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Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Perth Drum and Bass / Jungle: Part 2 (Greg Packer)

This week the SAE Perth campus moved to Roe Street in Nothbridge, overlooking what was once the old Berlin nightclub, a place pretty legendary in the history of drum and bass in Perth. This reminded me of a peice I wrote previosuly about the thriving bass music scene, and in particular drum and bass, here and how it has developed ahead of the scene in other cities. Please check out my earlier article here.

This week I wanted to build on this examination of the scene's history in Perth.

Here is an excerpt from a forum post on why Perth's bass music scene developed so early that was penned around 2002, and sheds a lot of insight onto Greg Packer's role.

"Why Perth Drum and Bass is Big: Greg Packer"

As to Perth, I moved to Sydney from Perth a couple of years ago and we can state categorically that the reason Perth drum and bass is big is because of Greg Packer. In 1991 and 1992 there were a hell of a lot of people who would go to a rave regardless of what international was there, CJ Bolland, Oliver Lieb etc. Basically you went because at 3 or 4am Greg Packer was on and you'd get amazingly mixed breakbeat hardcore and that's all you went for. 

In 1993, LTJ Bukem came over for a huge scale rave that did very badly, they expected too many people and he wasn't that well known, and his style of drum and bass just lost the floor and absolutely no one got it. Bukem was put up in Greg Packer's place and was apparently being given a bit of a runaround by the local promoter resulting in him being there longer than expected. Greg heard Bukem practising in his room with Demon's Theme and other tunes, and nearly wet himself at the sound. Bukem left him a load of Good Looking white labels and Greg stuffed hundreds of dollars into Bukem's hands at the airport and pleaded with him to just send him "...Anything like what you just played." Bukem did and Greg was sent loads of amazing records that he couldn't play out as it was all still hardcore at the parties at the time. So he started doing mix tapes to promote the sound of these amazing records that he couldn't play in a club.

The tapes were phenomenal and flew out of all the record stores, and were the reason so many many people in Perth got into drum and bass very early on. He did something like 50 sessions and they were a decent bit of pocket money for him. Soon after some other local DJ's (Echoic & BJam) started doing the first straight up jungle parties in about 1994 or 1995 from which drum and bass started to grow and people from a harcore background were converted. 

In 1998 Loaded Dice started a drum and bass night at a club called Players. This and a couple of other drum and bass nights were the first all local drum and bass nights in Perth on Saturdays not put on in rave type surroundings, and these parties started to attract new people (not just harcore converts) exposing them to drum and bass in Perth, and the whole thing blew up around 1998 or 1999 and has just grown ever since, though with a definate tendancy to the hard dark sounds and probably too much emphasis on internationals now. But it was having Greg Packer who got everyone who puts on drum and bass gigs in Perth into that music by playing the right tunes, mixed the right way that allowed everyone to hear what the sound had to offer.

Fascinating read.

I also wanted to link you to a couple of other videos I remember seeing on local access TV (Channel 31) back in the day that have been made available on YouTube, about perth's music scene, featuring Perth drum and bass around the turn of the millenium and the lads from Traffik, as well as forays into hip hop (Downsyde) and other genres. Part 1 of 4 Part 2 of 4 Part 3 of 4 Part 4 of 4

Part 4 looks at Perth drum and bass. I remember being at the world of drum and bass concert they feature.


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