A&E » Arts

Bukem still Looking Good

DJ Bukem and MC Conrad celebrate 13 years together



Who: LTJ Bukem with MC Conrad

Where: Garfinkel’s

When: Wednesday, Jan. 18

Tickets: $15/$20

Once the underground's best kept secret, the no-holds-barred mindset of drum ’n' bass has moved into mainstream listening circles and positioned itself as a reckoning force.

"It is one of the few remaining music styles around that is still so freely made and people kind of put what they want into it," said renowned drum ’n' bass DJ/Producer LTJ Bukem from his London home. "A lot of music is formulated. Drum ’n' bass still has room for new and fresh ideas."

The free spirit of drum ’n' bass is what attracted the GoodLooking/Looking Good label founder to the music genre more than 15 years ago. Now 3,000-plus gigs later, with two labels under his direction, in the uninhibited spirit of drum ’n' bass Bukem will throw down old school tunes into a contemporary mix for the Official 13 Years GoodLooking "Unlucky For Some" World Tour featuring Bukem and MC Conrad Wednesday, Jan. 18 at Garfinkel's.

"We've been doing it for so long, he really knows me musically and I him," Bukem said of his partnership with Conrad.

"I know where he is going and whether he is going to do something or not, and the same for him with me. I know what he is all about. I like Conrad because he lets the music breathe."

Rather than performing as two separate entities, MC and DJ, the friends of 15 years, who worked together under the GoodLooking label for 13 years, work together as one visionary machine thrusting out a sonic array of funk, soul, downbeat, house, breaks and chill-out nu-jazz tracks.

A student of jazz trumpet and piano during his childhood years, Bukem’s first introduction to music consisted of jamming with his parents and friends in his living room, angering the neighbours for days. Classic notes struck a different key when he became interested in DJing in the mid 1980s, later leading to his breakout track Logical Progression in 1990 and the founding of his first label Looking Good Records, where artists such as Photek, Blame, Nookie, and Seba and LoTec migrated to. Entrenching himself so deeply in supporting the label and other artists over the years, Bukem is now ready to turn his efforts inwards to his own work.

"I've only made a limited amount of music for myself, I've sacrificed a lot to the label," Bukem said. "I want to get back to the studio for myself."

But not to worry, the resident DJ of 10 years in superclubs around London still intends to keep up his mad DJ schedule around the world. From playing to 18,000 people in the Olympic Stadium in Greece to mixing in intimate cave parities on the shores of Puerto Rico, the Londoner runs a marathon of 200-plus gigs a year.

The GoodLooking show opens with Mash Up Monday's Jungle Souldier and B Traits. Advanced $15/$20 tickets available at Electric Daisy and Garf's. Doors 9 p.m.