Whether your membership of the whistle or horn crew is active or lapsed, the latest edition of the 1 More Mix series is most definitely for you.
Introducing Arkyn; a new-gen rave draftsman who speaks in the most classical of languages. Rooted in the sound of 1993 but fully charged with attitude of 2023, the London-based 27 year old is at the forefront of the new wave of hardcore/jungle techno/rave/jungle fluency right now, joining dots between generations and genres with the same free-spirited, open-armed energy that founded this whole movement in the first place.
It’s an energy that’s building with every missive he drops, be it on his own TufStuf Records, 3AM Eternal, Good2Go or, most recently, Billy Daniel Bunter’s Music Mondays with his mighty Speed = Hardcore EP. Four tracks of timeless rave hedonism, the release comes with some beautiful artwork by the super talented Jelly. The first of a four part series, each piece of artwork is part of a much bigger picture. Very much like each raver being part of a bigger movement. It’s a movement that’s at the heart of Arkyn’s mix. Loaded with exclusives, dubs and cult classics, this is an exceptional trip.
I’ve got too many things on the go, but nothing’s quite finished. You know the feeling?
Haha. I make music mate, I know the feeling too well. It takes discipline to stick with it doesn’t it? Stick with something, finish it, move on.
What’s your discipline like?
It’s not bad actually. I did a lot of sport when I was a kid and realised that if you put in a lot of work then you can be good at it. So I’m quite disciplined with making music. Working full time, too… you have to be disciplined. Getting home at night, sometimes the last thing I want to do is turn on my computer but I push myself because I know it’s what I need to do.
I hear that! What sports did you do?
I used to be a rower and took it to national championship level. I sacrificed a lot of the usual teenage social life stuff. Until I hit 18 and went to a rave and my life changed massively. Now here I am.
Did you get home from the rave and snap your oars and go, ‘Fuck rowing! I’m a raver now!’
Haha. No it was a bit more gradual than that but effectively that’s what happened over the course of 10 months.
Did producing come into this new life as a raver straight away?
No I’ve only been producing for three years but I did get into DJing pretty quickly. In Northamptonshire there weren’t enough parties doing the sound we wanted to hear. A few friends had rigs and I was helping out. Within a year I was helping run parties, DJing, helping with line-ups and getting involved in every way I could. That’s how I met Daniel – Billy Bunter – it was at one of our events around five or six years ago. We booked him for a b2b with Lavery.
Ahhh that’s the link-up!
Yeah although we didn’t actually properly meet again for years later. But that’s where I cut my teeth. Northampton, every weekend, DJing and putting on really sick parties with my friends.
What was the name of night and soundsystem?
It was called Cypha soundsystem but I’m no longer part of that crew. The club shut down and we got into the free party scene with big events in Wales and warehouses and things like that. Then I moved to London and got into things here. I was still DJing at the timebut production gradually came into it and transformed everything. That’s when I found my sound and got really into jungle. I’d never really found my sound. I was playing a lot of hard trance and acid techno before that.
I can pin point it exactly. In November 2019 my friend James Youens ran a night called Jungle Sessions with Coco Bryce, Dwarde and Lavery. I’d just started messing around making jungle but after that night I was hooked. The sound and the vibe blew me away.
Sick! So I’m guessing lockdown was the moment you knuckled down and got your production chops up to speed?
Yeah I was furloughed from work and endlessly made music for five months. I literally didn’t do anything else. It definitely sped up my process and following that I had a few vinyl releases and it’s been building up from there.
Classic lockdown silver lining. You launched TufStuf Records during all this time, too, right?
Yeah in January 2021 I had the idea and then had all the music ready by the end of February. I wanted to create a space where have creative control with the sound, the music, the artwork and everything. There are loads of labels I’d love to work with and have worked with but having TufStuf is another outlet I can be free and flexible with. It’s nice to have a platform where I can support talented artists too. A lot of labels won’t sign new artists as they don’t have much following so it’s cool to be able to give people a chance and get their music out.
Such an important thing to do!
Yeah I think so and also if that artist goes on to have a great career they’ll always be loyal to you. You don’t forget people who give you those types of opportunities.
Absolutely. So this release on Music Mondays has been a long time coming if you’ve known Bunter for years!
Well we weren’t in contact for a long time and then Dan was in touch with Vinyl Junkie about his Rave Story event and asked about TufStuf as he’d picked up on a release of mine. Vinyl Junkie is a mate and told him I ran it. Dan remembered the name but couldn’t think where from. We spoke and I reminded him about his b2b with Lavery and he remembered the night. We got chatting, I played Rave Story and shared some tunes with him for his radio show. Some of those tunes were Captive and Speed = Hardcore and he loved them. I suggested an EP, made the tracks My Mind and No Right, he loved them. That’s how we started working together again.
Sick. I love Dan’s take on the old and new rave movements and how he’s really bringing it all together and joining those dots. You’re a new generation artist, what is it about those classic sounds for you that inspires you?
For me the jungle and hardcore is ruleless. Anything goes, you know? There are no rules in terms of beats or structure or the sounds you’re using. It gives you so much scope for creativity. You don’t have to be a perfectionist – it’s raw and rough and ready. A lot of modern drum & bass feels overly produced. Like too much technical skill and not enough creativity. Whereas with jungle and hardcore it’s more raw creative energy. It’s so varied as well. It’s not segregated into little sub categories. Everyone is into everything and that energy is really inspiring. Plus it’s timeless. You listen to some tracks made almost 30 years ago and they still sound completely contemporary and futuristic.
Yeah man! I was at Rupture and Double O was playing this incredible set. Never heard anything like it. I thought it was all contemporary dubs but an older mate of mine told me it was pretty much all 91/92 stuff.
Mate! I was there. I was on that dancefloor, too. And that’s exactly what I mean. I take a lot of inspiration from Rupture.
Me too. We’ve probably danced right by each other if you’re a regular there too
Probably. Rupture and Distant Planet are my favourite raves in London right now. Rupture push the drum & bass a lot more and Distant Planet are more on that hardcore and jungle techno crossover vibe but both have something very special about them.
Do you play at Distant Planet?
Yeah I’ve played for them. Simon and Louise at Distant Planet are responsible for helping me establish myself in the London music scene. I didn’t know many people in the scene and I message Louise on Facebook and asked if I could send her a test press to play on their Kool show. I sent them the record and they played it on Kool quite a few times. I went to their first Distant Planet after lockdown and Louise played one of the tracks and I got to know them – they’ve been amazing introducing me to people and supporting my music. I’ve made so many great friends through them. And Rupture, too. Through those nights I’ve really built up my network as a raver and as an artist.
Love that! Tell us all about the mix. I know this is going to be good because you’ve come from DJ roots!
Yeah. I’m into jungle, jungle techno and hardcore. I love them all and given the choice I love to play all of those styles. Start off with jungle techno, move into hardcore and kick off with some proper amen jungle at the end… So that’s the vibe I’m going for. There’ll be a few tunes and dubs of mine, too.
You’re a vinyl guy too, right?
I do love vinyl and mix it whenever I can. I grew up with my parent’s vinyl collection and have fond memories of playing my mum’s dub records at a really young age. I’ve only been mixing it on wax for a few years and I do really love mixing with it. You feel more connected with the music, physically and going record shopping and things like that. But I mix digitally too so I’m definitely no purist.
Having the best of both worlds!
Totally! And nothing beats playing vinyl in a club when it’s all set up right.
Amen. Anything else we need to know?
I need to big up Eruption Radio for all their generosity and support and also Lee Croucher at Good2Go for all the support and guidance he’s shown me in the past couple of years. I also want to shout out FFF and 3am Eternal, they dropped a release of mine with DJ Sofa. That’s on pre-order now. There’ll also be a second record with Music Mondays later this year and more to come which I can’t quite confirm. I’m also planning some more releases on TufStuf very soon, so expect my third and fourth releases this year. And I’m starting a new jungle techno alias and put out some dubs.
Sick! Can’t wait to hear it all!
Yeah it’s coming together. Just need to finish it all and, like we were saying, it’s one step at a time.