Welcome back to Boomtown! In this feature, we will be giving you the lowdown on who we’ll be watching at this year’s festival. From immersive electronica to indie bands, we’ll be taking you on a journey through Boomtown’s various districts and what they have to offer you. So, take a back seat and have a look at the artists we’ll be watching and where you can find them…
Back in the mid-90s, Shy FX exploded into the British pop charts with ‘Original Nuttah’, one of the most renowned Jungle anthems of all time. From this, SHY FX, AKA, Andre Williams, became one of Jungle’s most valued producers. This song has become one of the reasons the Jungle Ragga-Ruffneck style has become so big in the UK, with fast electronic drum tracks and slower synthesized bass lines becoming a signature sound. If we don’t hear ‘Original Nuttah’, here’s hoping that we hear the steel drums of ‘Soon Come’ in all its slightly Jamaican enthused reggae glory, or the slightly unusual Latin-infused drum and bass found in ‘Shake Ur Body’. Either way, we know that this old-schooler will put on one hell of a good show, let’s just hope the weather will match his summery vibes!
Check out ‘Shake Ur Body’ by Shy FX:
Shogun Audio Takeover:
(Spectrasoul, Technimatic & More)
For me, this will be the highlight of the weekend, with up-and-coming record label, Shogun Audio, representing some of their best acts. Although I will be focussing on just two artists from the label, there will also be appearances from Icicle, Rockwell, Fourward, Friction and Joe Ford.
Check out some of the other artists at Shogun Audio HERE:
Pete Rogers and Andy Powell make up this talented pair who call themselves Technimatic. After releasing their latest album Better Perspective last year, I have only become further immersed in their liquid drum and bass style. Even though I was blown away by their 2014 debut 18-track LP, Desire Paths, which included the husky vocals of Lucy Kitchen in ‘Looking For Diversion’ and the dreamy, echoey instrumentation in ‘Chasing a Dream’, it seems that Better Perspective has given them the opportunity to portray their now, better-honed song-writing ability. So, what is there to look forward to during their set? An ardent intensity with celebratory sound, edgy breakbeats and understated compositions- a sound that’s rich in that signature drum and bass beat, without being too intense. Although, there are bound to be some classic drum and bass bangers interspersed throughout their liquid melody lines, I am excited to finally be seeing this duo in action.
Check out ‘Chasing a Dream’ by Technimatic:
David Kennett and Jack Stevens are SpectraSoul, a slick, fresh, drum and bass duo with a sound that manages to be both unique and streamline. Whilst they are renowned for their 170 bpm drum and bass rhythm, their music can range from being more bass-y to being beautifully crafted, with intricate melody lines and stunning vocals. Having seen them before, their set can range from vocal-driven bangers to liquid soul, to hard bass to more mainstream tunes. One track I’m hoping to hear is ‘Away With Me’ featuring the beautifully haunting voice of Tamara Blessa. Expect musical diversity in all its glory, along with collaborative songs with Alix Perez from their latest EP, Synergy.
Check out ‘Away With Me’ ft. Tamara Blessa by SpectraSoul:
Brazilian drum and bass producer, S.P.Y, who is signed to the well-respected Hospital Records, has made quite a name for himself, releasing his debut album, What The Future Holds back in 2012. Having explored a plethora of styles- from stripped back essential drum and bass to more refined instrumental sounding tracks- S.P.Y has managed to keep us on the edge of our seats, intrigued enough to always wonder which direction he is going in next. His latest EP, Alone In The Dark: EP 1, seems to explore a heavier style of drum and bass, with a hint of jungle and some ethereal synthy sounds in ‘Love Unlimited’. So, possible head bashing and raving into the early hours? Absolutely.
Check out ‘Love Unlimited’ by S.P.Y here:
This talented drum and bass duo AKA Chris Garvey and Nick White, are renowned for their energetic vibes along with their masterful tempo variations, vocal anthems and that undeniable club sound that crowds seem to go crazy for. Signed to innovative label, Viper Recordings, their debut album in 2015 City of Gold, is packed full of synthesized riffs, succinct bass and that signature kick and snare that is so salient within the drum and bass genre. Particular favourites that we’re hoping to hear are infamous high energy club banger, ‘Kill the Silence’, with vocals from Ayar Marah, and the powerful, euphoric, piano-driven ‘Don’t Let Me Go’ featuring the soulful voice of Amy Pearson. This is not an act to miss.
Check out ‘Don’t Let Me Go’ by The Prototypes:
Dub Phizix & Strategy
Dub Phizix AKA, the extraordinary, George Ovens, is a little unusual in his take on the drum and bass genre. He emphasises dynamics and atmosphere over melody and rhythm. After studying classic Photek records, his tracks exude a lightweight and supple quality that is hard to place. Rather than being a confined to the sometimes, suffocating genre that is drum and bass, Ovens seems to weave effortlessly from subgenre to subgenre. Along with his technical brilliance, he will be joined by no other than talented freestyler, Strategy who has done it all. From being a rap battle finalist at Earls Court London at the Jay Z concert, to performing with Digital Mystikz at Northern Bass Festival in New Zealand, Strategy’s ability to rhyme seamlessly on the spot, makes him one of the UK’s best. And boy, are we excited to see what this duo will cook up on the decks.
Check out ‘Buffalo Charge’ by Dub Phizix and Strategy here:
Fabio & Grooverider
Fabio and Grooverider are two old schoolers of the drum and bass genre, who have influenced many modern musicians, fans and artists alike- without this pair, the scene would lack a lot of its longevity and focus. To say that the duo represents a mixture of styles is an understatement with liquid, jump up, technical, minimal and half-time styles all present within their repertoire. What we’re expecting to see is a splash of the past contrasted with a touch of what this now, modernised genre has to offer. A trip down memory lane, none the less.
Check out Fabio & Grooverider’s 25 Year Set:
As I mentioned in ‘The History of Boomtown’, I’ll be spending a lot of the Boomtown weekend in the carnival district of Barrio Loco, not only for its cultural influences and party people, but for the kaleidoscope of UK Hip Hop and Urban acts confirmed as part of this year’s line-up.
Grime artist AJ Tracey’s music has been described by the BBC as ‘Lucid wordplay over minimal beats’, and is set to shake up the Poco Loco stage (Headlined by Loyle Carner) this summer at Boomtown. The West London rapper is no stranger to the festival circuit, already playing Wild Life, Parklife and Sónar Festival this year.
Check out ‘Pasta’ by AJ Tracey:
Flava D is set to provide the finest mix of Grime, UK Garage and House to the Desperados Clubhouse in Barrio Loco. The DJ from Lewisham has remixed the likes of Diplo and Craig David and is part of Garage supergroup collaborative ‘TDQ’ alongside Royal -T and DJ Q. In her sets (in clubs and on Rinse FM) she manages to focus on her own original productions, collaborations and remixes, meaning that we are likely to hear a selection of her more recognizable tracks and some obscure sounds that we can sink our teeth into.
Check out ‘In The Dance’ by Flava D:
Poco Loco will also house London DJ Amy Becker. An official favourite of BBC 1Xtra and Boiler room, Becker’s sets are recognised through her ability to mix genres, making her one to watch out for this year at Boomtown. At only 21-years-old, gaining inspiration from EZ, Oneman and Benji B, she has received international acclaim and is currently at the forefront of the UK’s flourishing bass scene.
Check out one of Amy Becker’s Mixes:
Finally, I’ll be sticking around the Poco Loco to watch Boomtown favourite, Eva Lazarus. This big voiced, big haired singer/MC is interested in a plethora of genres from Reggae to Hip Hop, to drum and bass and Jungle, she is a highly talented queen with an impressive skillset. Having played at Glastonbury, Outlook and of course Boomtown, she is no stranger to the festival scene. Expect props, confetti canons and a vibe that’s guaranteed to make you put your hands in the air, dance harder and leave the Poco Loco with a smile on your face.
Check out ‘Bad News’ by Eva Lazarus:
Others to watch out for…
Beans on Toast, M.I.A and Ziggy Marley are also sure to cause quite a ruckus with the crowds this year at Boomtown!
This year’s Boomtown festival is set to be better than ever before, with a line-up that’s destined to leave you craving more. Even if you only get to see a handful of these artists, the theatrical experience, the jaw-dropping stages, the liberal atmosphere and the sheer magnitude of this remarkable event, will leave you with memories that you’ll treasure for years to come.
So, put your headphones in, get listening and get inspired… We will see you there!
Text: Becky Warrington and Millie Bull
Images: Boomtown Fair, AJ Tracey, Flava D, Amy Becker and Eva Lazarus