Richie Meldrum
Richie Meldrum

mail@richiemeldrum.com

Making it in the music industry is one thing, but sustaining your success is something entirely different. DJs are pretty lucky when it comes to longevity in their career. Cox, Rampling, Oakenfold and co have been mixing records for the last 20 years and, failing dementia, they’ll be doing it for the next 20 years to come. But the risk of staying at the top for so long is complacency. It becomes too easy. You don’t try anything new or take any risks, because you don’t have to. But as DJ Zinc aka Benjamin Pettit will tell you, ‘he who dares wins’. “I know a few DJs who play music that they don’t really like because they get a lot of money,” he admits. “But I didn’t want to be one of those people that was not doing what they really want.”

For anyone with an interest in jungle or dnb, DJ Zinc will be a name you know well. He’s one third of the Tru Playaz label and the guy who produced Super Sharp Shooter, a track that can comfortably be called one of dance music’s all time classics. However, a few years ago Pettit disappeared from the dnb scene completely, not producing or performing throughout the whole of 2008. “In 2006 I was finding it really hard to find new drum and bass that I was excited about,” he explains. “So I worked out a tour with my agent where I was gunna pay house and dubstep and breaks and drum and bass. Then, when I come to actually do the tour, I went online to the MP3 stores and I couldn’t really find any house that I wanted to play. There was a couple of bits of pieces like Swinden and Switch, stuff that was kind of halfway to the sound that I wanted, but it just wasn’t there. There was a sound that I want to hear, but it didn’t exist.”

It’s a tricky situation to be in really – hard to play music that doesn’t exist! Luckily for Pettit, there were artists out there turning his vision for house a reality. “The best example is Jack Beats, one of which is Plus One from the Scratch Perverts,” he says enthusiastically. “Me and him were on the circuit together. I was playing drum and bass, he was playing a lot of drum and bass – I know them really well, I get on with those guys really well. When I was taking the year off, I heard a radio mix – I heard the Jack Beats remix of AC Slater. I’d never heard of Jack Beats before, I’d never heard of AC Slater before but I heard this song and I was like, ‘Fucking hell, this is amazing, this is exactly what I want to hear.’ Then, I happened to be on the phone to Prime Cuts, who is one of the other Scratch Perverts and I said to him ‘Here, you’ve got to listen to this tune, this is amazing, listen to this song’ and he was like ‘Are you taking the piss? That’s Neil’s tune!’ I had no idea that he was on exactly the same wavelength as I was – totally independently” The wavelength Petitt refers to is a certain brand of house music he now plays and produces that he’s labelled ‘crack house’. It’s a tougher, form of house music with the emphasis firmly on the bass. It’s less groovy and more ‘jump up’ with elements of jungle, rave and grime vocals cropping up in the mix. Similar in vein to what Fake Blood and Boy 8-Bit have been pushing, it also sits nicely alongside the current dubstep/ garage/ electronic sounds coming from artists including Joker and the excellent Deadboy. “It was a bit of a leap of faith,” admits Pettit of his change of styles. “But it worked out alright in the end.”