DJ Perception: The ‘Ransom Note’ Mix
There might have been a UKG renaissance in recent years, but some artists doing their thing underground since those early heydays.
DJ Perception is one of them. A pioneer of the UKG underground, he’s been pushing the sound for years through his slick DJ sets, signature rolling grooves and his Moodswing imprint.
The label originally began in the late 80s and after a hiatus was passed down to Perception to helm a few years back, now it’s become a space for UKG offerings from himself, Sky Joose and The Stab Mechanics, with plenty more on the way.
When he’s not running his own label, he’s making music for others: the likes of Rhythm N Vibe, Vex White, Dansu Discs and Bluff Records. But it’s his partnership with Timehri that has been a really fruitful one. The London-based platform-turned-label, run by DJ T Dunn, has had a hand in elevating Perception to his rightful status and introduced a new audience of UKG lovers to his old school sound.
He helped launch the label arm in March last year, then contributed a joint mixtape alongside Highrise that consisted of almost entirely unreleased music – now, he’s returned for a long player which also marks the only album on the label so far. Arguably the first of its kind in the Garage world, Perception charts a voyage through space for his new concept Journey To The Star.
To celebrate the release, which dropped today, he gives us a taste of his stacked UKG collection as he travels through different eras, sounds and styles…
Please introduce yourself… Who are you, where are you and what are you
Perception, Camberwell, DJ, father, human being.
You’ve just released your debut LP on Timehri, ‘Journey To The Star’. Can you explain the idea behind the name and how the idea for the album came about?
I had called one of my productions ‘Journey To The Star’ and it felt like being on a space mission, leaving this planet and finding a new orbit. Certain sounds take you to certain places in your imagination and I built upon that initial feeling throughout working on the record.
How long has the record been in the making?
It’s hard to say how far back the sounds travel but it started to come together as a record about a year ago.
Can you talk us through the process behind some of the tracks on the release?
I’ve got my own formula that I repeat but with different drum patterns. I start with the drums, get the beat rolling. If the drums aren’t exciting I can’t move on. That beat is what makes it Garage. From there I move on to melodies and chords and the baseline, in no particular order. It really depends on how i’m feeling.
What does your music sound like? Can you draw what you think it sounds like for us (an image from the old internet is acceptable)?
My daughter Isla drew this picture. It’s of ‘two souls swimming upstream against the tides of heavy new waves’ which was part of the text on the original Moodswing tape, music made by my dad and his twin brother in the 80’s. That’s where all my music originates from.
Where was the mix recorded?
At my home studio.
What would be the ideal setting to listen to the mix?
Put a decent pair of headphones on and take a night walk around South London. Burgess Park is pretty good.
What should we be wearing?
Take it all off, free spirit business!
What would be your dream setting to record a mix: Location/system/format?
My home studio is my dream setting. I have a banging sound system and the vibe is right.
Which track in the mix is your current favourite?
High As a Kite – DJ Midnight
What’s your favourite recorded mix of all time?
I honestly don’t know.
If you could go back to back with any DJ from throughout history, who would it be and why?
A strictly dubplate set with EZ back when he played proper underground stuff. He has the ultimate collection.
What was your first DJ set up at home and what is it now?
Pair of Technics and a Stanton mixer. I can’t remember the name but it was blue and grey. Now i’ve got a pair of Technic SL1210MK5, Pioneer DJ M750, a pair of Adam A7X and one Adam S3X-H. Pioneer CDJ 850 and Akai Advance 49 keyboard, a German lathe (vinyl cutting machine) and Pro-Ject vinyl cleaning machine, and last but not least a wall of vinyl.
What’s more important, the track you start on or the track you end on?
There’s no warm up, every tune has to be a roller and is just as important as any other that I play.
What were the first and last records you bought?
My first record was Oris Jay – Brand Nu Flava and I haven’t bought a record in ages, I cut them!
If this mix was an edible thing, what would it taste like?
Some strong cheese
If it was an animal what would it be?
My dog Douglas. He’s a big fan of the music.
One record in your collection that is impossible to mix into anything?
I don’t have one, everything I play has a beat.
Upcoming in the world of DJ Perception…
Anything else we need to discuss?
Keep an eye out for news about the Moodswing documentary, six years in the making! I also have the album release party in December and will be at Dimensions Festival in Croatia next summer.