DILLINJA and LEMON D with RA, ILLFINGAS & MC L. NATURAL at the Living Room (330 Adelaide West), tonight (Thursday, July 18). $10 before 11 pm, $12 until midnight, $15 after. 416-979-3168.
Dillinja, the drum 'n' bass producer renowned for his chest-crushing bass lines and eerie atmospherics, has the kind of veteran status that gives him perspective on the ups and downs of the drum 'n' bass world.
While the UK Garage madness of the past few years helped push d 'n' b out of the spotlight, Dillinja (aka Karl Francis) is confident that after 12 years on the scene, things are about to swing back in his favour.
"In the UK there are six drum 'n' bass tunes in the charts," Francis gushes from the office of Valve Recordings, the label he runs with Lemon D. "The whole thing is just opening up again, which is brilliant. It got pigeonholed into a techno feel a few years back, but now there's more hiphop influences, all kinds of influences, which makes it more commercially viable, and I like it like that.
"During that techno stage, if you played anything black-influenced -- a little hiphop sample, a little dub reggae bass line or a shuffle sample -- they'd just be looking at you, like, 'What the fuck is this?' Now I can get a bit dubby and they're feeling it."
Dillinja's not exactly known for playing predictable crowd-pleasers or for flashy displays of fancy mixing. He's primarily a producer, and sees the live gig as a way of gathering feedback from his target market, as well as helping to promote tracks long before they get released properly.
"The DJing side of it for me is just for testing out new tunes. I play all my own stuff -- it's a showcase kind of thing. I don't go around and get the top 10 tunes from the top producers and do what a normal DJ does. People expect me to be testing out the new tunes, giving them some new shit. Half the set next week will be fresh, plus the older stuff you'd expect."
Count on lots of tracks from Dillinja and Lemon D's new album, Big Bad Bass, which was inspired by the 90k-watt sound system they built to test out their material. Francis will also be teasing heads with songs from an unreleased album for Test. He won't be happy if it's obscured by hyperactive MC-ing.
"Some of the MCs can get a bit annoying. I think a good MC knows when to shut up, basically. It only sounds good over certain tunes; some music you just have to let flow and let breath. There's no point booking me if you're going to be screaming over my songs. If you're playing a top-10 selection of tunes it's OK, but the new stuff, they can fuck off.
"If I do get someone who's going on a bit, I'll just stop the tune, halfway through its flow and start the song at the beginning again. They usually calm down after that."