To celebrate the launch of the Air Max 95 ‘110’, we’ll be hosting a special launch event with Mantra at Phonox London. With Mantra resident DJ’s Bossy LDN in attendance, we’ll also have special appearances from Wookie, O-DESSA and Ollie Rant.
Leading up to our next party at Mantra to celebrate the launch of the Nike Air Max 95 ‘110’, we caught up with the DJ’s who’ll be performing on the night to get an insight into their individual stories and how they to go where they are now, whilst also giving them a first hand look at the Air Max 95 ‘110’ that we’ll be celebrating on the night.
Giving you a taste of what the night will be like, Ollie Rant also took to the decks to provide us with a pre-Mantra warm up mix. check out the mix and the interviews below and make sure to head over to Mantra to grab your tickets!
Footpatrol: When it comes to music what was your main attraction to DJing that made you want to pursue it?
Wookie – To be honest, how I became a DJ is because Record Shop disappeared and I wasn’t selling records anymore so I had to find a new revenue stream to make money so I started to DJ. I was always around it through Hip Hop and R&B with my school friends right through the raving Jungle days. I’ve seen House, now I’m talking about New York House guys like Tim Regisford, I’ve seen them all DJ and I kind of got my own way of DJing based on all the different scenes. So I think that’s where I built up my identity.
Ollie Rant – I began making music when I was in school and figured the best way for me to perform it, was to learn to dj, always seemed like a bit of a dark art so I guess curiosity also played a large part .
O-DESSA – I was fortunate to be exposed to my family playing music around me from a very young age. Be it my Dad and his obsession with high-end audio equipment, banging Bhangra, Punjabi folk music or anything around the 80s/90s era; my uncle with his 90s rap tapes, chucking me 36 Chambers and Black Moon (among others) for my walkman when I was 6/7, and my auntie who loved Prince and Jungle. I can’t really remember a time without music to be fair.
Collecting records and making beats came first before DJing. I started taking music production seriously around 2009 and got some records of my own out around that time. I was frequenting Plastic People and swapping music with like minded producers. Having access to certain dubs and an abundance of new music from around the world prompted the idea of starting to DJ and a label.
I linked up with a good friend of mine (DJ Syte) who was also on releasing other people’s music and he was on a pirate radio station called React FM. He encouraged me to jump on the DJing thing with him. Back then that was a big deal, you really had to have skill to be on a pirate station, it wasn’t a joke. But in all honesty, I was pretty rusty when I first started. I forced myself to learn in the 1210’s before I even touched a CDJ. I looked at it like driving a manual car then moving to automatic. By the time I started using CD’s I hated how sensitive they were and the sound was way sharper than that of a record. Funny how now that’s all I use, pioneer CDJ’s, a USB and the odd record here and there if it’s real special. Still collecting records though!
Izzy BL – Well we felt like there weren’t enough women in the trap hip hop area, because that’s seen as a more male dominated genre, and it is. We wanted to kick the door down and be like it doesn’t matter what you look like, where you come from, what gender you are you can DJ whatever you want. It was quite strange because when we first DJ’d people thought we’d be playing Spice Girls.
Dee BL – We would actually get messages from people asking what our music is like.
IBL – Then we would come up and play Trap from like New York, Atlanta, Miami that no one had heard before and everybody would be so shocked!
DBL – I think that’s what attracted us to DJing as well. We’ve had our NTS show for 4 years, and we are always playing upcoming rappers and underground trap. We played a lot of music that people didn’t know and that gave us a chance to play it out and educate people into new music. It always goes down really well, we always get comments after saying that we always play new music that we never heard.
FP: What was your favourite set that you’ve done so far, and, what was your favourite set that you’ve seen in the last decade?
W – You know one time I played in Australia in Sydney and the promoter asked me the next day on my day off saying, we do this thing at the house where we get a bunch of friends round and wondered if I would play at the party. I said yeah why not, I obviously wasn’t getting paid it was just for fun and it was only about 20/25 or so, but it was so much fun! Loads of beer and drinks, casual and I think I played for like 3hrs. They had a GoPro on a bottle of champagne because they were called Champagne Life I think. I will always remember that set. As for favourite set, anytime DJ Randall is playing the Blue note.
OR – Probably last month over in Copenhagen at Bakan for the Index Life Party, playing abroad with the music you love is an unbeatable feeling
OD – Tricky question. Some of my fondest memories were at a party I started in Peckham under ‘Ghost Notes’, summer ’16. The space was in the back of Copeland yard, essentially an outdoor area with a bar behind a warehouse. The idea was to have a space for everyone, free to access, showcasing local photographers and above all allow DJ’s to play whatever sound they wanted. Those parties were live. They started around 4pm till 2am. I had a ton of people play, even DJ Sinta – who’s one of the leading Grime DJ’s out of Japan. It was a madness. The idea later formed ‘Ghost Notes Worldwide’ a label and radio show on NTS I run with Impey.
For me, the moments when I have DJ’d alongside my friends or a bag of them are in the dance, is the kind of energy I want from a shubz or rave. I’ve never been into the big venue thing, idolising DJ’s on stages, nah. It’s all about having your family around you getting you gassed when your runnin’ tunes. Yeah, that moment was at We Out Here Festival, I was DJing to a crowd who I didn’t think would get down to what I played and I asked my pal Peigh to jump on the mic. Fair to say we shut it down! Also, playing Lemon Lounge with Selassie TBC. There’s not many people I feel comfortable going B2B with but I feel like we are on a similar tip so it’s a like a clash of who’s got the best riddims, that’s always fun!
Can’t forget to mention Sukh Knight too, playing a Bhangra set at my engagement party. He had made Bhangra versions of ‘That’s Not Me’ and ‘Jump Man’. Yeah, that was a moment! Might drop them at Mantra still.
IBL – We’ve only been DJing for about 2 years so I can only pick from that, but we threw a Hot Girls party for Megan Thee Stallion, it was a Bossy LDN Hot Girls summer party and she hosted the event. She was in the crowd, it was so busy and we hosted it in Metropolis Strip Club, which also was a bit different. It was our own party but I loved DJing there so much cos the energy from the crowd was MAD. I have never received such energy and there were so many girls in there which was sick to see! That’s my favourite one.
DBL – I think that was one of my favourites too. However we played Place + Faces in Coco and the crowd was like 5,000.
IBL – We got an early set and it went OOOOOFFFFFFF!
DBL – Yeah and it was the biggest crowd that we had played to in our career so far! Obviously the Hot Girl Party was one of the best ones but this one was so much fun and we had a huge art visual behind us.
IBL – I don’t have a favorite set I’ve seen but one of my favourite DJs to watch play is Venus X from New York. What she does on the decks is a madness, I’m a DJ and I look at her and think I want you to teach me.
DBL – I’m trying to think, all our friends are really good DJs and make their own stuff like Jamobeats. He’s always good to watch, he makes the party go off
FP: Do you see there being a big connection between sneakers and music?
W – Sneakers is Streetwear and like I was saying to you earlier because I’m slightly older I came out of the sneaker scene in the mid 90s. I do lean towards a tennis shoe though over a running shoe that’s where my style was different, I don’t think I’ve actually owned a pair of 95s. I’ve always liked them but I never bought them! It was possibly because everyone had them, if everybody buys them I don’t really want to buy it.
OD – There’s always been a correlation between fashion and music. With any subculture you define yourself by your style, be it the way you dress, the music you listen to, the slang or even the way you keep your hair.
The role that brands played in the early hip-hop era, through to the importance of the Nike Air range in London’s underground sound. These and other major brands have latched on to movements since the dawn of time. Music has set the ‘trends’ we see on the runways these days. Especially in street culture. The kids weren’t wearing things coz they saw Virgil did it, these were items you aspired to have from your surroundings. If all you’ve known is Nike tracksuits, 110’s and new eras then you’re on Channel U looking fly with a sound of a generation, you’re going to encourage those around you to do the same. I mean, that could also be Wu with Wallabees or Big with Versace shades. It’s all relative.
Although I feel the nuances are lost, the same still applies today, instead we’re hearing about luxury trainers and designer goods in drill tunes.
DBL – I think nowadays fashion, culture and music are all connected and as an artist people look at you for what you wear.
IBL – I think it’s 2 communities and cultures that relate together as one because a lot of the people like the same things. It’s like people like wearing trainers but at the same time they like to wear them to something that’s music related.
DBL – People like to belong somewhere it brings people together, it’s a movement. When Punk was a thing everybody wanted to dress the same, it felt like you were part of something. I feel like that’s what we have now.
FP: What does London mean to you, has it been a big influence on your music and style or have you always found your own way?
W – I would not put myself in a different place in terms of how London influences me. It’s an old cliche term but when then say melting pot of different cultures, it is! London specifically has this mixture of cultures and influences of different music that we all borrowed from here, there and everywhere. It’s like Jungle wouldn’t have come out of anywhere other than England, to me it was born in East London. Garage, Grime and all this popular street music all came out of London.
OR – It’s the place I feel the most connected to something be it music or just my friends currently my entire life revolves around this city. They are so heavily intertwined it’s hard to pull them apart but I feel incredibly influenced by the city I live in – the majority of the music I’m playing is made here and if not its informed by London and the UK.
OD – As I said music has played a big part in all the subcultures I’ve been a part of.
I’ve never been one to steal a man’s style. I’ll leave that to all them ’influencers’ haha. Jokes aside, you either have style or you rely on trends to lead you. I’ve always been into so many things that my references are from all over. I’ve never been one to do a certain ‘look’ . It’s always a mixture of things, and all the influences throughout my life from my style. Skateboarding, music, travelling and even London.
The beauty of London is how progressive it is. Things move fast man, you need to keep up. Having friends around that are on creative stuff is a constant inspiration. Sharing ideas, music and style has been a big part of my style today.
BNTL. For real, for real. This was the most exciting era of London for me. No doubt, we always looked back at the likes of what Andrew Weatherall (RIP) did with Boys Own, Goldie with Metalheadz and Blue Note or Cuts and the OG Soho crew. But I feel we had our own thing too, we had a chapter in London. The whole ’streetwear’ thing really was bubbling back then as well. The Hideout, Bond International, Slam City, PWBC, 1948, The Reset, Trapstar, A.IN.T, Plastic People, Alibi, Just Jam, Deviation, the birth of Wavey Garms and Dukes Cupboard and a ton of other shit thats played a big part in what’s popping in London today.
IBL – London means a lot to me because I’m born and bred London. It’s quite hard to find people who are from London who work in the creative industry as so many people move into London for those roles. London is my home and has made me who I am style, music, everything.
DBL – For me I moved to london when I was 21, I think a lot of the places you can dress how you want, play what music you want when you’re out, people are more open and are more willing to listen to what you have to say.
FP: What was your earliest memory of Airmax?
W – It would have been in School, the times where I used to go Ice Skating and used to go skating on Saturdays. There were probably around 9 or 10 of us in trainers and I know some of us had Airmax back then. I always had Nikes but I never remembered the name!
OR – Being told they were too expensive by parents and fobbed off with some budget copies that had a fake plastic air bubble.
OD – My uncle taking shopping for my birthday and trying to convince me to buy silver bullets. I wasn’t feeling them back then. Wish he just made me cop them!
IBL – My auntie Sara! When I was younger she was my fashion icon, she’s just a G and she still is right now. She only wore Airmax and she had the OG Neon Airmax 95. I think I was like 9 and I always used to say ‘Oh my god, please can I have your trainers’ even though we weren’t the same size. I feel like that’s why I only wear Nike on my feet for sports.
DBL – The Airmax 1 was the first pair I bought with my own money when I was a teenager. It was quite an expensive thing buying Airmax then. I was never kids sizes! I was a size 6 then and have been forever! But yeah that’s my earliest memory.
FP: Coming back to music, if there was one DJ you could do a B2B with who would it be and why?
W – DJ Randall
OD – Going B2B with someone is sometimes difficult, especially if you’re into different music. That said, I had some wicked sets on NTS, house parties with DJ pals. The best ones are them impromptu B2B’s!
IBL – Dee
DBL – Izzy
FP: What can we look forward to from you 2020?
W – I’m supposed to be doing a new album basically, my first album came out in 2000 and if I get my shit together and get it done in time I should be able to release the album at the same time for the same time that it was released 20 years ago, November 2020 as supposed to November 2000. By telling you I’ve now put extra pressure on myself! But yeah thats my plan for 2020.
OR – My first release on Hardline Sounds as part of comp featuring Holloway, Sully and Interplanetary Criminal is out this week and then I have single coming out on Strictly Flava later on in the year.
OD – Got some exciting projects to release this year on Ghost Notes Worldwide, look out for Iman Houssein, Nicky Soft Touch, Color Plus and Harry Craze. Also working on more products and design for SAGE Flowers. I’m also working on something special with FP family Sonny. Hope to do more with the FootPatrol crew in the near future too. Big up Sam, Brad, Sheebs, Tom and the rest of the team!
IBL – WELL!! We just signed a deal if you didn’t already know. So now we have our own record label, we are going to be producing something extremely exciting which can’t tell you the ins and out yet. But, keep your eyes peeled like an onion.