Jungle Drummer has recorded a collection of grooves for Loopmasters, with a range of genres including hip hop, dubstep, downtempo and, of course, live drum & bass.
Live Urban Drums will prove invaluable to modern producers and add realism and dynamics to tracks that could benefit from a live feel. We caught up with the Jungle Drummer to find out more.
Please introduce yourself… My name’s Jungle, also known as The Jungle Drummer. I play all forms of electronic music live on the drums. My first residency was at Dekefex at Mass in Brixton in 1998.
Who are some of the artists you have worked with in the past? I’m probably best known for being the drummer with London Elektricity’s ground-breaking live show, but have also worked with A Guy Called Gerald, Beardyman, Rodney P, Scratch Perverts, DJ Craze, Killa Kela, Shy FX, Diane Charlemagne, Liane Carroll, L Double and Craggz & Parallel Forces. For the past four years my regular DJ partner has been DJ FU, but I’m now also working with DJ Vapour and the 36 Hertz camp and currently putting together my own solo show for clubs, The Jungle Drummer Live.
What is the latest project you are involved with? It’s a collection of nearly 600 loops and more than 100 one-hit samples for Loopmasters, spanning all different styles and speeds, all especially recorded for the project and designed for producers to use in their own tracks.
What does the sample pack consist of? There are different sections for jungle, d&b, breakbeat, hip-hop, funk and broken beat, dubstep, house and techno, with loads of different variations and loops in each category.
How did you go about creating the pack? I recorded them in First Avenue studios in Newcastle – I picked this particular studio due to the fact that the engineer Dave Curle is great and also the studio has loads of different outboard and vintage gear.
How did you find the process – were there any challenges along the way? I approached the loop process the same way as a gig, without any fear, so I drummed and performed in the moment to get as many different creative beats and patterns as possible. At one point during the loop chopping process we had over 1,200 breaks – and that wasn’t even all of them. The main challenge was having too many loops to choose from.
Where do your influences and inspirations come from? My first musical loves were Led Zeppelin, The Police, Beatles, Dave Brubeck, and then I got heavily into grunge. I then started getting into 90s hip-hop and that’s what led me to d&b because I saw it as the next logical progression from hip-hop. Now I’m into any music with musicality.
What are your experiences of working with producers in the studio – how does the process normally go? Normally the producer wants me to do my own thing and come up with as many different patterns as possible to give them as much variety to pick from. If I’m producing a track with someone I’m thinking about the hooks and syncopations in the track.
How do you find working live with producers? Again, what does this normally involve? Sometimes I just turn up and improvise – someone like A Guy Called Gerald will want me to improvise around the music, as do a lot of other people I work with. If it’s for a live show for a band then I’ll learn the music and then offer different interpretations and switches so it’s exciting for the people I’m playing with and for the crowd. The crowd is always my main focus on stage.
When do you do your recording / when are you at your most creative? At 2am in the morning. I’ve got very understanding neighbours.
What do you do when you have creative block? Do more drugs, drink and smoke more.
Where is your studio and what does it consist of? I sometimes use DJ Vapour’s studio in Newbury as well as an absolutely amazing one in Reading called Keynote, which is where I’m doing my album.
What sort of kits do you use most and do you have a favourite? My favourite kit at the moment is a custom made birch kit from my sponsors Sonor, and custom made cymbals by Meinl.
What were the different kits you used for this pack? Sonor sent me a whole load of different drums, cymbals and crazy percussion instruments for the recording. For instance, we used 12 different snare drums alone to get the variety we needed.
What artists / tracks / labels are you really feeling at the moment? I like any label or producer that writes honest music, not music for the sake of marketing and making money. At the end of the day, I’ve always thought jungle and d&b is a movement for working class people and I was always blown away by what a multicultural and social music it is. But for me at the moment the core of d&b and jungle is gone – there is great music out there but it is now in a minority commercially.
What can we expect from you in the future? At the moment I’m writing an album with d&b and electronic music. I’ve got a lot of very exciting people on it but I want to surprise people and don’t want to give too much away.
Finally, why should people download your sample pack? Because it’s original and unpredictable and unlike so many drummers who put out sample packs where they have quantised all the breaks and have no real feel to it, this is honest and from within – it’s exactly how I drum.
Anything we should know about? My album and full live show will be ready for 2012 and at the moment I’m playing at some legendary nights coming up in London where I’m doing a full-on 60-90 minutes drumming over the top of a specially prepared DJ set of dubplates and classic jungle, with some name MCs also joining in. There will also be a tour with DJ Vapour in October 2011, a DJ Vapour vs. Jungle Drummer EP coming out on 36 Hertz later in the year and tracks / mixes for Vapour, Skitty, and Dawnraid. Dawnraid are one to watch – it’s a massive track featuring a big garage vocalist, due out in September / October.