From Rudimentals, to Disclosure, to Sigma to every producer or act plying the successful trade of dropping drum’n’bass loops or tracks for some of the hottest tracks out right now, few can doubt the importance of Bristol born, Roni Size the dj and producer who made the genres acceptable to middle England.
While (it can be argued) other dance scenes like acid house and garage have seen a reduction it seems in their popularity, drum’n’bass and jungle are now world-wide genres. Roni Size is part of the fabric of the genres and he is a name who was pivotal in its world-wide fan base.
Twenty years or more ago the genres were seen as the music of a dis-enfranchised youth with no direction, no education and no jobs-Roni Size with the seminal Brown Paper Bag taken from his debut album New Forms (1997) suddenly thrust the genre into the middle classes faces. He forced a change in attitude (to an extent) to this music they could barley dance to. It was not music produced by a majority of plebeians instead the genre like any group had intelligent individuals with a flair for constructing belting beats at a 180bpm.
Roni Size (and Reprezent) heralded a new found integrity as drum’n’bass and jungle escaped the studio into a live arena-Roni Size in turn became a name instrumental in that transition and finally after ten years he drops some new music for an eager masses!
Reprezent-Full Cycle-past, present and future
I ran Full Cycle for about twenty years with my side-kick DJ Crust and it was a label that was quite ahead of its curve. We contributed a lot into the early days of jungle and drum’n’bass but at the end of the day when you are running label it is not just about the music it is about the people involved.
When you have a lot of people in something like this it is difficult because these people have their own musical paths. Everyone who was involved in Reprezent did their own things and that is what made it special-they were individuals in their own right. It is the same even now where I have to keep rotating the team but the core of Reprezent is still the same.
The label had a longevity in what it did and at the end of the day the label is still there but we have decided to let it rest for a while and pursue our different directions-it has too much of a history for it to just end.
Roni-bringing musicality to the scene.
We bridged the gap between mainstream and drum’n’bass because we had a great team in the shape of Talkin Loud which was an amazing label. Gilles Petersen (who had a huge amount of credibility and still does) was instrumental and really believed in the music. We were really fortunate because we also made a lot of genuine friends. People like Jools Holland loved what we did because he could see the cross over value of us; we won the Mercury Award because they loved our music but also liked us.
I think many people had pre-conceptions of the happy go lucky raver who does drugs but we did not fit that type so I think they were surprised that we were clued up and we had a good musical history-at the end we brought musicality to the genre-we transformed the imaginations of others and showed that this music could be played live..
Bringing a ‘new sound’ and a new Roni Size?
The thing is, for the last four or five years since I came out, I wanted to make sure I knew every aspect of my business from the ground to the top. For the last twenty years it has always been management who has controlled a lot of the dynamics of my business but now I want the next episode of my journey to be controlled by Roni Size.
I feel that there is a gap for the music we do, ok you have Rudimentals who sound like us but they don’t have the same history as we do-we have come through the ranks and we have been endorsed by the drum and bass fraternity. I feel that now I am ready to join the party and I just hope we will get the support that we deserve.
I have recently started a new label called Mansion Sounds which is music for huge arenas, played for all different mediums, sometimes I dj to 20,000 people-I want it to be 20,000 Roni Size supporters.
Look out for Roni Size and playing a LIVE 7 piece set tickets HERE