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Atom 1

Author: Ben Shepherd
Sunday, January 1, 1995
"Spot on!", states Atom 1 bluntly, when I ask him about the obvious passion he has for that style of beats called drum and bass. You may have heard it, its on a lot of ads and jingles nowadays, but this ain't no overnight sensation, producers have been concocting nasty beats since the beginning of the decade, and possibly before, its just that most of them have never made it out of the bedroom. " I was the first person in this town to realise the potential of drum 'n' bass enough to do something about it. I knew the style was good enough to take off in a big way, so I started pushing it, through DJ'ing and I opened up a shop to make it accessible to the public."

The shop he is talking about is Sound Boy Records, which occupies that little corner at the back of DMC in Pharan, Melbourne's premier shop for drum and bass and big beat stylee. Now the man who was pushing Roni Size, Goldie and Adam F for all those years is seeing them become global stars, without a hint of envy of protecting the music he holds so close to his heart. "(Are you happy to see artists like Adam F, Goldie and Roni Size applauded on a global scale) Yes and Yes. We can't get all possessive and funny about "our music" getting popular. Jungle is a major player now, that's what we hoped for!" says Adam in a reflective tone. With this 25 year old dynamo, Djing, remixing (he remixed Pendulum's mega hit Coma), running Soundboy, and generally living, one would assume that he has no more time to fill, yet he has now directed some of his talent towards producing. "I just finished my first single under the alias of "The Assessment". The track is called "Imminent or "The Sixth Sun", but I'm not sure yet. Its due soon on Viscous Vinyl, a local Melbourne label."

Yet it seems like drum and bass isn't progressing at the speed at which it was recently. This stagnation has been frustrating for all who know and love the style, but it seems like another mind blowing producer is going to have to come along to cure our woes, or d&b may eventually fall by the wayside. "Drum and bass isn't going anywhere for a long time," says Adam, "It's still new compared to other styles; ie house, techno, and because of its nature it has more room to grow. There's more you can do with it, I believe it will have a longer shelf life than 4/4 dance music. Anyway house and techno hasn't died yet and maybe never will. Music doesn't die, it changes form!" Wise words coming from a guy whose first musical experience came from his parents collection of the seekers. Adam is also known as the person responsible for the Panic series of parties, which featured Kenny Ken, DJ SS, and Melbourne's formidable crew comprising of System, Mavic, One LC, Trooper, Sidewinder, Panza and Atom 1 himself. "I stopped doing parties because all my time is taken up with the shop." Nonetheless he still continues to DJ around town, playing at nearly all the major raves (Aurora, Hardware, etc) and also playing around town at clubs like Riddems and Kemistry. Yet the question remains, where does his interests lie- "I'm a better DJ than I am producer, but I hope to flip that around one day."

A common talking point amongst jungle purists is that jungle has sold out, are these the harsh words of a few who cannot accept that jungle has gone through a bit of an evolution, or are they speaking the truth- "The music has got better, deeper, more produced. A lot of people love the old stuff because of the memories attached to it. But if you compare a good '94 tune to a good '98 tune you can here that drum and bass has matured amazingly, its the same guys doing it, they've just got better. Obvious really." Yet, one cannot deny that drum and bass is heading towards the grounds of "musicianship", "jazz" and other such terms synonomous with boring adult music. Even the more cynical amongst us could feel that it is heading the same way hip hop did, exploited by major labels into a commercially viable entity,