Siam2nite had the opportunity to have an exclusive interview with LTJ Bukem, shortly before his performance at Grease on 11th September.
Where are you answering these questions?
Currently in Koh Samui.
You are one of Drum&Bass’ most renowned figures, considered an innovator of the genre and respected worldwide for your signature sound of intelligent, jazzy and atmospheric Drum&Bass. You are also the founder of Good Looking Records record label. How did you get in touch with electronic dance music in the first place and how did you get into DJing and music production?
I started off at the age of 8/9 learning piano then went on to learn trumpet and also playing drums. As a result of this I seeked new music to buy and listen to. This lead me on to DJ because I used to take all the music I then purchased to friends parties to play to all of them.
I also made my first tracks on keyboards in the mid to late 80s which got me very interested in music production and as a result was then addicted to the whole DJ music production thing.
What - artists and music genres - are your biggest influences?
Growing up in London in your teens was a great time for getting into all genres of music, so I was heavily into jazz, soul, reggae, Hip-hop. So guys like Isaac Hayes, Leroy Hutson, James Mason, Vernon Burch, Lonnie Liston Smith, James Brown, The Temptations, Barry White, all of the 80s hip-hop guys like NWA, Public Enemy, Biz Markie, Jungle Brothers, Chubb Rock, Ultramagnetic Mc’s, KRS One, reggae guys like Johnny Osborne, Dennis Brown, Frankie Paul, Sugar Minot, the list is endless.
Your tracks “Logical Progression”, “Demon's Theme”, “Atlantis”, "Music” and “Horizons” are widely recognized as timeless classics. Which other tracks, remixes or mix-sets would you suggest to someone that is not yet familiar with your music?
For those that weren’t around when it all started a good place to check out what I was doing is my mix cloud page where I have uploaded many of my early DJ mixes both studio and live: www.mixcloud.com/LTJBukem
A recent mix to hear what I am currently doing can be found here:
You have been part of the Drum & Bass scene since the early beginning, since Jungle emerged from Hardcore. Looking back on a DJ career of close to 3 decades, what were the most memorable & the most terrible gigs you ever played and what were the funniest things ever occurred during any of your performances?
In the early 90s especially in the UK were some of the most amazing events, pretty much like a modern day festival but without sound restrictions, set up in a farmers field or where ever there was enough space for it, you would find yourself most weeks on a Friday and Saturday maybe playing 4 /5 of these events with any where from 5 to 20,000 people attending, these were very memorable, I like to forget the terrible gigs.
Drum & Bass today, are you happy with its evolvement?
Drum and bass has involved into many different movements, sections if you like , something that maybe I could never have imagined 25 years ago.
In fact I could not have even imagined playing events outside the UK up until 1993 / 94 so where it is now is quite amazing. The music itself I think has also influenced many different genres outside of drum and bass.
You’ve visited Thailand several times already and you have played in Bangkok, Phuket, Koh Samui and Koh Phangan. Did you keep the shows – and Thailand in general - in good memory? What can people expect from your upcoming performance at Grease?
Correct, I do love coming to Thailand and have been coming here many years and have made some amazing friends both Thai, expat, and just foreigners in general that travel to Thailand, live and work in Thailand. I love both the culture and the food.
Looking forward to the upcoming Bangkok performance where I will be playing some upfront drum and bass amidst a few classics for sure.