LTJ Bukem: Sonic Temple.

24 June 2002 | 12:00 am | Emma Jane
Originally Appeared In

Hey Good Looking.

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LTJ Bukem plays Family on June 27.

It is an early morning (UK time) interview with Danny LTJ Bukem that has finally roused him from his slumber. Generally, and by his own admission, Bukem is a real pro on the interview circuit, but a late night and minimal sleep makes Danny a little late for his scheduled time.

He admits, quite cheerfully that “when these interviews are over I’ll go back to bed.”

What a champ… and he doesn’t even sound crusty.

Bukem, as most dance music aficionados realise, is considered to be one of the most influential producers to infiltrate the industry. His belief in, love of and dedication to pushing drum ‘n’ bass into new and uncharted territories has made him a denizen of the decks, as well as a lauded business man for his tireless work promoting and building his label Good Looking Records, a touchstone for many as THE temple of D ’n’ B, not to mention the other newer, un-named genres the label promotes.

Despite being described as an ‘energy flash’ (to borrow a Speedy J title), even Danny concedes that the self promotion trail can be trying.

“Anything to a certain amount can be tiresome… we all have bad days, I have bad mix days and good mix days, but that’s just part and parcel with what you do. But for me, talking to journalists and things, I appreciate that people take the time out to write about what we are doing, so I think it’s a mutual respect.”

With a name that has become synonymous with the genre, does Bukem ever feel pressured by the brand his name has become? Is it difficult devising another Good Looking Bukem release?

“No, because in a sense, what has anyone got to judge it by? Cause I believe what we do at Good Looking Records has not been done before, every day we wake up and venture into new ground anyway. For someone to say ‘That’s a load of rubbish’, I look at it and go ‘That’s just you not understanding what we’re about because you haven’t taken the time to find out.’”

As for pressure, Bukem admits that “Every time I DJ is pressure, every time I set foot in front of a few thousand people, and you hope everything works out and the needles won’t jump and the monitors are OK and won’t blow up, and is the sound guy a reasonable man you can get on with? Every aspect of it is pressure in that sense, so I guess you learn to live with it. But it doesn’t affect me negatively, it makes me wanna do more.”

I have heard that you and Tony, your business partner at Good Looking are men who tend not to take no for an answer, yet not many people question your decisions

“To people who say ‘You can’t do that’, me and my business partner look at each other and say ‘We’re gonna do that’. That’s the other thing, many thousands of people question me to themselves, but who picks up the phone? Everyone knows my number, everyone knows the website, but all we get is people writing things in the guest book at the Good Looking website… and the only reason we have it there is because it amuses me.” He laughs openly as his simple pleasures, “Every now and then I feel like a laugh and read about someone having a go at me about a set I played a year ago… I just think it’s incredibly funny, because half these people, what are they doing toward progression of anything, let alone the drum and bass scene?”

Jesting aside, Bukem has grand plans for the future, bigger then the ones he has been devising for the past decade, ones that involve more time for the man with the golden anthem to return to the studio.

“My real aim is to build up the DJs producing around me so we can do events where I don’t have to turn up every time, and that’s one of my real goals cause I really want to work on my own tunes.”

Word and amen to that.