It’s okay to not be okay.
This rule applies at all times in life, but even more so right now. After 10+ weeks of lockdown and the systematic shutdown of everything we’ve known and loved from raves to pubs to hairdressers, even those who’ve never experienced mental health issues are feeling the effects.
Luckily there’s support out there from incredible organisations. Organisations such as MIND and Young Minds have been rocks for many of us and provided support, tools and resources to help us through some of the darkest days we’ll ever experience. Naturally the bass music community is out there doing bits to raise money for them to continue.
It’s doing bits full stop. That’s what these Anti-Virus features have been championing since day one. Each and every week we’re seeing more artists, labels, individuals and crews all joining forces online to raise money for organisations and help each other. Never before in this music has there been such a grassroots movement and groundswell to help, empathise and be proactive.
This week we’re focussing on a whole load more inspiring streams and projects, many are which are organised with a mental health initiative, PLUS loads of awesome lockdown distractions. Plus tips on how to maintain good mental health from various artists across the scene. Enjoy.
This Monday: Drum & Bass: The Movement – full documentary
It’s finally landed! Drum&BassArena’s 80 minute documentary Drum & Bass: The Movement will drop on Monday May 25 at 8pm BST. It covers a 20 year period in the genre from 1996 – 2016 and features a rollcall of pioneers and heavyweights. Goldie, Roni Size, Andy C, Grooverider, Kasra and many more. Tune in on Monday night for a serious history session.
Junglist Movement raise money for the NHS
Got any COVID in, guy? Possibly not when you’re wearing one of these dapper face masks. From the original (and only) Junglist Movement brand Aerosoul, crowd funding has taken place to raise funds to produce these 100% cotton masks. £2.50 of each sale will go to an NHS department close to the brand founder and designer Leke’s heart.
“I have been attending UCLH for over five years for treatment,” explains Leke who was born with sickle cell anemia. “If it wasn’t for the hard work and passion of the front line staff within UCLH myself along with thousands of others could well be living a much less life expectancy and quality of life.”
Leke is raising £1,150 for materials to create the masks and has already raised over £700. While some are still fighting the reality and declaring the use of masks as grand face invasion, many, especially those in big cities, have accepted protective wear as a day-to-day situation for the time-being. And there’s no reason not to do it in style. Put your jungle where your mouth is.
This weekend: Goosetek
What’s good for goose is good for the Goosetek, an online event happening this weekend with all proceeds going to MIND. A three day streaming festival that kicked off this morning, runs until 3am Sunday night and boasts acts such as Ben Snow, Kelvin 373, Bish, Crossy, Guzi, Disrupta, Kaz and many more. It’s hosted by Bristol label/events brand Wonky Goose Audio alongside fellow UK event brands Land Raver and In The Lab.
“We’ve decided to choose MIND as the charity Goosetek will support for multiple reasons,” explains the Wonky Goose bossman Goosey. “The main one being that we feel mental health has been overlooked and neglected during this pandemic. With everyone so focused on the virus, it’s easy to forget about people that will struggle from these situations and won’t get the help they need, when they need it. The second reason is that we have people close to us who have, and have ourselves, struggled with mental health issues. We know how difficult it can be – especially during times like these.”
“Everyone struggles, it isn’t embarrassing or shameful,” agree the Land Raver crew, who are also based in the South West. “Be there for yourself as you are for others. We have all faced our losses… Family, friends as well as strangers but it is never easy. Let’s put a stop to today’s issues with mental health and make tomorrow a new and better day for everyone.”
Northamptonshire-based In The Lab are the third crew bringing the multi-genre online bass festival together. They’ve already got previous, having raised £800 for MIND (and even a novelty sized massive cheque!) with their last event. “There’s been a great response to the event from artists and ravers alike,” they state. “In no short part due to awareness of mental health issues being so prevalent in the drum & bass scene. Being based in a small town we’re really connected with a large portion of our following and their health and wellbeing is extremely important to us. We’re so excited to be a part of this and want to extend a final thanks to Dylan and the whole Wonky Goose team for asking us to be involved, and an even bigger thanks to everyone watching at home and donating to the cause. It’s because of people like you donating that keeps these organisations going, and the work they do is invaluable.”
Today: Getahead Virtual Festival
If you’re looking for something a little more lowkey but mentally fulfilling this weekend then Getahead is happening today until late tonight. What began as a 24 hour wellness festival has moved online this year with its second virtual event of the pandemic. Raising money for The Trussell Trust, NHS Charities Together and Refuge, the event covers a whole league of inspiring and informative activities, classes and talks all designed to encourage a calmer, healthier way of life and mindset. The day ranges from comedy to workouts and concludes with a mix from Kiss FM’s Charlie Tee.
“I think initiatives like Get Ahead are so vital in times of uncertainty, like the one we’re in right now,” says Charlie. “This festival’s got a real sense of sincerity to it, with a conscious effort being made to choose speakers and activities that will be really useful right now. For example, this weekend they’ve got a plethora of things to choose from: mental health experts sessions, yoga classes, stand up comedy and music. I’ve been asked to close the virtual festival with a DJ set filled with elevating selections. So expect a healthy dose of house to disco this Friday from 7pm.”
Get ahead is happening throughout Friday May 22. Getinvolved.
This weekend: Not Bad For A Girl 1st Birthday
Manchester collective Not Bad For A Girl are currently celebrating a year of parties and pushing the much-needed gender balance agenda. All their line-ups are 50/50 and for this four day long streamed event, it’s also 25% D&B. Sunday will be spent largely at 174 BPM.
“The whole aim of Not Bad For A Girl is to make the music industry a more welcoming and accessible place,” explains one of collective founders Martha Martha. “With a combination of DJ sets, photoshop tutorials, art classes and panels on the creative industry, we’ve managed to curate 4 days of fun that doubles as a wicked learning opportunity – as well as a bit of a party”.
On Sunday the party features the likes of Rohaan, Velmz & Servo, Amy B, Lubi J, Gina B all performing. Unchained Asia co-founder Daniel Power will also be playing a very interesting set. His mix was recorded at OIL club last weekend with a limited capacity crowd in Shenzhen China. Yeah, a real life dancefloor of people. Proof that things are beginning to hint at slowly becoming normal. Slowly.
“COVID-19 has left the events and entertainment industry reeling,” says Martha. “It’s likely to be a long while before a sense of normality is re-imposed. We’re hoping that this festival will raise invaluable funds for Save Our Scene – we want to really demonstrate that we’re all in this together”.
Get together. Not Bad For A Girl’s 1st Birthday is happening right now until Sunday May 24. All proceeds will be going to Manchester initiative Save Our Scene, a crowd funder to help live music and event workers who’ve been overlooked by government support. Join them.
AC13 has shown a deeper side this week with this heartfelt acoustic vocal message in solidarity of all of us battling the dark feelings right now. Currently in the process of being developed into a liquid D&B track, he tells us when it goes on sale, all proceeds will go to a mental health charity. Follow him on Instagram for more updates.
May 30-31: Mental Health Matters (Live)
Looking ahead to next week – May 30-31 – Mental Health Matters (Live) is another weekend long streaming event well worth your attention. Raising money for MIND, they’ve put together two twelve hour sessions comprising almost 30 new-generation acts. Missledz, Conrad Subs, D-Vox, Fractal and many more are all set to play and the event was set up by a group of friends who – like so many of us – graft their boobs off all year to meet-up in the summer and rave.
“We pretty much wait all year to get together with our group as we all work pretty full on!” they explain. “With everything being cancelled we wanted to try get together some other way. We’ve got a lot of friends who’ve suffered through mental health and personally feel that now more than ever people feel comfortable talking about it. But for those that feel alone we wanted to remind them that we can still come together and have these moments of joy! So we contacted a few friends and smaller artists that we know would love to get involved. Began to contact a few bigger names and it just blew up. We now have 28 artists + a few more to be announced and the response to our social media / donations already have been huge!”
Good Cause Good Crowd
Need a mix fix? Look for Good Cause Good Crowd, a Leeds-based collective raising money for local and national causes through exceptional vibrations. Prior to the pandemic, they raised money through house parties.
“We started out in Leeds sponsoring house parties where we would provide the DJs, decks and speakers if needed, all we would ask in return is to set up a card machine on the door to take donations (usually £3 with the option for more) for mental health charities,” explains collective member Harry Outen. “Since then we have moved on to run non-profit events in Leeds for charities such as Papyrus and The CALMzone. Due to Corona we’ve had to stop running events for the time being.”
With events out of the question on lockdown, they’ve launched a mix series that’s already pretty stacked. It covers all the best bass genres and features an exciting range of new-gen names, local student talent and modern day donnies. Aperio, Loz Contreras and Kampion’s mixes are just some of the highlights. Currently on series one of their mix fundraisers, they’re raising money for youth mental health organisation Young Minds. Get involved and check this beautiful session from Contreras right here…
Second Chance Festival
Looking much further ahead to May 2021: Cambridge drum & bass artist Tom James, AKA Zoner, has launched what could realistically be one of the first D&B festivals post lockdown. Inspired by recent events in his life, the event is to give something back to causes close to the heats of his and event co-founders Adam Scivoletto (AKA Atom, Charge Recordings label boss) and Adam Bailey who runs DNBStore.
“I wanted to do a small night in the city where I live for my wife to have a good night with her mates, if we make a bit of money great if not, who cares,” says Tom whose wife Aimee was diagnosed with cancer the day after boxing day. “Now we’ve got an award-winning venue and six acres to play with.”
Thing escalated quickly and already the likes of Charge Recordings, Natty Dub, Coda, Jaxx, Sense MC and Cardinal Sound are on board for this family friend all dayer with camping.
“I started talking to friends in the industry who suggested scaling it up and giving something back. Adam is one of my best friends and he lost his partner of 21 years after a battle with her mental health. Aimee has just come out of hospital after almost losing her life to sepsis. We want to do something special to give back to the charities who helped us during these times.”
The charities include the haematology/oncology ward who saved Tom’s wife’s life and cancer charity Clic Sargent who focus on helping young cancer sufferers. In the future they’ll also be including a mental health charity partner. Funds will be raised in the build-up to the event include a current raffle (which is top-heavy in D&B loot) and future streams. “It’s all happened by accident. I’ve never done anything like this, I just make music,” laughs Tom who joins a growing line of new festival organisers to emerge during the pandemic. “We’ve got no budget, we’re looking to build a family and grow into something. I want us to give people memorable experiences. Some of the kids on Clic Sargent’s books might have never been to a music festival and that might be their dying wish so we’ve allocated tickets for anyone who works with Clic Sargent who would really benefit from that.”
Tonight: Virus Recordings x D&BTV: Locked In
Friday night May 24, 8pm BST: Ed Rush & Optical’s mighty Virus links up with D&BTV for a serious Locked-In session. Bailey, Matrix, Audio, Black Sun Empire are all lined up for live stream action PLUS two sets from Optical. A live mystery hour set and a recorded set from the last Virus event at Steelyard earlier this year. This is going to be a heavy one.
Tonight: Skylark live… From a real life club!
Another very subtle sign that things are slowly turning around: Strasbourg venue La Kulture are opening again for artists to stream from. Tonight is a drum & bass and dubstep showcase from Skylark and his crew. From 6pm – midnight CET tonight join Skylark and local m8s Lowlo, GTK and Flame. Check it here.
Saturday: Fre4knc & Former live stream
Live and direct from The Netherlands’ nerdiest corner Groningen, Fre4knc and Former are linking up this Saturday for a special live stream in support of two very important local causes; a local venue Simplon that gave many of the Dutch town’s artists their first break, and the local university’s corona research. They’re playing for three hours from 8pm BST / 9pm CET. Tune in.
Fresh upside your Soundcloud yesterday, Kasra dropped this 0520 Dubplate mix this week and it’s a powerful blend from start to finish. File alongside his Essential Mix in your critical Critical mix collection.
ICYMI part 1: 1991’s first lockdown live stream session. It was broadcast three weeks ago but it’s loaded with so many feel good tracks we’re still bumping it on the regular today. Watch out for vibesome bootlegs, a very cheeky Netsky and Darren Styles dub and a really cool transition into a Van Helden classic for the finale. Well played.
ICYMI part 2: Camo MC & Octo-Pi’s Light Up. Earlier this month New Zealand MC and renowned internet positive vibe merchant Camo MC reached out to fans for clips of them skanking in isolation to his and Welsh-Bristolian Octo-Pi’s latest uplifter Light Up. The result is a touching montage that represents us all. Another reminder that we are not alone in spirit!
Exercise is one of the best ways to maintain strong mental health and rising DJ RSHMR has a solution. Every Tuesday and Thursday he hosts a D&B workout around lunchtime. Jo Wicks is overrated, RSHMR is your new fitness instructor now.
If you’re looking for some tasty merch, Bristol rave collective Alternate have launched a run of a screen-printed t’s. Designed in their signature illustrated style and paying homage to their home city, these are as premium as the party crew’s events and highly limited. As sported by the daddy Randall, cop them here.
Hardcore you know the score: reissue rave revivalists Vinyl Fanatiks have recruited some foundation old school producers to make the most of their lockdown and get on the beats. The likes of Aphrodite, DJ H, Diplomat, DJ Junk and loads more all got stuck in to create Hardcore Lockdown Album. 13 new rave bombs from some of the artists who characterised the genre 30 years ago – yours for absolutely nothing.
Not quite a rewind to the hardcore days but a flex back to March this year when K2T released his debut album The Tranquillity Of Being With Yourself. We’ve only just picked up on it but it’s a nicely deep and soul body of work, of which all proceeds go to Help Musicians UK. It’s available on Bandcamp, have a little buzz here…
Look after yourselves
For final inspiration, we asked a few DJs how they’re maintaining their own strong minds now 10+ weeks into lockdown longness. Thank you Insomniax, Euphonique, Dossa & Locuzzed, Millbrook and Embers Of Light and thank you for reading and supporting these weekly Anti-Virus dispatches. Take care.
Remember they come in days. Ride it out, don’t fight it. There will be a better day soon so don’t punish yourself. I’ve found podcasts really help me clear my mind. The overthinking is the worst and when you’re focussing on something else it gives you a lot more headspace. Remember; it’s not forever. Ollie Insomniax
To manage my mental health I’ve tried to keep busy and power my time into things I’m always wishing I had more time for! Like making music, streaming and doing streams, I’ve also tried to have some ‘normality’ by planning events like I normally would and trying to adapt to the new world without losing the things I love to do. It’s also great to connect with other online festival goers and reminds me we are all in this together.
I’ve obviously had a few down days too – it can get pretty lonely, especially if you’re used to going out every weekend, so I’ve been doing regular zoom chats with family and checking in with friends more. Especially the ones who are going through an extra tough time. It has meant a lot when people have done that to me so I want to make sure I give back and lift anyone up I can, it feels good to do good in this difficult time too. Finally I’ve got out into nature when I can and when allowed – and avoided watching the news and negativity online! Feed the soul not the worry!” Euphonique
“For me personally I have struggled with mental health for a long period of time. I could never figure out a way to really be productive or stay in a good mood for longer periods of time which makes writing music or being creative really hard. People often underestimate the power of healthy food and working out. It is truly amazing how those two things have changed my workflow and mental health for the better over the last two years of implementing it into my daily routine. Having somewhat regular sleeping hours helps a lot as well. Especially in Corona times it is important to keep yourself busy. Even small tasks and goals can make your day productive and give you a feeling of achievement. Working out is something that gives you energy, so does food, it creates the right mindset to focus on what is important. In my case, it’s writing music. It is important to mention that especially nowadays, mental health is being talked about a lot and should not be kept a secret. We all struggle with it from time to time and there is nothing wrong with calling our loved ones every now and then and speaking out about it.” Millbrook
“Getting rid of alcohol has been wonderful for my mental health. Alcohol is not only a depressant but a toxin and having got rid of it has made my mind clearer and more creative when making music.” Embers Of Light.
The most obvious advice might actually be the best one: Focus on the thing in life that really matter, like spend time with your beloved one(s) at home or try to learn something new reading books or similar. Or get into stuff you usually wouldn’t do. I think it’s a great opportunity to step back and appreciate all the things you already got in life and then just make the most out of it.
Personally, the lockdown gave us more structure in our daily businesses as we just re-arranged our activities and balanced our work-life ratio. Staying busy is defo the advice to give, but we expand our minds and meanwhile both of us started songwriting and singing and even created some artworks and visuals to use for future projects. It’s probably fair enough to say we keep doing stuff we love, so probably it’s just about finding that!” Dossa & Locuzzed