AVA Mix 014: Crilli DNB

AVA Mix 014 – Crilli DNB

1. What’s it like for you running nights in Belfast these days, and how do you feel like it’s changed since you first started out?

Lots of cool nights exist in Belfast at the minute playing the kind of music we’re into and it really wasn’t always like this! For years it felt like it was solely house/ techno or indie nights. Happy that a bit more variety exists in 2023 for all the ones, long may it continue. 

Credit to Jonny & Co at Ulster Sports for daring to be a bit different back when they opened in 2019. It has been a hub for alt-dance nights in recent years and has really helped to promote the likes of garage, DnB , stuff that has always been regarded as a bit left of the field in NI. Same goes to AVA too – we have definitely benefitted from being a part of the festival the past few years and are very grateful! 

In my time drum and Bass was always a bit of a slimy little cousin in the dance music world and it was seriously unpopular when I first started going out.  There’s a great little DnB scene in the city right now, lots of young DJs and new interest. That part is wonderful to see. 

In terms of running a night, things have changed for us in recent years in the sense that they’ve scaled up a little. The fundamentals are still the same though – the guest has to be interesting and have an angle, the artwork has to be good, a good group of people working behind the scenes who are trustworthy and passionate for the right reasons, and everyone mucking in 100%. If you can strike that formula your night has the potential to do well. 

Kev: there has been a natural progression for us over the last few years, and that goes hand in hand with all at the USC. When we look back at some of the bigger nights, Goldie for instance, you can see that things are moving in the right direction and it’s up to us to ensure that continues.
2. Drum & bass is a niche in Belfast and one you cater to brilliantly, were you nervous at times doing something a bit different?

Soupy: Nerves are always written in to the contract, especially when you are hosting events that cost considerable amounts of money to run to a high standard.

I always remember that saying “you’re only as good as your last gig”, so all of them have to be special! That definitely creates nerves. Nerves are good and bad; a positive of them is that they keep you on your toes so you make sure things are done well. Not so good – they can also stop you enjoying the start of your event if you’re not careful. 

Kev: you only have to look at the turn-outs we get to see that it’s less niche than a lot of people think. The younger crowd today move seamlessly between all Of the scenes in Belfast and it think that is unique. Hallions are up for anything and that’s why we love it! 

Seamus: We are very lucky that we have a great core group of people who almost always come. It’s something Soupy especially has built over nearly the last two decades so that takes the pressure off a little bit.

3. Do you feel there’s a developing taste for faster BPMs in the city right now?

Soupy: Definitely! You only have to look at some of the more popular and bigger sellers in Belfast for AVA and other events lately to realise that a lot of the new generation like things fast! 

That said, there is absolutely room for everything in the right context. Bubblers, chuggers, groovers, half-time dubbiness. It doesn’t all have to be about 1690 bpm euro trance, the right crowd should be able to welcome any pace. 

Kev: when I moved away to London in 94 the likes for vengeance etc were banging out the Gabba so there has always been an appetite. Belfast will always be a 4/4 city there is no getting away from that, but as you can see from ourselves and everyone else pushing the 160+, the appetite is there. AVA having some monumental bookings over the past couple of years has really helped elevate our scene.

Seamus: Totally, we’ve definitely noticed an increase in Crilli go-ers over the last few years, helped in part by AVA putting on some faster DJs, and other great UK sound nights popping up like Plain Sailing, Kyso Sound and Big Jacket Crew.

4. Who are your all-time DnB heroes?

Soupy:  dBridge, Marcus Intalex, Fracture, Jonny L (Mr L in our mix), Mark System, and Calibre of course! I could natter on for a long time about loads of others but these guys are all prolific for me! Also, Zero T has had a real renaissance in recent years also – another win for the Ireland! 

Kev: from a DJ point of view, Randall is the daddy. Being the older member of crilli, my influences go back to the early 90’s and vary from Ramizerz etc and the early Italian techno right through to Tom & Jerry on Reinforced records. More recently Breakage, Zero T, Shy FX have all had an influence! 

Seamus: Goldie, Calibre and Alix Perez. Just need to get Perez over to complete the set!

5. Tell us a few records you’re rinsing right now.

Soupy: It’s hard to look past the Goldies Timeless remixes album this year. DnB has a history of so-so remix EPs but this one is just class from start to finish. Searchlight (Zero T), OneMind (DLR and Mako), Trevino etc all doing Timeless justice with gorgeous interpretations of these historic tracks.

Outside of that, the new Kid Drama on CNVX is butter smooth. Waeys, Alibi and Sl8r are must-check artists, a new generation of heavy rollers with massive sheen on their production. 
Also playing lots of Fluid Haunts and Koncept tunes – two guys from NI but living in New Zealand who are doing big things.  Fluid Haunts is about to drop an EP on Pete Cannon’s N4 Records. Biggles. 

Kev: there is so much out there at the minute. Great to see a previous guest SL8R knocking it out of the park at the minute. Myth’s Bashment EP and the new Conrad Subs releases are a staple in the set. 

Seamus: Hyroglifics – I’ll Wait, I Guess is a great mixed genre progressive album. Diagnostix – Favela Rave ep has four dancefloor ready tunes I enjoyed playing at AVA this year too!

6. What comes next from Crilli DnB

Soupy: We have the rest of 2023 and the start of 2024 mapped out with some world-class DJing favourites of ours coming to Belfast. 

Some day when I’m not planning events or driving round the town sticking up posters I’m hopefully going to finish some music I’ve been working on over the past few years. Let’s hope something happens with that! 

And a few more things, but that’s for another day! 

Kev: consistency is the base of what we do. The remainder of 2023 & 2024 are looking very positive for us and we have some superb plans! Next summer could be interesting, but we will leave it at that ha! 

Seamus: We’re taking over the world! Nah, we loved playing at the Laverys free daytime thing a couple of months ago, so maybe keep exploring different formats for events and trying new stuff!

7. You met Sherelle at AVA 2022. How excited are you to play USC with her this weekend?

Soupy: Sherelle is the queen! Being asked to warm up for her is a proper dream come true as we’ve wanted to do a Crilli with her for years but it never quite worked out. We’re going to have to do some serious digging to try and match what she will have in store for USC, she is a powerhouse!

Kev: one thing I love about us having our guests over at Crilli is the connect between the crowd and the DJ, and I think this AVA event at USC will again prove this. I know that the Belfast crowd will welcome Sherelle with open arms and this will be one for the books!! 


8 Bits – On Your Mind Ft Riya
Need For Mirrors – Manta
?? – ??
2 Bad Mice – Gone Too Soon (Sully Remix)
?? – ??
Philip D Kick – Predator
Noise Factory – Breakage #4
Slam – Positive Education (Zero T Remix)
Skeptical – Thru My Head
Nymfo and Waeys – OSD
Seba and Paradox – I’ll Wait
Tenebre – Half Stab
Hive and Juju – Ghetto Bird
Mark System – You Gave Up My Love
Damien’s Ghost – High Places
Fluid Haunts – Get Hypah
Minor Forms and Rider Shafique – Time Ticking (Total Science remix)
Mr L – Oh Yeah