Written by DJ Code
Since the DNBHQ Live annual party at Work (Islington), I’ve had several conversations with people about the Guinness World Record attempt for a DJ relay and there has been genuine interest in how the event went. While driving through Madrid on a long road trip back to the UK listening to a DNBHQ show on Pyro Radio I decided to write my own account of the event as a tribute to all the hard work that went into arranging this and the support that everyone gave coming down and doing their thing. This is my account of the night by Code and a tribute to the efforts of J Swif and the team at DNBHQ.
The weekend started on Friday morning at Kool London for my 6-8am show like it does every week, then it was onto Jungle Splash that night for a 4am slot in the dnb room accompanied by J Swif on MC duties along with MC Blacka. Leaving a still packed Fire & Lightbox at 6:30am on Saturday morning I already had my mind on the DNBHQ event later that day. Not only did I have the tough decision of what single track would be fitting to play in world record attempt, finally opting for D-Region & Code “Madness” featuring Pat Fulgoni on the night. There were also the less exciting concerns about how to attend a 5pm record attempt and after party already following more than 24 hours without sleep. If anyone cares; I decided driving and parking would be a nightmare late afternoon in Islington so opted for the tube with a plan to go home, sleep for a few hours and return by car for my set at 2am, which didn’t happen.
Arriving at Chapel Market around 6pm, the stools had disappeared to be replaced by relaxed crowds of people enjoying the warm summer evening drinking outside the various establishments up and down the street. Work Bar was something different, everybody attending this event was already inside, lights dimmed, music loud and a decent amount of people already downstairs on the dancefloor.
The format for the world record attempt was simple in principle; a relay of DJ’s to play one continuous set with no break in the music. No DJ could play more than one track and no track could be played more than once, simple. The reality was something quite different as we would later find out. Having spoken to J Swif and seen the interview at On The Rise which explained everything in detail, I had a pretty good understanding of what was required. There were further restrictions like the music all needing to be from the same format (In this case USB), the session needed an audio and visual recording for moderation, there were guidelines on the type of venue, equipment to be used, as well as many hours of paperwork to be completed for this to be an official world record. With all of this in place the world record attempt was underway.
I wasn’t around for the first track but I’m guessing it would have been played by DNBHQ’s head honcho J Swif. When I eventually made it to the decks after speaking to the rest of the team on entry there was an orderly queue formed and people waiting patiently to play their track. Each track and DJ name was carefully being logged in a spreadsheet for submission with the set recordings.
There was usually at least three DJ’s behind the decks at one time, one who’d just finished their mix, one in the process of mixing and one preparing for their mix, headphones and USB armed and at the ready to take over the reins. Somehow, I managed to take over the supporting role of logging the DJ and track ID’s along with providing technical support for anyone who needed it while J Swif kept a steady flow of eagerly ready DJ’s. We were about 2 hours in and from memory on about track 27 of the 150 approximately needed to complete the task and having allowed 5 hours before the after party would commence. Based on this rate of play, we were in for a long night ahead, but we were rolling, the music flowing, the mixes seamless until the supply of DJ’s started to slow.
At this point the team rounded on anyone willing enough to get behind the decks including those who had never stepped foot behind the decks before, let alone putting the headphones on and attempting a mix. There was nothing in the rules about the mix needing to beat match so I was successfully able to explain how to select a track, cue it up and move the cross fader from one side to the other. There were of course plenty of established DJ’s, many passing through on the way to other bookings just to play their part in something unique and potentially claim their place in history along with it. There were also people in from across the globe, I recall meeting people from as far away as Germany, Australia, America and Wales to name a few.
About three hours in and about 40 tracks down, the first cracks started to appear. The team were now into the street looking for participants, undeterred as there were still plenty of reliable DJ’s set to arrive.
9pm and the vibe inside felt more like those sessions you have with friends when everyone brings a bag of music and you rotate all night, which I haven’t done for a very long time. It was shortly before this we had the first break in music which probably lasted for about 10 seconds but felt like an eternity. The silence could be heard clearly from street level at which point a concerned J Swif appeared at the decks to get the low down on the situation. Remaining positive, he rationalised this as being one of those tracks where everything stops just before the drop and nobody would ever notice. Proceedings continued until this happened again about half an hour later. With it now being too late for the attempt to be started again and completed before the venue would close, we soldiered on but now far less vigil than before. By this point it was now becoming more of an open deck session than the carefully regimented record attempt.
By 10pm we had successfully managed to play several tracks more than twice, I heard Andy C “New Era” at least three times. We’d had complete silence at least twice, DJ’s playing multiple times and multiple tracks, sometimes both. The record attempt was now passed the point of submission as a credible entry and Deuce & Charger took to the decks as planned to start the after party. The dancefloor was lively from the off and the night rolled on successfully to its 3:30am close with smiling faces throughout.
This was a great event for networking, catching up with old friends, meeting new artists and I’m still being sent tracks two months later from people I met on the night. If ever anyone wanted to attempt this in the future, I would definitely have some advice and experience of what to do differently. We may not have achieved the Guinness World Record but we did have a decent party, a collective purpose and unity of people through drum n bass music. I’ll let you decide which is more important.