JOHN B

JOHN B

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If you havent come across John B in one of his many musical guises over the past decade, where have you been? Classically trained at a young age, this British superproduce... read more
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Biography

If you havent come across John B in one of his many musical guises over the past decade, where have you been? Classically trained at a young age, this British superproducer has gone on to become one of the most eclectic and unique individuals working within electronic music today. Consistently escaping categorization, Johns genre-defying catalogue spans the worlds of Electro, Trance and Drum & Bass, and a few other spaces across the bpm spectrum.

Johns career began in illustrious style as the one and only Goldie picked up on this mild-mannered, Blonde-locked science graduate and his distinctive drum and bass beat constructions, and he was signed to the legendary Metalheadz label. Tracks such as the euphoric Up All Night have become instant classics in the canon of drum and bass, and repeatedly smashed dancefloors worldwide. John B quickly became a headlining name on flyers across the globe, and his touring schedule has been non-stop ever since. Establishing his own stable of labels (Beta Recordings, Tangent, Chihuahua and Nu_Electro) to reflect his diverse tastes from liquid funk to Latin, provided the perfect platform for Johns groundbreaking sonic experimentation to develop.

From his studio and label HQ in Maidenhead, UK, John has since made major waves within the wider world of dance music. Having picked up on Johns early forays into trance production, Perfecto label boss and DJ superstar Paul Oakenfold commissioned tracks which ended up alongside the likes of Madonna and Justin Timberlake on the epic Great Wall compilation. John has also long worn his love of 80s electronica on his sleeve, way before the fashionistas jumped on the bandwagon, and he has been busy signing hot new electro-influenced tracks for his most recent label venture, Nu Electro. There is also rumoured to be a John B reworking of Toni Basils classic Hey Mickey in the pipeline.

His new album, in:transit has received glowing reviews:

One of the most intriguing DnB albums in a long, long while& John Bs willing to experiment where others merely imitate& Album of the Month!  Knowledge Mag June 04

Definitely one of the most talented producers on the planet  DJ Mag June 04

A fantastic concoction of liquid funk, electro & trancey flavours& Dirty, heavyweight bombs that prove John B is still one of the top dogs of the dancefloor!  Mixmag

John B delivers an album that can only be described as classic. With all styles covered he proves once again why he is one of the drum n bass scenes most original and adventurous artists. This is the bomb& Go get it now!  Update Magazine June 04

Album of the Month  M8 magazine.

Mighty Drum n Bass electro-shock therapy  KlubKnowledge. June 04

As far as drum n bass albums go youll be hard pushed to find anything that crosses boundaries like in:transit does  ATM June 04

Still just the tender age of 26, is there is much more to come from Mr B. Next up, godfather of soul James Browns new tracks are due for the John B remix treatment, a real surprise for even this musical chameleon. Hes also been busy Remixing Howard Jones, Heaven 17, Digital Nation, Robbie Craig and SExpress. True to form, it doesnt seem as if things will be becoming predictable any time soon&

Older Biography (2001)

John B is a name synonymous with originality. He has constructed some of the most daring Drum & Bass audio experiments of the last five years, and this is a consequence of his reluctance to pigeonhole himself under any one style. His refusal to conform to traditional methods means that his productive streak is ever changing; and so in delving into the timeline of John’s musical career, some staggeringly contrasting and imaginative vinyl pressings can be discovered. The only ingredient that is retained between each of his successive releases is quality; there is always thought present, as is hindsight. This quality is a trend that has existed in John’s work ever since he first set sight on a synthesizer, as we shall now find out.

Way before the drum and bass boom of the year 2000, when the music was still in its teething stages; the sounds of the irrepressible Fabio and Grooverider caught the attention of our budding beats enthusiast, Mr. B; on their Kiss FM slot. Within a year of venturing to his first rave, John had already adopted this rogue art form as his music of choice; and was deep into the process of creating his own records.

Formation Records’ DJ SS supported John’s new-forged interest in the underground sound and encouraged him to cultivate it, upon hearing his demo tape. Then, staggeringly, and in a weird reverse of roles, John managed to catch the attention of the man who actually caught his attention in the first place, that being Grooverider. John achieved this through his first batch of promising 12" singles; which screamed out to DJs; such as the warped and foreboding ‘Sight Beyond’, and the contrasting, but musically accomplished ’Fermat’s Theorem.’ The chain reaction had now begun; and from hereon in, John never looked back.

In 1997, Grooverider requested for one of John’s tracks to be included on his ‘Prototype Years’ LP – the album from which all future long players would later be measured. For John; who had only been producing for a few years, this was a phenomenal achievement. His creation, ‘Secrets’ now lay nestled in and amongst the 33-speed vinyl-grooves of legendary artists such as Ed Rush, Optical, Dillinja, Matrix and Grooverider; and so there was no turning back. The brooding track; complete with insane, blaring Armageddon screeches, and slimy, glutinous bass-lines, pushed John headlong into the spotlight of the scene; and people were watching. Inspired by his successes, B began brainstorming new tracks; and began to lay the foundations to his trademark sound.

John B’s electric originality caused more than its fair share of static between the vinyl plates of DJ boxes worldwide; with his 1998 masterpiece; the ‘Visions’ LP. Released on SS’s New Identity label; it was critically acclaimed.

WIKKID – DJ MAGAZINE

PURPOSE BUILT FOR THE CAFE DEL MARMUZIK

THE SOUND OF DRUM & BASS BEING SHOWN THE TIME OF ITS LIFEKNOWLEDGE

RAW FURY FUCKIN ELLMIXMAG

Next came Mr. B’s revolutionary ‘Salsa’; and a deft uppercut to the jaw of the inwardly oppressive, dark, unimaginative drum and bass that swamped the scene in 1999. All that was missing with this release was the free sombrero; as it included cactus-ridden soundscapes, tequila-soaked synth trickery, and ‘Arrriba’ chants which put even the great Speedy Gonzales to shame. This release had DJs scratching their heads in awe of its sparkling renaissance of positive and uplifting undertones; something totally against the grain at its time of If you haven’t come across John B in one of his many musical guises over the past decade, where have you been? Classically trained at a young age, this British super-producer has gone on to become one of the most eclectic and unique individuals working within electronic music today. Consistently escaping categorization, John’s genre-defying catalogue spans the worlds of Electro, Trance and Drum & Bass, and a few other spaces across the bpm spectrum.

John’s career began in illustrious style as the one and only Goldie picked up on this mild-mannered, blonde-locked science graduate and his distinctive drum and bass beat constructions, and he was signed to the legendary Metalheadz label. Tracks such as the euphoric Up All Night have become instant classics in the canon of drum and bass, and repeatedly smashed dancefloors worldwide. John B quickly became a headlining name on flyers across the globe, and his touring schedule has been non-stop ever since. Establishing his own stable of labels (Beta Recordings, Tangent, Chihuahua and Nu_Electro) to reflect his diverse tastes from liquid funk to Latin, provided the perfect platform for John’s groundbreaking sonic experimentation to develop.

From his studio and label HQ in Maidenhead, UK, John has since made major waves within the wider world of dance music. Having picked up on John’s early forays into trance production, Perfecto label boss and DJ superstar Paul Oakenfold commissioned tracks which ended up alongside the likes of Madonna and Justin Timberlake on the epic Great Wall compilation. John has also long worn his love of 80s electronica on his sleeve, way before the fashionistas jumped on the bandwagon, and he has been busy signing hot new electro-influenced tracks for his most recent label venture, Nu Electro. There is also rumoured to be a John B reworking of Toni Basil’s classic Hey Mickey in the pipeline.

His new album, in:transit has received glowing reviews:

One of the most intriguing DnB albums in a long, long while& John B’s willing to experiment where others merely imitate& Album of the Month! Knowledge Mag June 04

Definitely one of the most talented producers on the planet DJ Mag June 04

A fantastic concoction of liquid funk, electro & trancey flavours& Dirty, heavyweight bombs that prove John B is still one of the top dogs of the dancefloor! Mixmag

John B delivers an album that can only be described as classic. With all styles covered he proves once again why he is one of the drum’n’ bass scene’s most original and adventurous artists. This is the bomb& Go get it now! Update Magazine June 04

Album of the Month M8 magazine.

Mighty Drum ‘n’ Bass electro-shock therapy KlubKnowledge. June 04

As far as drum n bass albums go you’ll be hard pushed to find anything that crosses boundaries like in:transit does ATM June 04

Still just the tender age of 26, is there is much more to come from Mr B. Next up, godfather of soul James Brown’s new tracks are due for the John B remix treatment, a real surprise for even this musical chameleon. He’s also been busy Remixing Howard Jones, Heaven 17, Digital Nation, Robbie Craig and S Express. True to form, it doesn’t seem as if things will be becoming predictable any time soon&

Older Biography (2001)

John B is a name synonymous with originality. He has constructed some of the most daring Drum & Bass audio experiments of the last five years, and this is a consequence of his reluctance to pigeonhole himself under any one style. His refusal to conform to traditional methods means that his productive streak is ever changing; and so in delving into the timeline of John’s musical career, some staggeringly contrasting and imaginative vinyl pressings can be discovered. The only ingredient that is retained between each of his successive releases is quality; there is always thought present, as is hindsight. This quality is a trend that has existed in John’s work ever since he first set sight on a synthesizer, as we shall now find out.

Way before the drum and bass boom of the year 2000, when the music was still in its teething stages; the sounds of the irrepressible Fabio and Grooverider caught the attention of our budding beats enthusiast, Mr. B; on their Kiss FM slot. Within a year of venturing to his first rave, John had already adopted this rogue art form as his music of choice; and was deep into the process of creating his own records.

Formation Records’ DJ SS supported John’s new-forged interest in the underground sound and encouraged him to cultivate it, upon hearing his demo tape. Then, staggeringly, and in a weird reverse of roles, John managed to catch the attention of the man who actually caught his attention in the first place, that being Grooverider. John achieved this through his first batch of promising 12" singles; which screamed out to DJs; such as the warped and foreboding ‘Sight Beyond’, and the contrasting, but musically accomplished ’Fermat’s Theorem.’ The chain reaction had now begun; and from hereon in, John never looked back.

In 1997, Grooverider requested for one of John’s tracks to be included on his ‘Prototype Years’ LP – the album from which all future long players would later be measured. For John; who had only been producing for a few years, this was a phenomenal achievement. His creation, ‘Secrets’ now lay nestled in and amongst the 33-speed vinyl-grooves of legendary artists such as Ed Rush, Optical, Dillinja, Matrix and Grooverider; and so there was no turning back. The brooding track; complete with insane, blaring Armageddon screeches, and slimy, glutinous bass-lines, pushed John headlong into the spotlight of the scene; and people were watching. Inspired by his successes, B began brainstorming new tracks; and began to lay the foundations to his trademark sound.

John B’s electric originality caused more than its fair share of static between the vinyl plates of DJ boxes worldwide; with his 1998 masterpiece; the ‘Visions’ LP. Released on SS’s New Identity label; it was critically acclaimed.

WIKKID – DJ MAGAZINE

PURPOSE BUILT FOR THE CAFE DEL MARMUZIK

THE SOUND OF DRUM & BASS BEING SHOWN THE TIME OF ITS LIFEKNOWLEDGE

RAW FURY FUCKIN ELLMIXMAG

Next came Mr. B’s revolutionary ‘Salsa’; and a deft uppercut to the jaw of the inwardly oppressive, dark, unimaginative drum and bass that swamped the scene in 1999. All that was missing with this release was the free sombrero; as it included cactus-ridden soundscapes, tequila-soaked synth trickery, and ‘Arrriba’ chants which put even the great Speedy Gonzales to shame. This release had DJs scratching their heads in awe of its sparkling renaissance of positive and uplifting undertones; something totally against the grain at its time of release. It helped to push the scene forward; and helped earmark the album on which it resided; SS’s ‘Countries’ LP; as different and daring. It was a clever move on John’s part; it stood out like a sore thumb; and dragged evermore-watchful eyes from the recesses of the underground scene onto his movements.

Although the keystone to John’s artistry before the end of the millennium was obviously creativity and intuition, he was still on a path of self-discovery. This fact, coupled with his penchant for cult, 80’s synthesiser-style, Electro soundscapes, would eventually lead him to the driver’s seat of his soon-to-be signature style; one that would sell him thousands of records.

In 1999, John constructed his own label, Beta Recordings. Over the next two years, this outlet would absorb much of his personal time, as he set about building up a healthy batch of releases. Finally, after all his hard work, all his releases, and the lengthy distance he had travelled; John B tore the scene to shreds with a single release that would change the way people looked at D&B forever.

It was 2001; and the most notorious individual in drum and bass, Goldie, recruited a tiny sect of seven individuals to relaunch arguably the most influential record label of all time; Metalheadz. Who better to call upon than John B; who consequently delivered the final and shocking chapter to Goldie’s remarkable five release-run of life-changing music. ‘Up All Night’ was the name of B’s magnum opus, a record that his name would become synonymous with ever after.

This record screamed out to the masses by breathing life into a tired and over glamorised hardcore / drum and bass sub-genre. It was one of those tunes that, when played at a rave, transcended the whole tangibility of your surroundings, and created an atmosphere and tension that made you forget that the essence of the moment was solely accountable to a deck and a needle. It was fused with unspeakable emotion and feeling; it called out to you and made you close your eyes and think. When it was aired in a club, it made the audience forget where they were and how you got there, and simply left them dwelling in totality on the music.

‘Up All Night’ registered in at No. 1 in the all-format UK dance charts; above all other house, garage and techno entries. It transcended genres and unified different cultures; it was not uncommon to hear the sounds of breaks and hiphop DJs, such as the Scratch Perverts, blending and scratching the sounds of John’s masterpiece with their own. Astonishingly, the record was created just over a year before actual release; it was seemingly light years ahead of his time. This record is factual proof of John B’s pioneering attitude and fiery streak of originality; it is a sonic landmark of epic proportions.

After this, the snowball of success began careering uncontrollably forward for John. His new forged fusion of oldskool sounds and newskool traits instigated the enormous ‘When I’m Close 2 U/Crazy in Love’ on his finely tuned Future Reference EP. Even though it was the only hard and scathing tune on there; it was reserved for DJ Marky’s incredibly successful ‘Brazilian Job’ CD LP, which was heralded as one the best jungle CDs of all time. Regardless; the Future Reference album, in itself, received one of the top 10 albums of the year in the Sunday Times; due to its balance of hard, smooth, and sexy subtleties. This achievement was the first if its kind for a drum and bass release.

Soon after, in 2002, John B had returned to his hard-dance mentality with an equally bruising; but beautifully melodic remix of ‘Up All Night’. The spangled synthesiser-style melody in its introduction was notably different from John’s previous releases, and it was this sound that he would retain; in character; for his future production experiments. John had clearly been bitten by the 80’s vibe; and his ensuing Future Reference remix EP confirmed this. Its production style was saturated with a precious, gaseous envelope of the early acid-house days; and was riddled with tear-jerking siren calls, and oldskool synthesiser bleeps. This was the start of a new era for John.

The Mad Scientist of drum and bass had always been interested in the synthesiser-driven energy of the 1980’s. The scene in which John resided had previously recycled many musical genres, but never one as obscure and as daring as this. The fact that this 1980’s sound was solely responsible for the uprising of dance music as we know it today, ran rife in John’s mind; and a brainchild was born.

By harnessing this vibe of old and stuffing it into the same melting pot of the170bpm sound, not only did John achieve something previously unheard of, but he displayed, in audio format, the foundations to the underground music which he and so many others love today. In doing this, John was subconsciously feeding the more recent fans of drum and bass the foundations to which their music was built upon, through something they could relate to, in an extraordinary fusion of two musical genres. John had become a true ambassador of his sound.

When the oldskool revival came about for drum and bass, never did it delve as deep into the timeline as John B managed to burrow. B now had an untapped market all for himself, as this regeneration of 80’s synthesizer sound in D&B had never been attempted before. His ensuing work featured more of this daringly different past / future mutation, such as ‘Electronic, ’Rendez Vous’ and ’Celebrity; which are all fantastically original showpieces in their own right.

Following on, and another acclaimed release in 2002 touched down in the form of John B’s remix of High Contrast’s ‘Return of Forever’. High Contrast; a relatively new artist at the time, was hurtling up the ranks of the music’s finest at an unprecedented speed. In the same way that Grooverider trusted John to contribute for his ‘Prototype Years’ compilation, and in similar fashion to when Goldie had faith in John to produce an accomplished track for his legendary Metalheadz label; High Contrast left the anthemic tune that arguably propelled him into the limelight in the sturdy hands of signor B. John gave the track an electro 80’s lick of fuzzy, funk-fuelled production paint, all in his inimitable style.

John has many compatriots that share his methods of originality and forward thinking. His new labels in 2002; Tangent, Chihuahua & Nu Electro are architectures constructed to magnify and enlarge the successes of these people who produce drum and bass with similar ideals. These three outlets help to cater for John’s broad ranging taste in his chosen music. The first of these labels; Chihuahua caters for the sassy, Latino funk-lifestyle prophesised by his pioneering ‘Salsa’ track; and so its first release epitomised this.

The artist Nu Tone concocted the simply sublime ‘E. Spresso / Chupa Meus Samples’ to kick-start John’s Chihuahua label; and it provided a stark, fiery boot to the backside of crowd members throughout the UK, especially at nights such as Fabio’s ‘Swerve’ residency, with its cheeky, scorching undertones. This label cemented itself as a remedy to all the sickening, shin-shattering dark-core material that so commonly ventures into raves en mass to mutilate the crowds.

Also; Tangent. John instigated this new imprint with his own acclaimed ’It’s so real’; paving the way for Australian producer Greg Packer to serve its second release with some more succulent beats and percussion; the critically acclaimed ‘You are the one / Wake up’. It was the next record which really left a dent in DJs mental receptors, though; Mars’ ‘Road Runner / Soul-Jah’; a staggering slice of raw, rugged funk; made all the more staggering by the fact it was conceived by an 18 year old, Will Marsden. The label continues to release singles by these artists, and a Greg packer Album is due for Spring 2003.

Nu Electro is the 4th label in the Beta recordings camp – a home for the electro punk drum & bass of ‘American Girls’, ‘Electronic’ etc by Mr. B, and new artists CydeFX, Shapeshifter and Genetic Sequence.

So, one can see from these imprints that not only is John providing new music; but new opportunities for other individuals. No bias is involved; be they thousands of miles across the globe with no encountering of the UK scene; or just young, and inexperienced in the industry; it does not matter. As long as the music is good, that’s what matters, and its even better if it can help bring new artists through.

What now, from John B? He is too unpredictable to draw an opinion; but whichever direction he treads, one can always assure that he will never forget his roots, and that his workings will be wracked with pioneering thought. This man will always be serving up the sounds of the underground until either the tinnitus from his speakers; or arthritis from DJing gets to him; whatever comes first.

Whichever style or slant John approaches his work from; he pulls on qualms in wearing his originality on his sleeve. As long as it is new, fresh, different and extravert, it will always reside in his production experiments somewhere along the line. So; until the day that John shaves his precious, blonde Barnet in favour of a ‘short, back and sides’; do not expect to hear any overly familiar distortion synths and amen drums in his assemblage any time soon. This individual has carved himself his own corner in the scene, and because he continues to be successful, he has no reason to conform.

Bearing the aforementioned points in mind, it is justifiable to propose that John is a true, bright spark of our dark, subterraneous culture. As long as he keeps on making music, in whichever form, and whichever guise; it will bring light and positive energy to even the darkest corners of the rave.

Written by John Murray-Hill

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