This year we all miss live shows, music and the amazing artists who are central to our love for SUNANDBASS, so here’s a little catch up with just some of the talented artists that make SUNANDBASS what it is!
Oh yes – my first SUNANDBASS was in 2011 and staying in the ‘Raveyard’ – quite an introduction, totally in at the deep-end! Hearing Marcus play the closing set in 2014 still sticks in my mind so much. He went from dark to deep to uplifting – an absolute masterclass and it epitomised everything I love about Drum & Bass.
To be honest, in 2020 music has been such an amazing refuge for me during all of this, and I’ve been so grateful to have something that I can really dive into and bury my head in. It’s been the perfect thing and I haven’t had to change a thing with it.
I don’t remember which year, but my first SUNANDBASS was maybe the 3rd ever.
I have to admit I was extremely skeptical at first, people had recently been stung by a vaguely similar sounding festival in northern France which had been somewhat disastrous but Mark at ESP Agency re-assured me and suggested I give it a go.
Not knowing what to expect AT ALL it turned out to be amazing. Back in those days things were quite different – things were a lot less “celebrity” based and generally most of the festival go-ers were into the music and not so bothered about personality. The lineups were completely mixed and there were no issues of hierarchy – everyone was just excited to be there and get to play.
Everyone was on an equal level and that combined with the amazing setting of San Teodoro created a unique and unforgettable vibe that became personal to you. That first year and each and every time since it’s been heart wrenching to leave.
There are so many amazing memories from Sun & Bass – in fact there’s usually a best moment every year! My favourite memories would be those earlier years at Ambra Night when the hut was the main floor – it was the greatest playground on earth. Another amazing memory was the first set we played in the black room at Ripping – the pressure in that room that night was unbelievable – only to be even crazier the next year. Those are just two hazy memories from many – I’d like nothing more to be reminded of all the others. There have been so many amazing moments and adventures – It’s been absolutely incredible and I’m feeling very teary eyed about missing it this year! Since I first went I’ve only ever missed one.
I’ve been using the time to free up my mind and detach from a lot of what I felt became “routine” – especially in terms of conventional dance music, like Drum & bass, Techno, house etc.
I’ve always bought little boxes and various audio “toys” so during the period of restriction I bought myself a 24 channel hardware mixer and started jamming and doing my beat to not use a computer.
I do remember my first time at Sun And Bass, I think it was 2005! So many great memories over the years but I would have to say one of my favourite times was when we did the stage in the middle of the centre and created a block party outside the police HQ… Crazy times!!
During the Corona outbreak I have been stuck in New Zealand at my Brothers house in Auckland. Luckily enough they have Covid under control here so I feel much safer. I have been doing lots of exercise to keep myself in check mentally and physically. Lot’s of exercise bikes and rowing machines and daily walks to the beach. I also travel with a DJ laptop and a production laptop so I am still able to work and be creative here and still produce music and record DJ mixes. It’s good to go back to basics sometimes and work on the bare essentials. I’ve had to purchase a few extras but just small things and some winter clothes as i only had my summer clothes when i arrived here!
I believe my first SUNANDBASS was in 2011. I remember I was excited about going since Dev (Paradox) kept telling me how good it was. Since then, I’ve only missed one year. My favourite moment was when I brought my daughter for the first time. She’d never been to a club (that I know of) and never danced to d&b, so I thought she’d like more liquid or musical d&b. She ended up going wild in the Storm curated night with Storm, Digital and Randall. Daddy was proud!
During COVID, I’ve finally had the time to finish some ideas that’ve been sitting on my computer for years. It feels really good to be able to start writing on some new material now. Corona hasn’t changed my approach to music, I usually do that myself every now and then.
My process hasn’t changed much during COVID, I’m writing as much as I did before – only thing that changed is there is no way to play this music out sadly.
Yes! This was in 2010 and I’d flown all the way from New Zealand with a stop off in Berlin. I was playing at the Soul:r night as well as sharing a Samurai night with Alley Cat / Kokeshi. Soul:r was the first set. The first time you play at Ambra night is a hard one to ever replace vibe wise and this of course was very special. I had a few Serato issues but I will never forget the welcome I got when I started. It filled up my soul to overflowing with pride and thankfulness. I also joined in a 4 way b2b at the end of the night with S.P.Y, Calibre, and Marcus. It was a once in a lifetime kind of experience. Also on the Saturday Alley Cat and I had Calibre join us to play a downtempo set outdoors so this was also like a dream come true, the whole night start to finish. I’ll always be grateful for Marcus, Alicia and of course the SnB team for having me on that year.
I have told the story many times but my time at SUNANDBASS that year convinced me I had to move to Europe and I went home afterwards, sold almost everything I owned and moved to Berlin the following February. This year would have been my 11th festival in a row and being part of the Sun and Bass family for all these years has helped shape what my life is and continues to do so even without the festival this year. It’s an integral part of who I am.
My day job is putting out records basically, and we have been doing well business wise so this has kept me busy and not too much time for creativity outside that but I do have a few tracks and collabs on the go that I wouldn’t have got to if gigs were still happening. I don’t think it’s changed my approach to music, but it’s given me space to think about what’s important to me. I miss DJing in clubs but I have actually really enjoyed the downtime from being in clubs. That said, I’d very much love to be in San Teodoro right now getting ready to play and see everyone again though and I can feel the hole in my year not having that experience has left.
There are so many great memories it’s hard to pinpoint one. Of course several of my sets were personal highlights but one thing I do remember as being extremely memorable was attending the night Marcus played the last set and standing behind the decks with Martina. Marcus absolutely tore the roof off and there was a moment where it all just reached a peak and you could just feel the love and gratitude of the shared experience thick in the air. I wasn’t on any drugs or drinking at all but I can say in that moment I felt very very high and thankful I shared that moment with so many friends. The smile on Marcus’ face was beautiful. It was like the perfect Sun and Bass moment and it is seared in my memory for eternity.
I think it rained a lot at my first SAB so I spent a lot of time just hanging out at Al Faro on the hammock drinking coffee & chatting to everyone. I remember thinking how lovely the place was – but also, looking back on it now, disappointed in myself for not investigating anything much further from my hotel little area – it was early days, before google maps I think, so I didn’t know where anything was, don’t think I even found the town centre! But I realised how special it was going to be there though, I was out super late every night and sleeping all day!
There are so many – some of my best memories anywhere ever have been at Sun & Bass. The year my wife & I got engaged was the most cool I guess – I hadn’t planned it really and just spontaneously proposed while waiting for our artist transport back from Ambra Night, sitting by the tree there in the car park. The following night was when I got to play the closing set in the town square, playing all the 80s/90s party stuff, which was one of my most fun sets ever – I popped into the jewellery shop behind the stage afterwards to see if they had any cheap rings (we don’t care about that stuff) and the old lady working there’s eyes all lit up ‘JOOHHHNNN BEEEEEE’ haha. I think she thought I was rich, because I’d just been on stage in the town square – so she got out all these really expensive rings to show me and I had to just make my excuses & shuffle out – hoping I hadn’t offended her by not buying any!
Oh yeah! 2014. That was the year that I’ll never forget. Being in San Teodoro that time it was such an inspiration in many ways. It made me realise why I started to do what I do, the real meaning of it. I have many great memories from over the years and it’s hard to choose only one. So, here’s a few magical moments. 2015 Ambra night at Garden when Alibi, Unreal & GQ were playing I’ll never forget. 2016 La Cinta beach for the Viva Brazil SAB CD launch party. 2018, DJ Zinc’s set at Ambra night at Garden, what a moment!!! I could carry on and on…
Now, I’m in a better place, emotionally and mentally since COVID. It’s a lot more clear but, up to June, I was feeling a bit worried about work, finances and all the rest of it but at some point, I had to change my mindset. That’s when music came along, some ideas started to flow and I’ve been working on a new project where I’m bringing musicians, singers from different parts of the world together to collaborate with me. It’s not only Drum & Bass, it has a bit of Love Ballads, Slow Jams, R&B Neo Soul, a bit of House. On 12/09, I’ll start a virtual conference where I’ll be talking about my experiences in the music industry, how I balance my job, family, health, ups and downs, success, issues, career and how I deal with all of that sharing some tips and tricks that I learn day by day.
It was 2004. I went to SUNANDBASS as part of DJ SS’ World of Drum & Bass tour. It was me Grooverider, DJ SS, Influx UK, Shy FX, Kenny Ken, Biggie, Pendulum, E-Decay, S.M.O.K.E, Twisted Individual and Warren G on the line up. We were doing the white room at Pa-kiki (now known as Ripping Club). That was the main arena then. There was no black room like now. There was a buffet of food laid out on a long table at the back too. I still have a little footage and some pictures from then. I remember having to get leave at 6 or 7am the next morning for a long drive to Alghero airport to catch our flight. The flight was delayed for more than two hours so we sat in the baking sun chatting. It was really nice to catch up as we didn’t really see each other unless we were booked together.
There have been SO many special moments but for me, vibes wise, nothing can beat the euphoria of playing the last set on the closing of the festival inside at Ambra Night. I think that was in 2009? Everything just jelled. Everybody as one. I particularly remember playing Second Sun by Calibre and feeling my skin fizzy with emotions. Pure paradise vibes.
This year, I’ve been fine during this weird moment in history. I’m naturally a hermit who locks himself in with his music and gadgets, so being locked down wasn’t stressful at all. I’ve still been doing my MI-Soul radio shows and posting themed mixes on Mixcloud which is a relief because I love to mix. It has changed the way I experience music too. When there’s no 100k club sound system to play tunes on, it makes me think even more about the actual musical quality of what I listen to. Does the track have soul or is it designed to roll out with as much impact as possible? The ones with a deeper feeling have been winning.
“How could I forget my first SUNANDBASS?! I first went in 2008 for a whole week of unique emotions. It changed everything I knew before and made me come back each year to love and perform. 12 years strong today and still hyped like a little boy! There’s been so many emotional moments in these 12 years – a proper rollercoaster actually! I recall a very special and intimate moment: Calibre under his Dominick Martin alias at Bal Harbour making me cry like a baby in 2008 (or 09?).
This year, I was super busy teaching my school kids from home which was quite exhausting. At the same time I realized how grateful I am to actually have a safe job and never played the ´full on music only´ card. Nothing in life should be taken for granted, never! Appreciation, passion and love – the philosophy! After adjusting and some tuning in, the weird time given through lockdown made me write about 15 songs for the 7th album of my band and a good part of the MC Fava album. Since I work full time as a teacher and travel / sing every weekend, I hardly find the time to work on new music”