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Month: October 2021

AG Presents: Drum and Bass – Knoxz

AG Presents: Drum and Bass – Knoxz

By Drew Zwilling

Hailing from Florida, Patrick Felony created the KNOXZ alias around five years ago. In these five years, it’s evident that KNOXZ has made his mark on the DnB scene, and paved his own path setting him apart from other artists. As an MC and lyricist, KNOXZ versatility shines through his craft. Between his tracks charting on Beatport’s Top 100 and releasing with renowned labels like Renegade Hardware, Human Imprint, and Abducted, making KNOXZ a beloved name within the DnB community.

KNOXZ describes the deeper purpose of the American Grime (AG) presents: DnB podcast series is to serve as a platform for DnB newcomers and veterans alike.

“I suppose it was the year-long supply of tacos I was promised,” KNOXZ says jokingly. “Being long-time friends with Calvin and Serg and already releasing some grime tunes and bars for their AG label, I couldn’t have been more thrilled at showcasing my roots and passion for drum and bass.”

KNOXZ hopes the impact of this series will expose listeners to sounds they may not have heard before. He describes the deeper purpose of this AG podcast is to serve as a platform for DnB newcomers and veterans alike to appreciate this timeless genre.

In 2008, KNOXZ released his first DnB track. Now, he’s a veteran of the sound, with more than a decade of experience touring across the U.S., U.K., and Puerto Rico. KNOXZ holds DnB in high regard and strives to support his music community at-large.

“After appealing to the deeper side of 140 bpm, I immediately grasped onto grime,” says KNOXZ, a seasoned MC for DnB shows. “I resonated with the grime sound and knew I had to get involved. It didn’t take long for Jumanji, Serg, myself and a few others to begin bringing that sound to our local scenes.”

When it comes to the history and importance of DnB, KNOXZ brings it down to one concept: innovation. DnB’s signature dark basslines, reese synths, and unique drum loops & patterns all trace back to the genre’s inception in the early 90s U.K. scene.

“So hard to sum up, but simply put, innovation. DnB has a way of adapting to almost any sound but still making itself unique, different, and quite technical. It has a soul but can also be ‘too future’,” says KNOXZ. “It can evoke feelings that may be too complex for some, or a masterpiece to others.”

KNOXZ credits a variety of artists and genres that influence his art the most. The likes of legends like Teebee, Gydra, Teddy Killers, Audio, Gridlok, Jade, Optiv, Ink, Ed Rush, and Optical all reflect his niche interests in the world of DnB.

“I’m most drawn to dark, techy, and neuro subgenres,” says KNOXZ. “Old Virus, Renegade Hardware, Eatbrain, and Cause 4 Concern all invoke some of my favorite styles in DnB.”

KNOXZ’s guest-mix marks the third episode in AG’s ongoing DnB series. When crafting this thirty-minute gem, he filtered his approach through the genre of grime. KNOXZ hopes that adding hints of grime will help the mix appeal to a wider audience.

“I tried to incorporate more interesting basslines with longer note progressions, and added some tunes with lyrical content. I even dropped a few halftime bits to bring back some similarity,” explains KNOXZ. “I figured it couldn’t hurt when representing myself to also include some original productions as well.”

DnB fans and AG listeners will get an intimate look into KNOXZ’s favorite memories associated with his DnB journey.

“Throwing the first Winter Music Conference event with Tristan, Jonathan (aka Spor) and Chris Renegade back in 2006 was a wild time. We had a jacuzzi in the VIP area, and Gigantor of Evol Intent threw a chair in the hot tub,” recalls KNOXZ. “It was lots of rockstar vibes back then, and who can blame us? It was the golden era of DnB, a genre that creates many good memories, including family and friendships along the way.”

Through this week’s AG mix, KNOXZ takes fans on a journey through dark and technical basslines. This DnB veteran’s artistic influences permeate through his track selections. The blending and weaving of sounds pulled from other genres gives life to the mix, highlighting the riveting styles of drum and bass. KNOXZ seamlessly executes this blend of sounds, delivering a refreshing DnB experience.

Stay tuned for the fourth guest-mix in American Grime’s podcast scheduled for release Friday, November 5 feat. Lee Griffin.

Each Friday, be sure to travel on over to the Background Noise newsroom for coverage, commentary and more. Throughout this six-week journey, our editorial team will cover each episode, uncovering the complex history and endearing optimism of DnB right along with you.

AG Presents: Drum and Bass – Alphaxero

AG Presents: Drum and Bass – Alphaxero

American Grime Passes The Mic to Dedicated DnB Producer AlphaXero in Latest Podcast Episode

By Jimmy O’Hara

Next time you’re at a camping music festival, remember that Drum N Bass (DnB) has some roots in modern outdoor-event culture. In the late ‘80s and early ‘90s U.K. electronic scene, music campouts gained popularity, creating spaces for artists and listeners alike to engage in more radical forms of stylistic experimentation and self-expression. Such spaces partially gave rise to DnB’s parental lineage: breakbeat hardcore, darkcore, and hardcore jungle. However, by early 1992, producers were transitioning from syncopated beats and heavier sampling to tracks infused with reggae-like basslines and breakbeat sounds.

The takeaway: beyond the human talents behind electronic music, physical spaces — and especially the outdoors — largely shape the ever-changing nature of music we know and love. DnB is one such genre. Between the recognizable elements of jungle from which it arose and its speedy creative turnover that spans 30+ years, DnB offers a turbulent world of extroverted magic that is highly worth your time and exploration.

“The sounds of DnB are changing every moment, so it’s important that we keep an open mind when listening,” says James Dean aka AlphaXero, this week’s featured guest on American Grime (AG) presents: DnB. “DnB has been my love since I first heard it, and that love has never changed. This genre is always so upfront and novel, yet somehow never strays from its roots.”

Having produced and mixed DnB for more than a decade, AlphaXero is no stranger to the genre’s most common elements — sampling, synthesization, rhythmic composition, sub-bass musical patterns, atmospheric padding, vocal instrumentation, and tempos clocking in around 160-180bpm. AlphaXero assembles his influences from noteworthy legends within DnB circles.

“I’ve always been drawn to Andy C’s classic blends and switches,” says AlphaXero, based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. “I also love DJ Marky, given his amazing track selection and skill sets.”

Starring in week two of the AG presents: DnB podcast series, AlphaXero hopes for listeners to appreciate the multifaceted nature of DnB. He’s leveraging his carefully curated mix to highlight the sheer variety of subgenres and sound designs that have long distinguished the DnB space.

“I’ve always been close to the AG crew, so for them to invite me to assemble a mix for their series was a pleasure. When crafting this guest-mix, I wanted to showcase all the different sounds I love most in the DnB realm,” says AlphaXero. “I structured the mix to start off very light, and the intensity builds throughout.”

Like so many sound lovers around the world, AlphaXero holds DnB close to his heart. He reflects on personal experiences with DnB that have expanded his sense of community and left him with memories to last a lifetime. And in line with the musical power of outdoor spaces, AlphaXero’s most cherished DnB moment is connected to a unique location in our physical world.

“My favorite memory with DnB would probably be when I saw SHY FX in Croatia at a 2,000-year-old Roman coliseum,” reflects AlphaXero. “I was surrounded by beautiful, like-minded souls.”


Stay tuned for the third guest-mix in American Grime’s podcast scheduled for release Friday, October 29 feat. Knoxz.

Each Friday, be sure to travel on over to the Background Noise newsroom for coverage, commentary and more. Throughout this six-week journey, our editorial team will cover each episode, uncovering the complex history and endearing optimism of DnB right along with you.

AG Presents: Drum and Bass – Machete

AG Presents: Drum and Bass – Machete

American Grime Launches New Series Dedicated to Drum N Bass, Features Three-Decade Veteran DJ Machete in First Installment

By Jimmy O’Hara

It’s a chilly spring night in London, 1992. You and your posse briskly walk to the weekly breakbeat hardcore event, stirring with anticipation for the function’s inevitable fusion of genres. Your regional music community is three years deep into a creative period of cross-pollination nested within the United Kingdom’s (U.K.) hardcore scene. Throughout the night, you shake your tail-feather to a family of increasingly familiar sounds that have gradually gained a distinct presence in DJ setlists: dark sampling progressions rooted in dancehall and reggae; layered drum lines repurposed from classic loops; funk breakbeats paired with basslines reflective of dub and hip-hop.

You’re experiencing in real-time the emergence of a fast-paced, rapid-fire, percussive, rhythmic identity of electronic music that will embed itself in the souls of sound-lovers for decades to come: Drum n Bass.
An internationally-acclaimed, career-long champion of Drum and Bass (DnB), Rob Machete aka DJ Machete is an educator, producer, event organizer and label founder widely celebrated since 1991 for revolutionizing the west coast’s dance music culture. Hailing from Los Angeles (L.A.), he’s harbored an intuitive knack for high-energy sounds since his early childhood. 

“I was a hip-hop -loving skater while growing up, and most of the groups I enjoyed held their DJs in high regard, such as Low Profile (DJ Aladdin) and Gangstarr (DJ Premier),” says Machete. “So when I first discovered jungle music through L.A. rave DJs playing hardcore breakbeat-techno… it was the hip-hop samples, scratching, and reggae/dub -influenced tracks that truly caught my ear.”

Machete cites much of his musical inspiration originates with the works of DnB legends like L.A.’s R.A.W and DJ Hype, as well as Andy C, Shy FX, and Craze.

“When it came to DnB, all these artists really rocked my world,” recalls Machete, also a fan of rock, funk, and jazz.

According to DJ Machete’s brand website, the L.A. electronic scene was newly formed when he began absorbing ideas from the U.K. breakbeat-techno rising out of London and Bristol between 1989-1993. This experimental era in the hardcore breakbeat world was largely shaped by producers like Raw, Curious, and Oscar da Grouch. Such icons paved the way for Machete’s pivotal, innovative maturation of the west coast’s flavor of DnB into the beloved beast it is today.

“I’ve always felt connected to the artists who produce, play, and/or promote DnB. There’s this overwhelming energy when a DJ drops a fresh new track that hits properly on the right soundsystem,” says Machete. “It’s that feeling I’m always striving for in the DnB space, a phenomenon I feel is unmatched by any other family of music.”

It’s no wonder why American Grime (AG) is featuring Machete in the first episode of their third podcast series — AG Presents: Drum n Bass. Machete has actively disc-jockeyed since the breakbeat-techno days of 1991, has organized the ongoing & world-renowned weekly RESPECT event for 22 years, has hosted a weekly radio show and live-stream series for more than 12 years, and has led his own talent agency for the past decade, just to name a few of countless milestones marked on his DnB curriculum vitae.
“I celebrate DnB every day of my life and I’m thankful to do all of this for a living,” says Machete. “I am a DnB lifer, ride or die.”

Beyond the scope of his multi-generational contributions to the electronic space, Machete makes clear that as with most popular music, DnB ultimately began within Black communities. Black artists pioneered a vast array of genres from disco and house to dubstep and garage — and DnB is no exception.

“I want fans of electronic music to understand that DnB is derived from Black musicians and sound designers. This fact must always be recognized and never be forgotten,” says Machete. “The soul of DnB comes from Black artists and culture.”

Machete hopes for his guest-mix — and AG’s new podcast series — to instill a sense of intentional curiosity in listeners who may be new to the intricate and diverse world of DnB. He also hopes it will resonate with long-time veterans of the DnB realm.

“I’m all about exposing DnB to the masses,” explains Machete, “… especially those who may not have heard it before, or who just want to experience the music properly from producers who have pushed the genre for most of their lives.”

The half-hour, upbeat, rhythmic journey is crafted to bring a variety of DnB musicians into the fold. Machete’s memorable mix features a range of L.A. talent, from well-known regional producers to up-and-coming local artists. The DnB star also showcases his renewed dedication to DJing in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, having levelled-up his mixing, scratching, and beat-juggling abilities to new heights. 

“This guest-mix features my favorite songs from summer 2021,” says Machete. “I included many vocal-based tracks with lots of energy; the mix is for AG, after all.”

Machete’s guest-mix is guaranteed to catapult listeners into an adventurous six-week series that celebrates the immeasurably important and markedly meaningful past, present and future of DnB. And Machete’s contagious enthusiasm ignites the collective fire that will light the way.

“I encourage all DnB enthusiasts to go out and support your local DnB artists and promoters, while practicing safety as the pandemic continues,” says Machete. “As often as you possibly can, take your friends to a DnB night. Make some beautiful memories of your own.”

Stay tuned for the second guest-mix in American Grime’s podcast scheduled for release Friday, October 22 feat. Alphaxero. 

Each Friday, be sure to travel back to the Background Noise newsroom for coverage, commentary and more. Throughout this six-week journey, our editorial team will cover each episode, uncovering the complex history and endearing optimism of DnB right along with you.

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