It all started for me in a school house in the midwest. This is the story of how I kicked off the jungle scene in Kansas City.
It was 2001 and I was fairly new to Kansas City having just moved there from New York. Coming from a diverse music scene it took time to adjust to landing in the height of the midwest house revolution. Kansas City was the unspoken sister city to Chicago bringing in the pioneers and legends who defined house music like Frankie Knuckles, DJ Sneak, Paul Johnson, Roy Davis Jr. and Jesse Saunders. On any given week you could find at least one rave or club show with one of these names no the bill. Along side of those giants were some younger local DJ’s who were making big names for themselves like Pat Nice and the THC crew. All of these factors would make what I was about to do incredibly difficult and downright insane.
At the time there were two major crews trying to push jungle and diversify the city. One was Cosmic Mafia, a group of rugged and rag tag junglists who didn’t take any shit and stood by each other no matter what to spread the knowledge and love of drum and bass. Often feared and hated they swept the streets with mixed tapes and CD’s laying the ground work for what was to become a coup of the electronic music and rave scene in Kansas City.
Along side Cosmic Mafia was a production crew called Echobass, spearheaded by Michael Bradshaw, with whom I worked with occasionally. Echobass, at the time, was the largest rave promoter in the region who threw wildly successful parties while educating and introducing diverse and great music to its attendees. Acts like Boo Williams with Translucent performing live on his trumpet and sub billing jungle acts like E-Sassin, Freaky Flow & Flipside and Dieselboy. At one of their shows called Goodtimes, which was their largest event in their 10 year run, was the first time a major event had a room dedicated to jungle / drum and bass.
The formula was easy. Pack one room with techno, tech-house and house acts and the other with jungle / drum and bass acts from around the world. With the event being called Christmas Massacre I had to go big and go hard so I booked Roland the Bastard (UK), Dereck Plaslaiko, who at the time was living in Detroit, vs .Com, Dan Deliverance, Miss Michaela, Offtrack and Rob Lee. For the jungle room I brought in DJ Odi, who was on the front lines of breaking jungle to the USA in NYC, James Angel (DMC Champ sponsored by Numark), Zack Attack, Breakbotix, Krilin, CQuence and myself who went by SVS at the time. The venue was an old school house that happened to have a basement, perfect for the jungle room.
On December 22nd kids flooded this once former building of education in waves. The line to get in was streaming out to the parking lot and by 11pm we were at capacity allowing one in and one out. The event was a success. Kid were losing their minds. And then I got robbed. Apparently I was competing with an older crew who was also throwing a Christmas show a few days later and the success of my party was not sitting well with them. Luckily by this time I had paid everyone in full with the exception of 1 DJ, Dan Deliverance, who was under the impression I would be covering his wife plane ticket to the event as well. To this day he still hounds me for this $100. I was left with no profit but in the end it was completely worth it. Jungle was widely accepted and due to this party events in KC began having a dedicated jungle room at all events after Christmas Massacre.
I went on the throw numerous other events over the course of the years bringing in huge named acts that, at the time no one ever heard of or haven’t heard of yet or simply just didn’t know of like Evol Intent, Arsenic, Friske, Tester, Direct Feed, General Malice, DB ad Danny the Wildchild. These evens lead the way for other promoters to step up and bring in even larger names with greater ease to the city and thus jungle and D&B became a staple to the music scene in Kansas City.
When I look back it brings a smile to my face. It’s amazing to see where I was and where I am now and were the city was and where it is now. Seeing shows still going on there with big talent like The Upbeats and being able to thrive is what makes a difference and what keeps me moving still to this day.