[Focus On] Dr. Coy
With the upcoming Raging Platypus release party in Papp, Bremen we thought that a “Focus On” article with the DJs who invited us to to celebrate the Raging Platypus No 3 with them would be appropriate. Today we feature a short discussion with Dr. Coy and later in the week we will have a small interview with the Sumo Acid Crew.
Platypus: Hello Dr. Coy, thank you for answering a few questions for us! First of all could you shortly introduce yourself for our new readers?
Dr. Coy: Hi – well you said “shortly”
Platypus: Ah ah, ok ! So how did you end up doing music? What brought you to the scene?
Dr. Coy: I grew up in a part of London in which the majority of the kids were second or third generation Jamaicans. This meant I was listening to hard Ragga such as early Buju Banton and Capleton from a very early age. This kind of naturally evolved into a heavy exposure to the emerging Jungle/Drum&Bass scene of the mid 90’s, which at that time was obviously very Ragga influenced. It was a big unbiased movement back then and something very special for everyone who was involved in it. In those days it was a pure U.K. thing and the only music since Punk that originated from the Queen’s Island. Because of this and unlike several other scenes at the time it wasn’t racist or elitist and due to the huge melting pot that is London it drew in people from all walks of life and cultures. That was very refreshing and apart from the terrifying beats and bass lines one of the main reasons I stuck with it for so long – it was just hugely diverse and a completely blanc musical canvas that could be painted on. Compared to Rock, for example, which had the same few chords and musical riffs regurgitated for decades just played by different faces this was something completely new. On top of that, a music that centred itself around breakbeats at 170 bpm – which at that point had only really been heard in freestyle jazz before – had this kind of f**k you attitude to it. Perfekt for a London teenager. In ’97 I got a job for one of the only two strictly D&B promotion companies, Main Source Promotions. It was still quite a small scene back then and it was my job to send all our promos to the top DJ’s, as well as to go out to the venues and see how the crowds reacted to our tunes. With that information we would then advise the producer as to which labels would be best suited for their release and how many copies they should press. I wasn’t paid in cash but in Vinyl and got to take rare unreleased gems home every week as well as getting to know a lot of influential people in the scene. Oh yeah, in those days it was all Vinyl obviously…the CDJ hadn’t been invented yet and mp3 was still a long way away from causing the commotion that it did. I suddenly had all these records at home and saved up my hard earned pounds to buy myself some Technics. That was the start of that really. Drum & Bass has always been very much about dubplate culture due to some of its roots obviously coming from the Jamaican Soundsystems and so because of my diverse and rare record collection at the time I got a few small gigs around London and played on a couple of Radio Stations such as www.pyroradio.com. Haha, this was all before I could even mix properly, and, like for most kids starting out ,there were some embarrassing moments. But still, I got through it and it soon built up until I ended up doing quite a few gigs all over Europe and as far off as Mexico (Tulum & Mexico City) and Australia. I then settled in Vienna and continued DJing there, playing for trife.life at the legendary Flex club and at all.souled.out. I also got into producing and making my own music at this point, bough myself a few synthesisers and other toys that make noise and scored a few releases, nothing big but I was on the way to finding my own sound and developing as an artist. This was all until around 2004, at which point I had some serious decisions to make. To stop going out ’till the early hours of the morning five times a week or to take my newly discovered love for Science more seriously. I opted for the later and took a very, very long break from music to complete my studies. Only in the last half year have I decided to really get back into it after getting a kick up the arse from my buddy Mystigrix [Editor note: Mystigrix is one of the member of the Sumo Acid Crew] here in Bremen 🙂
Playtpus: What defines you as an Drum & Bass DJ?
Dr Coy: There is the obvious art of story telling with music, which is in my opinion something all DJ’s should aim to do. No one wants to hear full on hard club bangers for 8 solid hours without a change of tone or melody – well at least I don’t. These stories can be told in a number of ways and I personally like to start slow and experimental, build it up, take it down and then finish with some classics. Like a sine wave if you like. Having said that, at the end of the day people want to have a dance when they go out and so I fell that I need to cater to that need primarily but if I can also introduce people to new pieces of music and hopefully cause an emotional response in doing so along the way then I’ve done my job properly. It really depends on where I play and for whom. Drum & Bass is an extremely diverse music with many many facets to it. Just like Dubstep isn’t only Skrillex neither is Drum & Bass only Pendulum and unfortunately for most people unfamiliar with the music this is all they know it to be. I kind of see it as my job to change that and I quite simply refuse to play the hard Neurofunk sound even if it is what most people expect when they see a Drum & Bass DJ on a flyer. Other DJ’s can cater to those needs but I want to play things that are pushing the boundaries and constantly evolving, which is what Drum & Bass has always been for me. Simply said “something different”. Presently, I listen to a lot of the Autonomic D&B sounds for exactly these reasons, even if its not necessarily what I produce or play out.
Platypus: What is the electronic scene here in Bremen like?
Dr coy: “Electronic” music in Bremen is surprisingly vibrant for such a small city. It is however, like most of Germany, completely Techno dominated and I’m not in much of a position to comment on that. Although, I do every now and then undertake Techno projects under the alias “The Equilibrist”. You should ask The Sumo Acid crew about the techno scene – they’re at the top of their game here in the Bremen :). Regarding Drum & Bass there are also a few things happening. These are however more into a Neurofunk direction than anything else. These parties have large turnouts of 2000+ people, so there is an audience for it here, but it’s quite simply not my sound so I don’t end up going out to those nights too often. Apart from that there is a Liquid Night in Lila Eule [Editor’s note: a Bremen club], which is definitely worth checking out. As far as my sound goes it isn’t really represented here in Bremen. Its simply too small. Drum & Bass is a niche music anyway and the stuff I’m into is a niche within a niche, so it only really works in big cities. For example, if you were to put on an Autonomic night in Bremen I would expect that only about 5 people would turn up solely because of the music (maybe I’m grossly mistaken – I hope I am). Do the same thing in Berlin or London and I’d expect 500 people to show up for the music, simply because of the larger population size. It’s easily comparable to Jazz in that respect. Go see a niche Jazz band at Smalls in New York and you’ll have one of the best nights of your life. Put that same band into a pub in let’s say Plymouth, U.K and it’s not quite gonna be the same experience – although I’m sure Plymouth is quite nice. 🙂 So, in short there are people doing their thing here and it’s all great, but you need to really look for it, which is more easily done in bigger cities – but that’s kind of obvious.
Thank you for your time Dr. Coy, and we are exited to hear your set on the 27th May in Papp, Bremen! You can find more about Dr. Coy on his soundclound account !