With the rise of dubstep taking a good chunk of the spotlight off its older cousin, some might say DnB has been forced to take a bit of a back seat of late. However, perhaps in response to this new competition, the past few years have seen some fresh and exciting artists rising through the ranks. The likes of Austrian duo Kamo and Krooked, Belgium’s Netski and Instra:mental from the UK have injected a timely boost of ambition and vigor, trying new styles, testing new sounds and breathing new life into the scene. Looking to add his name to that list is Perth based DJ/Producer Q-Bik AKA PJ Ehsani. His track My House became a global hit, gracing the playlist of BBC Radio 1 after Pete Tong and his cohorts Annie Mac and BBC 1Xtra’s Crissy Criss got their influential hands all over it. As you’d expect, Ehsaniis keen to capitalise on its success.
Born and raised in the US, Ehsanimoved to New Zealand with his family when he was 15. It was within the vibrant music scene of Aotearoa that he progressed from the classical instruments of his childhood into the electronic sounds of his teenage years. “My musical background was pretty varied.” he recalls. “I tried learning various instruments like, clarinet, guitar, bass and drums. I didn’t have any official training or classes and found it hard reading music but I just had a musical ear and I knew what I liked.” Ehsani filled his impressionable ears with a wide range of artists and bands from a diverse selection of genres. Moving through the indie rock of Pearl Jam and the Chilli Peppers via hip hop legends Snoop, Dre and Talib Kwali and into dance music with the Prodigy, Chemical Brothers and Crystal Method, Ehsani says he finally found his calling in DnB. “Some of the first parties and raves I went to were in New Zealand at the age of 17. I found myself in Hamilton’s (NZ) first underground dance club, Motion. The seamless and exciting mixing and sounds and tunes I was hearing really attracted me to the whole culture. The bass was so heavy and phat that I couldn’t describe it. It was everything I loved wrapped into one genre.”
Fast forward a decade or so and with a successful career as a drum and bass DJ and producer with tour dates taking him everywhere from Belgium to Honk Kong, does Ehsani still hold such strong feelings for the music that made him? “I think DnB is fast becoming a more commercially acceptable genre like house or trance.” he admits. “It’s not just the black sheep of electronic music, or as I call it ‘the gangsta rap’ of electronic music! I think it’s enjoyed longevity due to its forward thinking approach, as well as the meshing and taking of influences from so many different genres.” Weaving different genres into DnB is something that Ehsani wholeheartedly supports. The aforementioned My House uses a well-known sample taken from Astrosyn – Your House Is Mine by Montini Experience, although the rave classic apparently wasn’t something on Ehsani’s radar when he sat down to write his own track. “I’ll be honest, I never heard the original tune before making My House but I’ve heard it in a few different genre’s and remixes since. When I made the lead sound for the track, I had been trawling through vocal samples and found the sample. Instantly I knew I found the hook that sealed the deal. It worked and described what I was trying to accomplish for the tune.”