With Manchester’s Bad Man Ting confidently re-igniting the city’s jungle scene we take time out with a UK legend and true originator ahead of his forthcoming date at the Moho Live party. We ask about production in 2011, designing clothes, and his possible new album. This is how he answered.
Hi Bizzy, how’s it going today?
“Yeah all good in the hood really.”
What have you been up to?
“Just grafting mate, working hard running my company making t-shirts. We print t-shirts for people, screen printing, vinyl, anything really, for corporate events, parties, stuff like that.
“And we’re getting ready to bring out our own brands too, hoodies, t-shirts, hats and things. Plus we’ve got the Everyday Junglist brand we’re trying to push, so there’s some promo stuff coming out for that once the new store on Junglistdownload.com is up and running, so we’ll be selling through there. It’s busy times, and there’s still the music stuff of course.”
Of course. You’ve been producing a lot less recently though right?
“Well I haven’t really. I’ve still been producing stuff, just not releasing as much. It’s not something that I do for the money, I just love music. It’s my passion, my spare time, so I’ve got a lot of stuff that has been made recently, for dubplate purposes when I’m playing out. So most of what I play, apart from the old school tunes, is stuff that I’ve made.”
In terms of the scene as a whole then, how is jungle in 2011 compared with way back when?
“To be honest the scene right now is pretty healthy, considering how long it’s been going. There are jungle cliques all over the world from what I’ve seen. I’ve been as far as Australia… in North America last year there were stacks of people that came out to check the tour a few of us did, going to Los Angeles, Phoenix, Portland. The vibes were great over there.
“So there are still die hard junglists in almost every corner, on every continent now, forming a global scene. And a lot of people are into the old school and the new school too, which is great, as there are a lot of new guys coming through with new music made with all this new technology… Compare it to back in the day and things were so limited then.
“Now I can produce a track on my iPhone. I was rinsing it out on the plane the other day, in aircraft mode. I mean an iPhone- not that I’m trying to sell the iPhone- but any smartphone now has more memory than an old Akai. The sound back then had authenticity to it, that’s for sure, but what you have now, with stuff like Ableton and Serato, is the ability to take so much around with you. A lot of airlines don’t allow much baggage, so without that it would be so expensive. It makes sense really.
“Back in the day we used to produce on Commodore Amigas, and it’s mental looking at what we have today. Before everything was 8-bit, and that made the most difference. It gives things a retro sound, but one of the things we always struggled with was the actual sound quality- it was all so grungey. A lot of the Slammin’ Vinyl stuff was done that way, and all the early Brain releases were done on Amigas.
“Another big improvement now is with storage. It used to be that everything was stored in sockets, and over time they would fill with dust or whatever, and stop working, so you’d lose a really good sound or sample. So compared with back then the only thing I really think is that I wish we had all this technology before, it would have been interesting to see what would have happened.”
So what are you listening to at the moment, other than jungle?
“Er, well, I suppose dubstep’s pretty phat right now. I mean there’s some good drum & bass out there too. But then some of it can be quite noisy, it’s not really musical, and it’s becoming more difficult to find the good stuff. You listen to radio and one day it’s great, the next what they’re playing is just a bit mad really.”
You’re up in Manchester on Friday, when was the last time you visited?
“Bloody hell… I’m not sure, must have been about six months ago. What a wicked crowd. I played the last set, people were shouting for one more, and I left the place absolutely buzzing.”
Sounds good. Anywhere else that has stood out recently, gig wise?
“Well like I said North America, the West Coast tour was incredible. Also Australia was really good too. I mean they’re hectic, tours, always three weeks or however long of constant night after night, but they’re great too. I was also in Malaga for the first time recently, playing a festival out there. That was really good, the start of something I reckon, so watch this, or that space.”
Finally then, any other plans in the pipeline?
“I’m actually thinking about releasing an album. I have enough material for two albums. So I’m thinking of doing it, and getting some CDs out there. Not for the money or anything, just really to put something out. I’ll probably just do it online, I’m struggling to find the time to get a distribution company.
“I mean for me the whole industry, the whole music industry, has changed. Back in the day there was a plan- you made a track, gave it a few DJs, then saw a distributor, pressed up 500 or 100 vinyl or whatever, got some promos done… but now it’s like music has been in this evolutionary stage for about five years, and people don’t know what to do.
“It’s slowly falling into digital, but that means it’s all about marketing now to make sure people can find the release. It’s pretty confusing, and that’s why I think the best thing for me to do is just sell it through my website. You know, just say to people ‘here it is, you want it, come and get it’.”
Bizzy B will appear alongside Mampi Swift, MC Fearless, and support at Bad Man Ting’s Oktobersesh this Friday, October 14th, Moho Live, Tib Street, Northern Quarter. Click here for tickets.