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Pioneering DJ/MC Trio SASASAS on the Evolution of Drum & Bass and Jungle


Since forming in 2014, the acclaimed Drum & Bass collective SASASAS has been a leading force in bass music, gathering a global following. Despite losing MC Stormin and Skibadee, the group remains rooted in early DnB and Jungle, focusing on the synergy between MCs and DJs. Led by Shabba, Shotta, and DJ Phantasy, SASASAS delivers authentic, nostalgia-infused dancefloor experiences at top clubs and festivals worldwide, upholding the legacy of its founders and honouring the essence of dance music’s core genres.

After the triumphant return of their Halloween ‘Scarefest’ in October, Shabba, Shotta, and DJ Phantasy are currently back in XOYO London’s renowned Cowper Street basement alongside a meticulously curated lineup of both established and up-and-coming artists, including TNA, Basslayerz, MTM (Eksman & J Mulla), Team Drumz Showcase, Brockie, IC3, Nicky Blackmarket, Northbase, Ragga Twins, and numerous others. For more info and tickets for the rest of their XOYO residency, click here.

Halfway through their already largely successful XOYO London residency, we caught up with SASASAS for an in-depth discussion about the evolution of one of dance music’s most celebrated legacy genres – Drum & Bass.

How would you describe the early days of Drum & Bass and Jungle music, and what key influences led to the genre’s creation?

Shabba DKey moments in drum and bass jungle. Back in the day, Jungle music. I think pirate radio had so much to play in the culture of our music. Also, fashion. People used to really make an effort and dress up to go out, and pirate radio had so many different people and brought a lot of people together. When I got into Raving around the early 90s, It was something fresh; it was something new; seeing so many multicultural people coming together as one and having a good time was an amazing experience. Also, to see what it has grown into in 2024. It has become a monster and a massive worldwide scene.

Many people will be looking forward to some nostalgia during your XOYO residency. Do you plan to integrate much historical stuff during the shows, and how do you know when/how to do it if you do?

Shabba DI think for SASASAS, we always do things organically, and yes, for our 10-year anniversary, we have come up with plans to bring the best moments of our 10-year span and take them through a musical journey. To experience some of the greatest moments. I think we’ve all of our experience. We have the knowledge between us to come up with the right concoction at the right times. Big love!

What pivotal moments or events in the evolution of Drum & Bass stand out for you, and how did they contribute to its growth and development?

Shabba DFor me, a standout moment for drum and bass as an MC would have to be MC convention. We kept the MC alive when things were looking pretty bleak. We put the MC up with the DJs and built a fan base around tape packs. CD Packs and also vocals on vinyl. This would have to be one of the greatest moments for me and drum and bass. This really did put MC on the map. I feel privileged to have been a part of it.


In terms of production techniques, how have technological advancements influenced sound and production over the years?

Harry ShottaYeah, man, in terms of production techniques and how they’ve changed and influenced the sound over the years, you’ve only got to play old Jungle Records, and of course, they’ve got them nostalgic sounds and feeling and their great records and but when you hear the new versions of those Jungle songs you can hear the advancement in the sound you know there’s more plug-ins now people have a lot more access to more equipment you know back in the day you have to have a lot of hardware. I know some of the producers still love the hardware now, but for youngers getting into the game, they got access and easy access to loads of useful tools. So yeah, I think the production is definitely advanced, and I think it’s benefited the music in general.

How has the role of DJs and MCs in Drum & Bass and Jungle evolved, and how have they impacted the overall culture of the genre?

Harry ShottaYeah, I think the role of the MC in Jungle Drum and Bass has definitely changed. I think these days, you’ve got MCs who consider themselves artists, so they’re making songs and putting records out on Spotify, as in your Apple Music. They’re getting big streams, you know, even for myself, I’ll go to Rave, and people sometimes say to me, can I hear your tune tonight? I think some of the older heads view the MC as only there to compliment the music when I have always said it’s a 50-50 partnership between the DJ and the MC to create the best set for the Crowd. This is another reason we’ve created Mike Masters as a platform to showcase MCs in their best light, as MCs and vocalists, in general, are a very important part of DNB. 

There’s been some some attempts. I think to kind of put that to the side, but I think that has failed because as you see now the biggest DJs in the world especially in our scene, do have an MC . So yeah I think MCs and vocalists play a crucial role in the scene, and I think this side of Drum and Bass is only going to get bigger.

What has been your biggest career highlight as a group?

Harry ShottaYeah, to say one highlight for the group, SASASAS, would be extremely hard, man. We’ve done some amazing things as a group, you know, from going to South Korea or when we did Rampage for the first time to flying in a helicopter to Leeds festival. There were some incredible epic moments, man, and we flew the flag at that point for drum and bass and especially vocal DNB all around the world. It was an absolute pleasure. So highlights and obviously rolling with Skibadee and Stormin RIP and just the fun we’ve had as a group and the vibe we brought to the scene and the energy we brought to the scene, you know, it is pretty big, man. So there’s not just one highlight; there’s way too many to mention…..

Commercial interest in Drum & Bass and Jungle sounds has recently become resurgent. What factors contribute to this renewed appreciation, and which artists do you think have been responsible for helping to bring it back to the fore again?

DJ Phantasy: I think it’s great to have a commercial interest in drum and bass because it’s a scene that has been running in underground clubs for many years and has been massively successful.

One of the main things about our scene is its ability to keep growing and changing and welcoming new artists and ravers and, of course, new styles and subgenres. This can only be good for the scene and for the listeners and supporters of our scene.

 I love all forms of drum and bass, but even though publicly some people may turn their nose up at jump up, if they want a real crowd reaction, that reaction with energy and passion, then they will draw for jump up, and I love it – haha!

Lastly, please tell us who you’re most excited about joining you on the rest of your XOYO residency and what you’ve got coming up for the rest of 2024.

DJ Phantasy: We are excited about everybody who is playing at the show for us across the whole month. Each artist brings their own unique style, and we love them for the different vibes that they will bring.

Most importantly, they are all really great people who just happened to be amazing artists, so this is a win-win for us and also for the people who come and party with us. We look forward to seeing you there!

SASASAS’s XOYO Residency concludes on Friday, 29nd March, with TNA (Nu Elementz, Azza, Grima), Captain Bass, IC3, Y-Zer and many more. 


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