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DJ Zinc: "I love technology but I wonder if we've lost something along the way"

The revered DJ on the importance of community

  • Words: DJ Zinc | Illustration: Alex Jenkins
  • 5 October 2017
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Given the option I doubt I’d have sat there for so long week after week, but there wasn’t an option – and the result was an unusually strong community within that scene. Nowadays I see my fellow DJs out and about, but there was something about the situation that made it have such an impact. For one, we were all listening to each other’s new tracks – not at a festival on a massive system, but on a big pair of good quality studio monitors – and I think it was pretty inspiring for many of us. And because of the forced proximity we all got to know each other quite well. We’d talk about production techniques and just general stuff. You can’t underestimate how beneficial being in the same space as other creative and talented people can be for you. They say you’re a product of your environment, and being around these people at Music House every week not only spurred me on, but was crucial in the rise of d’n’b as a whole, too. The closest I get nowadays to that kind of thing is when a group of us tour and travel together; close, but not the same…

Sometimes Grooverider or Frost would walk in and say, ‘I’m flying to Germany at six, I’ve gotta go in,’ and that meant another hour was added to your wait. At other times, as you’d be sitting there, one DJ would be cutting a track, someone in the waiting area would hear it and say, ‘Can I cut that too, please?’ Which was generally agreed to – and if a few of the bigger DJs were there, that may mean the track was cut five or six times. If it was a seven-minute track what with the setting-up and cutting in real time that may add another hour. If it was my track they were cutting I’d be really happy: for other DJs to spend £15 on your tune was a good sign. If it wasn’t my track I’d be less enthralled. But there was something brilliant about the sense of community that came with hanging around somewhere like Music House and chatting to the likes of Andy C or Grooverider or Shy FX, and what you could learn from it. New producers would come in and end up meeting their heroes there. I still speak to people these days who say they remember coming into Music House and meeting me years ago, which goes to show I wasn’t the only one to be influenced by being in that place and around those people. That proximity, that community, was key to the development of drum ’n’ bass. Anyone aspiring to create or nurture the next scene should look for something similar.

‘DJ Zinc Presents Full House’ is out now

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