Mizeyesis drops by the DNB Vault and talks to us about the New England DNB scene, life and future projects.
Mizeyesis has been holding down the East Coast jungle for many years. Host of The Aural Report on Jungletrain.com, curator for jungle and drum and bass music for Satellite EDM, artist and producer on Faction Digital Recordings, co-founder of Threshold Sound, and U.S. Manager of DnB Girls, Mizeyesis has made a full time lifestyle out of dnb. The Vault sat down with the multihyphenate junglist for a fascinating chat.
What inspired you to make a career out of drum and bass?
It was 1997 and I was in school at Hartford Conservatory for Dance Performance. I had always loved electronic music and started to become bored with house, techno, breaks, even hip-hop, reggae, punk. I thought it would be awesome if someone could take all those influences and put them into one sound. I remember I got a cd called “Urbal Beats” and found a tune by Goldie called “Inner City Life” on the compilation. Immediately I went on a search for anything that was related to drum and bass. I went to my first official rave in 1998 Dara (was a headliner), just so I could hear DNB on a loud system. After his performance, I was officially a junglist lol. I was in NYC around 1999-2001 continuing my career in dance, I met a lot of kids that knew of the genre and became involved in the jungle scene there , going to Konkrete Jungle, and the Liquid Sky Store. At home, I would go to the Muni in Hartford or the Asylum in Springfield, MA. It was a music that I could fully unleash all (my) dance skills upon.
I retired from dance in early 2001 after an injury I’ve always been a creative soul so I purchased a pair of decks as alternate outlet. I played local house parties in the Hartford area and many people heard me play. Duwaine “Mighty Mouse” who ran the Hartford’s Drunken Monk crew gave me my first gig on July 2004 at 1”00% High Octane “ at the Municipal Cafe. Right after that, I started a night with two other djs, Torrential & Oneself called “Threshold”. Our first show was that September at “The Warehouse”, we eventually moved to Sully’s Pub, with shows every first Thursday of the month. When the night ended in 2008, we had amassed a collective of djs, mcs and producers. We booked Remarc, Breakage, Liondub, Tester, Archive, Dave Shichman, Strife, Eskmo and many more ! After Threshold, I started to put out mixes and get involved with other crews, radio shows, especially here in the Northeast, New England area then spread to across the east coast and overseas.
What have been your biggest challenges or triumphs?
The biggest challeng, I think, for many dj’s, especially females, is being able to be taken seriously. The world of music can be a boy’s club. In comparison to how it was years ago to now, ladies are killing it. I’m part of a collective of members called DNB Girls which started in Canada in 2009 and expanded to the U.S. We are a group of female djs, mcs, singers, musicians, promoters and producers into DNB. Having a presence of strong, highly achieved women inspires others and is greatly needed..
Members of the U.S. crew include myself, Bulletproof Tiger, Iris, Treachery and Bitch Plz (Miss Haze & Corrine) and our CEO Jams, Distinct, Crystal Fresh, JF Killah, Mittz, Ella Grave & Kytami on the Canadian side. We have weekly Ustream podcast featuring members and guests and also a monthly podcast sponsored by High On Beats called “LOUD” aka Ladies of Ultimate Destruction. I just did February 2015’s LOUD Podcast for the crew. I also am starting to collaborate with other jungletrain.net djs like Magenta & Anna Angree on some up coming shows. It really feels good to band together and push positivity with other fellow djs, both male and female.
Another significant challenge for many djs, is being able to truly focus on your craft. For many of us in dance music, or music in general, having a 9-5 for your basic needs as well as doing a life of music can be hard sometimes to maintain both unless you are the few who are blessed to fully dj as your craft. I have been fortunate at this time in my life to truly focus on music the most, and readjust my lifestyle accordingly. This is a balancing act for many who are in this field, but I would say all arts to be honest. Hopefully one day, many more of us can focus on attributes of our creativity solely as fulfillment and to meet our life needs.
However despite the challenges, the triumphs are numerous. I have been able learn Abelton and create music, and finally have the first of many releases under my belt. I’ve dj’d at festivals like Great North, Beltek, big bass music tours like Dub Nation, jetsetted off to London to dj at Rupture for their 7th year Anniversary and the WMC in South Beach amongst many other high profile gigs and shows… Also having the opportunity to do a number of community based projects like fashion shows, art openings, charity events and the like. For me right now my life is a personal triumph, and I’m at peace with where its headed.
What are your picks for the most boss tunes past and present and why?
So much music to pick from in my life as I absolutely love it all ! House, techno, juke, footwork, hip hop, reggae, jazz, punk, rock, blues, classical, etc, but I’m going to give a list of some of my favorite DNB tracks of new and old to rinse.
Goldie – Timeless
This 20 something minute piece of music is what got me hooked on DNB. I first heard the “Inner City Life” part when I got Urbal Beats way back when. I then rushed out the following week to pick up Goldie’s full CD Timeless and fell in love with the whole tune.
Souljah – Fade 2 Black
I first heard this in 2000 and it blew my mind. I have a thing for breakbeats, and this just slaughters and Amen Break with the funkiest bassline ever. Souljah is a moniker for one of my favorite producers of all time, Lemon D. For many junglists, this tune can’t go without a rewind, and tears up a dancefloor. Still gets played a lot.
Houkusai – Jade
Houkusai aka Source Direct in Jade is an amazing tune and shows the full diversity of drum and bass. A lot of people focus solely on one aspect of this sound, but when you listen to the full cinematic, and orchestral sounds of Jade, coupled with Source Direct’s seamless composing of melting dance music with jazz, its no wonder why this is a classic and well loved.
Equinox – Stagger
Equinox is an ascended master of breakbeat programming… This tune is RUFF with those beastly amens and an absolute classic!
Dillinja – Silver Blade
This is my favorite Dillinja tune. Its a hard driven techstepin’ anthem. Nuff said.
Digital – Deadline
This roller has an alarm in it!!! Deadly tune on the dancefloor
Most hilarious happening at a party?
Oh man, too many to list and I plead the 5th! lol…
What projects and shows do you have on deck?
Locally I’m doing a night with Love Tribe & Awake Productions we’ve called “Heady” at Pacific Standard Tavern in New Haven where art, music, live visual art, soundhealing, reiki, transformational art, vending, come into an environment with amazing sound and west coast craft beer. Threshold is one project. DNB Girls is another. I joined MIA (Murder in America) DNB , and became part of the New England chapter and in April I will be traveling to the Midwest for some shows. Producing a debut album release with Faction Digital Recordings has been fun and challenging. I’m constantly busy, even when people don’t realize it lol. There’s just a lot going on, and a lot more to do with music.
Your top 3 labels of all time?
Reinforced, Moving Shadow & Metalheadz. They are the foundation of sounds still found to this day in new tracks.
What’s your personal style?
My personal style in DNB is a mix of everything I love… Heavy basslines, stabs, floaty pads, emmaculate drum programming, dub effects, cinematic feel, hard bop jazzy tendancies, and everything that makes a junglist smile. A mish mash of all I love in music and in this life.
Colleen Vincent is an O.G. junglist, culture critic and writer who markets events for a living. She has written for music and fashion publications, moderated culinary panels, and spreads the dnb gospel wherever she goes.