Possessed in the City of Quartz – Interview with Jungle Voodoo
POSSESSED IN THE CITY OF QUARTZ
Interview with Jungle Voodoo, spring 2000
R- Could you fill us in on your bountiful contributions to the jungle/breakcore scene in L.A., I know you are doing some writing, as well as DJing and running Jungle Voodoo…
S- Although the Jungle Voodoo store is currently web-only, it still takes a lot of effort to run. Weekly I put up all the new releases from our distributor, and my boyfriend is usually there to take packages to the post office! It’s basically just us three. Originally, we started the store so we would have more access to records ourselves! We got kind of tired of going record shopping in town and nothing was ever available – all the new releases would be snatched up by the “bigger name” DJs even before they went out on the floor. It was the whole record store “politics” that was really getting us down. Another thing was that most stores would never want to order a record for you once it wasn’t a new release anymore. So, we started an on-line store. We don’t really make money off record sales – we would rather keep the prices down, and do the best to special order records for people who were having some of the same problems with the stores as we were! The t-shirts and accessories in the store we all make ourselves (hemp stuff,etc.) and the equipment (mixers, bags, etc.) we try to sell just above cost. We know that, like ourselves, it comes down to eating, paying the rent, etc….or buying records most times! Everything we do is on a shoe-string budget and it’s done out of a love of the music. The web-site itself is also takes up a large part of my time since i try to update it everyday-to every other day. I guess i am kinda lucky to not have a “regular job”!
As far as writing for the mags (including Massive, Knowledge, and others)… I seek out most of the interviews I do for BPM culture because I like to see the darker-side talent being represented. Same goes for reviews – I just review what I like…I also seek out labels that I like and get on their mailing lists. That’s why most of my reviews are good ones!
The next thing on the agenda is running the Jungle Voodoo Collective (we didn’t want to be a “crew” cuz we really aren’t) . So far we have 10 members. What I do is pretty much organise things and help distribute information amongst everyone. Basically, the collective acts like a tribal commune or something – we all share info (like promoters that are booking, places to sell/send mixtapes, etc.) and we all help each other out. Everyone is usually involved in several different projects…we never require anyone to by allied with Jungle Voodoo only (like many other crews and booking agencies). Our only requirements are that you have a love of the music and something you can “give” or share with everyone else – and that you are not one of those shit-ass people who like to take advantage of other people! Although we are not some elitist, junglist country club, we do make sure you fit the “qualifications” and then you can be invited in.
R- I was surprised to hear that a group of you in L.A. were getting into breakcore/noise/broken beats, since i had only heard of Dr. Freecloud hardcore scene out there…How does your store and appraoch to music fit into the L.A. music scene?
S- Basically it is just me and my boyfriend, Mario, who are the “evil junglists” (as far as the J.V.C. goes – in all of L.A. there are probably 3 other hard/dark junglists). Everyone likes a little bit of the dark stuff, but mostly play other styles. Although we have been known to bust into hardstep (like 95-96 style), we pretty much keep it in the pummeling catagory (heavy amens, breakcore, dark). I guess that’s what we are known for, which is why we probably didn’t get booked so much! When Mario and I play as a tag team we play as “Prime-Evil”. A lot of promotors in this town have not been very open minded about the style of jungle being played at their parties. It’s a heated debate really…. they claim that it’s being a “vibe killer” or that people won’t dance to it. The reality is quite the contrary…. the scene has been stagnated so long with “jump up”, “rollers”, or simple tech step that people are really sick of it. The same DJ’s play at every party and they’re playing the same stuff at every party. Heads are ready for the change. Some promotors are finally starting to showcase some new talent and try some new styles. Jungle Voodoo will be throwin its own parties soon. Every smaller jungle party I’ve been to as of late was really pumpin’ – the new talent, different music ,k smaller locations – everything was better – the “vibe” was strong and everyone was rockin’. As far as stores go… Freecloud’s definitely the store for all your breakcore needs – they’re known for hardcore music, that’s their niche – I know I’d never want to take that away from them. As far as the Jungle Voodoo store – we only order from one distributor – so we don’t get everything we would like, but we try to push the harder edged stuff =)
R- The name Jungle Voodoo implies dark, damp mysticism….
Do you see this type of music as having any effect reaching beyond the physical?
S-That name first got coined by Mario one night when I was playing a particularly ruthless string of records… he said “that’s the Jungle Voodoo baby!” It pretty much stuck after that! The other thing is that I’m heavily into tribal things (from a very early age I’ve studied the stuff!). I think Jungle Voodoo pretty much fits me perfectly! Music has been used for centuries upon centuries to evoke moods, etc. Tribal peoples always use music in ceremonies – with the thought that it helps to put one closer and more in touch with the spirit world. I believe that without a doubt, music can take you to another “place”. Mario and I are very much into the “evil” jungle because it makes us feel good! We are pretty dark people >=) after all!
R- Knowing how involved you are with sound, have you considered producing, and if si, do you have any plans for it in the future?
S-We just got another computer last week – and today I’m loading in all the programs (Cubase VST, etc). We have a Korg to hook up to it and hope to get a nice little sampler and mixing board. A number of the members in the Collective already produce and we’ve known we’ve wanted to for a long time. It’s just been money really that’s held us back (sad but true!). So now, we’re preparing to unleash unto the world our sinister stylings – hopefully by mid year we might have something out…
R- How do you feel the US scene is keeping up with the rest of the rest of Europe, as far as harsher releases? Which labels are pushing it forward?
S-Well, as of yet there are only a few labels that I know of that are “pushing the envelope of sound” in that direction… one is DHR (whom I don’t really care for because I don’t think Mr. Empire is really that hard and innovative!), then there’s Drop Bass, Ghetto Safari, and a brand new label out of NY, Machete (which just released a Panacea cut under the name “Warfare”). I actually think Machete is the more promising of all these because I know the guy that started it and is is really into noise/avantgarde stuff. He is also starting a branch of the label and is supposed to be releasing a cut from DJ Scud and a few other hardcore/noise people. Also, their production (sound quality) is far superior to some other labels. Ghetto Safari I think would be the next choice – they put out some good stuff, but the production is always low. Eventually, Jungle Voodoo would like to start a little label and put out some hard stuff – but that remains to be seen! So in answer to the first part of the question… I think the U.S. is pretty behind as far as putting out a good amount of hardcore and hardcore jungle, but we’ll catch up =)
R- Are you preparing for the millennium breakdown, or could you care less?
My thoughts on this are: I don’t think the machines are what should be feared with the Y2K problem – it’s definately the people that should be feared. Not the intelligent people, but the irrational sheep that this country habors so many of! It won’t be a machine that breaks a window and loots a store…So yeah, I’m stockpiling a few items…and you better believe that if some moron were dumb enough to break into my window, they’d get shot in the head!
R- Does your collective have any political involvment, since there is such a fuct situation with race, class and police in L.A.?
L.A. is pretty much a shit hole – just like all the other urban techno landscapes of the world. Sadly (I guess) I am very politically apathetic…I have seen it too many times where I or someone I know has tried to get people going on a “cause” and it just fizzles out…most people are too happy getting fucked in the ass to do anything about their current situation. I guess you could call each one of us subversive – skirting the “law” and the issues and eventually ending up doing whatever we please! We’re throwing our first party on June 4th – and it will be underground…
I believe its better to just disappear in the American Underground.
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