Music has always played a huge part in my life, growing up with the various albums my Parents would play in the house and car (Phil Collins, King Crimson, Dire Straits, Pink Floyd, Michael Jackson..)
I received a basic pair of turntables for my 7th Birthday in 1991 and gradually learnt to mix 2 records together from listening to mixtapes over the coming years. At first I borrowed from my parents’ collection, eventually building one of my own.
I gravitated towards electronic music and excitedly followed its progression through the years from House to Hardcore to Jungle to Drum & Bass, the latter 2 being the genres that I’ve kept closest to.
At 16, I started a Music Tech course at Bedford College and met lots of like-minded people, which really gave me the drive to start pushing things further. The College had an in-house radio called BCFM, for which I regularly skipped classes to play a set or just watch other DJs.
There was a club opposite called Cabana and through DJ classes held there, I met a guy called Alfie (RIP) who let me put on a couple of parties in the back room. He then gave me a warm-up slot for his Riddimshack night on a Friday, which soon turned into my first residency at 17.
Around the same time, I attended a DJ class held by In2beats’ own DJ KC & Raffa D, where I was entered into a DJ competition at the Corn Exchange for an under 18s night called Stimulation. On the night, I was so nervous I almost didn’t play but am so glad I braved it as it was one of the shortest but most enjoyable sets I’ve ever played. I ended up winning and received a £20 voucher to spend in KC’s shop, Just a groove records.
Over the next few years, I was attending raves at places like The Sanctuary frequently, eager to get hold of the tunes I’d heard out and create my own mixes.
In 2005, my College friend DJ Misfit started up an internet station called Darkfader, which spawned many local nights as a collective at places like The Angel & Pad.
I gained more experience on radio, holding down a slot on Manic FM, as well as guest slots on Pirates such as Perception & Juicy FM, St. Albans. I loved having the freedom to play more of what I wanted, rather than the constant dancefloor-orientated stuff to keep a crowd moving in a club.
I first played on In2beats in November 2007 when it was an internet-only station and have played on there regularly ever since.
It quickly became my second home and the Hub for everything that was going on at the time. There were a good few promotions and such ongoing already but having the radio there really helped nurture the talent, not only from Bedford, but surrounding towns like Northampton, Luton & Kettering. It was primarily a Drum & Bass radio at first, as that was the most popular sound at the time, so I would go there most days and there were always lots of people milling about. It wouldn’t be uncommon to see MCs like Flirter D, Juiceman & Maxwell D passing through.
DJs such as Turno, Harry Bizzle & Liz-e played there in the very early days of their careers .
It was the place to go for an after-party when the clubs in town had shut and there would often be 20-30 people crammed into the Studios. The bassbin by the decks would slowly creep across the floor due to the sheer volume of the music being played.
Being a keen vinyl lover I’d cut Dubplates in the past, mainly my own tracks or bootlegs I’d made, but now I started to get quality tunes off local producers and would cut plates again whenever possible. This was a bit backwards as digital was really taking off at the time but my love for analogue prevailed.
Alongside the radio, I put on nights wherever I could. Whether it was the dark and dingy back room of a pub with a crowd of 10-20 people or a packed local club, I still had the same passion for getting people together and listening to the music I love. Over the years I booked Bassman & Trigga, DJ Pleasure, Eksman, Riddla, DJ Sly, Benny Page, Sidewinder Click and most memorably Shabba & Stormin (RIP), amongst others. I started a new promotion called Initiation in 2008 and had collaborations with In2beats’ own Gatlee B (with his Arcadia brand) and MC Phizi (Full Frontal). I also supported and held down local residencies for Heavy Duty, Protokol, Nu Age Music, Pirate Sessions, Blueprint and most probably Bedford’s most successful DnB night, Motion.
I’ve been blessed to warm-up for, or appear on the same flyer as many of my inspirations: Hype, LTJ Bukem, Mampi Swift, Micky Finn, Slipmatt, Krust, Easygroove, Hazard, Randall..
In 2014 I visited Morzine in France and played at a party held by Lady Eliza, situated halfway up a mountain whilst people were snowboarding around me. Very surreal but probably the highlight of my DJing days so far.
I have many memories of In2beats, good and bad, but I’ll just mention the good ones!
Our first year at the River Festival in 2012.. There were about 6 of us playing back to back and, at the time, I didn’t realise just how many people were in the crowd. Afterwards it was estimated around 4-5000 attended.
Our first party at The Park Hotel to celebrate going FM was pretty memorable too, as there was an amazing turnout, showing the support the station had gained through its hard work and dedication.
Mark, the Manager, said his aim was to go FM within 10 years. It was achieved in less than half that time.
Another highlight was being involved in a series of DJ Clashes on Frenchy’s show, where I ventured out of my comfort zone to dig deep into different genres, even winning a couple along the way.
I also took part in a B2B set with one of my earliest musical inspirations, Cool Hand Flex, on Mazy D & 7even’s Fusebox show on In2beats.
Alongisde In2beats, I joined Dose Radio in Luton a few years ago in its infancy and still enjoy playing guest slots.
More recently, I’ve trained to be a Samaritan, which has given me invaluable experience & a deeper gratitude towards life, spurring me on to take the next step into Counselling training.