The names might not be as familiar as some other jungle producers and record companies, but Bizzy B and his label Brain have been around since day minus one, and it's high time they got their props. Especially now their album "Hoods From Da City" is due for release soon. Jungle albums are pretty much par for the course these days, but even in a crowded market theirs stands out as being different. The strong vocal element is why, with contributions from many sources: Tempo, Mr Woosh, Tishan, Trigger, Alice Donald, Sarah D, Michelle Thompson and someone simply credited as 'a debut rapper from east London'. These names probably don't mean much to you (though I suspect they will) but the producers should - alongside Bizzy are his two most regular collaborators Pugwash (with whom he made "Raw Dogs") and Marvellous Cain (check their "Everyday Junglist" VIP mix on here) and others like Agent K & the Majistrate, Marley Marl and TDK.
"We normally find vocals on old school acappellas and stuff like that," explains Bizzy, "and I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that, we still do it, but not for this album. There are vocals relating to the actual vibe in the scene, like Mr Woosh's track "What A Gwarn" where he says 'if you love this style, blow your horn' which is basically for all the ravers out there. There's a conscious track called "Togetherness" where Alice sings about unity and the peaceful side to the scene, trying to put a message across. We also want to prove that this music can be made in all sorts of ways and that there's a lot of talent out there".
Bizzy has always loved music deeply, even confessing to always being the first one on an empty dancefloor in his youth. He began DJing at soul, reggae and swing parties around 7 years ago, and simply moved and progressed with the times right through house and hardcore to jungle. Although he's most well known for his production work, he still enjoys DJing, both on the radio (Pressure FM 100.4 in London on Saturdays, 1Opm onwards) and at clubs.
He got involved in the production side back in the day, when he and some friends managed to scrape together a few bit of studio equipment. His debut track "Revolution" went well and things took off from there. He's released tracks on most major jungle labels going (I don't want to start naming them, the list's that long!) Apart from Brain there's his other label Joker, he runs with Pugwash, his Dream Team production partner. They've been behind all-time classics like "Stamina" and the recent "Raw Dogs", but Bizzy is at a loss to explain their success. "We don't aim for any kind of style," he says, "the music is just aimed at the crowd. We go out and get a flavour of what they're into and interpret what we think that is. We thought everyone would laugh at "Stamina", but it just went the opposite way, You can never tell."
I wonder after all these years if he's surprised he's still doing it and has achieved this level of success? "We're really surprised and happy how things have gone, and glad to be a part of the scene. We appreciate everyone out there who has been supporting us over the years. "We try to be as approachable as possible and keep a good relationship with the people who buy our records and people who know us."
How important is recognition to you then? "At the end of day, we just want people to know that we make music. We don't want to be the best or number one, we just want people to know that when anyone says 'Brain Records' or any one of our artists names that people do know of us. They can then judge the tunes for themselves."
It's easy to see why nobody seems to have a bad word to say about him. He realises that money is important and that it's a business at the end of the day, but making ruthless profits is short-sighted. They say actions speak louder than words and to this end, Bizzy intends to open a unit in east London with limited public access for up-and-coming talent serious about making music. "When we first started things were really hard" he remembers. "We'd like to see this place as a doorway to new talent by giving them a chance to actually express their ideas. We've had a lot of people start off at the Brain camp who have gone on to a good things, like Zinc, Peshay and Slammin Vinyl. We're always working with new ideas and people. If someone's seriously interested to do a track, we'd sense it."
Although Bizzy is usually the focus of attention, he's keen to stress that the album is a team effort. Some of these contributors were also attending the interview, so it seems only fair to tell you a little bit about them too:
Mr Woosh is an MC vocalist and producer who has a track on the album with Bizzy B called "What A Gwarn" and a single after that called "Menace To Society." He's only been MCing for a year, but already confidently claims to have his own original style. He also MCs on Pressure FM 100.4 and simply aims to go forward.
TDK is a producer wth four tracks on the album. Previously a DJ, Bizzy encouraged him to get into production, showed him how to engineer and still gives him feedback. He just concentrates on the production side these days and would like to be recognised as a good producer,
Agent K has a track out now on Brain called "2 For The Show" with his partner the Majistrate (there's also a VIP mix on the album). They've been producing for only 6 months, but they've had tracks out on Splash Records in this time as well. He also DJs on Pressure FM 100.4 (Sundays, 10 pm - midnight) with MC Stylee. He's trying to build up a studio himself at the moment and eventually hopes to start producing his own stuff on his own label.
Deluxe is one of the partners with Bizzy in a record shop called Togetherness in Leytonstone, east London. He's also a producer and first linked up with Bizzy 5 years ago. Their first track together was called "Take A Deep Breath". He wants to go forward in all different aspects: successful business person as well as making jungle, garage, soul, hip hop and swing. A DJ for 9 years, he also plays on Pressure FM 100.4 with DJ Diesel and MC Jubilee (Sundays, 4pm - 6pm)
Brain would like to give a special shout out to Baby Face Ragga, may he rest in peace