Bristol based Selectabwoy has produced a series of eclectic mixtapes that help catalogue the diversity of sampling in hardcore and jungle/D&B. We caught up with him to find out more about his passion for breaks and discover the surprising technique he employs to stitch these mixes together.
Your Soundcloud is packed full of underground mixes including Galaxy Radio tape rips by Way Out West, DJ Jody and the Full Cycle shows hosted by DJ Krust and Roni Size. How long have you been collecting these mixes and when did you start putting your own sets together?
Growing up in Bristol the Galaxy shows were a big influence… that’s pretty much the soundtrack to my teenage years right there. Everything I taped since the early 90’s is now ripped and online for others to enjoy. Around 1995 I started DJing jungle/hardcore, then D&B and hip-hop. Like many people I got a bit bored of the drum and bass side in the around 2000 and eventually sacked it off, I’ve not even had a turntable setup for the last decade. Last year I started ripping my old vinyl and making digital mixes. Initially this was just to assemble some of my favourite tunes from the old days.
What can you tell us about your “Eclectic Samples” mixtapes and how do you put them together?
Well I love spotting samples, who doesn’t? So after the first wave of mixes, I did a few focusing on classic funk breaks, old skool and 90s hip-hop sampled in jungle/D&B. The first Eclectic mix was actually a bunch of leftovers from that. I had all these random tunes lying around that didn’t fit, electro/disco like Sinnamon and Cuba Gooding Jr, bits of techno, house, reggae, soul and rare groove. I thought it might be interesting to throw them together.
The only mix I had heard along these lines was Law’s Drumtrip Session 2 which mixed classic D&B/jungle alongside the original sample source, so kind of took inspiration from that and imposed an OCD-fuelled “original samples only” rule on myself, it snowballed from there. Some of the mixes were just two or three sample combinations to reference a hardcore/jungle tune. For this one section I had all the samples from Leviticus “The Burial” so I did a quick reconstruction with the looped Think break, a bit rough but it’s got “The Burial” vibe, I’ve built on this idea a fair bit with the later mixes.
On the other hand a lot of the tracks are in there just because I love ‘em, like all the Black Dog tracks, FSOL, Strictly Rhythm stuff, Brian Eno; if they’ve been sampled once, in they go.
Most of the mixes were done 100% on my phone with DJay 2, bit of a cheapskate option haha but it works really well, I can get in the mix any time I like, walking to work etc. The only drawback is you can’t pre-cue on headphones, but cue points, waveforms and lots of practice compensate for this, you can fly tunes in quickly, and there’s lots of other advantages, loops FX etc. The recordings can be imported straight back into the mix so you can layer up the tracks into sections, then piece them together, build it up like 4-track hip-hop mixtapes. Planning and executing some of these takes ages though, the last one was ridiculous with 300+ samples, it took me almost 4 months, so gonna try to rein it back a bit and keep it fun.
You’ve enlightened me to some incredibly obscure samples. How do you find them all?
I can only take credit for a handful that I mostly spotted long ago, the vast majority are listed on Rolldabeats, Whosampled and Discogs. Those guys put in some serious work and dig samples to a level I can’t begin to comprehend. Then there’s the Facebook groups, Jungle Beardstroke Massive etc plus I get loads of ideas from mates and so on. You find these little clues all over the place, in YouTube comments, everywhere.
Are there any original songs you’ve heard and fell in love with more than the track that it got sampled in?
Yeah… loads. Marc Moulin’s “Tohobohu” is a stand-out for me, it’s sampled in a few hip-hop tracks, heavily used in Handsome Boy Modelling School “Waterworld” and appears on DJ Zinc’s “No Fear”, but the original track is something else, this really deep, atmospheric trip. Same goes for a lot of the Bob James, Herbie Hancock, Lonnie Liston Smith tracks… it’s just amazing music that I’ve only really discovered through sampling.
What have been some of the most obscure or hard to track down elements that have been used in your mixes?
Nothing too bad… so much is out there and identified already, I’ve asked the RDB guys a few times for more obscure IDs and they never disappoint! Finding the actual tunes in decent bitrate can be hard, I caved in on the last couple of mixes and started using more YouTube rips or I never would have got anywhere.
This mini-mix concentrates on early Reinforced Records which was famed for its diverse output and esoteric use of samples, how did this mix come to be and what can people expect from it?
It’s taken from the latest Eclectic Samples Mix (Part V), which is purely about old skool hardcore samples. The Reinforced section turned out quite big so thought it might work standalone. It’s about 60 samples from a dozen or so of my favourite Reinforced tunes kinda mashed up, some parts reconstructed to try and sound like the originals, or VIPs… other bits are just samples juxtaposed for fun.
Are there any samples you’re still trying to ID or track down?
There’s always a few, one that’s killing me at the moment is the opening loop on DJ Rap & Aston “Vertigo (Q Bass Dark Remix)”. I know for a fact that it’s off a UK car advert circa ’93 but I can’t remember the brand! Been listening to numerous shitty old car adverts on YT at work but it’s not turned up yet… Another couple hanging over me are from “Dope On Plastic Part 2” (“there are no bad guys, just disturbed guys”) and The Bookworm “Listen” (“this could be the most important day of your life” ) … both such good samples, no idea where they’re from though.
What are some of your favourite hardcore tracks?
4 Hero’s “Journey From The Light” is the one, Internal Affairs “Hands to Heaven”, those stand out in my memory, almost 25 years old now, still sound as fresh and creative today. Errrrr without thinking about it too much, big epic tunes like Crystl’s “Warpdrive” and “Crystlize”, Chalke “The Resurrection”, Tamsin & The Monk, Spirits From an Urban Jungle, Bookworm… went mad for that lot back in the day.
What can people expect from you in the future and how can people find out more?
Another eclectic mix is definitely on the cards, maybe a couple… I’ve got a nice pile of 93-95 jungle samples ready to go, but that will probably take a little while to figure out. I’ll probably call it quits after that and move onto something else, got a few more old skool mixes planned out and maybe some eclectic non-samples mixes, who knows!
Whatever it is, it all goes up on Soundcloud, check me: https://soundcloud.com/selectabwoy
Selectabwoy – Reinforced Samples Mini Mix (Eclectic Samples):
Features samples used in:
Rufige Kru – Killa Muffin
4 Hero – Mr Kirk’s Nightmare
Manix – Feel Real Good
4 Hero – The Power/The Power Dub (R-Solution Remix)
Open Skies – Ozone Nights (Remix)/Deep In Your Eyes
Peshay – On The Firm
Nookie – Give A Little Love
Wax Doctor – The Saint
Manix – When You Hold Me Close
Randall – The R
4 Hero – The Elements (Fire and Water Remix)