I thought it’d be “cool” if the title of this site’s “About” page was the same catalog number as the drum & bass track in which the site was named after. That ended up not happening, but that idea has become the site’s first post.
The funny thing is, until July of 2004, with the release of Dillinja’s expansive My Sound compilation (which you can stream to your heart’s content via Apple Music), I would’ve spent the better part of my Saturday afternoon trying to figure out how to name this site “Fluid”, because for the longest, we all thought that “Hard Noize” was “Fluid”, but only the real headz would get that. Which is kind of the point.
With Hard Noize (hard noize? Hard noize? hard Noize? Help me out, pls), the aim (as per usual) is to be the voice that’s being unspoken. There’s always something going on in the drum & bass scene, but for some reason, there doesn’t seem to be a space for heads who were there (wherever there is for you; it could be Sutpen’s Jungle in Philly circa 2000, or The End overseas, or even in your friend’s basement, discovering new tunes via Real Audio links. Again, only the real headz would get that) when all of these things actually happened. A look at the drum & bass scene of today, with knowledge of the drum & bass and jungle scenes of yesterday. A mixture of current news, views, and interviews mixed with throwback sets, some dnb lessons, and some room for some fun along the way, by those who saw the way be paved.
Now as I cue up Dillinja’s “Hard Noize” (Hard Noize?), which dropped via his Test Recordings imprint (is it an imprint if there was an actual physical recording? What say you, Blu Mar Ten?) for a third time, I know what you’re thinking: “Who the hell is this person trying to act like they are some dnb god?” Well, I wouldn’t say that I’m a god. Just a guy who’s been around for a bit. I copped Goldie’s Timeless (the white version, not the double-disc Black version) during the same Circuit City trip that I copped Portishead’s Dummy. That was 25 years ago. Maybe one day I will share the one Goldie interview I did that never got published. I’d covered drum & bass on my blog, rockthedub.com, and I’d started my own “upfront dnb news” blog (dubplate digest) back in 2006 that even got shouts on Bailey’s BBC Radio 1Xtra shows, and got deleted because bots can’t figure out the difference between giving away illegal downloads of full songs and giving away illegal downloads of radio shows, which featured clips of certain songs in them. [Ed note: HRDNZ won’t be giving away anything without permission from the producer/DJ/whoever owns the material in question.] The work I put in with DPD is how I got started on the content team over at Dogs On Acid—AKA doing everything from reviewing the latest albums and reviews and writing news stories about the drum & bass scene, but I’d also operate as a moderator and, at times, mouthpiece for mgmt. That was on top of interviewing a dizzying array of producers, label heads and DJs for one of the largest electronic music communities on Al Gore’s Internet—back when it had a content section (which was back before “content” was a term people threw around) and keeping up with the historic DOA Mix series (which needs its own space on Al Gore’s Internet). I have had a review or two show up in Knowledge, written bios and one-sheets for a number of producers and labels, and eventually ran an electronic music / EDM site for Complex Networks (articles of which can still be found in their archives), interviewing everyone from Skrillex (twice) to Zedd to Flying Lotus and many more before the site’s eventual shut down in 2015. While transitioning to other positions within the organization, I was still able to keep my finger on the pulse of electronic music, covering the odd mix or banger when they fell within the site’s sphere. I don’t present a clipped version of my resume to you to explain why I’m some kind of authority on drum & bass, though.
I will say that since ’95-’96, I’ve been a fan of electronic music while living in America. That’s meant having to discover what the constantly-evolving scene is becoming through a steady stream of import magazines, singles, and early internet searching for sites devoted to leftfield sounds. Growing up a junglist in the States was hard, and in 2020 (the year in which whatever this site is was crafted), a time when it’s easy AF to keep up with the dnb scene from around the world (because the internet, duh), there’s a respect that’s been lost for the dark arts. There’s a history that’s to be erased if we, the soldiers for the sound, don’t step up and put thoughts into action. Soul into motion. Fluid, hard noize committed to digital streams. Playlists that collect those hidden gems and lost memories into textbooks on the anatomy of a genre that’s stuck with me for the better part of my life. Twenty five-plus years of searching for the perfect beat. Producers who thrive in the realm of Drum & Bass (dnb? DnB? Dnb? Drum and Bass? Drum’n’bass? Jungle? Ragga?) unlock a sick sort of God Mode when it comes to production standards, which amounts to a transformative moment within their careers. It’s the pushback of the oppressed, the soundtrack to the literal urban jungle, and the sword of those who perfect its difficult maneuvers.
You’d know if you were there, but if you weren’t, we’ll show you.
Who knows what this space will become. Know that the creator, khal, started it with a desire to continue a conversation that he’d had 20 years prior via the internet, but has been diluted, whitewashed, and cast away in the banals of drum & bass history. Hard Noize(?) will be that beacon of light, attempting to rediscover what it is to be a young junglist in the world, seen through the eyes of an aging junglist who’s lived through it.
Any questions/comments/suggestions, hit me: [email protected].
Bonus Beats Dillinja “Fluid” (Test. 2)