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Brits Kenny Ken and DJ SS introduce The Originals

Old-school D'n'B and Jungle come to Tommy Africa's on Jan. 16

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Back in the early '90s, Kenny Ken and DJ SS were at the forefront of the rise of drum and bass and jungle music in the U.K.

The DJs are proudly old school, still going strong with vinyl at the ready, and now back in Canada for a tour that brings them to Whistler.

"We're bringing a new concept called The Originals Foundation tour. It's going to be original artists, proper DJs going through the years of D'n'B and jungle," says DJ SS over Skype from his studio in Leicester.

"The reason we called it The Originals is because we are the original DJs who helped spread jungle all around the world."

The whole project grew out of their dissatisfaction with the way the music was being performed, hurting the quality of what they've played for 50 years combined.

"It's more of an educational trip, because there's too many DJs just playing what they want and not focusing on what it is supposed to be about kind of thing. Any DJ with a 15- or 20-year history can be in Originals," DJ SS says.

He adds that he plans to create a team of performers.

"It's a concept I've had for a while but we're starting it this year. This is the first tour, basically."

The pair tour worldwide and are surprised by requests they get to perform music by others who they think shouldn't make the cut.

"It surprises me. These days, a DJ might make one tune and all of a sudden he's on the big stage. He hasn't learned his trade," DJ SS says.

DJs and producers are playing pre-programed sets and not respecting their audiences, he adds, his voice rising in annoyance.

"The whole scene now, people aren't entertained. DJs aren't using the art form, like the vinyl pullout out from the back of a bag, you know. You had to work at it," he says.

"Now they're just pressing buttons."

What they try to offer is a more intimate vibe.

He has spent a lot of time lately in the studio, working with Canadian group Green Law, from Victoria.

Kenny Ken and DJ SS are at Tommy Africa's on Monday, Jan. 16, at 9:30 p.m. Advance tickets are $10 and available at www.whistlerjunglists.com. Tickets at the door are $15.

There will also be sets by Infectious, Miss Kosmik, Phroh and Riddim Fernandez.

DJ SS will also be returning in March for a solo night.

In an email interview, Kenny Ken says this is the fourth time he has performed in Whistler. He says their music will be a case of no holding back, raw with plenty of vibes.

"Whistler's one of them places you don't expect to find a lot of junglists, but they always come out in force and it's always a good party!" he says. 

"I've known DJ SS for years and we've done a lot of tours together but we play different styles, that way our crowd will get the full spectrum of D'n'B-jungle," Kenny Ken says.

He has just returned from shows in Germany and is looking forward to others in London, and an Australian tour. He is also collaborating in 2017 with Margaman, Saxxon and Bladerunner.

"There'll be a lot of fresh beats getting played on the night, I make sure I'm in touch with a lot of artists to make sure I always have a fresh selection of music, plus I'm in the studio a lot myself making my own beats and they'll be with me.

Apart, from "music, music and more music" he likes to shop, another good reason to come here.

"I'm really looking forward to coming back to Whistler as it's such a good vibe and the people I've met there really show some love, so roll on Monday!" he says.

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