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A true old skool warrior, Niki Dimensions has a history in the underground London scene that eclipses most DJs in today’s scene. He raved at Grooverider’s seminal Rage night at Heaven, has played every where from Raindance to Camden Palace and even runs his own nu skool breakbeat night (the Vinyl Touch) with Switfy B and Andy Lock Up. Able to play everything from classic 88 house to the most cutting-edge breaks and grooves, we caught up with the talented and unsung DJ hero as he gears up for his history of house room at Tasty’s Love Muzik event.
Hi Niki, you’ve been a strong name in the London underground breakbeat scene for some time now but how did you first get involved in the sound? Have you been following underground UK breakbeats since their raw birth in early 90s hardcore and rave or did you hook into things later down the line?
Hello mate. Well I have been an avid follower of the rave scene since 1988. Even before that my dad used to play me all his soul,disco, tamla motown, rose royce sort off stuff which I love. I started mixing in 1989 and have been raving since I could get in the clubs in 1990. I seriously fell in love with early house and then the new hardcore scene that used all the speeded up hip hop breaks. Its been a major part of my life for the majority of it. I love it!
What were the first major raving experiences that you enjoyed? Are there any particular nights or events that really stick out as having a major influence on you?
The first ‘Rave’ I went to was at Camden Palace in 1990. Around that era though I used to go to all the raves at Roller Express in North London, Grooverider’s night ‘Rage’ at Heaven, The Astoria, Dreamscape and World Dance. Abroad I used to go to Pacha and Amnesia every year as my parents live near Barcelona near the original clubs. This was a more housey, Balearic affair. A lot more organic. I’d say World Dance in Lydd airport and the spanish scene had the biggest effect on me. In Spain its just a normal thing to party hard and you get peoples grannies havin in large till the early morn!
What then inspired you to take to the decks and hone your own turntable skills? Was the learning curve a steep hard slog or did you pick things up pretty rapidly?
I just had to do it I don’t know why. It makes sense blending together 30 or so tunes to make one big two hour long tune. I was hypnotised when did it and it’s a kind of sexual feeling I get. I shat myself when I bought my decks because I though I’d spent all this money on these things and didn’t have a clue what to do with them. It took about six months to get the knack of it buts years to perfect and I’m still learning now after 16 years. But when I play sets of music it’s a pure representation of me and how I feel. There is lots of energy, melody and bass and above all love.
Booking the likes of Billy Bunter, Autobots, Ed 209 and Deekline, your night Vinyl Touch has been responsible for some of the most forward thinking line ups in the remit of rough neck bass heavy breakbeats. What are the current plans for Vinyl Touch and were can we catch the promotion in the coming months?
Well The VT crew is myself and my mates Swifty B, Andy Lock up and Tannaz and we booked djs that we wanted to hear as ravers. No one else was really pushing this sound in London at the time. We all have a lot of Dj mates on the scene so these people wanted to be involved. The events went great and weren’t massive but the support from people in the like Best of British, Raindance and Epidemik was fantastic. It seemed like we had a lot of good people on our side and had a brilliant time doing the raves. We just had a party in the Baby box at Ministry on the 18th of March and we were all flabbergasted at the turn out and response. It was blindin. Ministry were pleased and have asked us back so we are in the process of organising more with them this year. We can’t believe it.
How would you describe your current DJ sound? Is it all strictly ruff-neck breaks and dirty bass lines or do you play right across the breakbeat spectrum?
I am all over the place musically. I am trying to teach my three year son to play the keyboard and guitar. Dj wise I get sets for all of the styles in my record collection. For example I do old skool house, 88 style and the early hardcore for Raindance and Bunters Tasty parties. I play upfront breaks at our own nights The Vinyl Touch. I really do love the house scene. I do a weekly show on House fm every Sunday playing techno and deep house and also get to play this when I go to spain. I am not just into one scene. I like all good music out there. There is loads of it everywhere.
At Tasty’s Love Muzik, you’re spinning in the retrospective of house room. What sort of era will you be playing from and are there are any tracks that you just know you’ll be dropping?
I’ll be starting with early 1988 house and gradually building it and coming through the years getting more up to date. Tunes that demolish the floors are Bushwacka’s! mix of ‘Billie Jean’, FPI project ‘All over the world’ and Jaydee’s ‘Plastic Dreams’. POW . I don’t plan things though. Just go with flow and get as much JD down my neck. MMMMMMMMMmmmmm
You’re a regular in the breakbeat arch at Raindance. Do you stick around and get your rave on the Jenkins Lane arch where the old skool house is being rinsed or do you take your pay packet and get off to bed?
I stay at Raindance all night. I’ve had sets in the main hardcore arch but the last few I’ve done my set in Jenkins then dashed across to the breaks room for a set then battled through to do a messy set in the after party. Raindance is the best party in London FACT. If you are bored with raving and haven’t been, go to a Raindance and you’ll feel 16 again.
Do you still consider yourself a raver in terms of ethos and attitude or do you feel there comes a time when you grow out of all that?
Its funny because I did an interview for Fantazia recently and they asked me how long I’d been playing out professionally which made me giggle no end. I just love partying and dancing and getting pissed and mashed and having fun. I try not to take it seriously. I am still me but I put a hell of a lot of energy and thought into Djing now rather than just smoking a spliff and being selfish.
What other styles do you play regularly? Do you ever get a chance to bust out a classic drum and bass set or even some old skool hardcore?
I just finished doing shows on Origin fm which was mainly playing old jungle and hardcore. I play it a lot at home. I am doing the Raindance arena at Tranz-mission soon which will be a hardcore set but I am really into all this new Techno-ey house and breaks at the mo so that is what I am focusing on. As I said earlier it’ll take a lot to beat those messy weekends at World Dance. The jungle in the mid nineties was fucking amazing. You rarely see a party explode now days like it exploded at a Jungle rave. PUSH UP YOUR HAND IF YOU’RE A GANJA MAAAAAN…YEAH!
Have you taken your skills in to the production studio yet and do you have ambitions to do so?
I’ve done a few bits. I’ve made some deep house and hardcore breaks. Swifty is launching TVT Recordings soon so I hope to release stuff on that. I have just finished building a studio at home. All sound proofed so I can go in there and make some noise and get super stones. HEY HEY.
What producers within the modern breakbeat arena do you feel are pushing the most new buttons?
I love Rennie Pilgrim, Spiritcatcher, Plump Djs on the Tech side. On the hardcore side you can’t beat Ellis Dee, ED 209 and Aquasky. They tear up the place.
Finally, will you be sticking around after your set at Love Muzik and who are you most keen to see play?
Course I will. I am gonna have a good drink and wiggle my bum on the floor. I love Bunters sets. He’s got some gems in his collection. PK is a blindin DJ. He done the last Raindance and he played some classiscs. Can’t wait.
Thanks to Allan at NEC for the interview.
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