The UK is the home of drum and bass. Since the sound was birthed we have been an island proud to export the best and biggest names in drum and bass, and host some of the best nights and festivals the world has to offer. The Garden of England, are a brand with that in mind. Combining great shows, massive lineups, solid labels, some huge headliners and a great work ethic into an upfront brand, putting on good quality nights in the heart of Kent.
I got the chance to speak to these guys about what they’re doing and why they’re doing it.
1 – So first off, what got you guys into what you’re doing?
Fly: Well myself and three of my best pals started GofE around five years ago. Me (Fly) MC Turbo, MC H20 & DJ Izzit, who were collectively known as the “Thanet Originals.” We were playing sets left, right and centre all over the country at the time. There was another local promotion putting on events in Margate where we were involved in performing. To cut a long story short there was some disputes & hate thrown upon us resulting in starting our own event. It was all a learning curve back then and in many respects it still is, we thought long and hard about every detail and the launch night was a huge success, the rest is history!
After about three years Izzit, Turbo and H20 kind of let go of management roles due to personal priorities and commitments. A decision I have nearly taken a few times myself as it really does take up a lot of time, money and effort, but for some reason I just can’t (and never will) let go. The boys are still involved to a certain extent, and we still smash sets as the “Thanet Originals” but as for the daily running of GofE in a management position I simply couldn’t do it alone. This is when I contacted my friend of years Jekz with a proposal. After a few meetings he decided to take on the role as co-partner and GofE was back with a bang. It’s the best decision I could have made as he’s a born promoter and loves DNB as much as I do, that’s the main trait you need as a promoter, unconditional love for the scene as sometimes there will be moments when you do dislike it lol.
Jekz: EZ! Yes it was a no brainer although at the time my business partner Keith & I who run Hyde Studios had just signed a lifetime contract with Jacque Fresco & Roxanne Meadows from The Venus Project in Miami to use Jaques voice in our music, so it was a busy and hectic time for us and I wasn’t sure how that would coincide with running events. But in all fairness it worked out exceptionally well and I do thank Fly for the opportunity. We work well as a team & communication is key in this game. My involvement has lead “The Garden of England” promotion to a few big named artists, as a few of you guys already know I am very good friends with DJ Ruffstuff/ Harry Shotta & The Raggatwins to name a few, it was a no brainer to ask them to be on the first line up that I was involved in. Ruffstuff & Shotta are of corse GofE residents and now Jayline, Darren Jay & Funsta MC. Which we are seriously overwhelmed with (who wouldn’t be!?)
When our first Jungle in the Cuban event took place it was one of the hardest months let alone days of the week, a Wednesday. Canterbury is known for its University and Student based crowds, so it was a gamble & a very good gamble at that. The first one sold out with Hazard & Skibadee, Darren Jay, Ruffstuff/ IC3 & Jayline as headliners & Snide, Bookeyman, CO’D, Hyper Rollerz, Dazman/ Kiss & The Thanet Originals. Plus we had man like Charlie Sloth promo the event too when The Cuban had him as a guest two nights before on a Monday!
What should someone expect who hasn’t come to one of your nights before?
Fly: Our emphasis has always been on quality. When I was a youth going out to raves and clubs, the amount of times I went to Dances with a whack sound system, little or no lighting, half the line-up not showing or just sh** venues in general. You know those events where there has been no effort at all put in and you just feel cheated by the fact they have your money. Our aim is to make sure not one of our customers feels cheated. Where we’re both a bit long in the tooth (don’t wanna say old bastards, but you know lol) we’ve both seen a lot of raves and know what’s important. Mainly, decent sound, a nice venue, eye catching artwork and a lineup to match. If these things are of good quality then the atmosphere stays nice and people have a great night so if you haven’t been to one of our events and your thinking of coming to party with us, expect nothing but good vibes!!!
You’ve had some massive names in on the bills before, any other headlines unannounced we should know about?
Fly: We’ve always tried and book the big names so the people of the South East get that London feel without having to travel very far. We’ve got some more huge artists coming up on soon to be released flyers, all of which we’re really excited to be working with.
Jekz: We can reveal that GENERAL LEVY is going to be performing at one of our host/support events. The Rokka in Ramsgate are putting on their first Jungle/Drum & Bass night! With support from The Garden of England artists: Jayline// Will Rokitt// Snide// Fly & Izzit// Kritikool// Teej// Structure// Muttley. MC’s: CO’D// Gifted// Turbo// H20// Smokie. This night will sell out so grab the tickets quick! We will be working with General Levy closely in the near future keep watching! Check the event here
What are your plans for the future?
Fly: Plans for the future, that’s a very interesting question! Some nights me and Jekz would get together and just brainstorm. Even if 25% of our ideas get the go ahead then everyone is in for a right treat! We’re trying to think outside the box for future events, maybe moving away from the stereotypical nightclub environment. We’ve already set the wheels in motion for a few of our ideas but we cant say too much as yet 😉
Jekz: We have a few exclusive venues that are being looked over, one being a Mansion that I was offered of recent. We have support from our local Mayor “The Mayor of Ramsgate” he has been to one of our parties and loved it, he’s been giving us a few ideas on venues and will also be attending a few more with his bling 😛 We also run a Drum & Bass Float in Margate & Ramsgate Carnivals, we are hoping to enter Notting Hill Carnival this year too not to mention some promo girls. After buying a modelling agency a few years ago, and having nothing really to do with it, I’ve had some ideas, and I see them all coming together nicely. Watch this space… Ramsgate Carnival: 23rd July! Come down & have a skank!
Jungle in the Cuban Pt 3 is coming up (14th June), what are you expecting there?
Fly: Yes! Part 3! We’re having an absolute blast at the moment with these. Don’t get me wrong, they’re a lot of graft but the end result is amazing. We’ve had nothing but good feedback from parts 1 & 2 and that makes it all worthwhile. We love the Cuban venue, it has a certain look to it and the management there are more than accommodating. It’s nice to see a mix of different types of people all skanking to Drum & Bass with smiles on their faces. So if the other 2 are anything to go by we’re expecting quality sets, a wicked atmosphere, vibes galore and happy people!
Do I see you guys working with SoundBully Audio?
Jekz: Yes you do! I was approached by Jayline to be Label Manager as I ran my own label with Keith who is also partnered with GofE & my pal Inertia for four years, it was a multi genre label called HS Bass Music which is going through a rebrand at the moment – “HSDNB” Events Management, we are collaborating with Digital & the Function:al crew “Function Records” more info on this another time though 😉
It was really a no brainer to say yes as SoundBully Audio was and still is a successful DNB imprint. The next release is due out in all good digital stores on the 29th April “SBA022 The Story So Far” consists of 14 slammers, they are back cat products and some have the older production which will suit accordingly. Forth coming are two remix EP’s – SBA023 – JAYLINE & SILENT STORM feat RUFFNEK TRILOGY – BAD BOY REMIXES 2017 & SBA024 – JAYLINE – RIP YA FACE OFF REMIXES 2017 Which you would of no doubtly heard out! Myself and Jayline look forward to the interview with you soon Milo.
Are there any other labels you work closely with?
Jekz: Yes! Function Records as mentioned above 😉 there are plans to start our own, but thats later on in life. As for now its solely SoundBully Audio. We’re also working with Totally Shredded Thanet, with Harry Shotta as a guest MC once a month, not a label, but a great chance for a dnb workout, between 6-7 Monday and Thursdays for just £5
Are there plans for a Garden of England label in the future?
Jekz: Possibly but again way down the line, the typical example of “NOT ENOUGH HOURS IN THE DAY” are true lol.
I’ve got to get down to one of your nights, looking at the website they look fun as hell! Or are you planning nights in other parts of the country?
Fly: There have been talks of us doing collaborations with other promotions in other parts of the country but for now were happy doing our thing on our own turf hence the name lol. But its definitely something that’s going to happen at some point. As it goes we have recently been speaking to a well-known nightclub in London about doing an event there but its all a bit secret squirrel atm 😉
Jekz: We are looking abroad too & have some exquisite venues and locations to visit here in the UK as well but Fly is right, its all about our own turf at the moment, The Garden of England meaning Kent. You are all welcome to any of our nights Milo and the rest of the JungleDrumandBass crew 😉 standard!
Do you wish you could see more people putting on DNB nights in the UK?
Fly & Jekz: We see ourselves as half promoter’s half raver’s so yeah we’re all for other promotions putting on events as it gives us more scope to play with collaborations. At the end of the day it’s the raver that are winning as they get more choice. As long as it’s all done correctly and not ripping people off we are all for it!
Thanks for chatting guys, I hope to see you soon at one of your nights! anyone who has the 14th of June free, save the date and get to JungleintheCuban in Canterbury!
Jekz & Fly: Thank you very much for having us dare I say it’ll be the last 😉 Massive respectz.
Words by Milo ‘Bible’ Jones