Squat raves, skating and soca with the Bristol jungle doyen.
Like his contemporaries and labelmates Krust, Roni Size and Suv, DJ Die isn't just an essential piece of Bristol music history—he's a key part of the larger story of drum & bass itself. As the '80s turned to the '90s, he experienced how the shared ethos of different DIY cultures culminated into Bristol's peculiarly rich scene, bringing together everything from skateboarding to hip-hop, rave, punk, the squat scene and sound system parties. Drawing from this heritage, Die was an instantly recognisable producer by the end of the decade, building his name with rude but minimalistic records on V Recordings and Full Cycle that are as highly regarded today as they were nearly thirty years ago—just check The Archives 1995-2000 if you need convincing.
Along with his Bristol collaborators, Die was later caught up in a whirlwind of global touring as drum & bass became an international concern. But the experience helped foster a vision of music beyond drum & bass, which he's developed most noticeably in recent years on his Gutterfunk label. In conversation with Joe Muggs, we hear of the melting pot of subcultures feeding into the Bristol scene and how Die's committed to taking the hard road of working outside his signature sound in order to stay true to a wider field of influences and instincts.
The RA Exchange is also available on Spotify.