sauna. I took my main man MC Atomic out with me for the gig and a whole load of new dubs. Just spent the set smacking killer after killer, mixing Atomic’s vocals into some of the drops. It just went off.

What are you most looking forward to this year?

I’ve organised a tour for NeuroFunktion from May to July. That will see me back in Holland and Spain for a couple of gigs with some of the Neuro residents DJ / MC’s. We also have some dates in different parts of the UK, such as Derby, Newmarket and maybe Leeds plus a few as guests of other local nights like Subliminal. I’m at the stage where I think we have something slightly different and want to branch out a little.

What's the most caned dub in your box at the moment?

Probably a tie on this one, lol. Certainly the two I took everywhere last year was RM Bleeps by Raiden & Current Value and Guillotine by Phobia & Jubei. Both simply smashed it everywhere and were in my top 10 for ‘08. Certainly had more people asking me what those tunes were than any others.

What's the hottest dub right now?

Sorry. Has to be a tie again. I’ve got a track off Raiden that he did with Current Value but he never did anything with it, just called Funk? It’s very minimal, very deep and I’ve reworked the intro to give me a 64 bar lead-in to suit my longer mixing style. I’ve nicknamed it the sledgehammer, because that is how the drop hits you. The other is also by Raiden, a track called Hubble that was going the way of Renegade Hardware later this year but looks like it’s now going to drop on his Offkey imprint around August. This is a proper nasty piece of work with some twisted self-oscillating bassline sorcery that is just laying dance floors to wreckage. A lot of the big boys are on this one too. Huge tune!

And finally... Any shouts?

Yes... Must thank Vanessa for all her love & support. The Neuro family, Arry, Rain, Kieran, Mel, Clint Komplex, Fitz, Gilly, Ben Sn+per, Darren Sub V etc....My friends in the 'dam Steph Predator, Adi-J, Loz & all the Cheeky crew.... The Souljahs, Al Frost, Davey F, Wes, Paul, Philly, Chris OD, Minty. Finally.. All the other promoters, agencies, producers, DJ's, MC's and anyone else that keep my wheels turning. Peace :)

For more info on Mr Bang-e, see the myspace.