Decks and Beats and NRG: meet the boys from the Ranch
Reported by SunnyAli
Submitted 19-03-08 12:30
Canadian DJs Sebby Bozak and DJ Destructo got so hooked on hard house they teamed up to start their own digital record label The Beat Ranch Digital. It’s a labour of love that marries their international DJing experience with opportunities to foster new talent around the world. We sent SunnyAli with a bunch of roses to find out their deepest heartfelt secrets.
Their love of all sounds hard and fast has taken them on a whirlwind journey through euphoric hard trance, old school happy hardcore and driving hard house to their current space in the outer spheres of hard nu-nrg house à la Frank Farrell. As DJs, they’re a meeting of minds with an infectious enthusiasm for the club scene and sniffing out new and upcoming producers. Having ridden the club wave from the back in the day rave parties to the present, they’re well qualified to bring new sounds forward.
They’re still playing out, and have added more strings to their bows with their side projects in radio and now on the internet. The Beat Ranch started life as a radio show they couldn’t bear to end, so they built their own website to publicise the hard house scene and show off their mixes. Today, it’s a full scale digital label that has attracted many new and emerging DJs and producers and now includes interviews, news and unheard mixes and, of course, newly signed tracks.
For the two masterminds of the label, though, there’s still one final frontier to explore; they’re now branching out into their own productions, both together and solo. I asked them for the full story on how they got this far.
Let’s start at the beginning. You both got into hard house / hard trance with a bang – tell me a bit more about your first raves and how the music turned into a career for you?
Destructo: I started going to raves fairly late – my first party was in 2002 after the rave boom here in Canada had slowed down. When I went to my first rave, I spent most of the time just walking around just amazed (I am not much of a dancer) but at the end of the night I got a CD which just said DJ FX on it. It didn’t leave my CD player for months. I fell in love with the sound right away; electronic, yet tough and energetic at the same time. I can remember thinking “This is what I have been looking for”. It wasn’t until I met Seb a couple of parties after that I could put a name to the sound which was hard house.
Sebby Bozak: My brother introduced me to the rave scene in 98 when I was 17 –18. I just didn’t get it at that time, there where thousands of people dancing and worshipping the speakers to this banging house music – it wasn’t until certain influences made it all make sense, then I was one of those people worshipping the DJ booth. In 99 I discovered trance and loved it. Seeing DJs like M-Zone got me hooked, but then the power of happy hardcore drew me right in and I bought a pair of turntables. I played hardcore for a year or so, until Chris C came to town in 2001 and introduced me to the “nu-nrg” sound. I started buying nu-nrg soon after that and haven’t looked back since.
I remember when I started playing nrg out at parties I had one fan who would always show up and cheer me on and I’d always give him a CD. We started chatting and I gave him a few lessons and well now he’s my DJ partner, DJ Destructo.
You seem to have plenty of favourite sounds in common – which styles of hard house do you share, and which do you play alone?
Destructo: On my own I find recently I have been more into the filthy nrg, Narc and Grady type of stuff. When we play together, we can play pretty much any style, I find Seb goes towards a more the Dave Owens & Frank Farrell style, while I play the more darker and evil side of the spectrum.
Sebby Bozak: I find our styles are always evolving: when I started playing nrg I was playing the trancey sound. When I started playing harder edged sounds like Glazby, Brian was playing the trancey sound. When I started playing the really filthy sound like Kam & Grady, Brian was playing the hard sound and so on. Right now the sound I have been really keen on is the Frank Farrell, Dave Owens, Riggsy, Darrell White, Alvez sound that is coming out and it seems that Brian is now keen on the filthy sound. Because Brian and I have been DJing together for so long we have collected so many different styles we can play a wide range of sets from hard trance to nrg.
Who or what have been your main influences over the years? What would you say are shared influences and where do you differ?
Destructo: Seb has been a big influence for me. There are times where I have gone to his place, played some tunes with him and I end up saying to him “Oh you got that tune? I am not a big fan of that” but later that week I will be listening to our mix and it will end up growing on me and I will end up buying it haha. The producers I look up to are Dynamic Intervention, Marc Johnson, Riggsy, Kam-Pain, Guyver, Edison Factor, Carl Nicholson, the list could go on and on.
Sebby Bozak: Well in the beginning my influences for DJing where hardcore DJs like Brisk, Ham, Luna-C, Scott Brown. When I discovered nrg I there was one local DJ, Subsonic Chronic who played really good nrg. The rave scene was good here at the time too so I got to see a lot of big names at the time like Chris C, Madam Zu, Dynamic Intervention and Ilogik to name a few . I was also buying a lot of their tunes. I got to meet Madam Zu a few times and became friends so she was a big influence. I also bought early Kaktai, Recharge, Split Screen, Bulletproof tracks.
Now my influences are all the people out there who are writing good tracks and helping to push the scene along. Since having the website up we have met a lot of influential people who are in it for the music and not the dollar.
What’s your newest buzz at the moment? A new track, label, DJ or event that you’ve just discovered and is doing it for you??
Destructo: Darrell White has been blasting out tunes lately, got some awesome stuff from that guy. On the DJing front, Andy K has been in my mp3 player for some time now. DJ Opel brought Riggsy over here to Toronto a couple weeks ago, he rocked it!
Sebby Bozak: Darrell White is really one to watch out for. His sound is really dope and his remix of Just Say No To Drugs is a top tune. Also in the up and comers would be Alvez, Hilz –E and Gazz Hunt. Karl Davis has a couple new tunes out that I just love on his Pure Nrg label. He’s also unleashed Equinox, back in true form with his tune Flow. Riggsy’s set two weeks ago was phenomenal and meeting him was a blast too. What a nice guy.
You’re both Canada-based, but love your UK music. Is there a big UK-influenced scene in Canada? What’s the scene like locally?
Destructo: The UK sound gets lots of plays over here. We do have our own artists though, like Rodi Style (who you stole from us thank you very much haha), Cynex, (who has been a huge help for us, and will be one to look out for in the future), Bryan Doyle, Opel, Klonez and Restricted Viewing, all of them producing some wicked tracks. The scene here is very small, and very community based. This leads to a lot of politics in the scene, so some promoters will lean towards booking their friends regardless of talent, so they have more support, which leads to the same DJs playing in and out every weekend.
Sebby Bozak: It really depends on what type of party you’re going to. The house scene is mostly local producers from Canada or the US where as the jungle and hard dance scene is mainly UK based music with the odd local production here and there. Like the artists Brian mentions above.
What are your sets like when you play out together? Are you crowd pleasing showoffs, or quiet and minimalist?
Destructo: I tend to be a bit on the quiet side, but it depends how much I have had to drink before I go up, haha!
Sebby Bozak: I’m more of the hype man when we play out together. I really try to get the crowd going while Brian mixes. When I get on the decks I really have no idea what I’m gonna play so I usually get hyped during some tracks and really bust out for the crowd . I tend to break out in a dance between mixes and it gets the crowd going. I really like going to the dancefloor too sometimes when Brian is mixing because I’m a raver too.
What are your top five favourite tracks to get the dancefloor going the moment?
1.Smyrky & Seraya – Beating Death
2. Darrell White – Fine Day (2008 mix)
3. Hilz’E n Kynetik – Tell Ya Something
4. Nik Denton vs. Paul Glazby - Paranoid
5. Darrell White - Take You Higher
Dave Owens – Sour Cream & Chive
Gazz Hunt & Nasty Neil – Just Say No To Drugs (Darrell White remix)
Defective Audio & Mr Clarke – Sawtooth Sandwich
Beatniqs – Kick it (Frank Farrell & Riggsy remix)
Dave Owen & Richard Toomz - Screwloose
What’s the best bit of advice you’ve been given to help your music career?
Destructo: Have fun, and believe in yourself.
Sebby Bozak: “Nobody gives a shit about hard house and the rave scene anymore” All this is for them
You’ve got into the management side – running the Beat Ranch – as well as playing out – how did this happen? What’s the attraction of this for you?
Destructo & Sebby Bozak: The Beat Ranch was created after our online radio show on 1Groove.com (also called The Beat Ranch) came to an end. We thought it would be perfect to start up our own site, where we could host mixes and info on ourselves. Again we wanted to support the scene any way we could, so we started up a guest slot for anyone who wanted some exposure for the week. That lead to the permanent residencies of Dan Dyson and Space Sentinelz, all invaluable members of TheBeatRanch.com.
We started getting a lot of DJs & producers coming to us for a chance to be on the site. So we thought why not start up an interviews section to give established producers some more exposure and a chance to showcase their new material which we hoped helps them get some track signings and gigs. We got so much positive feedback from the site that we decided to expand the site and start out our digital label, which has had some great reviews and chart toppers.
What’s the goal of the Beat Ranch – are you focused on growing new talents, or getting exposure for UK producers in Canada? How do you pick what gets released on your label?
Destructo: I think the goal has always been is that it’s for everyone. We want to be able to give exposure to anyone who wants it. I am tired of the attitude of some of the events and record shops here where, unless you know this guy or that girl, you don’t stand a chance. That’s not what the hard house scene should be about. The internet has opened up the playing field for a lot of new producers and DJs like us. So we are all ears to new material regardless of who you are.
Sebby Bozak: Because we are a budding digital label we tend to source out up and coming producers who have great tunes that may have been over looked or just not signed. We have some great tracks out by Gazz Hunt & Nasty Neil and Darrell White. Also coming soon on the Ranch is a Hilz-E track. All these guys are people to watch out for. We also tend to get big name producers on the label once in a while like Grady G, Riggsy, Narc, and Frank Farrell.
There are enormous amounts of music now being made and distributed on the internet. Does it take longer to find good tunes because there’s so much choice out there now?
Destructo: There are a lot more artists out now, that’s for sure. If I find a track I like, I will usually look at the rest of the artist’s tracks to find other tunes I might have missed out on, or not heard before. I still buy vinyl, so I spend a lot of time on BangingTunes.com checking out the new releases. I also check out TrackItDown.net for new digital tunes as well.
Sebby Bozak: I buy more vinyl so I tend to stick to labels really and when a new producer comes along who I haven’t heard before I’ll search around various sites to see what else they may have released and if I like it I’ll buy it whether digital or vinyl.
You both say you want to make more tunes and get more into production. Are you planning to make more tracks together?
Destructo: At the moment I am working on a solo EP, hopefully out in April this year. We are both working on some remixes as well. So be sure to keep your ears open for those.
Sebby Bozak: Well the reason I want to produce is to push the scene along and try to contribute as much as I can. We are both self taught and have 2 releases out at the moment. One is a tune called Nato the remix by Kam-Pain & Space Sentinals was released on Twisted Traxx. The other track is a remix Brian and I did for Dramatik Called Fuck The Prom Queen which is on TheBeatRanch Digital. I have almost finished my 1st solo track Drug Abuse and plan on making many more tracks. We also have a few remixes in the works too.
The Beat Ranch currently has a Remix Competition going for all the upcoming producers out there. If you want to take a crack at it check it out here: http://www.thebeatranch.com/comp.html
To book Sebby and/or DJ Destructo, or for all enquiries about The Beat Ranch contact them direct on email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos courtesy of The Beat Ranch. Not to be reproduced without permission
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