: Sweetleaf

Sweetleaf has 19 UW friends view all
Gender: Male
Country: England
Joined UW Crew: Aug 21, 1998
Last Session: Sep 23, 2015
Posted by Sweetleaf 2015-09-05 17:36:17:

Posted by Sweetleaf 2015-09-04 21:58:17:
DJ SWEETLEAF: A few notes from History...

At the age of 11 my parents bought me a hifi with a Tape player, a Turntable and a Radio. I'd always been fascinated by turntables and how they worked. We had a small collection of portable turntables as I was growing up as well as a Gramophone which I used regularly. I started listening to the radio and found all the big commercial stations, Capitol FM, Radio 1, BBC and the rest but I was always interested in whether there was anything in between the major stations. In the static...

It was 1991, and that was when I found pirate radio stations. Hearing Oldskool Hardcore for the first time when I was brought up as a musician listening to Heavy Rock with artists like Led Zepplin, Black Sabbath and Jimi Hendrix; It was the first time I'd heard that kind of dance music and thought "What is this?!!".

The first track that I remember was Charly by The Prodigy. The Hoover stab with that rising Alpha Juno sound was like nothing I'd ever heard before and it got me really interested in underground dance music.

From there I was hooked. Listening to Energy FM, Rush FM, Don FM and my favourite at the time Pulse FM. I followed the evolution of dance music from Hardcore to Jungle in late 1992. Then the split in 1994 bringing the stabs, pianos and vocals into Happy Hardcore and the Amens, Deep basslines and moody String samples of Jungle.

'Hardstep' in 1996/1997 were the few years when the Jungle sound calmed down and become a lot more minimal in structure. Stripping things right back to just Drums, and a Bassline. With the odd vocal sample here and there.

The cutting and chopping of the Amen break in Jungle had got so crazy by the end of 1995 and it was time for a change. It took a few years for Drum & Bass to pick up again and between 1996 and 1998 I'd turned to Happy Hardcore as I preferred the fast break-beats and hoover samples but always kept an ear on DnB.

By early 1998 things had got more interesting with artists like: 'Ed Rush & Optical' and the Wormhole Album, 'Ram Trilogy' and Ram Records with their dirty basslines and Sci-Fi sounds, 'True Players' bringing DJ Hype and DJ Zinc with classics like 'Bring the Danger' and 'Peace Love & Unity', Brockie & Ed Solo and many others... Point being, I was back in it. Drum & Bass had landed and was only just starting to spread to major cites in other countries.

Backtracking slightly to 1994; In secondary school we had a French teacher who was also a part time House DJ. He wanted to start up a DJ Workshop and he convinced the school (Yes the 'BRIT School') to buy 2 Technics 1210's with a Citronic mixer and put it all in one large flight-case. Took at least 2 people to move the 5 foot monolith but probably stopped it from being stolen!

At the age of 14 I spent at least 2 or 3 hours a week booking out the room with the turntables to practice. From then I was DJ SweetLeaf.

The rest of my spare time was taken up in the Music department in the Computer room making music. The room had a bunch of MacClassic computers each with a small MIDI keyboard, Roland Sound canvas and a pair of headphones for use in you're free time. School would finish around 5pm but I'd stay late till about 7 or 8pm working on tunes and learning the Cubase software.

After a year I'd learnt to use samplers and by 15 I'd made my first Jungle tunes, mainly re-mixes of other dance tunes. I might post up some archived old tunes but don't hold me to it...
By the time I was 18 I'd got a job at the BBC world service (not as posh as it's sounds) and used the money to buy a pair of Technics 1200's and a mixer, a computer, a sampler and a sound module. Once I had all the gear I needed I realised I had no time to use it all so I quit my job and spent the next few years just mixing and making tunes. It was around this time that I came in to contact with the rest of the crew...

1998 and I was drinking in my local pub, (somewhere in south east London) when I was approached by DJ Massa. I knew Massa from school when I was 12 years old but he was 15 or 16 at the time and we didn't really talk back then. He knew someone who knew me and he said he'd heard I was a DJ and would I like to join him and a few friends for a mix so I said yes.

It was a flat above a shop, (again somewhere in south east London) and there was a collection of people there already. The smell of, erm, 'burning herbs' was in the air and Drum and Bass was playing in the background. Massa and OB1 lived together and had many people round on most weekends for a mix and general mash-up... ness.

It was there that I too spent many weekends, playing tunes till the sun came up, sleeping on a sofa covered in a discarded curtain sheet, then waking up and playing tunes again. So it went on. Massa was friends with the manager of a small wine bar and we played a few sets now and then just OB1, Massa and myself.

Through Massa and OB1 I met AKA, Confused, Philly the Kid (who at the time was Decypher / Curiosity?), and also Code 1 and Lady Sensi. By 2000 Confused had got a sound system together and brought us all in to DJ. It started in a few small clubs in Hackney then we started doing free parties in and around London, but that is another story...


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