Fabio talks about his return to Bristol

We grabbed five minutes with drum&bass godfather Fabio ahead of his set for Intrigue in Bristol on Friday.

Mike Warburton

Date published: 15th Dec 2014

Photo: Fabio

Drum&bass is undoubtedly going through its strongest period in years. You can't go far without hearing its effects in popular music through acts like Sigma and Rudimental, whilst at the same time the genre remains as potent as ever in the underground, as generation after generation of converts turn to the higher tempos and inordinate bass weight of the drum&bass movement.

This wasn't always the case though, drum&bass is only around today because of the tireless work of its founding fathers, who on the fallout of the acid house and hardcore scene, combined the sound of the times with influences from Jamaican dub and reggae, spawning a sound that would prove to be timeless.

One such legend is Fizroy Heslop, or Fabio as he's best known. Alongside lifelong collaborator Grooverider (hear them in the mix above), the two drum&bass instigators helped shape a scene that continues to thrive today, by way of a series of pirate radio shows, illegal raves and from 1998 a pivotal residency on Radio One, bringing the cutting edge sounds of drum n bass to a mainstream audience. 

With Fabio due to headline Christmas edition of much loved Bristol clubnight Intrigue this Friday, we pinned down the drum&bass don for a catch up.

You're playing the Intrigue Christmas Special in Bristol, a place which is a magnet for d&b. How much of an affinity do you feel with the city, and how does it compare to the rest of the UK for leading the way?

I love Bristol, I love the fact it's a big city that feels like a village. It has a very organic feel which is rare in a place that big. It has always embraced drum&bass of all kinds. I'm looking forward to it in many ways as I haven't played in Bristol for a while.

You're taking this one on your own without your esteemed partner of many years Grooverider. How do your sets differ without him, do they bring a completely different dynamic? 

We only play together when asked to do so. We are very different in many respects so it works that we can do our thing and every now and again come together.

Whilst we're on the topic of your partnership, what's been the secret to it working for as well as it has? 

The secret to our relationship is that there is no secret - we just get on.

The drum and bass music owes a lot to you through the amount of work you've put into it over the years as a pioneer. How do you feel the scene is at present, and are you proud to have helped build it up?

Yeah I'm really proud of d&b. It has survived everything that has been thrown at it. It is now as vibrant and healthy as it has been in many years.

And speaking of pride... your lifetime achievement award from D&B Arena must have meant a lot! How does it feel winning these accolades?

The award was nice and totally unexpected! I don't get caught up with the begging certain DJs do to get nominated, but getting an award to enlist me in the hall of fame was an honour.

Playing on pirate radio played a big part in the making of your career, and it's still having an impact with the success of Rinse FM who maintain that pirate ethos to the day. How important of an entity do you consider radio to be? 

Radio is very important and relevant. Seeing as technology has reached saturation point the oldest form of media still holds it's ground. Which is amazing seeing as aesthetically it's still basically the same as it was in the thirties.

Do you think it's playing a big role in setting the musical agenda beyond clubland as well now?

I do find the current obsession with getting a tune played by jukebox DJs quite annoying.

We're coming to the end of the year, who has stood out musically in 2014? 

Musically too many names to mention but Calibre (above) still holds his ground amongst the plethora of new talented artist that come around. Honourable mentions go to LSB, Pennygiles, Rowpieces, Ivy Lab, Hazard, Lurch, Break, Dave Owen, Dominator, Furney, and Level 2

And finally, what are you doing this NYE?

NYE I will be on some motorway watching some firework display as I do most years.

Head here to grab your Fabio tickets.

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