MAMPI SWIFT with MC FEARLESS , EVOL , DEMOLITION MAN and more, at Viva (8261 Woodbine), Saturday (June 3). $25 advance, more at the door. 416-330-4636.
In the world of drum 'n' bass, Mampi Swift (aka Philip Anim) is a DJ's DJ. As a producer he's had his share of hits, but he's best known for bringing strong technical skills to the craft rather than relying on having the latest unreleased dubplates or capitalizing on his production record.
"I'm passionate about DJing first and foremost," Anim firmly states from London. "I could stop recording music any day, but I'd never give up DJing. I'm actually going to put out a final album next year, and then I'm going to hang up the laptop and concentrate on running the label and helping the new guys come up."
Considering the fragile state of the dance music record business these days, it might seem a bit odd for him to be so invested in making his labels (Charge and Blade) work. There's little money in selling records any more. Instead, most make their living off DJ gigs. Independent label owners in all dance genres are struggling to figure out how to navigate this new market environment, but unlike many, Anim doesn't see that much of a future in trying to sell MP3s, and is still loyal to good old vinyl.
"Vinyl sales have decreased drastically over the past few years, and people are talking about selling MP3s instead, but with file-sharing you can see that MP3s are getting traded all over for free.
"It's not like hiphop. We're only selling a few thousand copies at best. I only play vinyl, because the way I see it, I'm running a label and trying to sell people these records, so it would be hypocritical for me to show up and play CDs all night. As well, with the way I DJ, I don't have much time to cue up the next record, so I don't want to have to wait for a CD to load up in the player."
Anim has been playing records since 1990 and did a pirate radio show for an astounding eight years. He's paid his dues, and pulls off mixes others would never even attempt. As the years have gone by and the scene has evolved, he's become somewhat frustrated at the short sets drum 'n' bass DJs are often forced to play, due to parties packed with too much talent. One hour doesn't allow you to play many songs or to go through many styles, unlike the marathon sets that certain house DJs are often booked for.
"I don't really know where it came from. Drum 'n' bass fans are really spoiled in London. On any given Friday, you can see the top 10 DJs playing at one night, and then the same on the Saturday. The promoters feel pressured to do it that way because the fans expect it now."