In Jrumhand’s own words:
“I started learning and playing music from a very young age. When I was six, I began to take piano lessons, learning scales and music theory until grade five. Once I got that far, I got tired of the theoretical aspect and began to get interested in the jazzier side of the piano. A close friend was exceptional at playing jazz and blues and he taught me the
blues scales and I began to improvise with this; learning many pieces by ear.
Around the age of fifteen, my interest in DJ’ing took off when I saved up and bought a friends Citronic belt drive turntables and a mixer. I was really into hip hop and used to listen every week to the Tim Westwood Capital Radio rap show. I was really into such rappers as EPMD, Young MC, Stetsasonic, Eric B and Rakim and Public Enemy. At the same time, I was listening to a lot of hardore and jungle music on pirate stations Defection, Weekend Rush and Kool FM. I really liked the DJ’s who could scratch, probably because of my love of hip hop. My most respected DJ’s at that time were DJ Evil Ed and Mixmaster Max on Defection radio.
I spent a lot of money buying records at Music Power in Ilford spanning labels such as Reinforced, Moving Shadow, R&S, Labello Blanco, Ibiza and a whole host of others. In 1993, I began to dabble in music production on a software tracker program called Med on an Amiga 500. I really enjoyed the experimentation and the sampling aspects, although looking back, the equipment was very primitive! I had also learnt to scratch and upgraded to a pair of Technics.
At the same time, some friends were getting into techno and I used to go down to the Drum Club and Megatripolis at Heaven. I also frequented lots of Megadog events, enjoying the music of Orbital, EatStatic and Banco DiGaia. I became disillusioned with the musical direction, or lack of it, in the jungle scene at this point and felt a change was needed to the progressively dark direction the music was taking.
Then one night, my cousin played me a tape recording from KissFM of LTJ Bukem. In one section of the show he played a selection of brand new music from some new artists called PFM. This music was incredible, and I was hooked on jungle again! I used to go to Speed as often as I could and loved every minute of it, also heading to the Blue Note for the Metalheadz nights on a Sunday. To me, this will always be the best years of jungle. My favourite artists of this time were PFM, Essence of Aura, Source Direct and Skanna.
In 1994 I lived in Northampton, reading Business Information Systems at the college there and along with a friend from Cork we set up a night called ‘Deep’ at a basement bar in the town, playing the tunes we used to hear at places like Speed and Metalheadz. It came a bit early for the town back then though, and it’s funny to think that Bukem now has a residency at the Roadmender club in Northampton now, as back then the music wasn’t really supported – it’s good to see.
In 2000, I went travelling for a year and was amazed by the global progression of jungle music, frequenting some jungle nights in Australia and New Zealand. Upon my return, I started my own night at a friend’s bar next to the nightclub Fabric in London.
I really enjoyed playing old school hip hop, breaks and jungle. Then, a few years later, my brother in-law introduced me to a program called Ableton Live on my laptop. I couldn’t believe how many channels there were compared to Med in the nineties on my Amiga and I was instantly hooked! I began to create some beats and sent them out to a few people. DJ Marmix and DJ ATP from Australia played a couple of tracks that I had made which gave me the confidence to keep on producing. In time, other DJ’s were asking me for my music such as Dezert Rat and LJ High. Then in May 2008, D-func – who was based in Barcelona – got in touch with me and asked if I wanted to help set up a drum and bass digital label called Binary Soul Records. I agreed, and we put out a couple of tracks I had written as the first release. ‘Many Years From Now’ and ‘Ripples’ came out that month and we managed to get the label on Beatport.
Several more successful releases followed and the label earnt fantastic reviews from Knowledge Magazine and I-DJ. Following problems with aspects such as distribution, D-Func decided to close the label, after ten quality releases – I am very proud of my involvement with Binary Soul Records and it gave me an insight into releasing music and the business side of the music industry. I know now that this aspect doesn’t interest me. I would rather spend the limited free time I have composing music.
By this time, my music was being supported by many DJ’s from across the globe, such as DJ Stunna in Chicago and Overfiend in New York. I also released some music with other digital labels and was beginning to collaborate with other artists such as Phatplayaz, Aleksandr and Blade.
It was very pleasing hearing that high profile DJ’s such as LTJ Bukem, Nookie and PFM had also played some of my tracks and collaborations as these were people I really respect musically, historically buying their every release.
My one ambition now is to release some music on vinyl as this is the medium where it all started with me in terms of collecting records. Although, I think digital music is great, I would love to release something on vinyl.
Finally, for me personally, I compose music for my own pleasure. Finding samples and the creative process that goes into constructing a piece of music is what I enjoy the most. I will always make music and thus contribute in a positive manner to the genre of music which I love and has given to me many happy memories.