DJ Dazee is a legend in the jungle scene, her Bristol-based label Ruffneck Ting have held some massive nights and put out quality releases since their inception in 1993. We caught up with Dazee to find out what she’s been up to lately!
Hey DJ Dazee! Thanks for chatting with us.
2018 saw 25 years of your label Ruffneck Ting, congratulations! That’s a huge milestone. It must have been special to throw a massive party with legends like Micky Finn and Ray Keith playing to celebrate the label you started.
Thank you! Yes, it was an epic party – great vibes, great mix of junglist generations too. It was actually the evening after the Hospitality barbeque at Motion so that was a full-on day and night! We had a lot of current Ruffneck Ting artists smashing out huge sets too: Jinx, K Jah, Vytol, The Force and Aries so it wasn’t just about looking back. Micky played a wicked set that alternated between old school classics and new upfront bangers. Ray’s set was awesome too, rolling it out as only he does!
Sounds like a great way to celebrate the 25 years! What would you say are your three favourite Ruffneck Ting releases?
Aww now that’s a tuff one! Ok, without wanting to show favouritism as such, here’s some particularly significant ones…
“Damn Right” as it’s probably the one I’m most happy with from back in the day (mid 90’s). I still remember producing it with Markee Substance (my Ruffneck Ting Co-founder) in his room in a big shared house we called “the ledge”. He’d made some really fat drums and heavy bass loops and I got on with arranging it and doing cheeky little edits – it just flowed easily that one! It was pretty cool hearing Micky Finn drop it at World Dance soon after.
“Classic” – Since the relaunch in 2012 we’ve had a couple of remix releases that really helped put us back on the junglist map. Serum did an incredible remix of Homeboys and Saxxon remixed a Jinx track called Classic that is just banging.
“The Xtraordinary League of Junglists” albums (and the artwork, card games, board games, comics, videos, launch nights etc). It’s a chance to showcase all the talent we have on Ruffneck, not only do we all work together to make the beats, we all go on adventures together and save the universe from evil forces with our righteous junglist powers. (We have an amazing and very involved artist who creates everyone a character / avatar which fuels some imaginative story lines). However, it did take blood sweat and tears to get those albums out, particularly producing the comic and vinyl for the first XLJ album. Grab a copy here!
Corrr those are some top picks! Absolutely love the rolling bass on Damn Right, what a tune.
Of all the venues you’ve held Ruffneck Ting nights at, which have been your favourite? Bristol’s Trinity Centre must be up there?
Yes, Ruffneck at Trinity has always been something special – its immortalised for ever in that infamous “Sounds of the West” documentary and Radio One’s Live broadcast from 97. But we had some amazing, massive events at UWE campus and tour nights at Escape in Cardiff and Brunel Rooms that deserve a mention. Lakota was also a very significant venue in our evolution and we had some huge parties there. These days, The Attic in Bristol is our main home – we have Xtraordinarily good nights there!
Speaking of venues, you’re playing at Printworks London this weekend for Run In The Jungle at Hospitality, is that your first time there? What a venue!
I can’t wait for this! Feel very chuffed to be repping there with Run and getting to experience this epic venue. And thank you to Hospitality for letting them bring me along! The line-up is phenomenal! It’s my first time at Printworks and I’m hearing a lot of good things about it!! I’m also chuffed to be playing for Run the night before at Motion in Bristol, so this is going to be one hyper weekend of Run-ing in the Jungle!
It’s going to be huge! Tell us about the regular Ruffneck Ting nights at The Attic in Bristol, the line-ups always look mad!
We have these events every couple of months or so and of course the line-ups are always packed with Ruffneck Ting Goodness (we have a big roster of quality residents). There’s a kind of unwritten rule that everyone playing should be connected to the label somehow. Either with releases or an old-school connection… or we just admire their work and want them to be on the label. Our headliners have included Kenny Ken, Saxxon, Bou, Aries, T>I, Bassface Sascha to name a few. The venue is great – a big outdoor courtyard and the world’s most agreeable soundman! Looking forward to the next one March 22nd with V Dubs joining Jinx, K Jah, Vytol, Jenni Groves, Mix Jah Kid Mix-A-Lot and yours truly.
They sound quality, I definitely need to make a trip to Bristol for one! Any other nights you’d recommend our readers should be getting to?
Well if you’re talking about Bristol – there’s a lot on offer in the next couple of months! Of course, as already mentioned there’s Run at Motion. I also recommend checking out the “We Love Jungle Awards” there too. Psyched and Alternate do good events at venues like Lakota and Black Swan and Markee Substance is starting a new night “Zoned” there in March with Ruffneck hosting a room, alongside Tech Itch. That promises to be a special night. Also, sadly the Blue Mountain is closing but there are a lot of good events happening there in February including a fat line-up for United Sounds “doing it for a cause” party. Apart from my local scene I can also recommend an afterparty option for Printworks at the Shelter club in London on 9th. This is actually a charity fundraiser with Brockie and Det headlining plus yours truly, Euphonic and King Yoof – should be a good one!
The latest release on Ruffneck Ting was Verdikt’s ‘Hands Up’ EP in December, some big tunes on there! Who can we expect to be releasing on Ruffneck Ting this year?
Up next is Jinx ‘Bad In The Area EP’. Five tracks of wicked Jinx vibes. Vytol and K Jah both have very tasty tunes forthcoming as well as The Force with some corkers. Flat T is coming soon too and some new recruits, Kid Mix-A-Lot and Distrakt plus some new producers who will hopefully be ready this year. Verdikt’s aiming to put an album together this year too.
Nice! Sounds like there’s big things in the works.
What are your favourite tunes at the moment, to listen to and to mix?
On Ruffneck: Jinx’s new EP is wicked, my favourite is ‘Got Me Down’. Love the deep bubbly bass and vocal sample, ‘Bristol Girls’ by Verdikt is a fat Reesey roller I drop a lot, plus the tunes from everyone mentioned in the previous question are in every set I play! I also play one of my own productions a lot, a remix of a track called ‘Medusas Nine’ coming on Bristol label Opus 1. It’s a great mixing track with a cheeky wiggly bassline and a rarity in that I actually like one of my own productions! As I like to sneak in a bit of jump up between the rollers I also have a bit of a LDD and collab in my virtual crates and I love Crissy Criss ‘Right Now’ as an anthem selection. For more eclectic listening pleasure I’m loving S.P.Y’s forthcoming album – feel like I’m time travelling again (last time I did that was in the XLJ comic).
Wow, your sets are stacked with fresh tunes! You’ve been DJing for a while now, who were your influences when you were first starting out?
Before we started Ruffneck, we were just a little raver crew (which included Rachel and Colin who went on to create Knowledge Mag). We spent every weekend scouring the country side (to varying degrees of success) trying to find raves and had the classic tapes on repeat in the car – Sascha or Slipmatt. They were pretty inspirational with the seamless mixing and upbeat style. Then once I’d heard Randall and Kemistry and Storm nothing else mattered. I was also very inspired by DJ Lisa who used to play with Easy Groove who we’d hear at the free parties. There was an epic Easygroove and Lisa tape from fantasia too that never left my Walkman… I just really loved her tune selection.
What’s your take on how the jungle scene has grown and evolved since those days? It’s great to see it thriving with more people getting into it and the original heads from the early days still involved. There’ll be new DJs taking inspiration from you when they’re starting out!
Of course it’s nice to hear that you’ve inspired people or made a difference to their happiness with music you’ve played or made but at the same time I’m now taking inspiration from the next generation of junglists! I really like the fact that leading producers aren’t just believed to be based in London and Bristol anymore – they are all over the world! So jungle music is much more of a global phenomenon these days and I think it has been inherited by quite a respectful new generation who seem to embrace its foundations but also bring a lot of new energy and enthusiasm. I think there was a time a few years ago when DnB was sort of kidnapped, heavily associated with EDM and youth culture and you’d be regarded as freak if you were over the age of 25 and listened to it. But I think jungle nowadays seems to be regarded as a legacy by the young-uns (which is nice) and there is a sense of community – all generations and backgrounds are welcome!
You’re definitely right about that, jungle has a real community feel and on a worldwide scale, as part of the newer generation of junglists I absolutely see the respect the younger ravers have for the roots of the scene. And it’s great that the inspiration goes both ways between established artists and up-and-comers!
So what can we expect from you in 2019? You’ve certainly got a busy start to the year coming up.
Release-wise I’ve got collabs with Jinx coming out on Run Tingz and Dope Ammo. I’ve got a few other collabs for Ruffneck with different artists and some solo projects on the go too. Also I’ll be taking the Ruffneck ting radio show on the road a bit, guesting with my crew on other stations. We are on Run Tingz TV this Friday, then Rough Tempo with Lady V Dubz in March. And yes, some exciting events to look forward to – a lot of which are with Run! Also can’t wait for Love Saves The Day and Shindig festivals in May!
Other than that I’ll be looking after that high maintenance 26 year old dog, Ruffneck, making sure he is properly fed with releases and events.
Definitely busy then! Can’t wait to hear the new bits on Ruffneck. Thanks again for your time, we’re excited for your set at Printworks on Saturday!
Thank you so much for the interview and so excited about Saturday, thrilled to be playing for you!
Catch DJ Dazee playing 4-5am tonight (Friday 8th Feb) at Motion and tomorrow 6-7pm at Printworks!