Lightbox: Hi guys, do you want to introduce yourselves and explain the concept behind Beautifully Crafted and what prompted you to start it?
BC: Hi! We’re the Beautifully Crafted crew. This consists of 6 DJ’s: Charlie Turbo, Ill Tempa, Maph, MPathy, Realer and Son of Mothra who are expertly assisted behind the scenes by our friends, Maite and Caldey. There wasn’t a concept as such, apart from starting as a small group of mates whose fervent enthusiasm for constantly posting links to tunes on Facebook message threads (and thereby annoying friends and family) led us to create a dedicated group “Long Live Beautifully Crafted Jungle” where we could do our thing. It was never intended to become a big thing nor did we actively encourage others to join, but soon word of mouth brought people we didn’t know who wanted to share their appreciation for the music. It began to evolve into an online community and general hub for jungle activity. As members started sharing their own tunes and mixes, we decided to start a SoundCloud page to try to channel this enthusiasm. We also began a Beautifully Crafted DJ mix series. Volume 1, by our own Maph, was featured on Drumtrip.co.uk by Ricky Law of Repertoire and the heads started just flooding in. We quickly exceeded 1000 members as it continued to become a hangout for like-minded music lovers. Now, nearly 5 years later we’re not far off 20k members. We wanted to share our combined knowledge and record collections with other people and so were extremely happy to be given a regular show on the mighty Jungletrain.net. This was quickly followed with us starting our own nights seeing as the best way to enjoy this music is with a lot of people and a lot of bass. As it was the Facebook group that brought everyone together and kicked off this chain of events, we took the name “Beautifully Crafted”.
Lightbox: It seems you’ve built up a real community of people immensely passionate about theDrum and Bass / Jungle sound, do you think it’s important to have a sense of community in relatively niche scenes like this and do you also think it is this strong community spirit that sets Drum and Bass / Jungle apart from other genres that have come out of the UK underground over time?
BC: To be honest, the scene today would not exist if it wasn’t for a tight-knit and loyal community. Jungle, the music and the scene have been through many changes over the last 20 odd years but there has always been a solid underground following keeping that original spirit and authentic sound alive. It was at Rupture nights at Corsica Studios that we witnessed that torch carried forward and the old-school vibe reincarnated through the most cutting edge modern drum & bass of recent years. Gradually becoming part of that family showed us just how loyal the following is for this scene. This community already existed. We provided an online reflection of that and have worked hard to keep it welcoming, vibrant and relevant. LLBCJ is on one hand a place where the heads of today share music and stories but what it also does is bring together the younger crew and those just discovering the rich history of jungle drum & bass with the ravers, producers and DJs that were there the first time round. I think all of us have found it an education with mystery tunes identified, legends recounted and dormant passions reawakened. You could say it’s been a successful symbiosis of social media and the jungle scene.
You describe yourselves as a group of DJs with a deep rooted love for the golden era of Jungle / Drum and Bass. Do you think the sound has ever reached those heights in terms of quality of music released on a consistent basis since?
That is a bit of a hard one for us to answer with authority seeing as most of us were not old enough to be going out in the early to mid 90s, but from talking to heads on nights out, people who were there first time round, many feel that we may be going through another “golden era”. We live in a different world now and it’s hard to imagine that kind of seismic surge in creativity happening in the same way again. However, there are countless producers still pushing the envelope but with a deep reverence for the golden era sound, creating quality music and putting a lot of it out on vinyl.
What was it about the golden era that sets it apart from any other era of Jungle / Drum and Bass?
From around 1991 onwards, dance music was constantly breaking new ground. There was an insane rate of development from hardcore into jungle and beyond into the many of styles of drum & bass. It’s worth noting that jungle could be seen as one of the last pre-internet genres and this allowed it to develop organically, clandestinely, unpolluted and undiluted by the mainstream music industry. By the time the major labels really cottoned on in 95/96, the scene had enjoyed several subgenres and a dramatic tempo increase. There are certain tunes made in those years that are still unmatched, technically and in vibe. Great music is still being made today that ticks all the boxes but we feel many of the producers from those years should be honoured in some way for their amazing contributions, not just to our little scene but to music as a whole.
Can you name your top 3 sets of all time, and finish it off with a dream B2B?
We’ve been trying to answer this one for years it’s impossible to agree on just 3 sets, even individually. We came into the scene at a time when there was already such a rich catalogue available. As a collective of 6 artists, we’ve each had our own unique journey and introduction to this music. Like many others, we have spent countless hours debating these questions and that is the beautiful thing about this music, no two people will agree. There is simply just too much to choose from.
Looking forward to April 21st, how does it feel to be teaming up with Genesis to put on such a strong lineup across two rooms?
When we got the invite, we jumped at the chance. We’ve known the Genesis guys long before we were promoting events, so it’s really exciting that we now have the opportunity to join forces. We’re really looking forward to bringing both styles together at such an ideal venue and seeing how the joint venture pans out.
What can we expect from the BC room on April 21st?
We’re a varied bunch and between us we cover most of the spectrum. You can expect a mixture of classics, hidden gems and our take on what is… Beautifully Crafted Jungle!Shout outs to Double 0 & Mantra & all Rupture crew, Stretch, Threshold, Louise Plus One & Hughesee and all Distant Planet crew, Equinox, Tim Reaper, Handsome Jak, Kid Lib, Arnie and all the Jungletrain massive
To round things off, can you give us your top 5 jungle / drum and bass tracks of all time with some words behind why they make the list?
Atlas – Drifting Through The Galaxy
This tune has everything for me. Clean and crunchy breaks, big booming bass and top of the list, hands in the air atmospherics. It sits in the mix perfectly with almost any tune you blend it with and it’s guaranteed to get a top reaction from the crowd, no matter what style heads might prefer. It really is one of those tunes that I could use in a mix every single time and I would never get bored of it. But what else would you expect from the man behind countless tunes as either Decoder or Orca? Mr Beale, I salute you!
Source Direct – The Crane
This one could possibly be the all time favourite track for myself.As soon as you hear the earie sound coming in from the intro you know what is about to go down (MAYHEM) A bit of a stinger to mix but sometimes just putting the plate on and letting the tune tell its own story which for me is like a katana showdown! The combination of the amen break and bass is just a killer combo… It’s deadly and will always be ready to draw.
Sun Electric – Eya (Future Forces Hardware Remix).
At a time when technology was rapidly advancing and artists were experimenting with a harder, more fearsome sound, pioneers of the day DBridge & Maldini crafted a fine example of what was to come. An uncompromising sonic sculpture combining faultless breaks and solid bass. For me, this really is one of those tunes that never fails to destroy the dance and will never leave the bag.
Rogue Unit – Dance Of The Sarooes
A 1994 classic from one of the undisputed dons of jungle composition, Steve Gurley. So evocative,the intro feels like we’re huddled in an ancient desert, while an elder spins visions of mystical wisdom, fire traced in the air. Gurley’s sublime breakbeat stories carry us to one of the most blissful and soulful breakdowns in drum & bass history.