Raves are back! After months of waiting, we can finally unite on dancefloors and resume our normal raving routines. But as much as we have longed for normality, there are many in the scene who have been tirelessly battling for change in dance music throughout lockdown and beyond.
If time away from events has taught us anything, it’s that dance music inclusivity is something we need to do more in addressing. We’ve seen many debates, squabbles and opinions online, but with the return of the rave, now is the time to really drive positive change in the industry.
A group doing exactly this is Concrete Jungyals – a female-led music and creative arts collective with the goal to support and celebrate female-identifying, non-binary, people of colour and LGBTQI+ artists within the scene by offering them opportunities for exposure and networking through events and radio. It doesn’t matter who you identify as, Concrete Jungyals are on a mission to offer a safe space to all. One hoping to encourage more of the underrepresented to participate in the music industry, and inspire others to employ more diversity, inclusion and equalising practices within their own organisations.
“Representation is EVERYTHING! It’s so important to show others that it is possible for you to exist in this space, especially the younger generation. Seeing someone that looks like you in places that you may have previously thought were out of reach is essential to your psyche and how you perceive the world. This is why collectives such as ours exist – to change the narrative from you can’t or you don’t belong to you were born for this role!” – Tiffany SK, Concrete Jungyals co-founder
The Bristol-based collective started back in 2017 as a few members with big ambitions, but Concrete Jungyals have since gone on to attract thousands of supporters, alongside hosting stages at events including Nozstock, St. Paul’s Carnival and Hospitality On The Beach. And they’re only just getting started. With their first festival bookings since 2019 now confirmed for Love Saves The Day in Bristol we’re going to be seeing a lot more from the collective in the near future.
A diverse scene is a healthy scene, and Concrete Jungyals is a roster of talent as diverse as it comes. With major event plans swiftly approaching, UKF felt it would be a good time to properly introduce each Concrete Jungyals member and find out why they love being a part of such a forward-thinking collective.
Meet the collective…
If you’re familiar with the Bristol scene then you must have heard of Concrete Jungyal resident Anais, and if you’ve been out raving since ‘freedom day’, then you will have definitely seen this artist at an event somewhere in the city (as she has pretty much been at them all…) Anais may have only been mixing for two years, but with a degree in music and audio technology guiding the way, her understanding of music is impeccable. It’s one of the reasons why she has a jungle/ragga EP dropping on a special label very soon! A big part of her progression so far has been working with Invicta Audio boss Anton Bailey, whose label has skyrocketed since lockdown began. Together, they have just launched a duo act called ANTICS. Big things incoming…
“I joined CJ about a year ago because they’re boss women in what they do, and I love that they are female-led and motivated to create opportunities for diverse people. It’s a great platform for ANTICS going forward, as both Anton and I represent two communities that drum and bass is lacking as a whole with us being a queer and person of colour duo.” – Anais
As a core member of Concrete Jungyals since joining the collective two years ago, Emmy has played an integral part in the progression of the group. She has been producing and DJing for around 4 years, taking great influence from the success of her musician friends who are just as motivated to carve out a brighter, more diverse future for the scene. But just like many of us in the industry, Emmy’s mum has been key to her ambitions with a burning love for underground music and the culture associated with it. Let’s face it, if your mum is a certified music head, then you’re guaranteed to be one too!
“I love being a part of CJ for a lot of reasons. The main one is the solidarity the collective brings. It’s not always easy being a female in this industry. Having a core supportive group with the same values as you does so many things for not only me but also many other folk in the industry.” – Emmy
A genderqueer producer & vocalist who recently released their debut EP Queer + Black, Grove has been steadily growing into a glowing gem of an artist. Making music from the heart is one thing, but releasing music with empowering messaging is another, and this is exactly what Grove does. It’s no wonder why Mixmag picked their debut EP as one of the publication’s ‘Best Albums of The Year’. Filled with insight into the process of a person discovering themselves, alongside a weighty blend of jungle, dancehall, punk and pop, Queer + Black is testament to an artist who is instilling positivity into our scene, alongside inspiring others to express themselves. Grove is still developing their mixing ability, but we assure you this artist will be lighting up dancefloors in the not so distant future.
“I’m a pretty new addition to Concrete Jungyals and have been floating around this crew for the past few months. I love being a part of Concrete Jungyals because there’s a power within collectives, and using that to further empower underrepresented groups is a sustainable cycle that will hopefully result in permanent change.” – Grove
Another highly regarded Concrete Jungyals resident, Lotu has been working away at her craft for six years. Grime, drill, industrial, experimental, dubstep/140 – you name it, Lotu has probably dabbled in it. The latter of those genres is the one that initially sparked the artist’s love of playing loud noises in dark, dingy rooms – a love leading her to Bristol three years ago so that she could surround herself in soundsystem culture. Inspired by the likes of Deep Medi, Mala and Coki, you can expect Lotu’s DJ sets to be filled with bass-rattling beats. Keep an eye out for her alternative bass music alias 333, which she hosts a show with on 1020 Radio in Bristol.
“I love being a part of Concrete Jungyals for many reasons – one being because those gyals are amazing human beings and I adore them. Secondly, their ambition to create a platform for female artists to showcase their music and create movement is really special. There’s something so unique about Concrete Jungyals and that’s the love and support between us all, despite each artist having their own individuality”. – Lotu
An exciting D&B artist who moved to the UK from Australia in 2017, Concrete Jungyals resident missledz has since been sending waves throughout the scene. With 14 years of mixing experience behind her, including stand out mixes for Rene LaVice on Radio one and a main stage performance at Cross Club in Prague, you can guarantee a missledz DJ set will bang. Plus, her production is swiftly garnering a similar reputation. Just look at her debut Chase The Ace EP on Rebel Music, which attracted major interest from big players in the scene. missledz’ production is heavily inspired by a love of techstep and neurofunk from the early-mid 2000s – something you can clearly hear in the shuffle of her drums and the grit of her bass. If you’re unable to catch missledz at a show anytime soon, then make sure to keep an eye out for her regular residency on Goat Shed.
“I played for Concrete Jungyals at Thekla in 2019 and loved the vibe and energy of the crew. I was approached by them following that event and was delighted to get involved. I love being a part of the collective as the team are super supportive and want to help us out in any way they can. The music industry can be tough, so it’s really nice to have a space to ask questions and get advice. The group’s ethos and values resonate with me. I feel it’s important to be inclusive by promoting equality and empowerment for all (especially those in minority groups), and Concrete Jungyals is great at this.” – missledz
One of Concrete Jungyals co-founders, Sasha has witnessed first-hand how far the collective has grown in a matter of years. She originally moved to Bristol in 2015 and spent time building connections within the city as a member of both Team Love and Motion’s street teams. This helped her to shape the platform for the Concrete Jungyals venture, and network with artists who could see the positivity of Sasha’s vision.
“I’ve been a part of Concrete Jungyals since day one and it has definitely become my baby. We’ve managed to accomplish so much so quickly, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I can finally celebrate talented artists and DJs who don’t get the recognition they deserve. Working in a male-dominated industry isn’t easy but it shows that it’s possible for women to do everything men are doing. If I can’t join a seat at their table, you best believe I’m building my own damn table!” – Sasha SK
Another founding member of Concrete Jungyals, Tiffany SK has been making strides within the music industry since moving to Bristol in 2014. Like Sasha, she initially had a role with Motion’s street team, but the ambition to pursue her own career in music was sitting at the back of her mind, ready to be ignited. In 2020, Tiffany took the leap by joining Saffron Records’ Mix Nights program – an 8 week DJ course for women and non-binary persons. She may still be in the early stages of her artistic development, but with interests in genres such as D&B, jungle, footwork, grime and hip-hop, you can expect a whole bag of exciting unpredictability from Tiffany going forward. This passion for diverse music is key to Tiffany’s Concrete Jungyals ambitions.
“I initially started Concrete Jungyals with Sasha and Amy Glover – who also designed the artwork. We then recruited a few other creative women to join. We were all huge music lovers and wanted to create a safe space where we could share our creative ideas and skills in a prejudice free environment. I love being a part of Concrete Jungyals because it’s a community where we can all grow, support and learn together. It’s so important to have some sort of support mechanisms around you, especially in an industry as tough as the music industry.” – Tiffany SK