In the early '90s, our friend Blu Jemz’ world was turned inside-out by a 6 month stint promoting for the legendary club night NASA. From a hard core hip-hopper to a blue afro and platform Vans, Jemz' life was forever altered by the culture and the music.
Especially influential were the eclectic sets of resident DJ Jason Jinx. Jinx wound hard house into hip-hop into the emerging British Drum and Bass and forever changed his ideas about what a DJ could be. Below is a Q and A between Blu Jemz and one of his OG DJ heroes, Jason Jinx.
Can you remember a moment, a person, a record or any other singular event that made you wanna be a dj?
I was at a Goth/Industrial club in Long Island called Paris, NY and from the upper balcony, I watched the DJ mix in Meat Beat Manifesto - I got the Fear Pt.3 and saw the way the crowd responded. I decided two things: I wanted to produce music that would make people dance and I wanted to learn to DJ to be able to move the crowd that way.
What was the most epic party you went to in the 90s, music or atmosphere wise? Any particular event stand out?
I think it'd have to be my first Washington DC Armory rave. The music and crowd were the best I'd seen to date. After that would be "Future" and "Back to the Future" Raves in Baltimore. There are many more to pick from but the above mentioned were epic.
What was your first paying dj gig?
I played the full night 10-4 in the basement of a club called Woody's in Long Island where I had to bring the compete set up! Speakers, amp, turntables, mixer and 8 crates of records each Friday!!! After that I got a residency in the Shampoo room at the Limelight. The night was called Real.
How did your residency at NASA happen?
It happened very naturally. I was one of the few people playing early Drum and Bass at the Limelight (Main Room at this point) and had a huge crew of friends who made up the crowd that followed the sounds. When DB and Scotto decided we all needed to find a new home, they brought me on board as one of the residents because the entire movement was a perfect fit.
Any memories from NASA stick out in particular? A night? A set? A person?
The first night I returned from my trip to England and dropped a full set of brand new whites and unheard of Drum and Bass and Jungle records. My friend Rico MC'd and my other friends from the trip were blowing these horns we brought back from England. It was explosive!
Of all the your productions which makes you the most proud? Why?
That's a hard one! I taught myself how to use all my analog gear, samplers and play the keys, guitar and bass, as well as write some vocals. So I am proud of each accomplishment and skill I developed along the way. I didn't own a computer until about my 10th release/remix so I am most proud of getting my hands on old gear and fumbling my way through making music out of my blind tinkering.
Do you remember any piece of clothing you had back in the early 90s that you would kill to still own?
That would probably be my Suburban Base Records T Shirt or one of the handful of shirts that I hand painted some logo smashing designs on. Another shirt I'd LOVE to have today, would be my first Nice Collective Camo shirt with the star on it!