Tony Cummings spoke to drum 'n' bass man DJ BCEE
Of all the sub-genres within dance music, the one most seldom explored by Christian DJs and producers is drum 'n' bass. Despite it being a fully fledged scene with a devoted following and its own musical heroes and conventions, drum 'n' bass has never found the same level of Christian support as say house or techno. But now, thanks to the sterling efforts of two UK DJs, record producers and record label owners, that situation is quickly changing. Rubik Records began in August 2002 and since then has released a steady trickle of high quality drum 'n' bass 12 inch singles, most of them featuring the label's owners Kubiks and BCee.
Kubiks is now a significant name in the UK's drum 'n' bass underground though Christian dance enthusiasts will probably know him best for his work under his name Doug Ross, under which he's worked extensively with NGM, appeared on national TV when a 24/7 prayer team visited Ibiza and currently has a dance worship album 'The More' released by Survivor Records. BCee, known to his mum and dad as Steve Jeffrey, is a 28 year old DJ and record producer who admits to "always being fascinated by both music and technology."
Growing up in a Christian home, Steve went his own way until at the age of 20 he "turned the whole lot over to God." Already DJing, the newly converted Steve found himself being asked to DJ at youth events being organised by local churches. This in turn led to a residency at a club night. It was there that Steve first met Doug Ross. After becoming friendly, the two DJs began to talk of starting a record company. Said Steve, "At this time we were still unsure of exactly what musical style to focus on. Doug had made a couple of drum 'n' bass tracks but mainly house stuff and so we decided to put out one of his tracks, 'God Screams' on a white label. I heard a mix of 'The Vision' which had been done by the Mills Brothers from Chichester. We asked if this could go on the b-side and they were more than into the idea. We put two versions of 'The Vision' onto the vinyl, a full vocal version and an instrumental."
Steve clearly remembers what happened next. "I was driving on my way to my cell group, listening to the Vibe FM. Suddenly the music cut and in came a whispered but loud 'The vision is Jesus'. I could hardly believe my ears, 'The Vision' came on and I almost crashed the car. They were playing our record! You may not have ever heard 'The Vision' but it's not the sort of lyrics you expect to hear on the radio!"
The first drum 'n' bass release was "Life Changes"/"Sub Funktional" by Kubiks & BCee and set the tone for what was to follow on Rubik; uplifting, melodic drum 'n' bass with a decidedly warm vibe far removed from the darker sounds. Steve describes their sound as "liquid funk" which sums it up nicely. Most of the Rubik 12 inches, distributed through nu urban music, have sold well to DJs and the drum 'n' bass cognoscente. Now a potential mass audience could conceivably catch on to the company's confident take on uplifting rhythms. The CD album 'Rubik Records Presents. Kubiks & BCee' is a deft compilation which as well as gems like the duo's ricocheting "One Way Runna (Danny C Remix)" also features artists like Contour, Blue Sonix and Hold Tight.
Steve has strong views about Christian/non-Christian music debate. "I'm all out for Jesus and I'm excited at the chances God is giving us in sharing our faith with non-Christians. But when I sit down at the computer I'm not trying to make a Christian or a secular drum 'n' bass track. I'm simply trying to make the best possible music I can and a part of who I am will inevitably be heard through the music."The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.