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Brian Belle-Fortune - All Crews

Mitte der 90er Jahre schrieb Brian Belle-Fortune das Buch "All Crew must big up" um etwas Licht in den sagenumwogenden "Jungle" zu bringen. Das Buch wurde fast schon zur Pflichtlektüre für jeden Drum'n'Bass Head. Seit kurzem ist sein Update "All Crews"erhältlich, das den Zeitraum Ende 90er bis 2004 abdeckt. Neben dem Schreiben war Brian auf vielfältigeste Weise als Aktivist in der Drum'n'Bass Szene unterwegs. Doch lest selbst ...

Who are you, where do you come from and how old are you?

Sol ich auf Deutsch oder auf Englisch reden? OK English.
I'm Brian Belle-Fortune or DJ Zy:on from Tottenham, London. My Parents came from Guyana in the West Indies. How old? I'm far older than I look - No older than that.

What are you doing in normal life? What's your job?

God - what's normal life? I write stuff on Drum & Bass, hospital things and work at them both. My day job - I work as an intensive care nurse caring for premature babies in cnetral London. It's all surreal at the moment.

You said you first listen to Drum'n'Bass in raves in 1994 with your girlfriend- what were you used to listen to in clubs or at home at this time? What is your musical background?

I have a bit of a long clubbing history. Basically I got into all things funky when I was a street skater in the early 80s. People were playing tunes in the park on a Sunday. The music came from pirate stations. First time I'd heard a range of quality music on one station. From there it was a short trip into clubbing - with skates. I started DJing myself when I was outside London training to be a nurse. The hospital would have parties but the music was awful - sorry Meatloaf. I got some cheap decks and started playing those Soul, Rare Groove and Disco sounds. New Romantics were around and Bowie had become danceier. I was playing those sounds as DJ B and continued with that into college in 1989. By then I was also playing Hip Hop and some House.

'94 I was back in London and the pirates were playing Jungle. You couldn't miss it. Me and my girlfriend Kate got straight on that went to all the classic raves, Jungle Fever, Thunder & Joy, World Dance, AWOL and listened to Kool FM all the time at home or on the road.

Do you remember what was your first experience with D&B? First tune, first party, ...

Coming back to London from college in Sussex Uni you couldn't help being immersed in the sound of Jungle. You'd hear it from people's cars, houses and pirate radio stations. I used to listen to Kool FM - the big one for Jungle. First party was in Camden town at a one off do called "The London Jungle Festival". Many, many, many others followed most memorably "Jungle Fever" at Bagleys near Kings Cross in London. First DJ - couldn't say as there were so many. But Brockie and DJ Ron would definitely featured.

One of the most important events was a documentary on independent TV station Channel 4 in Christmas 1994. It was called "All Junglists" and gave a wicked overview of the Jungle scene as it was at the time. It definitely helped me to begin understanding the scene and had me hooked. I watched it the other day and it has some classic footage.

"One in the Jungle": When did you create it and what was it?

"One in the Jungle" was Britain’s first national Jungle/Drum&Bass radio show on BBC Radio 1. The full story is in the book and Knowledge Magazine printed the article about "One in the Jungle" in their recent 10th Anniversary issue. Basically the BBCs youth station was struggling and very out of touch with the young. Controller or station head Matthew Bannister made moves to change the music format and bring in Dance music and DJ culture. I spent a lot of time listening to Kool FM. I sent a longish letter to Matthew with ideas about putting on a Jungle show. To cut a long story short they accepted the idea - especially the name "One in the Jungle" which was the title of my letter. I was in the right place at the right time. Does that mean that I was just a raver who sent the BBC an idea and ended up helping to put on the nation's first Jungle show - well yeah. And I couldn't believe it myself. The BBC was thinking about putting on a Jungle show but didn't know how they should do it. The blue print was the energy and soul of Kool FM.

The first series of "One in the Jungle" ran originally for only 6 weeks for just an hour per week. Some people lovingly called it "The Jungle Hour". A producer called Wilber Wilberforce arrived from Kiss 100FM to produce subsequence series before bringing in Fabio & Grooverider who are runnin things now.

You get involved in lots of stuff "around" D&B like the MTV program, your show on Rude FM or your job at London Some' Ting Records. Was it a hobby or did you ever dreamed of being a part of this buziness?

Drum&Bass became less of an interest and more of a bigger interest until taking over life completely. I didn't plan one step to the next step but I did take some of the opportunities as they came along.
Did I dream of becoming part of this? In one way yes. As a Londoner you grow up with pirate radio and clubs/music genres. I always wanted to be involved in some way. But I became involved because I loved the music. That was the most important thing. I never thought that one day I'd be playing on a pirate radio station, writing sleeve notes for Goldie's and Grooverider's albums, being involved in Drum&Bass at Radio One or writing a book - the book on Jungle/Drum&Bass. If you'd told me that in 1994 I would have said, "You’re having a laugh."

How came the idea writing "All Crew must big up" in the nineties?

I worked in the media for a while like at the BBC and MTV and they had they story of Jungle all wrong. I had had many experiences in Jungle Drum & Bass so I wanted to write the truth.

How came the good contact to all the players of the scence?

This may sound too simple but I started by calling them up from booking agents. They're real people not like plastic celebraties - but I did have the advanage of saying - "Ubringens ich bin bei der BBC mochtest du bei uns auf legen?" They were happy to call me back :-)

I'm asking, because you''re not a DJ or MC, or ...?!

Biiteschon!!! Short story - I've played Funky Soul, Disco and Rare Grooves as DJ B since the mid 80s (Points for trying to work out my age) and Jungle D&Bass as DJ Zy:on since 1998.

Ah, ok. How many copies have been sold of "All Crew must big up"?

Difficult to answer as although only 2,100 of the first and second versions were produced, I know that lots of copies were stolen from shops and by friends off their frriends.

Why did you write the update?

It had to be done. I kept on getting orders after the book had soled out - like from ravers and from sudents.

Do you also feature the international D&B scene in the book, or is it focused on the UK scene?

The first version of All Crews featured mostly the UK with bits on Germany, Canada and the US. The new version checks out from the Artic Circle to down in New Zeland near the Antartic circle - All Crews goes global.

One Chapter in "All Crews" is about Multiple Sclerosis (MS). You've been diagnosed with MS. You want to tell our readers something about it?

What can I say? One time in life you find out you're not indestructable. And in some way it makes you value every day of life... Have fun but try to look after yourselves.

On a picture we saw you wearing a Love Parade Shirt. You've ever been to the Love Parade? In Berlin?

Was soll das!?! Du frags mich wennn... Nay nur eine Witz.
It's al long story but I've spent quite a bit of time in Germany. Ich war mit Annegret mieine damals freudin fur funf Yahre in Musnter zussamen. I also studied at the FU in Berlin for a year in 92 - 93.
It's funny but with the Love Parade I first went in Summer '93. I only wanted to go for an hour or so. Then stayed for ... 2 days... and came back a few years after. But the whole parade thing has been rinsed. Never been the same since it left Ku Damm.

What influences have the big D&B websites and forums like D&B Arena and DOA in your opinion on the scene?

They've grown and become part of the scene in their own way. In a world where we love the music very loud, on line we can actually hear what each other are saying. It's also opened up the comunication net to world wide Junglists.

If you look over the last 10 years of Drum'n'Bass. What have been the most important changes?

The most important change is that there are always changes - so expect the unexpected changes!

And how do you think, will Drum'n'Bass develope in the next 3 years? Is it actually possible to make a prognosis?

I don't know what to expect of the changes in the next few years. How deep is your global microscope? Prognosis - A good out come or a bad one? I don't know. We're just growing into our early teenage years

Do you know anything about the german Drum'n'Bass scene? Any labels, artists?

I wish I knew more. I've played in Frankfurt and Berlin but wish I knew more about what's happening D&B wise in Deutschland.

Have a look at future-music.net and our Future Forum! :)
"All Crew must big up" in the mid nineties, "All Crews" in 2004 - can we expect another update in a few years?

I wish I knew - but maybe not. I didn't know there was going to be an "All Crews" version I let alone version II then (madness) Version III.

Ok, Brian, anything else you want to say to our readers?

OK readers - You see Brian Belle-Fortune 'writer'. Don't be put off my the barriers in mind that these words create. Be positive, have self belief and go forwards. Peace B!

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07.03.2021, 03:56 h | 3 Junglists online