R’Rids is the name under which Sydney based dj Blake Cannell plays tunes. We first took notice of his ability at one of Sydney’s notorious underground dungeon parties and have kept an ear on him since. In today’s market, where anyone can buy some gear and call themselves a ‘dj’, Blake Cannell has well and truly earned the right to call himself just that. His combination of track selection, technical ability and all around vibe preservation for the duration of his sets makes him a regular standout at parties. For this week’s Sunday mixtape you can expect an education in all things bass. From the sounds of contemporary UK, right back to that of old school DnB king Roni Size, and everything in between, this mixtape has it covered. Enjoy.
We’ve seen you play a number of warehouse / dungeon parties over the last 6-12 months and you really seem to be in your prime when playing them. Is there something in particular about this type of setting that you love?
Playing in these settings (dunj especially) is pretty special, and quite surreal at times. I think there are a few reasons. The nature of the music that I often play in these settings is quite deep and dark, so it’s very fitting for an environment like that. Also, when you put 100-250 people (literally) underground with a good sound system and tunes to suit, it creates a vibe that can’t be missed. Strictly good vibes, underground bass music and beautiful people; nuff said.
Your sets are usually a combination fast and slow BPM’s, as well as transitions between a number of genres. In your mind, what makes for a good set, and what kind of preparation do you do before playing a gig?
What makes a good set can vary depending on your timeslot, your audience and the nature of the event. In the dungeon, the crowd doesn’t need much warm up, so it’s pretty much what ever goes; which is generally why I’ll play a fairly varied set (typically holding a theme along the way moving through BPMs). A good set to me should take the listener on a journey. Whether it’s a journey through a specific genre or a journey across multiple genres/BPMs (while holding a theme). Personally I’m a fan of a dj that can keep a crowd locked while not just showing great technical ability, but also an understanding of dynamic, paying attention to the crowd and knowing when to switch it up.
Who do you think are throwing the best parties in Sydney right now?
There are so many people doing great things in Sydney. Obviously, I’m biased and my first mention has to go to my good friends and whole family that is Dungeon (Events). These guys have done an incredible job to gain a loyal following of people in Sydney, exposing many people to the whole spectrum of underground bass music in a completely unique setting.
Other crews doing great things are Foreign Dub (who you can now catch running a weekly reggae/dub event of a Sunday afternoon at the Newtown Hotel; King St Dub), Construct (which is a monthly bass night running at the Gladstone, starting back up shortly), Outer Bass (who really seem to be owning the 160bpm, Jungle/Footwork/Slowfast vibes in Sydney) and Compound (who have recently started back up their regular parties running at GoodGod, Sydney’s one stop shop for all things quality house & techno). As for drum & bass, the scene is very much alive, there’s just too much to keep track of at the moment: Afterlife still running quality regular parties, Haunted Science and Bass Drop continuously providing artists at the top of the game, and pretty much anything The Bassix family is involved with is sure to be a good party!
Do you plan on pursuing music as your primary career? We hear you have a overseas trip coming up, what have you got on the cards?
Not really, to be honest. I have a steady career in web development, which I’m quite passionate about also so I can’t see that changing anytime soon. Later this year I have plans to head to Europe for some festivals (Dimensions, Outlook and Sun & Bass), followed by some travel and hopefully a semi-permanent stay in London. Over the last few years I’ve fallen in love with bass music, its origins and most importantly its ability to move people. The idea of my stay in London is to immerse myself within UK Bass/Sound System culture and really experience it first hand.
Tell me about the tunes you’ve selected for us.
As a dj, punter and above all other things a lover of all things bass, I’m influenced by all corners of the scene(s). With my selection I’ve attempted to showcase just how diverse the wonderful world of bass really is. If there’s one thing that’s consistent here, it’s each artist’s ability to produce modern, up to date beats while maintaining a solid foundation, or at least some kind of ‘tip of the hat’ to their roots.
1. Etch – Rising Sun
Brighton based Etch is such a stand out for me when it comes to the ‘130’ sound coming out of the UK at the moment. His approach to breaks and subtle reference to the old school rave scene is on point every time. More of this can be found being pushed by Keysound Recordings, who host a weekly radio show on Rinse FM.
2. Commodo – Straight Reptilian
This one slower than his usual dubstep beats, Commodo toys with a 4x4 beat before showing off just how much can be done with a slower BPM. Techno fans could relate here, but it’s still very much one for the steppers.
3. Kast – Education
I found this somewhat unknown artist on Soundcloud about a year ago when this tune surfaced. Starting off on a warm ode to dub tip, it’s all a deceiving cover up before switching to a downbeat, straight heavy weight dubstep tune. This one has become a routine play in my sets, the switch up seems to catch people off guard and always gets a reaction.
4. Hijak – Butcha
Heavyweight, reggae influenced dubstep from 2008. Still bangs hard, and is probably one of the most played records in my collection.
5. Gantz – Rising
One of the more creative producers in dubstep today; Gantz comes with his own unique brand of middle eastern influenced beats, with a heavy focus on bassline driven melodies. Pretty much anything he touches at the moment is bound to get support from the scenes leading figures, with this one getting a release on Mala’s Deep Medi imprint.
6. Killawatt & Ipman – Warehouse Dub
Two extremely diverse producers; Killawatt & Ipman come correct with a range of techno and various forms of dubstep. In this case, a heavily roots influenced UK steppah which is sure to push the limits of any sound system it may come across. It’s tunes like this that reaaally make me look forward to the beaches of Croatia (Outlook festival).
7. Ajax – Remember
Speeding things up to 160bpm, this one comes from an American producer that was brought to my attention recently. A modern approach to jungle, Ajax takes his super crispy drums and applies warm, liquid vibin’ basslines, perfect for the start of the final quarter of a set, where the crowd is ready for a bit of a breather before the final stretch.
8. Roni Size & DJ Die – It’s a Jazz Thing (Phillip D Kick Bootleg)
Toying with the crossover of footwork and jungle that he (Om Unit/Phillip D Kick) and Machinedrum are responsible for bringing to light circa 2011, this one is a great edit that doesn’t spoil the original classic. Some jungle purists are quick to screw up their nose when it comes to the footwork crossover, and footwork/juke as its own entity is a sound that’s definitely not for everyone. Personally, I can’t get away from it at the moment!
9. Radikal Guru – Different Dub
Another sound that I’ve been feeling of late is half-time/half-step drum & bass, which seems to be growing in popularity lately. It’s a sound that demands a quality sound system, and personally is preferred in the closing hours of the dance (as it’s simply too dark and minimal to be played early on haha). This one is a roots influenced tune that comes from the Rootsteppa himself, Radikal Guru. Typically a producer of roots influenced dubstep, he makes it quite apparent here that he’s capable of much more than just that.
10. DB1 – Vanguard
This one goes out to my housemate Mahlo, for introducing me to some seriously beautiful drum & bass. Deep, minimal, dub techno influenced drum & bass. Released via Hidden Hawaii, label boss Felix K and co cover most bases when it comes to what I look for in an artist. Deep, intelligent bass music, released in limited vinyl only runs; strictly for the lovers, not the masses.