Jungle Confessions: “I get goosebumps on my legs thinking about that party!”
Today is dedicated to a Q&A with the one and only Nis, a completely unique character and friend who was an absolute jungle first mover in Copenhagen with his legendary jungle parties at Operaen and The Grey Hall in the 90s. If it hadn’t been for Nis and his early Jungle Fever parties I would probably have moved back to London. The legendary Jungle Fever II – which was the party where I met Nis and the crew (small at that point) – seemed like a lifebelt in an otherwise empty ocean to me at the time.
This is what I wrote in my diary about Jungle Fever II at Rugbyklubben:
“We jumped on the bikes at midnight. The place was through a backyard and up some stairs. On the way up, I heard the incredible sound of the drum & the bass float down towards me. The best sound I’d heard for months! It was loud, it was real, it was jungle! I FLEW up the stairs. Walked in, and it was dark and packed! Black plastic bags hung from the ceiling, lights flashed.”
“Oh what a beautiful feeling it was to be able to jump about to jungle again, surrounded by people… SOOO wonderful! I danced for 9 hours non-stop, loving it. I mean, compared to London, it was, of course, outrageously primitive. But the atmosphere was wicked. It’s really underground, a small, tightly-knit group of people. They’re real junglists and I really enjoyed being with them. It was so relaxing, in a way, to be back with people who love jungle. Hearing them say things that I have said a billion times in the last couple of months to people who don’t really understand.”
You can read the entire blog post about the very, very first jungle parties in Copenhagen here: The Jungle Diaries: Longing for the Tribe
So thanks for that, once again, Nis. Let’s do this.
So, Nis, you are practically built out of bass. Your father, Noel Redding, was the bass player in The Jimi Hendrix Experience.
”Well, he didn’t really have much of an influence on me apart from the fact that I can sense it in my blood. There’s something in the genes. I didn’t live with him when I was young. I heard his music, but I didn’t really know him, so I didn’t see him as the biggest inspiration. My inspiration was our own rave scene.
I talked about music with him when I was young and really into hiphop and breakdancing. I spent Christmas with him when I was around 15 years old. He still lived and breathed for rock music, and I only listened to electro and hiphop, so we were in two different worlds. We both have ants in our pants, though. He was an athlete, too – just like I’m really into football. And we have the same perseverance. Unusually high levels of it I guess. And I have felt the drive towards music in my blood. But he didn’t get me started. The music did that. The last time I saw him was the only time I saw him in Denmark.”
I was there! That was an unusual evening.
“Yes. That was …an authentic experience. It was completely unexpected because he had played a gig in Sweden and my mother had met him in town. It was in 1995 and we had just had a massive jungle party in The Grey Hall the day before with more than a thousand people attending, so it would have been better for me had he arrived the day after. But he understood that kind of thing, obviously.”
When did you become a junglist?
“I was a junglist before it was called jungle. I went to the Coma Club parties and listened to rave music. Dj’s like Slipmatt and Hype played acid style stuff too, back then. And then the breakbeats started entering the music in 1989-90. People started using the term ”jungle techno” even before it was a genre.”
When did you do your first jungle party?
“The first one was in ’92, but that was only half jungle, half something else. The first dedicated one was in ’03. That was at Operaen in Christiania. The next one was at Rugbyklubben in the easter holidays 1993: Jungle Fever I. And then I did Jungle Fever II, at the same spot. That’s the one you attended. So that was my third jungle party. That was the first packed one.”
Why do you love jungle?
“Because it’s just the best sound with the most energy. Nothing sounds better. It doesn’t get better than jungle. Hm, maybe the breakbeat is the reason that I like it so much. That would make sense. Because there’s a breakbeat above 140 bpm.”
How are you spreading the jungle gospel?
“I have made tons of parties and tons of radio shows and given out tons mixtapes and cd’s to spread the word. It’s like a political campaign, with brochures and posters and soundbites, haha, listen to this, it’s free, and if you want more, come to the party. It’s propaganda. That’s how we work. Propaganda and promotion. And with lots of help from other fanatics. It’s like a massive union with lots of people doing lots of voluntary work. We have all sacrificed a lot of time and energy on this. It’s a union, and when you meet someone who likes jungle, too, you’re instant friends, even if you don’t know them. That’s why I I got really excited about the trance scene, too. It has the same feeling as the rave scene did in the 90s. The same energy. You don’t find that at a disco. And when you go to the festivals… It’s a revelation. It’s a big, global union we have here.”
Did you take a jungle break for a couple of years?
“Nah, it was more like the jungle scene that had a bit of a break. And yes, I was busy with trance. Let’s call it an involuntary break from drum’n’bass because of intense activity on the trance scene. That’s how it is. Up and down.
Now I focus on oldskool jungle radio and smaller parties. And I dream about doing an outdoor party. I would LOVE to be outdoors, surrounded by nature, listening to jungle. Not trance, but our music!
And we’re back at Christiania radio, too. Once a month, from now on, on Friday night from 22 to 02, Drop and Nufound and me play oldskool jungle, live at Christiania radio. We did it yesterday, too, spontaneously”. (Check out the ustream here)
What’s your best party moment ever?
“One of the truly great ones was the one in The Grey Hall where you guys had your big dance plateau right next to the stage and the entire hall was packed. That was just awesome.
And then at the Roskilde Festival in 2000 where Pyro and me played with Bad Company on Saturday night. Bad Company brought all these fresh tracks, and the entire tent was packed. They let us play an extra hour. The entire festival shut down, and we played on, until 4 o’clock. Full blast.”
Yes, that was unforgettable. What a night. The scene was called Club Roskilde that year.
“A massive success, completely rampacked. I get goosebumps on my legs thinking about that party. And the sound was so pure. When you listen to drum’n’bass at that level, you have to move your body. Everyone has to.”
What’s the best thing that happened this year?
“The All Jungle party at Loppen! It was like being back at the parties in Operaen in ’95. Full house, lots of happy people, awesome music just rolling along and an MC that didn’t talk too much. Exactly like the quality parties in the mid-90s. And 500 people through the doors. Very impressive.”
If you could timetravel to any point in time right now, where would you go?
“I would probably go back to 1993 and live in England and just do that entire year.”
What’s the most exciting thing about the future?
“The development of technology. We get all kinds of tools to improve our lives and physics and make our lives easier. Our food will get cleaner in the future, I imagine. Because we will have the tools to test what’s in it, unwanted chemicals and such. I have become a vegan, now. It gives me so much more energy. If only I had been eating like this since I was 15, everything would have been so much easier. I tried turning vegan once before but found it really difficult. I was a complete vegan amateur. But now I figured it out. It’s just like dj’ing, you have no idea what you’re doing in the beginning. Now I’m just avoiding pre-prepared food altogether. I’m all vegan. It really balances you. I can see the results when I’m in the football field, playing soccer. I’m much faster than the others. I have never felt better physically. I’m much calmer and have much more energy to do anything. You get addicted to veganism, it’s that good.”
Do you want more Nis? Hear him live tonight at Stengade where he is playing alongside Slimzee at the Circle Vision party: https://www.facebook.com/events/339528989728661/
Even more Nis? Check out this mixcloud oldskool jungle set: https://www.mixcloud.com/niscontex/dj-nis-old-skool-jungle-mix/
Or this one with Skibadee, live at Operaen:
Or jump back to the very early Jungle Fever IV in this blog post: Super rare photos: Blasts from the past
Did you miss a day of JUngLE? No fear, it’s all here: JUngLEkalenderen