It’s been only a few months since I was last interviewing Sam AKA Missing. Our relationship came about via chance. Sam was working in a Bournemouth studio alongside Bernie AKA Mr. Time from Tearin Vinyl. I was already chatting to Bernie about re-releasing some of the Tearin back catalogue as Ellis Dee had introduced us. So when myself and Sam linked, I knew destiny was mapping out a new direction and a repress of Sam’s self-released 1994 banger ‘Missing Volume One’ was needed on Vinyl Fanatiks. As things do, a natural progression continued, with conversations steering towards releasing some vinyl together. Sam already had the vehicle, Sub System Recordings, which he had released a digital only track on a few years previous. Perfect. Earlier this year we launched the vinyl arm of the label to huge success but more material was required and consequently a new story unfolded, one that Sam describes to me;
“Firstly, I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who supported the last Sub System releases which were a complete sell out” Sam Missing recounts. “That was at the start of lockdown and I am sure like many it’s been a surreal year but even with the clubs currently closed, the music must go on! So here we are, launching the next three Sub System releases under the banner ‘Three From ‘93’. Like most of our projects, these releases were formed through chance encounters and the very few degrees of separation that seem to exist in the jungle universe! It wasn’t clear until the end of the project that we realised there was a very clear direction these releases have gravitated to, and that was the foundation year of 1993! Let me explain…”
(Very much like how things pan out for me with Vinyl Fanatiks, when things flow organically, the jungle gods align and the synchronicity of the universe guides a projects direction).
“First up we have ‘Jack it Operator’ which comes with the incredible Fracture remix. This all came about because I went to Jungle Jam at The Cause in Tottenham just before Christmas last year. John Foul Play was spinning and dropped my recent release on Sub System; “X Amount of Dubs”. I was also lucky enough to have my old Kemet classic ‘The Box Reopens’ given a rinse by Uncle Dugs, so I was buzzing. Not only that but Kenny Ken played an amazing set with a slew of jungle rollers followed by an epic back to back between Fracture and Sherelle. I left the night inspired and over next few days quickly sketched out a track which captured the vibes of the night. The result being ‘Jack it Operator’; a stripped back steppa with a hooky reggae vocal sample and King Tubby style bouncy bassline. The track turned out to be a more modern vibe than old skool jungle. So I really felt that it needed a remix which was more on the 160 tip with nods to the foundation era, a bit like what Fixate previously did for us on Sub System. But who to ask???”
“After his awesome set at Jungle Jam, I felt that Fracture was an obvious person to approach. We had spoken previously about possible remixes but we hadn’t met in person. Coincidentally, he also lives in Hackney and we had a few mutual friends through our kids but our paths hadn’t crossed. Fate then played a big part in things as one of my kids had a birthday party to go to a few weeks after Jungle Jam and who do I bump into there but Charlie Fracture! We now have a chance to meet in person for a ‘fractured’ conversation as we deal with madness and constant interruptions that a kid’s birthday party throws at you! We never got the chance to chat properly but a few weeks later we hit lockdown and time is on both our hands, so we pick up the conversations via email and I ask him if he would be up for a remix of a new tune I had made called ‘Jack It Operator’. He jumps on it and quickly hands in a killer 160 mix which is not just an incredible remix but to me channels the vibes of 1993 and takes me back to that time of crossover between jungle and hardcore with tunes like The House Crew’s ‘Euphoria’. .the lush jungle pads, chopped up breaks and even a big piano drop and 4/4 section.. ‘93 all over. He totally smashed the remix and lit the first ’93 candle that Brent and I hadn’t yet realised was a theme! It was dropped by London Elek as a dub on the Hospital Podcast and even got a rewind, which is rare for a podcast! Things looked positive”.
So now we had the first release in the bag, but I had previously found out from running Vinyl Fanatiks that our online customers like the option of buying a few new releases at once, especially our overseas friends, as this reduces postage costs, but it also offers a deeper perspective on the direction of the label and a closer connection to the projects and artists, rather than releasing random one off records. And with the previous success of a Sub Systems vinyl double drop, Sam was already planning a second release to pair things up. And without knowing it, the foundation year of 1993 was starting to embrace the direction of this as well, which Sam enlightens me on;
“Next we come on to Jimmy… if you go back to early 90’s there were a bunch of ‘name tracks’ in jungle; Johnny Jungle, Scottie and of course Ricky! R-I-C-K-Y!!!” Missing had been keen to bring back the names! I mean, who can forget their favourite ‘name’ track? Any time you hear that name said or shouted down the street you automatically started reciting that tune in your head. But the list of names was short, another one was needed, homage had to be paid, and a fresh name added to the exclusive collective. ‘Jimmy’ was born. Sam drops science “I often think that in the original jungle era we weren’t scared to drop in a leftfield sample, those quirky, whimsical touches often blew up and inspired others. We took from all genres of music, video games and definitely film and TV samples. Tracks had personality, even as far as having names! I wanted to bring that vibe back and also update the dark side vibe of ‘93. I had been searching for another name track inspiration but nothing had caught me. Then a few weeks into lockdown I found the perfect vocal snippet and ‘Jimmy’ was born. I gave a copy to Bailey who dropped it on his live sets including the Ram House Party and Mixcloud sets. He pulled up a rewind and gave a little reminder to the listeners about Johnny, Scottie and Ricky which was a great accolade. I was well happy. Anyway, the inspiration for the track was from the 90’s era but the track had crisp modern beats so it definitely made sense to have it reimagined into a traditional jungle style banger. Enter Lavery… Tom Lavery is too young to have experienced the darkside era first time around but he is definitely one of the top producers in the scene championing the 90’s jungle and hardcore sound. He was already on my radar for a remix on Sub System and I really wanted him to remix this tune and thankfully he agreed. I have to say he certainly came correct on this one, channelling the Soul Pride break used in Scottie adding sliced up Amen vibes into a fresh darkside smasher. Brutal and it’s 1993 all over!”
So finally we come to ‘Soundman Riddim’ by Demagrafiks. A new name for the scene but the people behind it are far from new, they both had an important role in the foundation of the jungle sound and the 2020 lockdown finally brought them together for the first time. Up steps M-Beat alongside Missing! Sam explains how this collaboration came about.
“Although we were both producing in the 90’s I had never met M-Beat before but of course it goes without saying that he was a huge inspiration for me back in the day! I was initially introduced to him last year by a mutual acquaintance, Steve, who used to work at Renk Records in the 90s golden era. Myself and M-Beat met up for lunch and it soon became apparent that we had similar perspectives on music past and present. ‘Soundman Riddim’ is our first collaboration, a contemporary jungle flavoured dnb roller but with nods to our roots.. hooky ragga lyrics, original 90s sample disc pad samples, chopped up breaks and even a cheeky chipmunk vocal – 93 motifs inna 2020 style! It’s great to have had the opportunity to work with a true jungle legend even though lock down meant it was all over Zoom and Whatsapp! Demagrafiks is a name for this project and won’t necessarily be used again so this is a super rare and sure to be collectors item for any M-Beat fan! We have also been working on some other projects together which we will be announcing in the future. For the flipside of our collab we wanted to showcase another rising star and somebody who is strongly influenced by the 90s rave sound. Step in Yazzus on remix duties! Part of the 6 Figure Gang who have been making huge waves in the scene, this was a very exciting remix and another opportunity to represent the 160 sound championed by Sherelle, another 6 Figure Gang member and others who are mashing up various styles of rave, jungle, footwork, juke and techno. Yazzus has taken the jungle roller original and twisted it into a hardcore rave monster with deep, bouncing kicks, jungle subs, gritty breaks and killer rave stabs. This is one of the old hardcore heads and new alike whether you were raving in ‘93 or drawing inspiration from it in the 2020’s Sam concludes.
So, there you have it. Chance encounters and a deep rooted ‘93 vibed project that only became apparent upon completion. ‘Three from ‘93’ brought together legends from the past along with legends in the making. All inspired from one of the foundation years of the jungle scene, 1993, a seminal year in musical history but with plenty of contemporary twists. Don’t sleep on these limited edition 10” plates, available in an exclusive ‘Three From ‘93’ housebags. Join us in paying homage to the year that changed the course of the UK’s musical history.