“Are you just a vision in my mind?…. Must be some explanation for feelings of this kind..”
(Solid State – Just A Vision Marcus Intalex and St Files Remix. Renegade Recordings)
1998 was a year for firsts in DnB in New Zealand, our first visit from an MC, and even more exciting to us ladies, our first visit from fellow Female Jungalists in the form of Metalheadz resident DJ’s – Kemistry and Storm. They were renowned for being the darlings of DnB scene with their sassy attitudes and tear out tune selection. Not to mention they were both gorgeous, Kemi with her short blonde dreadlocks and Storm with a sharp black bob. They were both wearing chunky Metalheadz necklaces and I loved watching them whisper in each others ears, and laugh and wave at the crowd. The entire front row was dominated by girls, as if we were at last claiming our place in DnB through the representation of these talented women, and we whooped and cheered and sang til our voices were hoarse.
At the end of their set I reached up with my flyer and asked them to sign it. Kemi wrote ‘All bad girls big up’ and Storm wrote her name with a kiss. I was so chuffed, and still to this day have the flyer amongst my collection.
After they had finished they both headed for the bathroom, and my girlfriends and I made a beeline after them, hoping to be able to say hi. When we got into the bathroom they had already been cornered by a girl who we knew could talk a donkeys ear off, and I knew if I didn’t interrupt them soon they would have to head back to the DJ booth and then back to the hotel. I grabbed Storms arm lightly.
“Hey, sorry to interrupt you but I wanted to just say something to you real quick” The two of them broke off their conversation with the other girl and turned and smiled at me with interest.
“Hey we saw you up the front loving the tunes. You know your Drum n Bass!” Storm nodded encouragingly at me.
“Yes! and I just wanted to say thank you so much because you ladies are a massive inspiration to me, to all of us girls. I really love Drum n Bass and I hope to be up there like you one day”
“You wanna be a DJ?” Storm asked me.
“Um.. maybe more like a singer? Or actually.. an MC?” I blushed saying it out loud, especially to them. It was one of the first times I had acknowledged such an idea in public – not even Joe was really aware of this ambition.
“Hey thats cooool” Kemi raised her eyebrows at me “There’s not many girls who MC”
“Yeah you should do that! We need more Women in the scene” Storm echoed her.
At that moment the doors to the bathroom opened and more girls poured in calling to each other and laughing loudly.
“We better go” Storm gave me another big smile “its a bit crowded in here. Nice to meet you girls, maybe we’ll see you up there one day!” She pointed at me as they breezed out into the club.
I was stoked. It was my first bit of encouragement, even if at that stage the vision I had of myself as a DnB MC was still just a fledgling idea.
However my life of Drum n Bass still very much centered around Joe and his aspirations and DJing. He also was flourishing with his graffiti, being employed to paint some of the shop windows in town such as Euphoria and Cheapskates. He and James Pylon were also getting more and more into the idea of creating their own promotions company, putting on the kind of parties they wanted to see happening in Christchurch.
The first thing they did was create a logo and brand name. They decided to play on the name of their Drum n Bass radio show on RDU that had started getting more of a following. And so their promotions crew became ‘Scientific’.
The first party they looked at throwing was one called ‘Spectrum’ using a state of the art lighting design and having local DJ’s spin all styles of DnB.
While they were deep in the planning of this, Two of our favorite DnB acts came to town.
Bryan G and MC Moose brought the funky, jazzy side of DnB to New Zealand. We had had a lot of tech step acts pass through, playing their more industrial, Amen break laden beats and while I enjoyed it, it wasn’t what had really stirred my passion and interest for the music. It was the vocal tunes, the soulful melodies, the kind of DnB I felt I could really dance to that got me going, and Bryan G and Moose were the first International act I can genuinely say got me losing it on the dance floor.
The set was a revelation. Hearing the tunes I had heard on the ‘One In The Jungle’ tapes finally being played through the huge Ministry sound system, confirmed for me how diverse and special the genre was. As for Moose – his loose free flowing MC style was as complimentary live as it was on the radio.. I was well and truly hooked.
The Back Garage at Juice hosted Scientific’s first party two weeks later and myself and James’s girlfriend Emma were recruited in to help, along with some other supportive friends and DJ’s such Solid State, B Line (who was then going by the name Intera), Mr Steel, Anine, Wizard, and Teo and Paulio doing door and guest list along with Emma and I. We cleaned up the space, helped hang camo nets, and Teo burned some sage to cleanse the room of any negative energy.
The lead up to the gig was definitely a headache. I felt the investment in the lighting rig seemed to be a costly and unnecessary expense but I remember James being convinced that it would give our party the extra edge it needed. We had to try and pull in as many people as possible and with ticket sales being below average, Joe and James were frantic with ideas to get more people coming. We flyered streets of parked cars and ran ads on RDU. The guys even had t shirts printed so that we were easily identified as crew at the party, and to help push the brand out in the street.
The flyer in particular is very memorable. It was the first flyer I’d ever seen that had a pin in the middle of two circular cards and as you spun the cards around, cut outs in the flyer would reveal who was playing and at what time.
When show time came, everything ran smoothly, the lighting rig with lasers was epic, the sound system booming and all the DJs represented their flavor of DnB perfectly. The only thing missing was the crowds. While there was a nice turn out it wasn’t packed as we had all hoped and I could sense the frustration from Joe that they had done so much and it didn’t seem enough. I remember Joe and I had a few arguments that week leading up to it and after. It didn’t help that my Nana Harvey passed away two days before the party.
My Nana Harvey – my Mothers Mum was a sprightly 83 when she died. It was sudden and she was found lying across her bed after having pressed her medical alert alarm. Nana Harvey was an amazing little woman. I remember her for her long grey hair down to her waist that she tied in a bun at that back of her head with two combs in the sides to hold back the strays. She lived in a little Granny flat on Domett street in Opunake and when I used to stay with her as a little girl, I would lie in the tiny, lumpy single bed with its pink bedspread that was the same bed my Mother had slept in as a girl, and listen to the distance roar of the ocean.
She had the most beautiful garden with all sorts of flowers in it from wild flowers and roses to succulents and Birds of paradise, a big black plastic barrel in which she collected rain to water her garden, and a healthy vege patch with strawberries and ruhbarb.
Her house was also full of pot plants and she had a big old piano in the hallway that all her children had learned on when they lived at the farm house in Oanui.
Nana’s cubboards were always full of treats, biscuits and scorched almonds, the freezer was stocked with ice creams and her fridge with home made lemonade. She was hard of hearing and often used to repeat herself with an ‘I Say…’ at the beginning of her sentence which us kids used to imitate, however this lack of hearing was of benefit to me when Nana had to drive me to singing lessons or to competitions. I would have the stereo up loud with my Hip Hop blaring and Nana wouldn’t bat an eyelid.
“Yak Yak Yak Yakayakaykyak” thats all this music says” she said to me one day on our way to New Plymouth “Yak Yak Yak”
I cracked up, I was pretty stoked she even let me play my music!
I remember Nana had a few battle scars she liked to show me, the top of one of her thumbs had been nipped off while she was changing the lawnmowers catcher. She also had a twisted scar all down one arm from where she had touched the moving rollers of the old mangle washing machine as a girl, and it had proceeded to pull her hand and then entire arm in crushing it as she tried to pull free. As Nana’s husband had been crippled in a tractor accident, she had had to take on a lot of chores that Grandad was unable to do, and she pushed her lawnmower herself until she was almost eighty. I admired her strength and tenacity, and though at times she tried to be strict, she was very sweet natured, always looking after us kids if my parents couldn’t, and gave us cuddles and sweets.
Now I was in the middle of mourning her death and trying to help put on our first rave as the Scientific Crew. It was little wonder that Joe and I were often stressed and took it out on each other.
When Spectrum didn’t go as successfully as planned I thought Joe might be put off. But instead this only seemed to spur him on, to think of ways to make his future parties run more cost effectively, and reach the desired audience. It wasn’t just about bringing a bangin’ party to town either, it was all about timing. At this time Christchurch was one of the best places with regards to being spoilt for choice on what to do on a night out. Especially if you were into dance music. It seemed like every week right into the weekend, one of the bars or clubs had a night on that catered to the different genres and tastes of its attendees. So putting on a party meant trying not to clash with other prominent nights especially those that were of a DnB nature, and making sure you booked well ahead if you wanted a particular venue.
Spectrum was just a taster for Scientific in terms of putting on a party. There was so much more to come yet.