Reid Speed: Sorry Not Sorry [Interview]
Tell me about the moment drum and bass captured your heart.
Ohhhhh, I don’t know. Lets say about 1994. I want to say I was at a NASA reunion party. I already knew that there was always a room where there was better dancers and the music was faster, but I didn’t really understand what that was. Drum and bass wasn’t even a term yet, jungle was still the term then. At this event, I think it was Renegade Snares, I just broke down in tears of joy and that was it. That's the one. Ever since then, its been jungle, drum and bass-- there's been a lot of other genres that I love but [DnB] has always been my first love.
What kind of advice would you give to women coming up in this Industry or genre?
Work really hard. Don't worry about the boys club and just do your thing! However, in this day and age if you want to become a DJ you need to be a producer first, so if you want to be a DnB DJ you need to be like a famous DnB producer. So study up your Ableton, get your chops, make some tunes and get ‘em out. Keep your head down and the volume up. There’s no one path for anyone. Everyone's gotta find their own path, whether they’re male or female or somewhere in between. Its all the same.
How do you feel about the skill of a DJ on turntables vs CDJs?
I don’t think it makes any difference. The skill is in what you do to the crowd, how you put the records together, and the effect it has on the people. If you could be the shaman and lead the ceremony of dance, then you have succeeded. It doesn’t matter because some vinyl DJs are horrible and some CD DJs are amazing. Just rock whatever technology you’re using.
Can you point some differences between the jungle/DnB scenes in different cities.
There are surely big differences because certain cities have DnB scenes and others don’t. I don’t think Atlanta has a huge DnB scene, I know the Legion boys and Mayhem are real active as well as Jason Vorheez. Beyond that, I don’t know too many other people here doing it. New York is having a nice resurgence. It had a lull for a few years but now its coming back. In LA, it's been super strong, since the early 90s it's never really fallen off and is still amazing to this day! Detroit is almost non-existent which is really sad and I’m trying to work on that, which is kinda hard. I think people don’t like to see outsiders come in and I just try to be respectful. I’m not try to step on anyone’s toes.
Naming only one, who would you say has been your biggest influence?
Andy C FOREVER! He is my favorite DJ in the world, he’s the best. Z Trip would be my second favorite.
If there was one question you wish an interviewer would ask you, what would it be?
Hmmmmm...'How do you use music to make the world a better place?'
And how DO you use music to make the world a better place?
I started my label (Play Me Records) to make a place for people who were otherwise getting hated on and turned down by other labels, just to give people a platform. So we’ve built this cool platform, and our label has become the label that other big labels look to to find whoever's going to be next. I'm grateful we’ve found that small place and can serve as a stepping stone. If we’re the people that can get you signed to Owsla, Mad Decent, or Atlantic -- then hell yeah! Then I’ve done my small part. Music is a thing that makes people feel so much better and should always be shared. As many artists that want to have an impact, should get a chance. A lot of the industry now is more about the marketing plan and the branding and less about the music. Its so sad that they eventually give it up and go back to their day jobs because no has given them a shot.
Do you have any forthcoming releases?
I do! My next is actually one of my favorite things I’ve ever done; its a remix of an old band. They were called The Walking 6, but are now called we signed them last year on an indie band. We signed them last year. It will be out December 5. I also have a single, with a bunch of remixes from super cool producers thats coming out early next year, probably for Valentine's Day. I’ve got a lot of collabs, actually, a bunch of DnB collabs, including one with my homie Not Sorry. Also going to release a trap and bass collab with Frank Royal.
If you could make a perfect smoothie, no limits, what ingredients would you feed into the blender?
My perfect smoothie ingredients are dates, blueberries, banana, avocado, dark chocolate, almonds, almond milk. If you need a little kick put some roasted espresso beans in there.
So how long you been rocking those bangs?
Oh god! At least fifteen years, maybe even a little longer? I was looking at some photos last week and I didn’t have the bangs there. At least since right before 2000. I’m fully committed.
Photos by Grace Kelly for Bullet Music