Published on August 8th, 2016 | by Sid Wesley
Beat Assassins – Deny ft ELi & DJ Rap Remix + Beat Assassins Interview
If you’re a fan of Drum n Bass and you’re looking for a producer who you can rely on to consistently deliver high grade music, Beat Assassins is the guy you need to be tuned into. His transition from Breakbeat in the mid 2000’s to his present day Drum n Bass sound has been seamless and is something you can read about, along with other music talk, in our in-depth interview with Jimmy from Beat Assassins below.
First though, checking out his new track is a must! ‘Deny’ is his new summertime DnB banger which features the dynamic vocal of, ELi, a lady who Jimmy discovered on a walk through London, singing in his local Gospel Church. It was a spot of divine intervention because Jimmy had been hunting high and low for a female vocal to fit with his track ‘Deny’ and as soon as he heard ELi, he knew she was the one. As you’re about to hear, the combination absolutely works on every level and has a truly anthemic vibe. Get set for the goosebumps to run riot!
Jimmy is fully aware that not all DnB fans are after a summertime banger, so he called upon the legendary skills of, DJ Rap, to provide a remix that is the complete opposite of the original. DJ Rap gets down and dirty with her gritty and gnarly interpretation that’ll crush those who are not ready for the destructive bassline within.
Just before you get stuck into the interview, why not check the official video for ‘Deny’ below, and then get reading…
Watch the video here :
Beat Assassins interview :
1. You made quite a name for yourself in the Breakbeat scene in the mid 2000’s. What inspired you to focus your sound on Drum & Bass now?
Yes you’re right. Beat Assassins first Breakbeat release was back in 2006. We were quite prolific on the Breaks scene. I say we because (as some of your readers will remember) Joe Lenzie from Sigma was also part of Beat Assassins. While I was producing with Joe he introduced me to the new age of Drum and Bass. Acts like Sub Focus, Pendulum, Chase & Status, Brookes Brothers and Camo & Krooked were bursting onto the scene and Joe was getting sent all this amazing music. Prior to Beat Assassins I had been a small part of the DnB scene as I used to run a weekly DnB night at the Borderline club in London. I always liked DnB but the stuff Joe was getting sent really blew me away and rekindled my interest in DnB. When we went out DJing as Beat Assassins we would always play about 15mins of DnB at the end of our sets. I wanted to write a couple of DnB tunes with Joe but he didn’t want to do that because he was already making DnB as Sigma.
Then in 2010 the music scene changed so much with the introduction of Dubstep & Bass House music which saw Beat Assassins Breakbeat bookings just dry up, resulting in Joe and I amicably going our own separate ways. I went off and did Trap for a while as Koshii, but I soon got bored with Trap so I decided, “Come on let’s go for it and make some Drum and Bass.” So I locked myself away in my studio for a couple of years bashing away at DnB and here I am. I’ve got to say I’m absolutely loving it.
2. Your label MOFO Recordings has released some classic tunes by the likes of Plaza De Funk & The Baymont Bross. Do you have any plans to release Drum & Bass by other artists, or are you focusing the label on the Beat Assassins music at the moment?
Right now I’m just focusing on Beat Assassins. Back in the day when labels released vinyl it was really good fun running a record label. I loved getting the artwork designed and printed on the record sleeves. It was always really exciting getting the test pressing back from the vinyl factory. I loved walking into a record shop and seeing the product on the shelves.
All that has gone now with running a digital label. Now it’s purely about getting the tracks promoted across the internet. This I still enjoy but I enjoy it because it’s my own music. I don’t think I would enjoy it so much if it was other peoples tunes.
Having said all this; “never say never.” But, if I was to start promoting other artists, I’d like to be in a position to employ an intern so I could concentrate on production and have an assistant concentrate on the label.
3. What big names have been supporting your DnB releases? Anyone that has made you jump for joy? Or any big names your really didn’t expect?
My PR company “On The Rise” have being doing a fantastic job at getting the tracks out to the DnB DJ’s. Within the world of Drum n Bass there are some really big names out there who carry a lot of weight and kudos.
My latest release ‘Deny’ ft ELi was given 8/10 by The Prodigy which, I’ve got to say, was quite a jaw dropping moment. Roni Size, TC, Ruffstuff, Drumsound & Bassline Smith, Noisia and Doc Scott (to name a few) have all supported one or two of my releases.
But the DJ I’m most chuffed about who has supported everyone of my DnB tracks has been Aphrodite. Now this might surprise a few people but I was playing Aphrodite tunes at house parties way before I was playing breaks. His mixtapes have been the soundtrack to a ridiculous amount of my after parties. I’ve had some amazing times at festivals dancing to his sets. So to see his reactions to my tracks on the feedback sheets has been amazing.
4. Are you getting gigs that have specifically asked you to play Drum & Bass? Are you still open to play a classic Breakbeat set?
I have been playing specific DnB sets but not so much at DnB nights. I’m still in the very early stages of my DnB career. I’ve only had 5 DnB releases. So I haven’t be pursuing gigs at DnB raves. In 2017 I do want to make this a priority. However I have played lots of parties where the promoter is looking for a DJ to come in and play a DnB set. I’ve been stepping up after House, Electro and Breaks DJs. I remember one party where I came on after an Electro Swing DJ and the place went off. The perception of DnB has changed dramatically. People like it across the board now. It’s becoming almost a bit like House music in popularity. So promoters get a DnB DJ to come in and finish the night off is a great way to end the party.
To answer your second point, I did quite recently get asked to play a classic breaks set in Spain. It looked like a good festival too. Plumps, Stantons and Atomic Hooligan all played out there last year. But unfortunately it takes place at Halloween and I’m completely booked out this Halloween. I would have definitely done it otherwise. I can’t imagine there would be much call for a classic Breaks set in the UK but in Spain, yeah why not?
5. You have had some great remixes of the current crop of releases. Can you tell us who you have drafted in so far and why?
My first DnB single ‘The Raid‘ was remixed by DJ Callide. As I was about to embark on my DnB DJ career I soon realised, “Hang on! I don’t actually know anyone on the DnB scene”. But I did know of a website called Music Gateway. So I posted the job up on this website and DJ Callide pitched. I already had some of his tracks so it was a no brainer. He delivered a full on rave DnB remix that got to the top of the TID charts.
‘The Raid‘ brought me some attention and new Twitter followers. One of them being 1000dayswasted. I check out his profile and discovered an amazing DnB producer hot in the Beatport charts right now. I took a punt and emailed him asking if he would like to remix my second single ‘Space Yardie‘. He jumped on it.
My fourth single ‘Ramm Out‘ was remixed by D’Silva. Some of your readers will know him as Inch from Ctrl-Z and Pyramid. We have history going back to the Breaks days and now he’s producing DnB like me so it only seemed right to draft him in.
For my fifth single ‘Deny‘ I went back to Music Gateway. DJ Rap pitched and I was very surprised. I checked her profile and it was the, DJ Rap! The veteran drum n bass DJ from back in the day. She played lots of the early DnB raves I went to. Now she’s back in the game and once again, it was a no brainer!
6. Underground music is a very different thing in 2016 to what it was like in 2006. What do you are think the main differences?
The whole game has changed beyond belief since 2006. To stay in music over the years you really have to adapt to the different changes or you risk losing your career. The main difference for me is the death of the record shop. This has brought a major change in the way we consume music and the way we promote music. PR in 2006 was very different. It was all about getting features and reviews in magazines. The record shops would also help you promote your releases. A customer wanting to buy some Breaks music would be given a pile of Breaks records to listen too in the shop. If you have released a Breaks record there’s a good chance your track would be in that pile. So the customers were automatically getting to hear your music because the record stores were pushing the music to the right customers.
Now your track goes up on a digital store. So music needs to be featured on Youtube and Soundcloud channels & blogs in order to get heard. It’s all about streaming and racking up plays. I do wonder how long the digital stores have left before the whole world is just streaming from the cloud. No one will actually own any data, just a stream.
7. How do you think you were able to craft such a smooth transition into a new genre of music?
For me this is a very interesting question. As I was getting ready to re-launch myself as a DnB artist I kept going over in my head under what moniker do I do this under? All my friends kept saying, “pick up the Beat Assassins project again”. But I didn’t want to upset the old Beat Assassins fans. Again friends pointed out something very important. In 2010 the UK dance music scene appeared to go completely Dubstep. Now in 2016 Dubstep has all but gone. But many of the Dubstep pioneers are still producing and DJing. Skream, Plastician, Doorly and Flux Pavilion are all still very active but not playing Dubstep. They have all moved into different genres and I think this has paved the way for artists to do this.
I have only had one negative comment about switching genres. It was from a Spanish producer on my Soundcloud page. I checked his bio and the first line read, “I got into producing Breaks because of Beat Assassins.” I can see why he might be pissed off.
8. Are there any plans for MOFO magazine to return?
For your readers who don’t know. I ran an underground street magazine called, Mofo, that dealt with Breaks. It became quite successful and was at one point the UK Breaks magazine. It was free and was financed through advertising. The collapse of the magazine came about because all the record shops started closing. I had no more outlets and the record stores were my main distributers. I was advised to turn Mofo magazine into Mofo Blog but by this time Beat Assassins were smashing it round the world and my attention had turned elsewhere. I don’t have any plans to bring it back. I just don’t have the time.
9. Finally, whats next? Whats in the release schedule?
My next single is called “See My Gun Go” ft Miss Stylie. I think this track is a real nod to the Beat Assassins Breaks days in a Drum n Bass format. The vocalist has a sound that is very reminiscent of Michie One who was the vocalist on “We Run Tings“. It’s cheeky and bouncy and will go down well with Junglist and jump up DnB headz. For those wanting the filth Jay Cunning has organised a Toronto Is Broken remix (Jay is TIB’s manager).
I’ve got a track coming called ‘HashTag’ ft Jon Carter. Jon works as a voiceover man in Hollywood film studios. When you go to the cinema and hear that big deep voice on movie trailers it might actually be Jon. He has recorded some movie style vocals for one of my DnB tracks.
I also have a grime track coming called ‘War Dem’ ft Miss Stylie. I’m really excited about this release and I think it will turn a few heads. For the DnB fans I have a spectacular remix from Trei (Viper Recordings). I’ve also done my own dnb VIP mix of ‘War Dem’ that I plan to release at a later stage.
Thanks for your time and words, Jimmy and we always look forward to hearing more of your work.
Links for Beat Assassins :