The Lowdown on Deep In The Jungle Records with DJ Hybrid
Written by Becca Inglis
We sit down with DJ Hybrid to chat about his record label Deep in the Jungle ahead of its first ever trip to Glasgow.
“Right now Hybrid's probably the best producer in the jungle scene,” says Frogbeats promoter Jamie (J.M.D). “He’s just won an award at the We Love Jungle Awards as Best Jungle Producer, and the Deep in the Jungle record label won Best Jungle Label. It’s the cream of the crop, so who better to bring to Glasgow?”
It’s the second year in a row that Deep in the Jungle has been named Best Jungle Label, which we’d call a massive win for a relatively young label. They already had a couple of years’ worth of nominations under their belt after launching six years ago, and they’ve since spent their time fostering a strong contribution to the jungle scene. For Hybrid, this year’s win is testament to their committed fanbase bigging up the project. “It's a really good feeling,” he says. “The support we’ve had, it's been great. A lot of people always say to me that Deep in the Jungle is their go to label for jungle releases at the moment”.
With good reason. When he first started out Hybrid didn’t have a bank of big names that he could call on to feature on his label - instead he did a sweep of Soundcloud and recruited a team of obscure but high quality producers that he found there. Now Deep in the Jungle has a reputation for unearthing up and coming jungle DJs and giving them the platform they need to rise inside the scene - not least DJ Epicentre, who this year was nominated for Best Breakthrough Jungle DJ.
Rewind to 2013, and Hybrid had noticed a real dearth of modern jungle labels releasing new music - there were the older, established drum and bass labels releasing jungle tunes, or the smaller jungle labels who lacked the resources to push releases out on a big scale, but not a lot in between. Hybrid was already managing his own drum and bass label, Audio Addict Records, and decided it was time to start something more overtly tied to the junglist sound. “My favourite labels have always been the old classics like V Records and Philly Blunt and Chronic - Bryan Gee’s labels,” he says. “And I always liked the diversity that he’d have. You'd have your drum and bass rollers on V Records, then you’d have the more jungly rare groove kind of stuff on Philly Blunt. That's kind of what I've ended up doing with my own labels”.
He’s been riding the wave of jungle’s resurgence ever since. Junglism has enjoyed a strong comeback in recent years, bringing with it a renewed appreciation for the scene’s roots but also a fresh nu-school sound that Deep in the Jungle has helped promote. “It’s the original vibe of jungle, the original essence of the music, but with more updated modern production techniques,” says Hybrid. “We make it sound as loud and big as modern drum and bass tunes. It's like jungle for the modern scene, you know”.
So why is jungle making this massive comeback? Our Jamie thinks it’s all to do with the junglist attitude. “It’s underground, it’s arty. I think because jungle was this raw original thing, people really took to it,” he says. “All the younger folk have never really heard that before so now DJs and producers are making that older sounding jungle, people are getting back into it. They’re actually going back in history and finding the best of jungle and drum and bass from the very start”.
And the scene is looking good in Glasgow. After lying a little quiet for a while, there are now three or four crews - including ourselves - amplifying the city’s jungle sound. Jamie gives special props to Bass Injection, who started throwing parties last year in Broadcast. “There’s definitely more people attending the events that go on in Glasgow now,” he says. “Some of the other promoters have been saying they want to start to bring bigger DJs to the city as well, so there are people in the scene who want to push it forward”.
What can we expect from Deep in the Jungle’s first ever trip to Glasgow? According to Hybrid, he and his resident DJs are pulling out bassy goodness from across the junglist spectrum. “Kumarachi, he plays a lot of deeper techie rolling tunes. And then DJ Cautious, he has a bit more of a reggae soundclash background, so he’ll probably bring in more old school sounding ragga jungle,” he says. “I always consider myself a DJ first, before being a producer, so I'll play a lot of like nu-school and old school stuff, but then I also like to throw in a lot of heavier tunes and mix it up a bit”. All backed up by High Society Soundsystem, things are going to get loud.