Underground music what comes to mind? 
Bassline? Drum and Bass? Garage?
What about when we think about where the home of underground music is? 
Nass Festival? Boomtown? Bristol’s Blue mountain? Or Tank nightclub? 

Labels, festivals and venues that give underground music a home play a key part in bringing through the new generations of DJs who will one day headline the main stages at festivals and events which sell out in hours. But where does it all start for these acts? 

Networking mainly, but also playing your graveyard sets and playing for free ALOT! Eventually getting involved with an events label will aid your growth, these guys essentially run the roots of the scene.

I’m by no means a big DJ, I’ve dotted around the scene for the past 2 years or so. I used to play to rooms or 4-5 people, dead sets, 4am-5am or 9pm-10pm. You ask anyone who started off the same they’ll tell you, these sets are your most important. These labels who run events aren’t going to put any Tom Dick or Harry on a prime time set are they. First you need to prove your worth to them, play these graveyard shifts the best you can, I always think, if you can mix and make a room of 4-5 people bounce, dance and have a good time...what could you do to a room of 400-500?

My first major set I remember came from MORGZ. I got my call up to play a sold out event in Bournemouth Supporting Bru-c and Bassboy after the second floor DJ dropped out. We played at the same time as Distinkt, yet we still had a good crowd. It was a point where I felt my hard work and stupidly long nights were starting to pay off. But as the scene does very often, you play a good set and expect the promoters to come flooding with messages. Unfortunately, just because you’ve played 1 set to a relatively filled room it doesn’t make you Darkzy. I fell back into the trap of playing the odd set every 3 months to not many people. 

About 7 months later MORGZ and I had merged together and became ANR. By this point we had a few good sets under the belt but still by no means a well known name down south for the scene. But we had taken the leap to become that by forming ANR and committing to name. 

If you’re starting out and reading this you need to prepare yourself you’re going to play quiet sets, but use your love of music and the scene to push you through these. They will pay off! They help you meet the people that will soon put you on better sets. 

I’ve played many sets where I’ve honestly felt what is the point anymore? But I stuck with it because I was essentially addicted to DJing. I love the music I play and the energy it gives me. I’m now 2.5 years into the journey. I’m part of a label named 2houses who take over various clubs within the south. I have mixes out on labels such as Maneki, tunes out on soundcloud with support from artists such as Pelikann, Shapes and NLMT. And I’m starting to see the fruits of my hard work.

What I’m trying to say is, utilise the labels and resources out in the scene, use your passion and energy to drive you through. Notice that each and every set pushes you further to where you want to go. And in this fast and exciting scene if you drive your passion you’ll go as far as you want to. 

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© ManekiCollective 2020 

London, UK

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