WEM mini-series | D.E.D talks then, now and prospective

D.E.D aka Darren Dedman caught the drum and bass fever back in 1997, wearing out his LTJ Bukem – Logical Progression tape or wholeheartedly playing his first drum and bass record – Omni Trio – Skeleton Keys [Moving Shadow] – for the first time.  He started playing around with Traktor, Virtual DJ and Technics, about 10 years ago. Following influential DJs and producers, such as Break, S.P.Y, Total Science, Zero T, SCAR, Silent Witness, Dom & Roland, Digital & Spirit, DLR, Command Strange, Satl, Spectrasoul, Bungle, Calibre or Blu Mar Ten, D.E.D laid the foundation of his own sound, deep liquid and dark rolling breaks.

In 2014, he created the Fat Badger Podcast, alongside PD and R1C0, a channel where they could play their music and as well host various guest drum and bass DJs. He joined the Warm Ears Music family a year ago, about the time he started hosting his own show on RudeFM.

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How did it all start?

Before the masses of raves nights available now, we used to go to a mixture of illegal free parties and outdoor raves in the South West, which as a late teenager was just wicked fun.  In the early 2000’s I would often go to clubs like the Opera House in Bournemouth, The Manor outside of Ringwood and a couple in Bristol; Trinity, Blue Mountain & Creation. Once I moved up to Cambridge I used to go to Warning for a while, and of course Fabric.

Around 3 years ago I returned from traveling and decided to create the Fat Badger Podcast with best mate R1C0. It was a lot of fun but really it was a formalised outlet for our need to mix. Once we got a following we started having guest DJs as well. The popularity of the podcast lead to me starting a monthly radio show on MREG web radio and later that year I met Gabriel at the London Sound Academy where he offered me to be a resident of the Warm Ears Music Label. The rest is history…

What do you usually start with when preparing for a set?

It depends if it’s a recorded or live set really. I spent a long time only doing recorded sets for the podcast without many live performances. I have a system I’m happy with but it doesn’t work for a set in front of an audience, not really.

For recorded sets I always try to think about the flow throughout the whole mix, as if it’s all one piece. I think about the mood at the beginning, middle and ending when putting my playlist together. Sasha was a big influence on me when I was younger and I remember how his sets made me feel and apply that when I can.

For live sets you can’t script it like that, you don’t know what the energy of crowd will be like. You could come off the back of a high energy set but have a deep & emotional beginning planned and kill the vibe. I tend to mix new tracks with old classics and lean on the experience I’ve gained from all the recorded sets to work out my flow on the fly.

I usually think about 2 tracks ahead of where I am and work out how I will get there. My goal when playing live is to create those moments you will remember. I spent a long time on the dancefloor before I started DJ’ing and I always try to remember those feelings when I’m putting either type of set together.

Many people might find it difficult to understand that a DJ does so much more than just hit the play button. What are your thoughts regarding the relationship between technology and DJing?

This is a pretty hot topic in the community and has been really since the invention of CDJ’s. There’s a lot to talk about here (and I want to stay clear of the tired vinyl vs digital debate) so to answer the question specifically, I’ll just say that the hardest part of DJ’ing is done at home, out of sight from the audience. Discovering tracks, organising your library and practising techniques takes hours upon hours of time.

Technology like Rekordbox, CDJ’s and controllers enable you to organise and prepare yourself in ways that weren’t available to DJs years ago, making it easier to find the right track for the right moment, in a few seconds. It’s not a golden ticket though, it still requires a lot of work. I’m borderline addicted to organising my library! Basically if you see a DJ effortlessly rinsing out a technically amazing set that’s just right for the crowd, then it’s not the technology doing it for them – they are skilled and very well prepared.

What would you like to see more of and less of in the dnb scene?

I’d like to see more people supporting each other’s mixes and tracks on social media & streaming services, whether it be likes, reposts or comments instead of just cat videos haha (I do love a cat video though).

I’d like to see less £5 makeshift Facebook live videos from people with £5000 DJ setups.

 

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