LTJ Bukem and MC Conrad wowed the Taipei with a killer drum ’n’ bass set a few months ago, but what local junglists hope for is the revival of the local drum ’n’ bass scene. “Taipei has been deprived of a drum ’n’ bass night for a long time. There should at least be a drum ’n’ bass party once every few months,” complained drum ’n’ bass fan Sammy Chen. “But other than the LTJ gig, there hasn’t been one in almost a year!”
There was once a small but strong drum ’n’ bass scene in Taipei, backed by a supportive following and a reputable promoter crew called AB Koo. Many people who later turned into drum ’n’ bass loyalists or DJs got their first taste of electronic dance music and became hooked on it at the drum ’n’ bass parties at that time.
“I used to frequent those parties, too. They were small and underground but everyone was there for the love of music. It was a nice scene,” recalls Fred Hu (aka DJ FunkStar). FunkStar picked up the torch left by AB Koo (around 2002) and began promoting drum ’n’ bass parties on his own under the name of JungleMania for almost four years. His parties showcased nearly all of the best local drum ’n’ bass talent, as well as world-class artists including Friction, Bad Company and DJ Aki. But the parties suddenly went quiet when FunkStar was called up for military service one and a half years ago and there were no other promoters to continue his work.
“Drum ’n’ bass is such a niche genre that being a promoter is a hefty job. Especially when you bring in foreign talent. People think you probably make lots of money out of it, but the truth is, you end up losing money every time, because everybody always wants to get in for free, and not many people think paying for tickets is crucial for supporting the DJs and the music,” FunkStar says. But his hard work has paid off in a different way — with the connections and reputation he’s earned as a promoter, he was invited to play in London and will be flying there again this summer to do some more deejaying and attend graduate school.
But there’s a glimmer of hope on the horizon for fans of drum ’n’ bass: junglists are psyched about the arrival of Konkrete Jungle. The infamous drum ’n’ bass event that’s been running for the past 14 years in the US holds its first installment in Taipei tonight. Local drum ’n’ bass jocks Elements, Zeon and FunkStar have been recruited by NoNSeNsii (Konkrete Jungle’s representative in Washington, DC) to create a special night that runs gamut of the drum ’n’ bass sounds. “If it works out, we are looking to make it a monthly or a quarterly,” NoNSeNsii says. “Let’s all chip in a little support and flood Taiwan with some great sounding drum ’n’ bass for all the little kiddies to enjoy. I personally guarantee a great time with some great tunes!”
Koncrete Jungle Vol. 1 at Ageha, B1, 171 Songde Road, Taipei City (台北市松德路171號B1), featuring NoNSeNsii, FunkStar, Zeon, Elements and VJ Freeform1. NT$300 before 12:30am. NT$600 after. On the Net: www.ageha-taipei.com.