Keepin’ The Scene Alive

Lord knows I’ve not skated since the days of the Deathbox Tea Pot, Pacer Hogs and Rollersnakes’ 540°

on VHS, but son – I still got love for the game. Dan Phlegm asked me to give him a T-shirt design for the House skate park in Sheffield. They’re raising money to keep afloat due to increasing business rates and whatnot. This is my artistic interpretation of the statue at Pigeon Sh*t Square, a favourable street spot in town. Radical.

 

Pitsmoor Can I Get A Signal?

Bosh. Big shout to everyone who made it down for the SOUTH YORKS Off-Tramlines murkage on Friday. What an exceptional night. Proper good vibes. Plenty of dutty bassline, Sheffield bleep and ragga rhythms all lovingly produced, remixed and bootlegged within the 7 Hills of the Steel City.

It’s not often you get to hear a night’s worth of locally crafted gems (without it sounding like a nepotistic mess). And it’s less often you get to hear them being played out by the clever blighters who recorded them in the first place!

Big Aye Aye to Winston Hazel, Oris Jay, DJ Pipes & Chris Duckenfield for digging in the crates and pulling out the heavyweight tunes. Extra special thanks to Toddla T for knocking out the SOUTH YORKS smash ‘n’ grab mini mix and X-amount of love to Rodigan for eclipsing the entire weekend’s festivities with the most incredible set at the after party. Sod Edutainment, that was proper Entercation. 

SOUTH YORKS Vol. 1 Sleeve Notes

Seeing as the mixtape has received an impressive 5,000 downloads in it’s first fortnight, DJ Slick Dixxx and I felt it might be nice to shed some light on the audio content. Tha Knows. 
 

Joe Cocker – Woman to Woman

I first heard this piano break on Ultramagnetic MC’s ’87 smash, Funky. It was later sampled by Dr Dre for Tupac’s “comeback” joint, California Love in ’95. It was a revelation to discover Joe Cocker wrote the original back in 1972. So dope. 
 

Kid Acne – South Yorks

South Bronx by BDP was made using the same SP 12 Ultramagnetics’ used to write Funky, which belonged to the group’s producer, Ced Gee. He also co-produced BDP’s first album, Criminal Minded. Stick that in your pub quiz. 
 

I Monster – A Sucker for Your Sound (Toddla T & Ross Orton remix)

A mix from the minds of three contemporary heavyweights, this is a seminal track in the ever-evolving history of Sheffield Bleep. 

 
DJ Mink – Hey Hey! Can You Relate? (Hard Rap)
One of the greatest UK rap records of all time. Originally released as a promo 12″ on FON in 1989 and a year later received an official release on the newly established Warp label. Extremely forward thinking in terms of production, with a Latin Rascals inspired bombardment of chopped drum breaks, courtesy of a young and gifted Rob Gordon. Strangely, this is the only 12″ to be released by the group (also known as 2Wice The Trouble) despite the fact it’s an absolute banger. 
 
Forgemasters – Track With No Name
This track could feature in a retrospective of any number of genres, combining luscious bass with an overall rave aesthetic. It also happens to have been the first release on Warp. Winston Hazell was one of the co-writers of this legendary yet unnamed tune, and is still very much active in the Sheffield night scene, holding down a residency at ‘where? house’ party Kabal.
 
Altern8 – Infitrate 202 (Altern8 vs Asterix & Space remix)
Although Altern 8 are not from South Yorkshire, they did sample Asterix (a young Chris Duckenfield) at the start of this track, who certainly is. The sample was taken from Asterix & Space’s pirate radio show and lead to them doing the remix, I’m tellin’ ya. Probably one of the bestest rave tunes, ever.
 
Roots Manuva – Let The Spirit (Ross Orton & Toddla T remix)
Rodney Manuva lived in Sheffield for a few years and in that time recorded a bunch of tracks with the likes of Toddla and (Daddy Freddy) Bozzwell. This remix by Ross Orton and T Willy is one of the many smashers from that era. 
 
Duck Beats – Pull The Other One
Chris Duckenfield forms one half of Swag, purveyors of deep house and peers of Metro Area, Ian Pooley, Jimi Tenor and the like. Also a product of the Warp stable, Chris’ influences are as varied as his fans, and the sheer funk at work in this particular track is sure to make him some more.  
 
Zombie Disco Squad – Twang
ZDS are certainly a London phenomenon, but Sheffield was where Lucas Hunter spent his formative years, making naive yet significant forays into the worlds of public art, promotion, digging and spinning. Now recording on Made To Play and touring round the world, the Zombies produce an organic and mature sound with plenty of build for the hedonists with enough intricacy to keep the records on replay in headphones all o’er the shop.
 
Bozzwell – Siren
Bozzwell’s work as part of Hiem (City Rockers) pre-dated but slid in beautifully with the electroclash scene of the early noughties, which was as big in Sheffield as anywhere, possibly the kids of the Human League generation catching up on the love of sleaze that their parents had seen flouish in the city nearly two decades earlier. This effort is one of Bozz’s subsequent solo tracks, an anthem of sorts on a more techno lean that caught the attention of the European minimal crowd.
 
Fitzroy North – Xibeca
One of the few Sheffield acts on this compilation plying their trade abroad, Fitzroy North is the latest of a number of guises for Tom Watt, who showcases a type of machine-funk reminicent of Mr Oizo or Sirius Mo. This track is named after the choice brand of beer for street-drinkers around Barcelona, where he now calls home. 
 
Olive – You’re Not Alone
Chune. 
 
Squire of Gothos – Bounty Ice Cream
These lads are relatively new on the circuit but whose no-sounds-barred attitude to production has already led to international recognition, notably from Kid 606, whose banger Mr. Wobble’s Nightmare they remixed up right nice. I wanted to include this original production of theirs to demonstrate the sheer scale of the noise they produce, contributing to the Sheff tradition of combining ragga and electronics with the immense vocals of a well-known Jamaican toasting legend. 
 
Rogue State – Brain Cell Explosion
Another relatively young producer, Rogue State has been at the forefront of bass music in Sheffield for several years as a DJ, and now as a label owner and producer. This track is particularly tough.
 
Human League – Being Boiled
This is one of the first songs to be produced with entirely electronic intruments, way back in 1978. We included a clip from Phil Oakey’s interview from the truly insightful Made In Sheffield documentary to illustrate the anarchic ideals of the band as they were getting started. 
 
Fat Truckers – Superbike
“I think this bike’s been knicked” claims Captain Kurt, sampled from seminal early ’90’s doco Tales From A Hard City, which depicts the lives of a bunch of unemployed young people trying to find their way in the adult world. It seemed perfect to drop over Fat Truckers, Superbike. One of the freshest acts to emerge from the Steel City, who, after recording a short-sharp-shock 10 track Lp, chose to crash a burn rather than re-record and fade away. 
 
Mu – Paris Hilton
I think we did a gig with Mu when I played drums for the short-lived 3 piece, Bobby Liverpool and the Redneck Heartbreakers. Our guitarist gave the “singer” a black-eye on stage and that was the end of that. Mu’s career however has been far more successful. And just as punk. 
 
Squarepusher – My Red Hot Car
Tom Jenkinson used to live in Netheredge. A leafy residential district of southern Sheffield, which has historically been home to more musicians than any other part of the city. It’s basically like Williamsburg, Brooklyn, only with a few less Hipsters. Anyhow, this track in particular is a great example of this phenomenally talented individual’s output, even if he does claim he’s gonna “f*ck you with his red hot c*ck”. 
 
Oris Jay – Trippin’
This is a glimpse into a side of Sheffield’s consumption of music that very few musos/journos/students are very clued up on: the world of Niche. In terms of popularity, the garage/bassline nights held in Sheffield have far more appeal locally than many of the other tracks on this mixtape, so it’s only right that we represent that facet of life in South Yorkshire. This is an anthem by Pitsmoor’s finest, Oris Jay, recently turned into a WAG anthem by cheeky Scouse producers Cahill. 
 
Pink Grease – Solid
I used to share a studio with these lovable scamps. They recorded their first single in our old flat and even let me spray-paint the double-decker bus they’d just bought with their 1st album advance. It should have been a sitcom. Come to think if it, there was a documentary, which is arguably just as good. They even made their own horror movie. Lovely chaps. 
 
ABC – Poison Arrow
A significant part of the new-romantic movement of the early-eighties, Martin Fry lets everybody know about the perils of courting Northern lasses in this wedding DJ favourite from 1982.
 
Jarvis Cocker feat. Beth Ditto – Temptation (live)
Apparently Beth Ditto had never heard of the original (released by Heaven 17 in 1983) and kept forgetting the words in rehearsal. I love the shambollic, yet anarchic nature of this version. Great ending to the mix. Ta! 

SOUTH YORKS Off-Tramlines Friday July 23rd

Word.

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Following the success of the mixtape launch and Off-Sonar wig-out in Barcelona, another eagerly anticipated chapter in the South Yorks saga is upon us. We’re turning up the heat for this extra special Off-Tramlines event on July 23rd.

 

So, who’s who in the world of bleeps and Padley Gorge-size bass?
 

Alongside yours truly, will be the ever impressive and hirsute musical maestro BENJAMIN HATTON and the ever dashing and dexterous DJ SLICK DIXXX.

It’s a pretty heavyweight line-up, even by our standards. We welcome a quartet of steely dans who’ve taken the Sheffield sound around the world and back again.
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WINSTON HAZEL

Original selector at seminal nights such as Jive TurkeyClub Superman alongside DJ Parrot in the mid to late eighties, where the two of them spearheaded the musical revolution in the city, which gave birth to WARP Records and a string of chart topping, genre smashing music. Winston has never really stopped DJing and producing, more recently holding down a residency and inspiring a whole new generation at Kabal and further afield alongside.
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A man of many talents, who has also been a lynchpin of the local scene, shouting loud and clear to anyone who cares to listen (and many that don’t) about just how good and vibrant this steel city is. Behind the decks, he made his name steadfastly showcasing black music in it’s many and varied forms, mentoring the teenage Toddla T, as well as also being instrumental in the rise and rise of the Kabal events. Oh, he also runs one the best Graphic design companies in the world.
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It’s hard to underestimate the effect Sheffield’s rich musical heritage has on young producers and DJ’s. Oris, for many, laid down the foundations for 21st century bass music with his early work on the Jungle, Breaks and UK Garage scenes. Always ripping up the rule book and pushing things forward. As well as a truly international DJ schedule, Oris manages to find and release music on his Texture label from a raft of celebrated artists like Benga, Geeneus & Loefah before they become household names.
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Another local DJ who has achieved worldwide recognition, from late eighties DJ beginnings in the city, through the burgeoning UK Rave scene of the early 90’s and, again via WARP, to the international circuit, where he has flown the Acid House flag far and wide. Taking the DIY ethic a step further by making, releasing and distributing his own music and managing a stable of respected labels via his All Ears company.
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Download SOUTH YORKS Vol. 1 here.