I think it would be fair to suggest that bass-line music is something of the marmite variety; whilst nothing more than noise and repetition for some, for others there’s nothing quite like ‘skanking’ to bass-line. Coming from North London, where its appeal is increasingly epidemic, I certainly felt its absence upon my arrival in Cambridge last year. The plethora of house and techno events simply fails to fill the void. Despite ‘Warning’ (one of the UK’s longest running and most well-established Drum and Bass events) being based at the Cambridge Junction, there’s a lack of local d’n’b nights.
However, this all began to change last year thanks to the teaming up of friends Gideon Benedyk, Alfred Jacquemot, and Toni Moraelas, who noticed a gap in the musical market and sought to affect change, founding ‘Target Events’. Their flagship event, Urban Bass, is now one of the biggest nights in the Cambridge calendar.
Ahead of their Halloween Special this weekend, I spoke to Benedyk about the motivation behind the event’s conception, who rightly commented that, ‘for a city that has around 50,000 students (between two universities), the Cambridge bass scene was totally defunct, despite the popularity of the genre across the country.’ Target Events decided to do something a little bit different, and what was originally imagined as a few small parties has expanded into the boys being able to host some of their favourite artists (Skepsis, DJ Hazard, Bru-C), and one of the city’s most successful events. Beginning with 235 ticket sales, the forth and final Urban Bass of last year welcomed an impressive 505 students to Kuda, and the events only promise to get bigger and better.
This weekend, on Sunday 28th October, Cambridge will be hosting one of the most successful up-and-coming bass artists, Flava D. Following her 2013 debut, ‘Hold On’, Flava D has become an integral part of ‘Butterz’, her recording label, working with other infamous names in the garage/bassline/d’n’b sphere such as My Nu Leng, Wiley, and a collaborative album ‘ukg’ with Royal T and DJ Q. Following a 13-week stint at London’s XOYO and touring globally across Japan, India, Australia and the USA, Flava D has become one of the biggest names in the game.
Having seen Flava D a few times now, (Boomtown Fair 2017, Outlook Festival 2017, Phonox 2017), there is something about her energy that that makes her such a successful performer – her enthusiasm for music is infectious. Equally, drawing inspiration from garage and grime music, her sound is perhaps more accessible than a typical bass-line artist; I would encourage any who might not consider themselves a traditional d’n’b fan that Flava D would still show them a good time. It’s also incredibly refreshing to see a woman taking the stage of such a male-dominated sphere of music. Her work is as polished and professional as the rest, and yet still maintains the raw spirit of a woman passionate about creating music.