Needing no introduction, Bristol’s DJ Die is one of the drum & bass world’s shining stars. With a history stretching back to 1992 that boasts countless classic tracks and remixes, winning the Mercury Award as part of Roni Size Reprazent, signing to XL Recordings for the Breakbeat Era project and consistent tours of the globe showcasing the Full Cycle and ClearSkyz sounds from Bristol to Brazil.
Having moved to Bristol from Devon in 1985, Die’s immersion into the world of music began when he was introduced to the cities warehouse parties in the late 80’s and the house, hip hop, rare groove, funk and soul being spun by DJ Krust and other member of the infamous Fresh Four Crew. “There was a movement starting around the time - there was the Wild Bunch thing, the graffiti thing, the carnival and sound system thing happening up in Bristol." Die got his first taste of musical production that same year having hooked up with Jody Wisternoff, now of Way Out West fame. Together they formed Tru-Funk and produced 4AM, a house tune released on Smith and Mighty’s imprint Three Stripe Records. This was followed with two hardcore EPs under the name Sub-Love and numerous DJ appearances at the early Universe raves.
A chance meeting with Roni Size on Bristol’s Gloucester Road in the early 90s led to what would be a long-term musical relationship beginning with their first collaboration, ‘Agility’ released on Bryan Gee and Jumpin’ Jack Frost’s V Recordings in 1993. Soon after Die and Roni (AKA Scorpio) forged the seminal classic ‘Music Box’ which would ultimately lead to the birth of Full Cycle Recordings. This label would become the home for Krust, Roni, Suv and Die for many years to come. Die’s ongoing contributions to Full Cycle included such tracks as ‘Live & Direct’, ‘Reincarnation’, ‘Clear Skyz’, ‘Jitta Bug’ and ‘Drop Bear’. On top of this came further releases for V Recordings including ‘Special Treat’, ‘Slide Away’ and ‘Autumn’ as well as tracks for their respective sister labels Dope Dragon and Chronic under various pseudonym’s including Swabe, Mono Man, D.N.A (with Bill Riley) and 3 Way (with Roni and Krust) . This catalogue of quality productions has lead to DJ bookings around the globe including the UK, Europe, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Brazil, usually together with the voice of Full Cycle, Dynamite MC.
In 1996 the Full Cycle crew came together with Roni Size at the helm to start the Reprezent project and record the studio album ‘New Forms’ for Talkin' Loud Records, winning the esteemed Mercury Music Prize in 1997 and propelling the Bristol crew to the forefront of British dance music. The groups subsequent tours took them around the world with notable live appearances in New York’s Central Park and the BBC’s ‘Later With Jools Holland’. Die’s solo productions continued apace and included high profile remixes for the likes of DJ Shadow, Towa Tei, DJ Cam and Pharoahe Monch.
Not content with this success, Die & Roni formed a new project, Break beat Era in 1999, collaborating with vocalist Leonie Laws and recording a self-titled album for XL Recordings, again touring globally to much critical acclaim. Reprazent’s second album ‘In The Mode’ (2000) continued to build on the groups success and delivered a top 40 hit in the form of ‘Dirty Beats’, more worldwide tour dates, an appearance on Top of the Pops and a return to Jools Holland’s Later show, not to mention collaborations with the likes of Method Man, Rahzel and Rage Against The Machine’s Zach de la Rocha.
In 2003 Full Cycle released the ‘I Kamanchi’ album by Die and Krust who had been collaborating together under the Kamanchi moniker since 1999, releasing classic tracks including ‘Stay’ for V Recordings. This project included further collaborations with the likes of vocalists Rodney P, Tali, Lady Miss Kier and Holly G plus another world DJ tour and more live show cases.
Continuing the Full Cycle game of music chairs, Die hooked up with the label’s newest recruit, DJ Clipz in 2005 and following their first effort, ‘Monorail’ for the ‘Cross Collaborations’ album (presented and mixed by Die) the pair delivered a slew of dancefloor anthems, most notably ‘Black Doves', Good Old Days’, Climate Change’, 'Work It Out’ and ‘Number One’ (featuring the vocals of Ben Westbeech).
With the weight and experience of such projects behind him, Die decided the time was right to step out from the Full Cycle family and start his own project, launching his own label, ClearSkyz Recordings in 2007 and setting about expressing his own unique identity, both through the music, artwork and collaborators. Whilst continuing to work with the likes of Clipz, Ben Westbeech and Leonie Laws, Die has also embraced the fresh talents of producers including Break and Interface and recruited a young Parisian street artist by the name of Versus who provides the label’s artwork and merchandise. With only four releases to the label’s name to date, ClearSkyz is already setting the highest of standards before reaching its full potential. We advise you to keep watching the skies...