Junglist Network Meets.... DJ Hybrid
Junglist Network talks to DJ Hybrid about what he’s been up to, his inspirations and meeting Baby D...
Hybrid - defined as a person whose background is a blend of two diverse cultures or traditions. DJ Hybrid's name certainly matches his style. The artist and Jungle Drum & Bass Record Label owner takes time out of his busy schedule to chat to us.
JN: Hi, thanks for taking to us, what have you been up to?
Hybrid: No problem, so far this year we’ve just done another release of Deep in the Jungle Anthems 8 LP compilation. This is the 8th year in a row we’ve released this jungle album where we get a group of artists together just trying to recreate how the old jungle albums used to come out on a CD but for the modern generation.
My solo projects, I have just released my Regenerate EP, it’s a mix of jungle and more drum and bassy stuff on there, it’s a little side project on my label Boom 93.
With my other labels like Audio Addict, they are more for developing artists and bringing new artists through on those labels but with Boom 93 I’m going to be using that to put out my own stuff.
I’ve just finished working on an EP for a new up and coming label Onyx recordings who won best breakthrough label at the Drum & Bass Arena awards in December. Its called Offline EP. That’s the main thing I’ve been working on. It should be coming out in the next month or so.
JN: The Deep in the Jungle Anthems did really well and topped the DnB charts last time I looked.
Yes, that's one of the reasons why we’ve just put out another one, when I started it, I didn’t intend on doing eight of them but every year people seem to love them so much and with the digital market, it’s a good deal as we put about 36 tunes on there and people really enjoy it as a whole package whereas other releases, people tend to pick and choose 1 or 2 tunes they want. With the Deep in the Jungle albums, the majority of our sales are for the whole album rather than individual tracks.
JN: and you worked with Mrs Magoo on one of them, how did you two meet?
I think we met properly when we were both playing in Bristol and staying at the same hotel and bumped into each other. We were also both playing at the Jungle Awards that was held in Bristol a few years ago. We both became good friends seeing each other at gigs a lot and over the last couple of years she’s come down to my studio for a few days and we’ve worked on tracks together. Last year we worked on a couple of tunes together, then we went to Bristol and did a back to back set.
Over the last few years we just become friends and I’ve gone out of my way to help her with her production side of things and she has developed really well.
JN: Have you found that you do a lot more collabs with other artists recently?
I don’t think I do as many collabs than other artists, I’m quite used to working by myself but the last year and this year I’m going out of my way to do more collabs. Especially last year with my album, I wanted to do more work with others so it wasn’t just an album of my own tunes.
JN: Is there anyone you’d like to work with that you haven’t worked with yet?
Hybrid: Yes. I have worked with him before but Bladerunner has always been one of my main influences and he did come down to my studio a few years ago and we worked on something but never finished it. I’d like to work with him again though.
For the newer guys, me and Grey have been working on a collab but it’s been more sending stems rather than sitting in the studio together and making something.
I’d like to collab with Deekline, Benny Page and Ed Solo and those guys as I’m getting more involved with Jungle Cakes and there’s such a wealth of knowledge they have got, I could definitely learn a lot from them.
JN: We do love their stuff at Junglist Network. You produce and DJ, do you prefer one over the other?
Hybrid: When I started out, it was definitely all about DJing, I didn’t produce for quite a few years, I think it was 3 or 4 years after djing that I started producing and it took me a long while but now days I think I probably prefer producing as I like how rewarding producing and releasing a track is but saying that I do still love playing to a crowd. I wouldn’t want to be too busy with djing as if I get too busy with dj bookings it means I don’t have as much time in the studio and for me it’s important to have some me time and be in the studio and be a recluse you know?
JN: and when you are DJing do you prefer the big or the small venues?
Hybrid: It’s a mix, I do like the small venues as you can get a really good vibe, especially when they are crowded and sweaty, sometimes a packed out small venue can have a unique vibe about it but my only one qualm about small venues is that the sound isn’t always so good, with the big venues the sound is so much better and I feel I can get into it more if I can hear the music well.
JN: Talking of big venues, you played at Glastonbury didn’t you?
Hybrid: Yeah, I played at Glastonbury festival in 2019, as far as festivals go, it was probably the biggest booking I’d had.
JN: Had you been there before?
I went as a punter in 2010, I went one when I was a bit younger and 9 years later, I was there playing on one of the new stages, behind the decks there was a giant waterfall!
JN: Was there a key turning point or moment in your career where you thought ‘I’ve made it?’
I think for me it’s always been a more gradual thing, it wasn’t like an overnight success story, just gradual over many years. I’ve never got to the point where I think “oh, I’ve made it” because I’m always looking at the next thing and how to do better. I’m just trying to better myself really. Trying to look for ways I can progress.
JN: We heard that you’d met Baby D. Is that right, we're jealous if that’s the case!
HaHa, yes it was a funny one really. When we released the Baby D remix, it was in the middle of the pandemic and we were going to do an event to coincide with it but what we ended up doing was a livestream eventin association with Dope Ammo and Moondance. It was a livestream in a lockup warehouse in Southampton so we went down there and it was when you couldn’t have more than 5 people in a room, I got there and Ray Keith was there and Nicky Blackmarket and I know those guys and Baby D was there and we did get to meet and it was great but at the same time we had this guy who was in charge of the warehouse who kept coming in and telling us off because there were more than 5 of us in there so I was trying to say hi to Baby D but we kept having to leave the room because there were more than 5 of us.
JN: The music video for that has clips of Helter Skelter, Boomtown and other events, did you have any involvement in the video at all?
Yes. Some of the more modern clips might have been from me playing at festivals but a lot of the clips came from one guy. Dope Ammo & I put out a post on social media to ask if anyone had any old rave footage from back in the day. I think it was someone who Dope Ammo know through Moondance, they put us in touch and he sent over all this old footage from years ago and a lot of the footage in the video we used was from that, then we added and mixed it in with more recent footage.
JN: It brought back some good memories
We liked it, we were in the pandemic so we couldn’t just go out and shoot a music video like someone going and filming us at a rave because there weren’t any raves on so this was a concept we came up with and I think it went really well.
JN: Now things are opening up and you can get back on the road, can you tell us what international touring is like? I presume it’s not as glamorous as we might think it is?
I think it depends really, for me, it’s been a mixed bag for me. Sometimes I’ve been really well looked after, stayed in 4 and 5 star hotels and taken out for meals for some of the best food I’ve ever eaten all around the world, some of the international promoters are really hospitable and will take you around wherever you want to go, arrange to take you to the venue, back to the hotel and don’t have to worry about anything. Then there has been a couple of occasions where I’ve ended up a mountain in the middle of Spain somewhere at a free party with about 30 people there. It’s definitely a mixed bag. I think some of the bigger artists, its probably more on the luxurious side but on the best part it’s been enjoyable and at times really good. For me I just like to go to different places, travelling around and seeing other countries you know?
JN: Any favourites?
Hybrid: I love going out to Canada and the US, I’ve had some great times there. I played a gig in Granada in Spain recently, that was brilliant, it was probably my favourite gig last year. I hadn’t been out of the country for so long and it was nice to go to another country and it was a big rave with nearly 2000 people there and the soundsystem was great. It had such a great vibe.
JN: You like rock music too?
I’ve definitely got an eclectic taste for music, sometimes I listen to Jungle Drum and Bass, a bit of Hip Hop and sometimes I love listening to Death Metal, I grew up on that stuff when I was a teenager, I didn’t start getting into Drum and Bass until I was about 16 or 17.
I think I’ve always liked music that is underground or music for the underdog, counter culture stuff. Its only now that Drum and Bass is so popular. When I first got into it, I thought it would stay the same way it was 20 years ago but now it’s so popular people are getting very famous from it, it’s in the mainstream.
JN: It is, I remember you had to listen to John Peel for a couple of hours just to hear 1 tune, now it’s on adverts. Talk me through a typical day in the life of DJ Hybrid.
I’m either in the office doing label bits, like label admin, submitting releases, sending promo’s out or doing some of the mastering as I do the mastering for the labels as well. I tend to do that in the day time, that’s my day job if you like and then later evening, before I go bed, as I’m bit of a night owl, I don’t really sleep very well so I find a lot of the time I’m in the studio at 1 or 2 in the morning with my headphones on, so my day is split up into running a label and working on my own stuff as an artist.
At the weekends, I usually, most weekends have on average 1 gig lined up. On the odd occasion I have 2 or 3 gigs lined up on the weekend but most weekends i get the train to wherever I’m going in the country, stay in a hotel and get the train back the next day.
JN: As the owner of a few record labels, what do you look for in an artist or a track?
It depends which label really. For Deep in the Jungle, I look for someone who’s either doing something new with the Jungle sound or has that original jungle sound down to a T really.
It’s a mixture of them. With Audio Addict, its more on the drum and bass and experimental side, I’m looking for someone who’s just starting out and up and coming really, we’ve had a good track record of breaking new artists so I look for someone who’s creatively has the potential, it doesn’t matter if the mixdown or their production isn’t up to scratch as I tend to work with them to mixdown and master their tunes so the main thing really is kind of potential artistically.
JN: What was the last tune you heard that heard that really made you think, ‘this is a real tune’? one that really stood out.
I had a tune sent to me by, I think they are new producers, I wasn’t aware of them before, called Basshunters, I’m not sure where they are from but I think they are a duo and they sent me a tune called Arcane which I’ve just signed to Audio Addict. That tune really grabbed my attention, it was a fairly minimal jump up tune but I really liked it, that’s what’s grabbed my attention in the last couple of weeks or so.
JN: DJ Hybrid, thanks for talking to us.
DJ Hybrid Offline EP is out on general release on the 10th March 2022.
DJ Hybrid has long been a wearer of our junglist clothing and DnB streetwear. You will see him wearing some of our own branded clothing on his DJ Hybrid webpage where you can also find out more about his tour dates and releases.