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Drum ’n’ bass — a perfect combination



Who: Perfect Combination

Where: Tommy Africa’s

When: Tuesday, March 4

Manchester is more than just the home of the world’s most popular football team and the feuding rock band Oasis. It is in fact a hot spot for deep, rolling drum and bass music sounds from veteran DJs like Perfect Combination.

But how does a Manky kid with a passion for music avoid being sucked into a rock band?

"I was always into loops and bass lines rather than guitars and singing to be honest," said Perfect Combination, a.k.a Jimbo.

"I blame a guy called Gerald who was producing wicked acid tracks in the early ’80s. He then moved on to more break beat-orientated tracks and I followed his sound."

Not a bad choice really, because since then Perfect Combination has gone on to become one of the UK's leading drum and bass producers, playing residencies at home and abroad with his tracks planted on some of the biggest collections in the DnB movement to date.

Jimbo started out releasing deep, jazzy sounds. One of his tracks, Saigon, made it into Alex Reece's top 10 on a couple of occasions, and he had LTJ Bukem booking him on the 1995 Logical Progression tour alongside Fabio, Grooverider and Roni Size.

By 1997 Jimbo was getting harder and more club-orientated, with releases including Breakdown and Get Deeper. In 1998, Jimbo joined the eclectic roster of artists on Partisan, with Remember / Free Format and Friction / Branchin' Out. Jimbo also contributed tracks to the Jazz ’n’ Bass Session 2 compilation, including the jazz-flavoured club monster Jim the Jazz, which was hammered by just about everybody.

How he found the time to fly overseas for residencies in clubs throughout the U.S and Canada is anybody’s guess, but Jimbo said there’s a big market for it.

"I think the U.K producers get flown out a lot because without blowing our own trumpets, we were heavily responsible for the introduction of drum and bass and North America respects that. They look after me and I like the steaks," he quipped.

One of Jimbo’s favourite memories on the international circuit was doing a residency with Darren Jay, in a place called Tenerife in the Canary Islands. It was the turning point in his career.

"I had just failed my A levels at school, so I buggered off to a club there called Fever. I was only a teenager and Darren looked after me. We played a weekly outdoor party to over 3,000 every week. Me and Darren would play at Fever till 4 a.m. and then play at a rave till 3 p.m. the following day. I loved it," he said.

Don’t know about you but that would have me in a coma by now, however the experience spurred Jimbo on to even more distant shores. He did residencies as far from home as Seattle.

"I didn’t mind the long flight because I liked the city and the people there but I was burning both ends of the candle and yes the flying did eventually creep up on me and I had to stop it. But I always play in Seattle when I’m on tour in North America," he said.

Jimbo still has that spark many DJs seem to lose as the travelling, the late nights and the constant promotions take their toll. Even a freak fire in 2000 that burned down his studio, his equipment and all his records hasn’t dented this guy’s spirit.

"It knocked the stuffing out of me at the time. It was losing my Masters and record collection that hurt the most. It also didn’t help that my insurance took a year to pay up, which set me back a year or more. I had an album due for release that spring which all went up in smoke but I’m all good now," he recounted.

But looking to the future, things are on the up for Perfect Combination. He’s got a deal with Sony Playstation making tracks for Moving Shadow, he’s got a residency at www.groovetech.com , regarded as one of the best online music retailers in the world, pulling in over 2.5 million listeners each month. He’s touring the States and Canada on a regular basis, he’s slotted to play Brazil’s Ecosystem Festival and his label is about to release Freeform 9. Despite all these projects the boy from Manchester manages to keep it simple.

"I don’t really think about the future all too much, I’m just looking forward to playing at Jamie’s night this Tuesday, doing some snowboarding, hooking up with me mate Mat the Alien and seeing the Circa crew."

Catch Perfect Combination at Jamie Tobin’s Jungle ’n’ Breaks night this Tuesday at Tommy Africa’s.

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