Rotations: a next-level, new-gen Bristol D&B collective

Building on Bristol’s longstanding tradition of musical crews such as Wild Bunch and Full Cycle, some of the city’s most exciting new generation drum & bass artists have formed a new collective…

Phaction, Mystic State, Data 3, Koherent, Revaux, Collette Warren, Revan, KCDC, Objectiv, Terrence & Phillip, Vowel, Sinic, Charli Brix, Bluejay, Mark Dinimal and Medic MC comprise Rotations.

Part strength in numbers, part love for the ever-evolving drum & bass movement, part support and appreciation for each other, all massively talented; the multi-faceted troop of DJs, MCs, singers and artists will launch on Sunday June 2 for a summer day time session at Bristol’s Blue Mountain where whole 23-strong clan will get neck deep in b2b business….

More nights will follow and that’s just to start. Here’s how they came together and what to expect…

Take us back to the start… Who came up with the idea and how quickly did it escalate?

Vowel: Ru was the one who came up with the idea. He’s also the one who got things up and running and contacted everyone. He’s the frontman in all this. Most of us are based in Bristol so when Ru presented us with the idea of starting this project everything happened quite quickly and naturally.

Tez (Terrence & Phillip): He really has been the driving force behind the project and has somewhat become our fearless leader. Once the idea was put forward to each individual the hype became very real as everyone involved are all equally as excited as one another. We can all see the potential we all have as a collective.

Enada (KCDC): It came together quite quickly, although we definitely struggled on picking a name at first!

There’s a lot of you involved. All of you coming in at similar-ish entry points as part of the new generation of acts coming into the game and all based in a similar location. So I’m guessing Rotations is an extension of the support and community you have between you anyway? Has this collective vibe been unofficially bubbling away for a while?

Revan (Ill Truth): I feel like this coming together of the people involved was very natural; we’ve all gravitated towards each other outside of music so makes sense for it to join with music in mind!

Ru (Revaux): In a way, yeah. Although most of us knew each other already, Rotations seemed like a great way to be able to unite in a more official capacity and create a recognisable platform for ourselves.

Kyrist (KCDC): I think the majority of us have been involved in the DNB scene for a few years now, and often we find ourselves on the same line-ups for some events, or just going out and supporting each other anyway.

Medic MC: Especially as most of us are Bristol based there’s a nice sense of community. Myself and Mitch (Bluejay) play out together quite a lot.

Vowel: Yeah, definitely. Everyone involved in this project is supportive of each other’s work and that’s what Rotations is about.

Enada (KCDC): I think so. Its great that we’ve been able to put that support network together and collaborate. It seemed obvious that we would have these particular people together in a collective.

I love the collective vibe that’s popping up a lot at the moment full stop. It’s the crew mentality that the genre was largely founded on. Proper DIY too. This is all about the importance of strength in numbers right?

Luke (Koherent): A little bit about strength in numbers, but to me it’s more about the strength of the scene. There’s just so many newcomers putting their own dent into the scene at the moment and Rotations is a by-product of that. Rotations to me represents a small part of a larger movement that we’re all really excited to be a part of.

Enada (KCDC): I think it allows a lot of creative people to cook up some awesome ideas together. I just love the idea of all of us coming together to create something special, play the music we want to play and support each other.

Tez (Terrence & Phillip): We all know that within the tight group we have the tools to reach a much further audience within the early stages of the brand than any other individual promoter trying to start out. We all feel we already hold a heavy presence within the DNB community as individuals and the thought of us all combining and working together excites us. So yes ‘strength in numbers’!

Charli Brix: Collaboration over competition! There is so much to gain from working with rather than against people. Everyone works differently, you learn new things, different techniques, ways of creating – it’s good to have a solid group of people around you inspiring you to be better, learn and progress.

Is there a nice friendly competitive spirit between you all with productions as well? And will there be on the nights, with everyone drawing for the latest dubs to show off to each other?

Luke (Koherent): I think definitely on a subconscious level, we’re all driving each other at least! It’s also been a great way to encourage some of us to collaborate (wink wink).

Charli Brix: That being said, I won’t hold back when we play together – there will of course be contest over who has the best dubs! We have a healthy amount of banter in the group and I think a little bit of competition is good.

Vowel: I guess you can call it that. I think it’s more about everyone trying to push each other and help each other in terms of production. And yes, of course, everyone likes to show off their latest dubs…

Kyrist (KCDC): Most probably everyone will pull out all the stops and try and outdo each other! We (KCDC) might have some special tunes to play by the time the first event rolls round.

How does the night work? Will you announce which of you are playing every show or is it more along the lines of ‘come along because all our residents and collective members are sick’?

Vowel: The idea is to announce who’s playing on every night and then possibly get some guests to play as well.

Ru (Revaux): For the launch event in June we wanted everyone to play. Due to the insane amount of us, that will mean b2bs pretty much all night (which we are very excited about!). In terms of future events, I think we will announce who is playing every show but at the same time you should still come along because all of our residents ARE sick!

Medic MC: We want to make sure that this project isn’t secretive and closed off. Emphasis will be placed on supporting emerging talent not only in Bristol but also from all around. Booking people to come and play at our nights who meet the criteria will definitely be a way of doing that. Ideally, it won’t be just residents at every night we do.

The launch is a big daytime thing. Run us through it…

Ru (Revaux): The launch will be on Sunday June 2 on Bristol’s Blue Mountain Terrace. Expect the scene’s best burgeoning talent, sunshine (hopefully) and an unbeatable atmosphere! This is our own project that we have built together from the ground up so we are VERY excited to show what we can bring to the people of Bristol.

Vowel: Loads of dubs, loads of beers, loads of amazing artists and loads of good vibes. That’s what’s on the menu!

Then what follows? Will it always be Sunday special one-offs?

Enada (KCDC): No, in future we are going to be doing weekend or mid-week events, this just happened to fall on a Sunday as we wanted to have an event at Blue Mountain before it goes! But definitely expect us to be hosting a lot more events and a monthly mix series.

Ru (Revaux): Yeah, to add, our mix series will feature all of us plus other up and coming DJs/artists performing guest mixes. The whole ethos of the project is to represent the next generation of talent so the mix series will give us a platform to invite other up and comers to get involved.

Tez (Terrence & Phillip): Bigger club nights, bigger venues, bigger line-ups, special guests, random b2b sets. Big party vibes. Maybe more daytime events during summer and club nights during the colder months. 

This starts as a club night but I wonder about the bigger picture… Label, collaborations etc.

Charli Brix: We’ve spoken about this and yeah for sure, we’d love to push this as far as we can. We’re looking at doing some festivals next year, a mix series in the next few months, and then who knows – maybe a label one day?

Vowel: I think we’re just going to see where it goes, but our main focus now is more on the events’ side of things. Some of the artists within Rotations are already collaborating or have collaborated before in some sort of way, which is really cool.

Medic MC: I think it would be wicked to do stages/showcases at festivals locally and further afield. Collaborations are also on the cards and this is the perfect opportunity to make use of all of the amazing talent on our doorstep, who knows where that can lead…

Kyrist (KCDC): I think there is a bigger picture, but we’re just getting started here. I think it would be impossible for all of us to work on one track, but maybe an EP full of collabs could be a vibe!

Ru (Revaux): Agreed…there certainly could be a bigger picture, but for now we are focussing on our first few movements to make sure we lay the groundwork and don’t get ahead of ourselves! 

Finally, a chance for everyone to big each other up. Who brings what to Rotations? Hit me with some hype for your fellow collective crewdem!!

Ru (Revaux): Without gushing too much, each and every artist involved in Rotations brings something different and irreplaceable. I’m a huge fan of each of them! Everyone is achieving so much in their own right so I really can’t wait to see what we can do together.

Charli Brix: It’s actually pretty cool because we all have different skill sets outside of music that we put to use in the group. For example myself, Deanna (Enada) & Ru cover our design work, Kirsty (Kyrist) has label experience, we’ve got a few guys in the group that are good with the media and visual side of things, marketing, promoting. Everyone brings something to the table.

Medic MC: Personally I feel one of our strongest assets is variety. I think we are really well balanced from a vocalist/MC perspective. I love going to nights where there is a real mix of vocalists and this is a real strength that we have.

Enada (KCDC): I think KCDC bring an element of fresh music mixed with live performance and vocals. Each of us are very different within our styles. I bring influences from outside of D&B, Collette brings a jazzy vibe, Charli with her soulful deep music and Kyrist with her super mixing skills and techy sound.

Revan (Ill Truth): I’m just the guy manning the cloakroom, the other members are the real magic. Well, as it stands the event will be my first set under my solo project so I can’t say too much about what I bring to the table yet but expect lots of shakers….