“Somethings Come Over My Soul”

“Somethings Come Over My Soul”

“Something’s come over my soul, out of my control… My soul..” My Soul – Marcus Intalex, Metalheadz 2002

My second year at Performing Arts School kicked off with us preparing right away for our first live show – ‘Cabaret’. A night of singing and dancing that would officially ‘introduce us’ to the theatre world audience. We had intensive classes right up to the weekend of March the 20th with voice coaching and learning how to use a microphone onstage. We also had choreographed dance moves and a tap dance number. All up it was nothing short of full steam ahead, and we loved it considering we had waited a year for our chance to get out there.

In the meantime, things at our wonky house in Worcester street were starting to grate on my flatmates and I. Doors were coming off hinges and bulbs kept blowing, it seemed little by little our house was falling apart and we were paying extortinate rent for it.

Then one day someone broke into our house, fucking up the lock and taking some things from Simon’s room which was at the front of the house. We complained to our land lady about it asking her to fix up the doors and sort things out, but she seemed too busy and wouldn’t come around when we asked. It happened again on another day, someone tried to get in the back door. This was the last straw. Sick of our house and waiting on our land lady, Simon took charge, said we should move out, and within a day had found us all another house down in Beckenham, near the Port Hills.

We paid a deposit determined to get the hell out of Worcester street. To be honest us girls were scared someone may try and break in during the night, and our house was so decrepit, no locked door would prevent them should they want to come in.

We left the house taking all our furniture and most of our belongings to our new home on the Saturday leaving only a small amount of things behind. Then, that night, whoever had been trying to break into our house – finally got in. With nothing to steal, they spray painted the walls, pissed all over the carpet and cooked up some eggs that had been left in the fridge on an old rusted fry pan!

We assumed they were glue sniffers as that seemed typical gluey behavior and when we went back the following day to get our remaining things and saw the mess, who should be pulling up at the same time but our land lady! We had a right old argument with her in the street, her protesting that we were not allowed to leave before our lease was officially up – us complaining she had given us no choice and there was no way we would be staying.

Despite this, she took us to the small claims court to make us pay the remaining five weeks rent. Amazing what some people can get away with.

Still, we were glad to be out, and our new house was a big family home with five bedrooms. Unable to decide who got what room – we drew straws. Julie and I definitely drew the shortest straws moving into the smallest rooms, but still the house was warm and dry and everything worked – that being the main thing.

It was a time of changing locations for a few of us, as my boyfriend Sam moved from Lyttleton, over the hill and into town. Interestingly he moved into the well known ‘127’ Apartment where Techno DJ Richie ‘Grind’ lived with a couple of other people. The apartment was an old office converted into a living loft space which was pretty cool, but Sam’s room turned out to be an old bank safe! It had a huge concrete door that you had to wrench open to get inside – and once in, it was a big black square space with only enough room for a bed on the floor and a wee shelf. Still, it served him fine for the time he lived there and it was convienient he was so close.

Not long after we celebrated being together 6 months, things started to change between us, and one night, Sam broke up with me. To be fair, we didn’t really go out socially together, my love of raving and DnB was not shared by Sam, and it played on my ego and insecurities, as well as his.

I was definitely gutted as we had had a pretty awesome summer together, but as winter began to set in, I was determined to get out there and socialise with my friends and not let it eat me up. Besides, NASDA was as consuming as ever and there were plenty of raves to be attended.

A new club opened up in Christchurch, ‘Base’ on Columbo street which was upstairs and which started to hold a regular DnB night.  To also help take my mind off things, my girlfriend M convinced me to buy an invitation only ticket for a forthcoming rave happening that Friday night called ‘Operation Snowstorm’ which was going to be held at a secret location.

According to the black and white invite, for $60 we would get a ride on a bus to the location in the evening after work, plus ‘extras’ (whatever that meant), and a bunch of DJ’s spinning DnB and Techno. We were told to dress warm and bring an overnight bag and with my snowboarding jacket being the only warm thing I had, I rocked that over a pair of black trousers I’d worn to school that day.

I boarded the bus to ‘Operation Snowstorm’ looking around at all the faces that were joining us on the trip. I think there were probably no more than 80 of us. The bus headed out of Christchurch and an hour or so and two mix tapes of DnB later, we were winding up a snow covered road to a group of cabins set back in the woods. Apparently it was on someone’s farm – to me it felt like we were in the mountains! As we hopped off the bus everyone was handed their ‘extras’ which was either Ecstasy or Acid I can’t quite recall – whatever it was I do remember I slipped it into my pocket with a mixture of trepidation and excitement.

When we got inside the main building it was freezing, and the boys who had organised it quickly set about putting up a screen, assembling the decks and turning on the heating. We all sat around as a movie played, and steaming mugs of hot chocolate and tea were handed around, not to mention some massive joints. At the end of the movie M and I went outside to check out the cabins and the room we had been allocated. We let some slivers of acid dissolve on our tongues before venturing back inside the main building where the first of the DJ’s had started to spin some tunes. Not long after that my body temperature righted itself and no longer cold, and feeling pretty high – we girls ventured out into the snow to explore and to dance under the stars.

M and I were wandering along chatting animatedly and checking out a field of perfectly covered snow, when we came across a guy smoking a joint on his own. He was tall with a thick head of hair fighting with the adidas head band he had tried to tame it with. He had a prominent nose and beautiful full lips with lazy lidded eyes.

He was dressed in a huge puffer jacket and hightop sneakers and as we made conversation with him he made fun of my conservative black trousers and snowboarding jacket. I snapped back, saying something witty that obviously caught him off guard and which made M laugh uproariously. Taking offence, this boy proceeded to playfully trip me up, which sent my already loose and relaxed body falling over into the snow.

Too high to do anything but lie on my back and laugh, I looked up at him demanding he tell me his name. He introduced himself as ‘Mo’ and sauntered away, a huge grin plastered on his face.

‘Who IS that guy?’ I asked M as I got to my feet wiping the snow off my now damp trousers.

“He said! – His names Mo!” M laughed in reply.

‘I know, I know” I muttered, my eyes trailing after him as he walked confidently off towards his friends. “But who IS he?!”

This Mo character made me feel much the same way that Drum n Bass had the first night I had really listened to it… like I wanted to know more about it. Like a bunch of butterflies had suddenly take flight in my stomach..like an unknown appetite had just been roused, and I felt a sudden desire to satisfy it.

And it was a feeling I  liked. Very much.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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‘To Shape The Future’

‘To Shape The Future’

‘To Shape The Future’  Optical, Metalheadz 1998 (To Shape The Future Remix) 

1997 in Christchurch started off with a bang with some top international Breaks and Drum n Bass acts coming through New Zealand, with the first three months hosting DJ Trace, Doc Scott and Dom & Roland. While I missed Trace due to being out of town, I was however, there for the Subtronix ‘Nasty Habits’ gig with Doc Scott at The Ministry, who had support from Subtronix’s own Presha and D-Rave from Auckland and local boys Pots, Silencer, Phantom and MC Green.

Doc Scott was responsible for one of the biggest Drum n Bass tracks of 1996 ‘Shadow Boxing‘ and as I was familiar with the track, I was excited to see the man who had  produced it – playing it in the flesh.

Off I went assuming it would be just another regular rave at The Ministry, getting high, dancing til dawn and spending time climbing onto the roof of the club via the back ally, to look at the stars and smoke some weed as the bass filtered up through our feet.

Little did I know that the night was to change things massively for me in a music sense.

I remember that I enjoyed Doc Scott’s set, and I remember the bottles rattling off the table and onto the floor when he played ‘Shadowboxing’. At that time we never thought the bass could get any deeper.

When his set finished, there was a  definite change in atmosphere for me. Maybe my acid wore off, or maybe it kicked in, perhaps it was to do with the fact the next DJ played a set that embodied a different vibe within DnB – but for me, around 3 – 4 a.m I fell in love with Drum n Bass honestly and truly for the first time.

Sometimes, thats all it takes to get a persons attention. A single track, or a specific DJ’s set.

In the twelve months since I had been in Christchurch, ‘Breaks’ had started to switch up, and ‘Drum n Bass’ had started to emerge in the scene as a more ‘pure form’ of music. As well as this, the all genre raves I had first attended were now being streamlined into parties aimed at one particular genre, and each had begun to grow throughout New Zealand of its own accord, all with a very loyal following.

No longer did DnB have to sit next to other genres in order to work in a club environment, its fan base was growing fast and this was proven with raves like Trace, Dom & Roland and of course Doc Scott, and the crowds they pulled. Suddenly we were hearing nothing but pure, unadulterated DnB all night, and new and different forms of Drum n Bass began to emerge within the genre itself also, so that everyones appetite could be satisfied.

This was also the chance for local DnB DJ’s to really come through and make a name for themselves. Again, no longer having to fight for a slot next to House, Techno and Trance DJ’s, those who loved DnB and longed to mix only to a DnB crowd could begin to build their own brand and style within the scene.

And so it was on this night that a local DJ by the name of ‘Silencer’ got on the decks and dropped his first record, a brand new tune which I was to later discover was Krust’s remix of his own track ‘Maintain‘.

Dry ice filled the room and a swirling wind sound coursed out of the bass speakers. Then a haunting voice cut through the darkness.

“In this world of minnnne… we must earn our chance to shine…. do what we think is best.. through our courage we will pass the test. Maintain… I know what it is and I got to Maintain…. I know what it is and I got to Maintaaaaaain”

Then the beat kicked in and I felt my mind stand to attention. The beat was minimal, punctuated with laser like sounds, and these husky Feminine vocals that sounded slightly off key, cut across the track – loud, understated and raw. The message her lyrics contained spread throughout the room like a beautiful virus. Everyone had their hands in the air and smiles alighting on their faces.

I immediately felt my body react. Dancing to this form of music was different to how I had ever moved to Breaks or even to Hip Hop. I dropped low in the hips, and pulsing back and forth at the waist to the bubbling beats, I barely stopped moving for the next three hours. The set was full of DnB infused with funk and soul influences and several vocal tracks, all flowing seamlessly into the other. On we danced until the night finished at around 6.a.m.

As the lights flickered on I looked at the shiny, sweaty, happy faces of people around me stretching out their dance weary limbs. We were all clapping and cheering and in that moment I realised I had found it. My niche, my place, my passion. The kind of music that was to follow me and which I would follow for the next ten years. The music that would ultimately shape my future.

My girlfriends and I drifted down the foggy streets arm in arm, laughing and shouting out to those heading off to their after parties or to their homes. I recall falling into bed exhausted from dancing, but with a smile on my face and a new determination to know as much as I could about Drum n Bass music.