Youngsta is considered to be a veteran of the dubstep genre, having been at the forefront since the likes of Skream, Benga, and DMZ, amongst other massive names. Although he has had various colossal collaborated releases, alongside his debut release ‘Destruction/Poseidon’, his main forte is his specialised mixing skills. His advanced ability to mix multiple tunes and surreptitiously transfuse the bass lines, have rocketed him to the top and he is easily one of, if not the best mixer of 140 to witness live. Each Monday, Youngsta takes to the airwaves, on Rinse FM, alongside Toast for Minimal Mondays, showcasing all of the freshest dubplates from artists all over the world. So with playing out regularly, multiple releases and a radio show all under his belt, it was time for the man himself to present his own night, Contact.
For the big occasion, the correct venue had to be chosen in order to take the sound system’s output and provide ideal acoustics for the sound. The Electric Brixton was the choice, and I personally have few complaints. With a large dance floor, the crowd wasn’t packed in like a tin of sardines, and we were free to move and dance in space, even at the busiest times. There was also an upper tier to the venue, enabling people to watch from above and escape the crowd if that was their preference and a few sections of seats for anyone suffering from tired legs. The only complaint I have, which was voiced by everyone there I spoke to, even SP:MC on stage, was the price of the drinks at the bar. There were no pints available, which was appalling considering the size and stature of the venue, and the bottles of beers and ciders were priced at a ridiculous £5 each.
The sound system of choice was the well-known RC1, regarded so highly due to the high levels of bass and volume, but also due to the quality of sound it offers. As this was my first experience with this system and having heard stories from friends who went to DMZ 8th birthday and various other events, I had high hopes before entering the venue. With the system warmed, the volume crept up and the potential was fully unleashed. At some points, it felt as though you were inhaling and virtually suffocating on bass, which although sounds unpleasant, wasn’t by a long shot. I’ve experienced the Iration Steppas sound system, the rig at VIVEK’s System, along with various other powerful rigs and I can honestly say I’ve never been blown away to this extent. Even trying to look at your phone was a hard task, due to the bass rattling your pupils.
With the venue and sound system taken care of, it was time to set sights on the line-up. Nomine, a relative newcomer on the scene, took centre stage to kick off what was to be an incredible night. Nomine is fairly unknown to most, due to him switching up his alias prior to his break into the scene. His production style is very distinctive; infusing contemporary techniques, with an old school, dubby sound throughout all of his tracks. He recently had a release on Tempa with ‘Nomine’s Sound/Searching’, displaying his brilliant ability with production. His set was a lovely way to warm the system and give everyone a taste of his original style, with ‘Searching’ being a personal favourite, complimented by the pulsating RC1 sound system. His set definitely had an old school edge, maintaining authentic bass lines and really getting the crowd into an upbeat spirit. Even from the outset when the arena was fairly empty, you could see different groups driving the vibe higher.
Proxima, from Eindhoven, Netherlands, is well known for his gnarly, mid-range bouncing tracks. I’d never seen him play out before, but I can easily say his energetic style has had a large effect on the current dubstep scene. His set oozed aggression, supplying the audience with a selection of vivacious tracks, threaded eloquently together for his whole set. My personal favourites of his set would have to be ‘Fallout’, and of course ‘Lie Detection VIP’, both causing the RC1 sound system to rupture with bass and volume, fluctuating the crowd into movement. His set took a completely different direction to Nomine, displaying the finest tracks from the future of sound.
J:Kenzo has been making really dark movements, with his debut album coming out on Tempa last year, he has displayed his complex style, always manipulating different samples to form some real masterpieces. Since then he has created tracks like ‘Cause and Effect’ and remixed Killawatt & Ipman’s track ‘Dark Place’. I’m jubilant to say both of these tracks managed to slot into his track list. I don’t think I went as mental throughout anyone’s set as when ‘Dark Place’ got dropped, sending shocks of vibration throughout the entire venue. His expressive method of switching up the sounds of the original, constructing the bars differently, giving it a real stomping sound is inspiring and I couldn’t ask for a better track to demonstrate the RC1’s brute power. I’d have to mention ‘TMSV – Haze’ also getting dropped, fulfilling all of the tracks I was desperate to see from Kenzo. The bass weight the track radiates caused the entire crowd to erupt into mass movement.
V.I.V.E.K is a man who needs no introductions. His earthly sounds have surrounded him in such a diverse sound that mesmerize you into a state of ecstasy. The subtle complexity he feeds into his tracks is something to be treasured, and is really pleasant to hear out on a sound system like the RC1. My personal favourite of the set would have to be ‘Amit – No Mercy’ as it just holds such a next level vibe, which all of Amit’s productions seem to have. He held his own, branching away from the futuristic sound, and including something which he holds so highly at his own night, System, keeping it authentic to the sound system and delivering ultimate dub for the entire crowd to revel in.
Youngsta highlighted the depth of skill he embodies right from the start, supplying the crowd with all of the best recent tracks, combined with teasers of old school gems. The crowd had grown to a much larger capacity at this point, yet everyone was constantly moving, thriving on the levels of bass. Numerous Truth tracks, containing exquisite synth work, layered with the smooth low end bass were transfused with various dance floor destroyers. It’s hard to even select personal favourites in his set; however, it was special to hear exclusives like ‘Amit – Stay with me (Kryptic Minds remix)’ and ‘Quantum Soul – Strong Root VIP’. Both tracks are incredible reworks of the originals, bringing a sense of bliss throughout the crowd during the build-up to the drop. ‘Strong Root VIP’ has been completely dubbed up and made to sound much heavier than the original, with Kryptic Minds remix of ‘Stay with me’ preserving the groundwork of the original, yet eclipsing the track in a deeper and darker sound. SP:MC helped add to the crowd’s participation and create a perfect vibe with his accurately placed bars, flowing with the journey of tracks.
LTJ Bukem was given what could be called the graveyard shift, driving the tempo higher, seeking for endurance from the crowd. Although the capacity did begin to slowly diminish towards the end, a large amount of the crowd remained to warrior on through the jungle which engulfed the room. Reminiscing of summers listening to LTJ, as vibrations streamed through the room pounding from wall to wall in movement. It really was something special to add such a character in the 170 scene to an already insane line-up, and the only reason people would have left was due to their sheer tiredness, not at all due to the music that was being played.
With this night, Youngsta has formed something that in itself is unique. He certainly brought a night filled with all the best modern music, futuristic sounds and topped with the surprise, this time in the form of LTJ Bukem. It brought absolute nostalgia, listening to some of the best jungle sounds he had to offer, and a refreshing addition to what was a top drawer line up. It would be far too difficult to select the best set as each artist differed in style, tracks played and even their mixing techniques. One thing that was maintained and made the night so flawless was the vibe, from 10-6, throughout the entirety of the night. Everyone involved helped in making this a special night which will signify many more to come. With so many great artists that Youngsta could ask to be a part of the next outing, you’ll be counting down until the next Contact.
Written By Drew Jones