Doc Scott “The End of The Beginning”
The original “King of the Rollers”, it can be argued that Doc Scott is one of the true legends of jungle drum and bass music. From Reinforced to Metalheadz and finally his own label 31 Records.
22 Jun 2007
Doc Scott has always been a drum and bass pioneer whether behind the turntables or at the controls in the studio. Responsible for genre defining cuts such as 'Here come the drumz' and 'Shadowboxing', Doc Scott is also the man who introduced artists such as Marcus Intalex and Pendulum to the wider drum and bass community and market via his own imprint 31 Records.
Doc Scott is touching down in New Zealand between the 25th and 28th of July with Marcus Intalex in tow, it will be Doc Scott's first visit to New Zealand in about three years and the ten year anniversary of his debut performances on our shores in 1997.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Doc Scott about his views on the current state of drum and bass music and the wider world in general. As always it was a late night call and took multiple attempts to get through. As he proudly informed me upon connection, Doc Scott talks a lot, and when he's talking about something he is really passionate about, bwoy..Doc Scott really talks a lot!
It's been about three years since I lasted touch down in New Zealand, which is the biggest amount of time I've taken out from visiting your end of the globe since I first visited in 97. Trust, the gap hasn't been intentional, but I had things I had to take care of back home.
I'm very excited about this tour, New Zealand has always been one of my favorite places to play, so to be able to come out again with Marcus Intalex, who is a man I respect as a dj, and artist and most importantly as a friend, and a really good friend at that is a privilege. Beyond those facts New Zealand is a country I instantly fell in love with and I have some great friends out there, not just industry connections, good solid friends who I always stay in contact with.
To be able to come out there again, play where I'm going to play, catch up with who I'm going to catch up with and travel with who I'm going to travel with, well, it couldn't be any more perfect in my eyes.
What else is new with Doc Scott? I have a 4 track EP coming out called “The End of The Beginning” which is going to be my first solo release in five or six years. The songs are Tokyo Dusk (a remake of Tokyo Dawn), Jungle Jungle, Zulu Dawn and 9507. The release signifies the beginning of a series of fresh releases on 31 records from new artists who are exciting me with their musical originality.
I went through a really rough period with drum and bass music between 2004 and 2005 where I wasn't enjoying the music for personal and professional reasons. I have been a working dj for 16 so years and this was the first time something like this had ever happened to me. I took it pretty hard and it seriously affected me on a personal level.
You have to understand I get sent around 100 new songs a week by various producers from all over the globe and a tiny percentage of that was actually making it into my record bag/cd wallet.
Drum and Bass is a generational thing, music is a generational thing, in fact life is a generational thing if you really want to expand on that concept. So much of what I received was music that sounded like it was made for kids by kids. I'm not knocking the new sounds, the new directions, if that's what you do, what you genuinely love, then go for it. For me it's different, I'm 36 years old and I need maturity and depth in the music I play.
We came up in a period where we listened to other styles and applied them to this fresh model that was jungle drum and bass. There were no rules about what a song should sound like, or how it should be structured, the beauty was it didn't have to follow a set format, you were free to take risks and experiment.
As you can imagine I began to really question what I was doing staying in this game, was I too old, had I become irrelevant? Had the music changed, or was it me who had changed?
Im lucky though, I have good people around me like Goldie, D-Bridge, Marcus Intalex, LTJ Bukem and Klute. Over the course of a lot of long late night chats I realized I wasn't alone and I wasn't crazy.
This was the catalyst for getting back in the studio, which wasn't that easy. I had to listen to my old records and re-discover what makes me Doc Scott as a producer. I found my musical voice again and am back in a position where I feel happy about the music and even happier that I can contribute some material to it that I think will have a positive effect. I'm out here flying the flag for the mature sound.
Plenty of people push the rave influenced jump-up styles and if that is your angle, one love, do your thing. Me personally I'm not going to go that route. Bukem always had a great quote about this, he even used to put it in his album booklets “It's all just a matter of opinion”.
I have always been a dj first and foremost, not everyone views me like this, it all depends on how you were introduced to Doc Scott and what I do. Certain songs of mine blew up and became classics. I can't control what people write about me, what people say about me. But as a dj whether you like what I do or not, whether you enjoy my selections or not, I can safely say I have never cleared a dance floor anywhere in the world. I get paid to fill dance floors, not empty them, and I do my job to the fullest extent of my ability and with the up most passion.
At the end of the day it's all dance music and I know my role. I played with Marcus at the RAM night recently, and they loved what we did there because it was something different. We travel a lot you know and I'm still going to new places. Recently I've visited Korea, China, Seoul. Everywhere I go I steer away from the commercial drum and bass sound and people really love what I bring to their ears, and exposing people to new special music and seeing how well they respond to it is one the things that brings me the most joy in this life.
So Doc Scott lost his passion for drum and bass and found it again, but who are these younger artists who have inspired him and re-ignited the fire?
A really important new artist in my eyes is Lynx, he has some tunes coming out on Soul:r (Marcus's label) and my label 31 records. The kid is so bright and innovative, he expresses such musical freedom in his forms and sound scape's and hasn't been scared into conforming to those cookie cutter tune templates that so many artists fall into in this day and age.
Another promising young one is Furney, an ex Good Looking artist who really delivers that heat.
Apart from that the people who really inspire me are the personalities and individuals. Goldie, Bukem, true visionaries who have flown the flag for fresh ideas, fresh arrangement and more then that have the balls to play it. Then you have my old school boys, DJ Vapour, Johnny L, Alex Perez, Marcus Intalex and the man Calibre, who in my opinion beyond just making some of the best drum and bass, makes some of the best music full stop.
I'm talking about artists who aren't concerned with whats current, whats cool, the true renegades and pioneers. I have a saying, 'There are a lot of disc jockeys and a few djs'. If you understand that statement then you know what I mean, and if not I have this to say to you. I'm not slagging off all the young kids working hard to get into the game. I'm not slagging off the producers making styles I'm not a fan of, or the people pushing those musics. I'm 36 now and I don't have time to focus on negativity anymore, it's far too draining. If you're doing your thing, and doing it from the heart I applaud that, but it doesn't mean I'm going to feel your music you shouldn't be offended if people don't love what you do, once again like Bukem says, it's all just a matter of personal opinion.
As per format with my recent drum and bass interviews I felt compelled to ask Doc Scott what his opinion was of Dubstep and Grime music.
Grime, I don't understand it. I have no need to listen to that music, I can hear kids talking in that manner all day every day on the streets, why would I want to listen to it in music. Dubstep on the other hand, I love what those guys are doing. It's fresh, original and stylistically correct. I met Mala from DMZ in Tokyo, we played a date together and it turns out he is an old jungle fan and used to come and check me playing every week at Blue Note. It was a real honor to know I influenced him, he is pure talent and straight from the heart in everything he does. Those guys have the same essence and energy as jungle had in the foundation days of the mid nineties and I wish them all the best of luck.
Then of course the final words and the twist to the story you have all been waiting to hear.
Back to New Zealand. I don't want this to sound contrived or trite, but I genuinely feel like I left a piece of myself there the first time I touched down and have continued to every time I visit. I have played some epic sets there, really connected with audiences, played well past my set times and experienced those magic moments dj's live for, those moments that are honestly better then sex, and I don't say that lightly or about any territory in the world. As you know going with Marcus and playing for the people I'm playing for is the icing on the cake. I will definitely be recording all the sets on this tour.
Oh yeah, the other thing I'm going to be doing is looking through a lot of property guides for houses to buy. That's right, I would love to maybe move to New Zealand in the next few years. I always told myself I had to get out of the UK by the time I was 40 and time is ticking. I've got a 4 year old son now, once again I don't want this to sound cliche, but fatherhood has really changed some things for me and reinforced other things for me. I love the UK, and I don't think drum and bass and by a larger stroke of the same brush rave music, could have happened anywhere else. But we live in crazy times and it really appeals to me the way your country is on the exact opposite side of the world from all the chaos.
The whole Middle East is in turmoil, who knows what this madman in the White House is going to do over the next 18 months, and you know that the UK is going to be second on the list for attacks if it really comes to it. So much about your country appeals to me man, I just cannot wait to get back out there.
Doc Scott touches down in New Zealand between the 25th and 29th of July performing in Auckland, Wellington, Dunedin, Christchurch with good friend and fellow musical visionary Marcus Intalex in tow.
Expect nothing less then that fresh, deep, mature and musical sound, rolled out in a manner that will keep the crowds going until dawn.
Interview by Martyn Pepperell