On Guard: Imperial (Philadelphia)


We had a chance to chat with Brad aka Contact High about Imperial, a night responsible for bringing some of the biggest names in the Drum & Bass scene to Philadelphia.

Can you give us a brief history of the company?
Imperial started in May of 2013 with myself (Contact High) and Malevil walking to get a case of swills from a beer distributor to take back to Self’s house only to find ourselves getting drunk smoking hookahs in a recently opened hookah lounge. We then had our first and last event at the lounge due to an epic night that is a story in itself, but still had Bailey booked 12 days after. We held the next show at The Blockley (now closed) and brought an extra van of subs. Bailey could not make that tour so we had A­Sides come on very short notice. Imperial then did a show at Recess where Doc Scott had to climb a ladder to get to the DJ booth. After that we had Klute and Bailey play at Blurr where we currently host events. It was more of a venue Imperial was going for and certain circumstances lead us to there. We walked in blind to their sound system and got it sounding good for the night, but needed to do better. After that night we continued to host events at the venue on our own custom built sound system; Destin has even made sub boxes by hand. Imperial has been held at Blurr about once a month featuring our residents mixed in with other likeminded DJs and international talent.

How long have you been officially doing events?
Two years in June

In a world obsessed by “EDM” and top 40 what do you contribute the nights longevity to?
Imperial offers an entire night of Drum n Bass featuring current DJs and producers that are putting out a vibe we feel is the future of DNB. Our sound system and willingness to put sound quality and talent before anything else offers something different from that of the generic. Our forward thinking behind our bookings and tracks played at Imperial create an environment not well recognized but well­ loved. We also have a solid crew of supporters that are behind what we do on a consistent basis. Having a core group of DJs and supporting heads backed by quality sound is what really drives Imperial forward, big up Philly.

What are your top 5 Favorite memories or milestones?

  • Having our own custom sound system, possibly the best to listen to Drum n Bass on in Philadelphia.
  • Klute and Bailey playing the same night and people traveling from as far as California for Imperial, the vibes were thick. The amazing sets DJs have had.
  • Having Ant TC1 out for a few days and then him putting out the live recording from his set that was written up in KMAG.
  • Having Trace and MC Dub2 do a 2.5 hour set on the same lineup as Michele Sainte.
  • Jae Kennedy and Karl K played two months after and over the time the resurrection of Phi occurred.

Each event has been a treasure of its own and I am thankful for that. I have met good people through this and it’s great to look back on, but my main focus is the future.

If you could pick any 3 DNB/Jungle DJ’s past, present, or future for a dream line up, what would it be?
This is a very hard question to answer that could change in my head by the week. I would like to see Ant TC1, Nymfo and Break tag all night, but Doc Scott, Fanu and Om Unit would also be nice. Let’s just put DLR, Optical and Need For Mirrors tagging on that lineup while we are at it. So the answer is obviously B Key, Ricky Force and Double O.

Do you have any advice for new promoters?
Build a brand, create a scene and educate your audience. Have a venue before you book your DJs and a sound system built for Drum n Bass. Present your event with integrity and make sure the talent is solid from beginning to end. Be able to say no and know that you are the one putting your money on the line. Also put your subs on the ground.

For more information on Imperial
Imperial Philly Official Website
Imperial Philly on Facebook
Imperial Philly on Twitter