The undisputed home of drum and bass in Bristol, RUN is back with a special all day event with probably the biggest drum and bass day lineup we’ve ever seen. The occasion has even called for Bristol-bred producer Hugh Pescod aka Redlight to dust off his retired Clipz moniker for a very rare outing.
Joining him are some scene veterans including Hype, Congo Natty and Dillinja, as well as some breakthrough talents like Mollie Collins, plus one of the biggest drum and bass acts of the moment, six-strong supergroup SASASAS.
A drum and bass dream team made up of some of the biggest names in the scene, SASASAS are DJ Phantasy, Macky Gee, Stormin MC, Harry Shotta, Shabba D and MC Skibadee
A drum and bass dream team made up of some of the biggest names in the scene, SASASAS are DJ Phantasy, Macky Gee, Stormin MC, Harry Shotta, Shabba D and MC Skibadee.
The group got on stage together for the first time in 2014 as a one-off show with Skibadee for the closing night of Area nightclub in London. However, the enormous response they had to that show set the collaborative project well into motion.
Nitelife shared a few words with SASASAS’s DJ Phantasy, who recounts for us how it went down: ‘The anticipation for that set was mad. Harry Shotta had two other shows that night, so couldn’t get there until 5.30 in the morning. Obviously we wanted to play 1-2am, but we played at 5.30am and I just remember the venue being absolutely rammed solid with everyone waiting for this set.
The beauty of it is that you’ve got six friends on stage together, we party together, we have a laugh together – you can see it when we’re on stage
‘Afterwards, our social media went so mental that One Nation contacted us and asked if we would be interesting in doing it for West Fest, and basically that changed everything.
‘The beauty of it is that you’ve got six friends on stage together, we party together, we have a laugh together – you can see it when we’re on stage. We’re all smiling and dancing about and enjoying it. People have gravitated towards that because we’re having a party on stage and they’re having a party on the dancefloor – we’re working together as one.’
the combined force of SASASAS has sparked what could be seen as a movement within drum and bass – turning the previously shunned jump up into a legitimate music of choice
Gravitate towards it might be an understatement. In just a few years, the combined force of SASASAS has sparked a movement within drum and bass – turning the previously shunned jump up into a legitimate music of choice.
I’m not sure when jump up became a dirty word, but the powerful sixsome capture its essence perfectly. Fun, bouncy basslines, with no one taking themselves too seriously whether they’re on the stage or the dancefloor.
SASASAS are selling out headline shows and packing out arenas at festivals, with a word-of-mouth reputation for an insane live show even preceding several industry awards, including best live act and best performance in the Drum and Bass Awards 2016.
SASASAS are selling out headline shows and packing out arenas at festivals, with a word-of-mouth reputation for an insane live show
There’s a real sense of fandom surrounding the group, where you’re as likely to see a SASASAS snapback or tracksuit on Instagram as you are at a show.
Whether it’s the combination of veteran and fresh talent or their united on-stage energy, they’re obviously doing something right. So we’re pleased to hear that despite independently being six prolific touring and recording artists, SASASAS is the group’s focus going forward.
‘The SASASAS shows get priority and we fit other shows in around it. The plans for next year are already in place. It’s really exciting. We were sitting in a meeting today, and everyone’s having a laugh, having a joke – there are no egos.
A lot of people have found their way to drum and bass through SASASAS
‘A lot of people have found their way to drum and bass through SASASAS. I don’t want to sound big headed here, but I’ve got screenshots of people telling us they don’t like drum and bass, but have basically come to like it, and the jump up sound, by being introduced to it through us.
‘We want to break down the boundaries people have about MC culture and about jump up. People have always looked down on it and frowned on it, but the bottom line is: music is music.
We want to break down the boundaries people have about MC culture and about jump up
‘Andy C has said to me, “What you guys are doing is so good for the scene. People are experiencing drum and bass for the first time listening to you, and you’re bringing them back into the scene and making them fans of the music – which is good for everyone.”
A quick look back at when we took over Motion Bristol alongside our family at The Blast We are back there for the RUN Summer BBQ in September. Don't miss out, its gonna be vibesssss
Posted by SaSaSaS on Thursday, 27 April 2017
‘Andy has been doing that for the last 20 years, so to hear that from him is amazing. To see this icon of drum and bass look at what we’re doing and make a comment like that. He’s my friend as well, so we’ll talk on a level, and it’s really nice to hear that professional opinion from someone I’ve respected for so long.
‘Macky Gee has got a unique sound and it’s quite mad how his music is influencing other producers at the moment so massively. You’ve got those tunes that everyone sings back, the two most obvious ones are DJ Hazard’s Bricks Don’t Roll and Mr Happy, but the next tune is Macky Gee’s Pissed Off. That track was the first track of the new era that the ravers were all singing back.
people that go out partying on the weekend, they don’t give a shit about how good the snare sounds, they want to be involved in what’s going on on the stage and be part of it
‘Macky has been a massive influence in melodies coming back into drum and bass. The music lost a bit of melody for a while – it was all about: “I’m a producer, how amazing can I make this snare sound?” But people that go out partying on the weekend, they don’t give a shit about how good the snare sounds, they want to be involved in what’s going on on the stage and be part of it.
‘What gives us the most pleasure is seeing the people in front of us having a great time and giving them those memories to look back on. That’s more important to us than any award.’
What gives us the most pleasure is seeing the people in front of us having a great time and giving them those memories to look back on
While so far the focus has been their live shows, with only one official release, Phantasy informs us that some new music is on its way.
‘We’ve got an EP coming in October, it’s just down to Macky and I now to finish the music. We’ve got some other bits we’ll be doing towards the end of the year, which I can’t say too much about at the moment. Also, Macky and I are releasing an exclusive USB key, with tracks that we’ve been playing in our sets.’
Looking forward to their RUN show this month, Phantasy has a go at explaining what it is that makes their live show so special:
‘It’s the energy that we bring to the stage. If you look at the individual members – Stormin’ who is going through cancer treatment and he’s still able to get up on stage and bring all that energy, you’ve got the legendary MC Skibadee who’s been at the top for many years, Harry Shotta is a world record holder, Shabba who’s the hook master – he’s just got hooks for days and they’re all sing-alongs – and you’ve got Macky Gee, who I think is going to be one of the biggest things to come out of drum and bass in the future, I really believe that.
‘We’ve got some really great elements within the group and it’s such a great thing that we’re all there as friends to support each other. There are no egos, we’re just there to party with people and enjoy the experience.
Bristol, right now, is probably the capital for drum and bass
‘RUN and the team behind it, the way they capture the things that are popping at the moment and the way they package it up and present it is brilliant. Bristol, right now, is probably the capital for drum and bass. It has had peaks before, when Roni and all those boys were doing their thing many years ago.
‘I think Bristol has always been on that cutting edge of great music. If you look at all thing things Bristol has – RUN, West Fest up the road, Tokyo World and Love Saves the Day, that’s a real hub for some amazing things that are popping in dance music culture. Anyone that ignores that, they need to have another look and another little think about it.
‘The lineup they’ve managed for RUN: All Day – I don’t even know how they can afford to pay for it. It’s the most craziest lineup I’ve seen! I know it’s going to be an amazing show. I’m really, really looking forward to it.’