“I’ve just returned from Drum & Bass Heaven.” – James Burns, 2011
Of course it’s all down to JB – James Burns. Top geezer around London town, famous photographer behind the mighty London From The Roof Tops project and arch Junglist. If JB hadn’t sent that email we might never have been to Sun And Bass, which would have been a monumental tragedy!
Back then, there were four or five of us crew rocking up to every event going in Drum & Bass Heaven. 2013 we spread the, “You’re not gonna believe this,” post festival tales to our London and Berlin mates who flew in en mass. And the All Crews Sun And Bass crew has been growing ever since, with Anna Sapegina from Russia joining the party in 2013, translating and publishing Russian version of All Crews.
I originally wrote All Crews – Journeys Through Jungle Drum & Bass Culture back in ’98 – ’99. Premier junglist magazine Kmag published the updated All Crews version in 2004. All Crews Italian and All Crews Russian appeared in 2014. People have always referred to our crowd as All Crews.
“We love both kinds of music, Drum and Bass.” – John Doe
We love to party and the thing which binds us jolly nice people together is the love of Jungle, Drum & Bass. We’ll be listening to it, discussing it, playing it and dancing to it. Chris Dr. DnB himself, even wrote his doctoral thesis about it.
= 2013 =
All Crews has had a DJ presence at Sun And Bass since 2013 when Brian played at Bal Harbour: “I was kinda scared. Sun And Bass has a huge reputation as has The Book. I didn’t want to fuck up.”
The shouts and screams around the pool were amazing. He smashed it.
= 2014 =
In 2014 Sun And Bass opened a stage on La Cinta beach. Brian was the first DJ on. “I didn’t know what to play as I’ve never DJed a beach before. The mighty Mark System stepped up on the mic. I hadn’t worked with him since the late 90s on London station Rude FM. I wouldn’t have been surprised if he had told me to fuck off as now he’s a top producer and doesn’t do the MC business any more. And last time I saw him on Rude, I finished my slot and left Mark MCing the next show. That’s when the police and DTI raided the station. They were looking for me but Mark got done. I always feel guilty about that.”
From Bathers To Ravers
So Brian’s on the beach protecting the decks from the wind, playing ambient sounds like Logic Progression and It’s A Jazz Thing. Only a handful of people are dancing. Most are sunbathing. “I’ve thought, ‘Sod this’ and drawn Cutty Ranks Limb By Limb. The Beach went Men-tal!!! I’ve dropped Dilinja, Odyssey, John B… big Black Room beats on the beach and they loved it. Once you’ve dropped Odyssey, it’s difficult to retreat. I brought Darth Vader to the beach, and he weren’t there to paddle!”
= 2015 =
After rinsing Ambra Day in 2015, Brian asked Stefano Sun And Bass for a longer slot, not for himself but for the crew: “All Crews is about celebrating everyone’s talents.”
For 2015, All Crews designer Nadine first designed the exclusive iconic logo, a crowning touch, with a new colour every year. “It’s based on my hair, which Nadine turned into a tropical island, with the Sun And Bass logo shining like the sun.”
= 2016 =
The mighty DJs Chef (Kool FM), Staunch (Rude FM) and I were joined on stage by JB on the decks and Lowqui on da mic. “It’s funny” admits Brian, “I was just playing my first tune, when the police shut us down.” The acts had overrun, things were getting late and… “And I put on Cutty Ranks’ – The Stopper. Should have mashed up the dance, but for da police it was da last straw. The plug was pulled.” Hats off to Sun And Bass management who said, “That means you’re gonna have to come back next year.”
= 2017 =
2017 La Cinta beach Brian remembers being worried. “Yeah, well we were on after Calibre and Tali, who tour the world. We’re a bunch of mates who love this music.” That year’s guest was Mr ‘King-Of-Da-Jungle’ himself DJ Dextorous! “He smashed it! But I’m not sure if Chef’s dub plate selection with Everybody Loves The Sunshine or Staunch’s Ratatattat created more beach carnage.”
All Crews 2017 featured another guest, Blackeye MC. Brian remembers, “I’d called Fats to MC our set. He’d already aced our SunandBass podcast. But he couldn’t as he was singing for John B at Bal Harbour. So he sent Blackeye. I have to say, from not working with us before, to grabbing da mic seconds before we went on stage…” Brian’s shaking his head, “Blackeye was The perfect host! Especially when I listen back to the recording. He knew all our artists, gave a little history, bigged up the book, let the music breathe, sung over our beats… His stage presence… Man he was perfect! …The icing on the fuckin’ cake.”
Blackeye’s name’s on so many flyers that he must be the hardest working man in Jungle. Brian’s adamant, “If Blackeye’s not scooping all the awards for Best MC, the system’s fucked.”
Team All Crews La Cinta Murdaration mission was fulfilled. “There were about 15,000 Facebook hits for the film of our little beach party.” Brian says, ‘Little beach party.’ but pulling hundreds of punters and artists to the beach every time, SunandBass knows All Crews is trusted to bring bombastic, ballistic, beach mayhem. Reeewind!!!
= 2018 =
All Crews 2018 DJ line-up for Murdaration II is Brian Belle-Fortune aka ZyOn, Origin FM’s DJ Reece, DJ Chef and DJ Staunch, playing an unprecedented TWO HOUR SET at Ambra Night (Gazebo) Thursday, 13th September.
This year is dedicated to the memory, life and music of Duncan Busto aka Spirit.
Brian started DJing in the 80s when he was training as a nurse, playing hospital parties. Although he had to spin crowd pleasing Pop, he sneaked in quality Soul, Funk, Rare Grooves – London’s club and pirate station music.
Summer ’88, the Rave scene kicked off and Brian headed to illegal Warehouse parties and raves in fields. 1994 Tottenham. Jungle poured from every house and car window. “I was hooked from the first note.” Inspired he wrote to BBC Radio 1, conceiving and co-producing Britain’s first nationwide Jungle show – One In The Jungle. “I’d be in the studio as Brockie, Shy, Kenny Ken, Rap and Goldie spun dub plates. It was infectious. Next thing you know, I was down Tottenham Court Road buying decks and getting tunes from Nicky Blackmarket.”
Writing All Crews – Journeys Through Jungle Drum And Bass Culture, Brian interviewed Kemistry & Storm who gave him a masterclass in how to mix Drum & Bass. Brian became DJ Zy:on with a show on Rude FM. He’s since played across Europe and Russia promoting the Drum & Bass Bible. “I’ve played memorable places… pirates in squats, escaping before the police burst in, a demo on Tottenham High Road, Berlin’s Icon club during the Love Parade and a nuclear bunker in St. Petersburg. But the best has to be La Cinta, 2014, when the whole beach lost it to Dilinja and Ed Rush.” ‘The best’ became even better when Brian divided his set amongst his DJ friends and they appeared on the Sun And Bass flyer as ‘All Crews.’
“Whether it’s nursing, writing or DJing, I just wanna make people happy and spread the love.”
Reece’s Junglist addiction began early with his home hosting legendary house parties, with the likes of Kenny Ken, The Ragga Twins and Everson Allen performing. His full submersion didn’t start until later in life, going to raves aged 16 with his sister, certified Queen of the Jungle Josie. At that time it was festivals and whatever raves he could get in to, leading him finding his first idol, a true fucking G and Godfather of Jungle DnB – ‘Too cold to hold – Too hot to handle’ DJ Randall. No one touched the Don’s skills, with his cool, natural style, synergetic mixing and endless catalogue of dub plates.
Reece knew his soul needed to be up there behind those decks, doing to people what Randall had done to him. Attending more raves he acquired the names of other artists, tearing holes in the very fabric of his nature – Stretch, Digital, Spirit, Bailey, Darren J, and Mickey ‘PussyClart-Finn’… His sister Fire Officer Jose bought him a Serato SL2 box straight away.
And his DJ Jedi master Darren loaned Reece his pristine pair of Technics decks for an extended period, allowing him to learn the ways of the musical force. Eventually, Reece landed several slots on the mighty Originuk.net Reece raved at festivals all over England and abroad. Josie took him on a DnB holiday to the picturesque Sardinian island hosting Sun And Bass, introducing him to a very special bunch of people, the All Crews family. That rag tag bunch of bass heads addicted him to the art form. Each person exuded different energies, much like a masterpiece creates a symphony of joy and love with good old BASS…
1988 East London. DJ Chef started in the belly of the beast, skooled by UK Hip-Hop legend DJ Leader1 & The East Avenue Gang – Chef’s first raving and DJ crew. In ’95, Chef first produced in the studio with Certain Criteria from the Point Blank crew, who were releasing music on their own labels and the legendary Tone Def Records. Chef formed an alliance with Forest Gate’s infamous De Underground crew; Marley Marl, Archie, DJ Bud, Cool Hand Flex, Uncle 22, Redant, Hoppa & Bones and of course the daddy DJ Randall with MC Fats. This foundation was Chef’s training ground. Listening to DJ’s like Randall and the De Underground crew, he crafted his own style.
Chef started spinning on pirate radio in 1994, with stints on various stations in London and the South East alongside DJ Sly, MC Shaydee & MC Loki, collectively known as The ELC (East London Connection). Chef began his first residency at ‘Pier Pressure’ on Hastings pier, as well as playing other events in London and throughout the UK. In 2004, Chef played a guest set on the legendary Jungle station Kool 94.5 FM, together with long-time friend and associate DJ Bud. The Kool show was formerly hosted by Metalheadz DJ Marley Marl and Jungle legend Remarc. Chef’s extensive knowledge of Drum & Bass styles, allows him to play diverse sets. After the show the pair were offered a permanent slot.
Over the years, they’ve featured many foundation artists as well as up and coming acts, showcasing a veritable who’s who of DnB artists past and present. Chef also assistant managed Kool for 13 years. In 2007, Chef launched his imprint Caution Recordings, nurturing talent from around the globe, creating a platform for new artists; HLZ (previously half of Need for Mirrors), Serious Intent, Smokesta, Pacso, Certain Criteria, with the infamous MC Fats. In 2009, Chef worked with close friend and associate MC Rage, helping to develop Rage’s Inner City Dwellers Rock n Road band. Chef became Tour Manager for shows across the UK and on the European festival circuit, marketing and raising their profile, seeing them selected as the support act for Roni Size and Reprezent and the UK’s biggest punk band The Gallows, a massive achievement for the band! MC Rage became frontman for Chase & Status. In 2012 Chef went into partnership with the mighty MC GQ’s imprint Emcee Recordings, bringing a new perspective to the label and continues to attract new artists to the DnB scene.
DJ Bailey invited Chef to join his team of producers in 2013, broadcasting the legendary weekly Intabeats show on Ministry of Sound Radio. Sun And Bass 2015, All Crews head honcho Brian Belle-Fortune aka DJ Zy:on calls on Chef to join them on La Cinta beach for the Sun And Bass festival. This has now become a yearly feature for Chef, reppin’ with the crew on the beach. 2016 Chef pulls together the Beatenforcers with Dezert Rat, Social Security, Deeroy and DJ E. As a collective, they bring a range and combination of styles to the dance floor, internet and have recently launched the Beatenforcers music label, with current releases from Cambridge and The Invaderz. After his 2017 departure from Kool, Chef joined Pyro Radio, home to DnB artists: Bryan Gee, Ray Keith, Nicky Blackmarket, Pola and Bryson and many more. Catch Chef playing upfront DnB every second and forth Monday 7-9pm GMT, with a gang of fresh talent and well established artists.
1997, Roni Size’s Reprazent performs live at the BBC, and Staunch finally falls for the music his father Neil’s been enjoying for years. Reinforced’s sound totally captured his taste buds with its blend of future sci fi synthesis, rugged breaks and good ol’ time Acid Hardcore. At Keele University, Staunch furthered his education, DJing Funk, Hip-Hop and DnB at every opportunity. On an ill advised trip to London, Staunch fell in love with the culture of raves, record shops and radio stations.
He played countless parties for his own Psycho Mambo crew and good friends, promoting the Bass. In 2013, Staunch quickly acquired a weekly show on his beloved Rude FM. Billed as Rude’s ‘Number 1 Drive-Time, Deep-End DnB show,’ his weekly slot still rolls every Wednesday from 6 ’til 8pm GMT. Regular listener Rampage contacted Staunch, smuggling him into the All Crews family, under the watchful scrutiny of DJ, Author and chronic philanthropist Brian Belle-Fortune. After a series of rigorous quizzes, a round of ‘name dat riddim’ contest and a demeaning dance off, Staunch was embraced by the firm and will be found reppin’ the Rude sound. Bound together by the love of quality Drum & Bass, the All Crews family represents a single beast with several beast heads, devoted to celebrating the expansive and rich variety of flavours this wonderful music continues to deliver.
Croydon based (bred) Blackeye MC has been crafting his hosting skills on the circuit from an early age, developing his skills with his local contingent, Lab Creation. Lab Creation held a venerated weekly radio show on the acclaimed London’s Original Life FM for around 4 years. While running their own parties, he found his first residency at a night called spectrum in Croydon. Here he met Andy Skopes, and worked with many others, using this as a base to develop his craft. As a result, Blackeye MC met Chris Inperspective and became a resident MC at the legendary Technicality night at the famous Herbal night club, establishing a major platform in his development.
From around 2006, still crafting his skills, Blackeye MC became a resident at the formidable Rupture nights after being recognised by Double O and Mantra. Bookings started coming in thick and fast, and he started to hold various residencies with nights such as Tech:nology, Fizzy Liquid, Launch, Function Records, AKO to name a few. These prime residencies unlocked opportunities to play at the legendary Hardware, Cylon recordings, Mute.ch, Sun And Bass and many other nights up and down the country hosting for a wealth of the scene’s pioneers. Heavily influenced by hip hop, Pop, funk, soul, jazz and reggae and dub, Blackeye MC uses his knowledge of music to craft his art.
Inclined to deliver his deep vocals, not on top of the music as a major focal point, but with a complimentary approach, Blackeye MC exudes presence enough to touch the music with his deep, soulful tones. This is a Master of Ceremony that works with the music, deftly complimenting rhythm and sound whilst being the go to person as the voice throughout the night.
Hailing from a soul, rare groove and reggae background, MC Fats is one of the drum & bass scene’s original vocalist / MCs and has been performing in clubs worldwide since the early 90s.
He’s well known for his soulful lyrics and flow and has held the mic for almost every top drum & bass DJ around and regularly works alongside the likes of DJ Hype, Fabio, Andy C, Calibre, Goldie, Friction, Marky, S.P.Y & A-Sides.
His vocal skills have been lent to many releases on labels like Eastside, Shogun Audio, Metalheadz, Valve, Breakbeat Kaos, FFRR, Signature, Movement, Ram and True Playaz.
For the last 10 years Fats has been a resident MC for London’s Fabric as well as holding the mic at some of the top UK venues such as The End, Matter, Ministry Of Sound and Cable.
At present he is working with some of the scene’s top producers collaborating with Calibre (Signature), Basher (Ram), DJ Lynx (Detail Recordings), Break & DJ Die (Clear Skyz), A-Sides (Eastside) and Richie Montana (R1 Productions).
MC Fats has worked his vocal magic to many drum & bass anthems such as DJ Hype’s ‘Peace, Love & Unity’, Potential Bad Boy’s ‘Girlz’, Calibre’s ‘Drop It Down’, A-Sides’ ‘What U Don’t Know’, Dillinja’s ‘I Told You How To Rock’, Pendulum’s ‘Plastic World’ and Alix Perez’s ‘Down The Line’.
There’s no doubt that MC Fats is a truly amazing vocalist, as anyone who has booked him will gladly confirm. No machine-gun MCing here, just golden soul, vibes and expertise.
“Utmost credit, respect, thanks and love goes to the person behind the All Crews family. An amazing man, an inspiration to me and more importantly a roll model. He’s forged a family not out of blood, but soul. I can honestly say, that I’m eternally grateful for his presence on Earth and in my life, for without him I wouldn’t be playing this beach, with my All Crews family, and my fellow Drum & Bass heads, listening to my favourite music in the best location – Sun And Bass.” – DJ Reece
All Crews gives a huge Big Up to Stefano, Martina, Sun And Bass management and all crews, especially everyone who supports us at Sun And Bass every year! You rock!