Interview – Deep Cover

Birmingham has a new reason to feel the bass with the launch of the new Deep Cover night in the city. The Oxford based promoters who have been putting on well respected nights in their hometown for years are branching out into the UKs second city and promise to give you a night to remember with their dedication to deep vibes and even deeper bass. The first night when they arrive in Birmingham takes place on Friday 10th February at the renowned Amusement 13 club and is headlined by the legendary The Bug, ably assisted by big Flowdan on mic duties. In anticipation of the event, we caught up with three of the guys behind Deep Cover (Simon Devenport, Jack Rayner and Jamie Halliday) to hear all about them and what they do and how you can’t afford to miss this event.

Can you give us a quick history lesson about Deep Cover and how it started?

Simon Devenport: Deep Cover was my contribution to the Oxford club scene at a time when it felt very stagnant. A lot of ‘ironic’ or throwback nights were attracting big crowds and no one seemed interested in pushing more up-to-the-minute, aggressive sounds. For a while we always incorporated a live act into our club nights too because no one was really doing that either. What were originally just residents nights became something more when we turned 1 year old. We booked The Mouse Outfit and The Bug & Flowdan for a couple of huge parties and it really revealed how much more was possible. Since then our crew has grown and we’re involved in a lot more disparate projects across the board. The record label side of things is really what I’m keen to develop right now.

You’re the night in Birmingham next week. What will you bring to the Midlands bass scene?

Jack Rayner: Birmingham has been my favourite city to party in for years, and it’s great to finally get a chance to show the Brum crowd what we do. I think what makes us stand out is the combination of top-end headliners and uncompromising choice of support acts with our straight-up party attitude – we don’t take ourselves too seriously and I think that’s reflected in the atmosphere of our nights.

What made you choose Amusement 13 to host your first night in Birmingham?

SD: It was recommended to us by the Circular Jaw lot. When I got in touch, Luke and all the Amusement team were incredibly welcoming and helpful. It’s really refreshing to work with venues that sincerely care about the promotion of a night from top to bottom, and don’t drag their heels or make life difficult. Other venue owners – BE LIKE AMUSEMENT 13.

What’s the sound system in the venue like?

SD: Amusement 13 has an absolutely absurd, fully-fitted VOID rig across 2 main rooms. Main space they have it in lime green and it’s called ‘The Hulk’. No basshead will leave disappointed.

Your first event you have is headlined by The Bug and Flowdan. What can we expect from them and the rest of the night?

JR: If you know The Bug then you know what you’re in for: unrelenting bass pressure and silly volume levels. Flowdan is obviously a complete don and brings such a mad atmosphere whenever he gets on the mic. As for the rest of the night, look out for the nutcase Phrixus bringing the most twisted bass music you’ve ever heard, and for the committed jungle heads, Nuvaman’s on the 5-6 graveyard shift spinning that breakbeat goodness.

Were they artists you have wanted to book for a while?

JR: We actually booked them in Oxford back in 2014, and the night was just ridiculous – the noisiest, sweatiest and maddest night we’ve ever done. When it came to choices for our first Birmingham event, it was a no-brainer.

Which Bug/Flowdan track will detonate the dance floor the most?

JR: All the tracks from The Bug’s Angels & Devils album are just ridiculous. Flowdan’s constantly bringing out that quality new material as well. In terms of sheer crowd reaction, you can’t beat Skeng – it’s an absolute health and safety hazard whenever it gets pulled out.

What can we expect the atmosphere to be like at a Deep Cover event?

JR: Well, just take it from The Bug’s ‘war report’ from his last show with us: “The place was pure chaos from the get to. Slam dancin nuttahs and heavily gyratin gyals, grindin, windin, screamin madness”. So yeah, that, and we pour out litres of spirits into the crowd at every night. Come prepared!

Can you introduce us to Deep Cover’s residents?

SD: VLVT [Jamie] joined up when he moved back down to Oxford from Manchester where he cut his teeth on the house party scene. Very versatile DJ who plays across a variety of styles, but you can rely on consistent bass-weight & groove. He’s rocked crowds from festivals to fashion shows and isn’t afraid of the weird small gigs either. DC soldier from early. Zyklon Sound [Jack] is a madman mainstay on the Oxford scene for years, with his preferred styles constantly mutating in the background. We started working together when his sick clubbed-out Mobb Deep remix Crooked worked its way into the DC playlist. Effi Brooks is our newest recruit – a sick young DJ who plays a frenzied mixture of UK Funky, Bass, Grime etc. and has a stare that can kill a man at ten paces. These are just a few of the DC family. Meanwhile myself and Beanhead are very much the DC equivalent of Birdman & Slim.

What have you got planned for the rest of the year?

SD: More madness probably. We’ll definitely be looking to do more with Amusement 13, and of course keep up the shows in Oxford. I think the real challenge is breaking out of the club model and doing something a bit more left-field. I think you’ll see a lot more activity from Deep Cover as a record label this year – some music videos as well as releases. Across the UK there’s a really exciting new scene being built by crews like ours and our extended family, 2017 will definitely see a lot of new things taking shape between us.

Who have been some of your favourite guests at your nights?

JR: Skepta actually turned up completely unannounced at a gig, which was mental. The crowd heard about it before we did. Goldie was also amazing, as were Zed Bias, P Money and Darq E Freaker.

Who would you love to play at one of your nights?

Jamie Halliday: Oneman, Kahn & Neek, Scratcha DVA, Mala, SBTRKT, James Blake, Icicle, AJ Tracey, LEVELZ, Jay Electronica (that was actually in the pipeline at one point), SOPHIE. They are some of the best and brightest artists and DJs in my opinion and they embody the sounds that Deep Cover is all about.

What are your thoughts on the state of British nightlife in 2017?

JH: British nightlife is in an interesting position right now. 2016 was a bit of a wakeup call for a lot of people with Fabric’s closure. Suddenly people realised that if they didn’t pay attention all of this could be taken away from them. The successful campaign to get Fabric back brought the dance music community together and forced us to have conversations that we’ve needed to have for a long time. You would hope that in 2017 we will see more of these moments of unity and communal efforts to make British nightlife an even better place for everyone.

What track that gets played at Deep Cover always gets the best reaction from the crowd?

JH: DrakeBig Rings. Any rave. Any city. Any time.
JR: Yeah, that. People lose their shit before they’ve got time to process what they’re listening to. Secret weapon. Norman Bates by Trends & Boylan is splitting heads at the moment too.

Which new artists can you recommend to us?

JH: The Circular Jaw boys are killing it right now; Nuvaman, Foxmind and Werdna all deserve recognition. Phrixus is definitely one to watch, we expect big things from him in 2017. Cardinal Sound is making movements too. And of course me and Jack have a project called Hedchef with plenty of releases planned for 2017 on Hygrade, Obskure and more we can’t mention yet.

Thanks guys, Looking forwards to experiencing the night! 

We will be covering the Birmingham launch of Deep Cover and will be featuring a full review soon for a night that is not to be missed. Check out the info for the event here:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1875268972708685/

Tickets are available here: https://www.fatsoma.com/deep-cover/u1m90wwm/the-bug-flowdan-at-amusement-13-deep-cover-brum-launch

Keep up to date with Deep Cover here: https://www.facebook.com/DeepCoverUK/