TF Archives

DJ Blame

Author: Andrez
Sunday, January 1, 1995
When LTJ Bukem's 'Logical Progression' compilation emerged last year it succeeded Goldie's 'Timeless' as the drum 'n' bass album of the moment, winning praise from the media and audiences as far apart as Manchester and Melbourne. Now 'Logical Progression Level 2' has come about, mixed this time around by Bukem's protege DJ Blame.

Real name Conrad Shafie - "I use Blame more often because otherwise people confuse me with MC Conrad," he quips - DJ Blame started producing his own music in 1992 and was eventually picked up by Moving Shadow. After producing work for other labels like XL Recordings, Modern Urban Jazz and Whitehouse, he entered Bukem's stable last year.

LTJ Bukem and his partner Tony Fordham are the guys responsible for labels Good Looking, Looking Good and Cookin'. But it's the Good Looking imprint that continues to take precedence and uses the 'Logical Progression' compilations as their own pre-imposed benchmark. With this in mind Wax magazine quoted Bukem's declaration that "Logical is a sound, or a collection of sounds; it's not just about me." It was no doubt with these sentiments in mind DJ Blame was asked to steer the wheels of steel in the final mix-down of 'Logical Progression Level 2', so it would be interesting to note how this guy initially hooked-up with LTJ Bukem and the Good Looking crew. "When I started producing I lived down the road from Bukem so I always used to give him DATs, even while I was with Moving Shadow. About a year ago I went round to his place and played him a few tracks, and we sat around talking - and everything we spoke about matched up together. What he offered through Good Looking was the opportunity to continue making the music I wanted to make, yet still maintain complete support from the label. It was a logical sense of progression, really, to sign up with Good Looking."

Given the success of the first 'Logical Progression' outing, was there undue pressure when creating its successor- "Musically, no," Blame responds. "I mean I've always been there, even when LTJ Bukem was just a local DJ living down the road. So there wasn't any pressure when it came to the music itself, but as for the mix . . . well, what can I say- Following on from LTJ Bukem is a hard act to follow; he's like the tightest and best DJ on the scene so I had to pull something out of the bag for the DJing . . ."

I was reading in the May issue of the UK's Wax magazine that Blame initially spent 30 hours putting together 'Logical Progression Level 2', then re-recorded the whole lot on the spur of the moment because he wasn't that happy with the original version. "Don't remind me about that!" laughs Blame. "I want to forget that moment! Mixing the album was hard work, I'd spent about 30 hours because I wanted to get it perfect, and I polished it and refined it - then I played it to Bukem and [MC] Conrad and they were like 'nah, this just isn't Blame', and it's true - it just wasn't at all like hearing me live, cutting it up and doing whatever . . . so I got out all the dub plates and did it again in one take, within an hour. Now it's more like how I play out, crackles and all, and that's what 'Logical Progression' is all about - showing you how we play out."

This time around the 'Logical Progression' journey is quite a different one from the guided tour Bukem took us on in the first volume. "That's the idea," Blame infers. "It's a story that's always evolving and changing . . . it'd be boring having the same stuff on it again, wouldn't it- You can blame me for the differences!"

What would the man behind the mix like this compilation to say to people who hear its chords and basslines for the first time- "I want people to listen to it and think 'hold on, this music is saying something'. I want them to realise what potential it's got. Drum 'n' bass has evolved out of the rave culture and a lot of people criticised it over the years, but now it's got to a level I don't think you can ignore. I'd ju