Keeping The Balance

24 March 2012 | 9:39 am | Staff Writer

Drum and bass. Those three little words inspire a lot of emotions in people these days. With acts like Pendulum, Chase & Status and Noisia now known entities to many a rock fiend, it's pretty easy to get lost in the maelstrom that d'n'b, and more recently dubstep, has become. So much so, that it's almost permissible to forget DJ Hype; one of the originators of drum'n'bass, working as he did way back in the late '80s, where he would play dubby jungle and breakbeat in little-known London clubs.

Hype (or, as he is known to his folks, Kevin Ford)'s own unique sound has developed over the years since then, earning him a lauded place amongst old school DJs. He has won multiple awards for his work, as well as retaining a popular place among both pirate and commercial DJ radio stations. He, of course, has seen the d'n'b genre change over the years, but fortunately that change has been positive, in his opinion. “Drum'n'bass is a wide spectrum of different sounds,” Ford begins. “New producers are pushing the limits and boundaries of the genre every day when it comes to production. The different varieties have definitely made it stronger, popularity-wise.” He counts those aforementioned harbingers of the mainstream rush of d'n'b and dubstep, Skrillex and his ilk, as a boon to the genre, not a hindrance, as many would believe. “Drum'n'bass is an ever-changing sound, scene, and movement, and at this point it's really hard to even guess that as there are so many new producers bursting in to the scene with their own sound,” Ford says.

“It has been a world wide thing for a number of years now, and I love it,” Ford continues. “I would say the biggest change in the last couple of years is there is a lot more support from commercial radio stations, meaning there are more so-called drum'n'bass pop hits. Although I am not usually into the whole pop drum'n'bass thing musically, I do think it helps attract new audiences to the underground, and therefore keeps a healthy balance within the scene.”

Ford himself has been instrumental in that showcasing of drum'n'bass, having been a mainstay on pirate radio station Fantasy FM before making the switch to Kiss FM, where he still holds down a weekly slot playing jungle and drum'n'bass. As well as this, Ford runs his own Ganja record label, which has been a constant frontrunner in underground hardcore d'n'b music. “It gets extremely hectic,” Ford remarks when asked how he keeps such a busy schedule, “But I'll be doing all of that plus more studio time soon, just for my sanity.”

Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter

Floor-fillers like DJ Zinc's Super Sharp Shooter, Tiger Style and Ford's own productions and remixes, such as the bass-heavy dub of tracks like Ready Or Not, have ensured that the label has maintained its integrity, even during the whole tidal wave of mainstream drum'n'bass entering the system. With such a comprehensive list of accomplishments in the game, it could be pretty difficult to pick out a highlight. Luckily, there are two that stand out: “I would have to say (apart from my Dubplate Killaz albums) that Fabriclive 18 with [long-time collaborator] Andy C was perceived quite well by a number of audiences in different genres,” Ford says. Both the Dubplate Killaz and Fabriclive sets still serve as some of the best examples of Hype's work.

So, with DJ Hype's show heading for Perth this Saturday, what can fans expect this time around? “Some hyped-up eclectic drum'n'bass, all mixed up in my little ol' unique style,” he says with a little more than humility. 'Little ol' unique style' is definitely putting it lightly.