Sober, This Music, Oh Gosh, Naughty Ride…. All names any original Jungist would know and hold dear to their hearts. All these moments of Stateside history came out of one dude from brooklyn’s strained Mac Computer and a big bin of cat food. Jesse Peterson AKA Datcyde was my room mate for a while and one of the first producers who regularly sorted me out with tunes to play months before anyone else. After playing some old school sets recently people have asked me “What happened to Datcyde?” So here is the story, right from the man himself!
What brought you to drum & bass culture and in particular production. At the time there was not a lot of stateside people taking that leap, why?
I was living outside of Detroit in the early 90’s when I first discovered rave culture. It was pretty much all techno all the time. While Detroit was known for the sound, the parties were relatively small loft and warehouse spaces. The really big parties were in Chicago which was a 4 hour drive away. My very good friend Mark (who also came up with the name Datcyde) loved Jungle and would always buy the mixtape packs from the big shows in Toronto. It was his car, and his radio.. so we listened to jungle. His system sucked though and I never understood the appeal at all. Then one night, J.J. Jellybean was on the mainfloor at one of those “wall of sound” gigs and I heard, and felt, BASS! Life changed.
When I moved to New York City in 1995, I had already started DJ’ing a bit a small parties in the midwest. I had a budding techno collection and about a set’s worth of jungle that I only bought to play with Mark. I quickly saw that there was about 100 existing 4 on the floor guys here but there was only about 8 Jungle guys. I really wanted to play out here and felt it was time to make the leap to full time. MC Blaise and I had common friends and I started going to jungle nights with her. She introduced me to everyone and pretty soon I was djing at Konkrete Jungle about once a month. I was new, I would either open, or close. I never got to play the main room or the main slots. I noticed that the main slot guys always had tunes that were not in the record shops and wouldn’t be for months until their official releases. If I wanted that main slot, or at least close to it, I had to have tunes that no one else had. So I made them myself. 1996 through 1998 is a blur, all I did was produce, or play this one video game I had. I didn’t have a TV. I barely had a social life outside of the quest for the slot.
Naughty Ride, arguably one of the earliest and best stateside jungle tunes for its time. Tell the story behind that and why you think it has had such a lasting impression.
Blaise (Stephanie Marco) was my MC when I first started and she was always working on rhymes and songs with a friend of hers. We kept talking about how we needed to make a track one day. One night at a show at Pyramid (pre konkrete jungle I think) She got on the mic and just started riffing with this Naughty Ride Naughty Ride vocal and basically what basically ended up being the chorus of the tune. I knew right away that if we ever did do a tune, that should be the vocal.
A friend of a friend introduced me to Eric Silver who was in his final year of the NYU music business graduate program. The class project was basically to start a label and put out a record. I played him several things that I’d been working on which he liked and he asked me to be part of the project. But he said, give me something brand new just for this. About a week later I had a rough demo of the core bassline and drums down and played it for him, he was stoked. But then my Powermac 7800 with a whopping 1GB hard drive shit the bed. I still had the samples I wanted to use, but in those days it was a lot harder to put things together than it is today. I would have to recreate it all from memory. Eric told me that I could get into the NYU studio and record and mix for free and they had good mics and whatever else I needed. I told Steph right away and we went together. She had this broken english idea scribbled on paper and I brought all my midi gear in a cab and quickly through something together for her to sing too. I think we got it in 4 or 5 takes.
I got my computer fixed and worked on the track for about two weeks. Endless tweeking, endless re-writes. My roommates hated it cause it’s all they heard. Such a weird feeling to know while you’re working that you’re sitting on your first release, and it’s a guarantee. The sampler I was using was absolute shit and caused so much frustration. Listen to the original Naughty Ride, you’ll the tempo jump slightly throughout the song.. it’s the fucking sampler. And the jumps were random. When I finally finished it, I recorded it to DAT easily 50 times hoping to get through without a jump.. fail.
Naughty Ride came out on Village Records in a very limited run. I don’t even have a copy of that record but I’ve seen it on Ebay. After a few days, the excitement wore off. Steph said, we need to get DJ’s playing this, let’s cut a dubplate. We went to Don-one in Bed-Stuy Brooklyn and cut 2 plates. We took one to a party that night at The Bank where DJ Rap, DJ SS, and other huge names were playing. One by one, steph gave the plate to whoever was up next and I’d watch them cue it up, listen, then put it back in their bag. It was heartbreaking. Steph would get on stage, take it from their bag and give to the next. So on and so on until she and I were the last people in the club at 5am. That’s when Soulslinger played it as the last tune of the night. Soulsliger!! that was so awesome.
About a week or two later, Naughty Ride was signed by Liquid Sky Music and it totally launched my career. Were it not for the tenaciousness of Stephanie Marco. I would have had a totally different life. Naughty Ride is MC Blaise. She is why that track is what it is. Then when we did the remix, I think people were mostly just excited cause it was a Reid Speed record.
Are there any other of your tunes that you would have hoped would have gotten the same traction?
Definitely. I wanted them all to be that well received. There were a few more that got attention. I started feeding Odi tunes like Oh Gosh, Sober, Bells of Summer rmx (that was my original. odi), Inspiration. He played that shit for years before they were ever released. But, the one tune I loved was the flipside of the Naughty Ride 2000 remix called This Music. The NR2k track was done in about 4hrs and me and Reid just smoked blunts and wanted something cool to play that night at a Liquid Sky reunion party. It was just supposed to be a little crowd pleaser for the heads. When Taciturn picked it up for vinyl, I honestly thought that “This Music” was my A side. When everyone shit their pants for Naughty Ride again, it was bittersweet. All of the sudden people start throwing words around like “anthem” “classic” etc. But nobody is playing the “A side” lol. I still think This Music is one of my favorites. I had hoped that it would have got the same love as Social Skills because it felt like a similar vibe to me. I had a lot of tunes and a pretty successful run as a producer now that I’m thinking about it. But still, I was only doing it so I could play the 1’oclock drop like Dara does.
At the highest point you were touring regularly, getting a decent amount of attention from some heavy players in the music. Top moment? High points?
In no particular order.
Eco-System 3 festival. Spent a week in Brazil. Dj’d for thousands of people. Took weird drugs in the jungle. Did an interview for Brazilian TV in a 4 bedroom tree house that looked like the Ewoks built it. Amazing trip
G-Force Tour. The only thing better than being a traveling DJ is getting to do it with your friends. And the gigs were just the icing. That tour should have just been called “6 Friends going to Strip Clubs”
Going to a Tower Records in L.A. and seeing my album. Alphabetically I came right between Dara and Deiselboy. Great company. Shit felt so official.
Going to Europe and playing at Forms in the Netherlands. Dj Tyson, Un-real, MC Donskey and all the rest of the Forms crew treated me like family. I played for them 5 times I think and stayed for a week just to hang out every time. Great guys and great crowds. I came out of retirement and played for them again in 2013 for their 15 year anniversary show. Shit is still fun.
Secretly flying up to Rochester N.Y. to dj Sin’s (of Sin&Cos) surprise birthday party. So much fun.
And I’ll never forget the night I was selling cds at a Stuck on Earth party. Odi’s girlfried had the idea that girls that show me their breasts get half off. I got paid to look at breasts. There was literally a line of girls that wanted to give me money and show me their tits. And I don’t mean a few. I couldn’t see the end of the line. That’s right.. Mic Drop… I just won drum n bass.
Have you been paying any attention to the culture lately?
Not really. I’m still friends with a lot of heads and go out on occasion if there are DJ’s I remember from back in the day. This year I went to World of Drum n Bass in Brooklyn. The music is still fucking awesome. But I’ll usually only hang out for an hour or two.
There has been a big rediscovery of the so called old school sound, would you like to get back into it?
I want to play the 1’oclock drop. I want to watch the girls in the front flip out. I want the big rewinds and the lighter crew and the horns crew. Everyone is a producer now, it’s not a means to an end for me anymore. But who knows. If there is a line of woman ready to roll, I’m down and they get half off.
In the years since what have you been up to?
I got into post production sound for film and television. I spend my days in the studio mixing and designing sound fx. I absolutely love it. I chill by myself, nobody fucks with me and it pays my rent. I’m very happy.
What made you decide to move onto other avenues?
I peaked. That’s pretty much it. I had a show in Europe, the next night I had a show in NYC, the next night I had a show in LA. I realized how tired I was when I told Storm to go fuck herself after some disagreement about set times. (sorry Storm) The scene was sort of getting saturated with dj culture, the girls weren’t coming out like they used to. Dubstep had just started happening at that time. When I’d produce, I was worrying more about “will this sell?” than having an exclusive. The thought of what I’d have to do to compete in the new digital dj world was unappealing and I think the fire just went out. Very soon after that, I discovered that with my existing production system I could do film work and it just clicked. I had fire again.
Being a engineer and sound designer has led to some great things for you, anything we may have seen and wouldnt know was you?
Yes, probably lot’s of things. That Droid commercial where James Franco falls off the building, that was me. The original Game of Thrones teaser trailers for season 1, that was me. The Bioshock game Trailer for Xbox, that was me. Particle Fever which is on Netflix, that was me. Today I’m working for NBC making sure you know some show is on Thursday at 9.
Any words of advice or encouragement for the up and comer today?
Yeah. Producers.. Stop worrying about what people like, or going viral or trying please this person or that person at the label. You’re faking the funk and I know cause I did that shit. Make tunes for you and your friends, and hold on to them. The shelf life a tune is short enough without everyone having it immediately for free. I was at my happiest as a producer when my stuff was only for me and my crew.
DJ’s. Get with a crew, play your friends stuff that they produce. You never know who’s at their first show and will discover their new favorite song. And you had it first. That still matters. Avoid the top 10. If Andy C comes to town and drops bombs, you can’t play that shit. You have to play shit he doesn’t have. It’s a lofty goal, but at least aim that way.