There’s a new night in town called Drop Shots, a second-Friday-of-the-month Drum & Bass party, happening at KOI on Haji Lane. We speak to the man behind Drop Shots, NEZ.
Describe your journey to becoming a selector of Drum & Bass (D&B) music.
It was probably about ten years ago when I was 18, myself and some friends stumbled into Mad Monk’s, which eventually became HOME Club, and I think one of the Drum & Bass crews Subvert wasthrowing a party. I kept going back to Mad Monk’s looking for more D&B music, and found a few other collectives of DJs like Guerrilla, Exitmusik and Innernation. Getting to know the established DJs of the time such as Vortex, Kiat, Zul and Ramesh, led me to acquiring more knowledge of the genre and its history. I then decided to get a pair of turntables and collect the music on vinyl, and of course teaching myself to mix.
What is it about D&B that makes it most appealing to you?
When I first got into it, I was like, “Great! This music is a mix of House music and hip hop!”, which I was already introduced to before through mates in school and my sister. You know you have those electronic sounds of House, though the beats of Drum & Bass are closer to the Hip Hop aesthetic. At the same time, the bass element in D&B was very similar to Reggae and Dub music. Eventually, as I discovered more music from other genres along side D&B and its origins, the more it became apparent to me that the main producers of D&B music in the UK were innovating the genre from various influences from Hip Hop, Jazz, Funk & Soul, Reggae and as well as any left field and experimental sounds. I guess it is the variety in the music that any music listener can feel for the genre. The fact that on a solid, full range sound system it sounds amazing. Uncompromising, raw, energetic, unpredictable, visceral, relentless… I could go on and on about Drum & Bass.
You were hosting a regular D&B night at Home Club before the establishment gave way to what is now Canvas. Did you feel displaced?
For sure! I never got the chance to study overseas in cities where Drum & Bass music was in the mainstream of clubs like London and Melbourne, so in a way Home was my education in music. Even before the residency for the monthly D&B night came my way, I was just happy to be around the club meeting people who were into the same music as me. I think it wasn’t just the D&B crowd that felt displaced; Home used to put up Hardcore & Punk, Techno and Dubstep shows.
Drop Shots at KOI will take place every second Friday of the month beginning this Friday. How did you come to adopt KOI as your new “Home”?
I think the owners of KOI also used to run this spot on Mosque Street called Bar Twenty Two and the homies from Darker Than Wax and Dub S-kankin Hi Fi started doing a few nights there. Unfortunately, the vibe at 22 just did not feel right for, you know, serious music listening and dancing. Eventually, they filled us in on their KOI bars on Club Street and Haji Lane. I think the Haji Lane spot, where Drop Shots will happen, has the potential to host a great Drum & Bass night. A good thing as well, is that Haji Lane is away from the bright LEDs of big clubs and bottle service oriented spots, so that puts the focus back on the music.
What do you hope to achieve with Drop Shots?
Drop Shots will be the monthly 2nd Friday event where you can go to enjoy any music – Hip Hop, Reggae Dub, Bass Music, Drum & Bass/Jungle, and as well as the odd foray into Funk, Soul and Afro beats. It’s a place where people can find alternative electronic music, discover its influences, origins, and experience what it can evolve into in the future.
To kick off the Drop Shots series is yourself and AJAY (Subvert HQ) this coming Friday. Why did you choose to debut the night with AJAY?
Well AJAY was already playing D&B when I stumbled upon Mad Monk’s at its D&B nights 10 years ago. He is also part of Subvert HQ, run by an even older bird of Singapore D&B DJs, Zul. AJAY also used to feature on the D&B nights at Home Club on a rotation basis. Like AJAY and Zul, there are many more Singaporeans who truly believe in good music that currently have no outlet on the island right now, and my aim is for you to see them on the Drop Shots program in the coming months.
As someone who’s been in the D&B scene for a long time now, could you comment on how the scene has changed?
Trends come, music and art evolve, people move on to newer things. With the rise and fall – has it happened yet? – of EDM more people are starting to get curious of other forms of dance and electronic music, just as I discovered and got hooked on D&B through an introduction to House and Hip Hop. So I hope that the D&B scene will garner some new followers and headz from that.
Who are some of your favorite D&B DJs and producers?
Off the top favorite DJs from the UK would be guys like Marcus Intalex, D Bridge, Doc Scott and Fabio. These are selectors from the old school who were there when D&B was first born, so their mixes are always on point. Absolute legends. Producer-wise I really dig the styles of Sam Binga, Photek, Dom & Roland, Lenzman and of course the mighty Calibre.
You’re often seen decked out in CHPLCO gear. How are you affiliated to each other?
MC Roz and I have been mutual friends with the three dudes from Chapel and they are proper top guys who wanted to start some clothing for the skaters and the street dudes. Somehow me and Roz eventually ended getting flown with their tees and just started wearing it every time we do a show, especially at Good Times parties. I guess it just a matter of people with like minded vibes just kicking back, helping each other out with pushing each others’ craft to brand new audiences. Shout outs to Alvin and the brothers!
Both you and your wifey, RAH, are very much into music. Who decides what record gets played on Sunday afternoons?
We more or less have similar tastes in music, so it’s usually mutually agreed what record or MP3 goes on next.
A teaser earworm of what you can expect from Drop Shots: