Sunday, August 9, 2009


Rob Playford is not only the man who, as Goldie's producer, helped mould one of the most original drum & bass talents into a household name and chart success; he's also boss of one of the hippest drum & bass labels on the planet, and a sought-after remixer. CHRISTOPHER HOLDER asks 'how does he do that?'.

Drum & bass: frenetic, schizophrenic, urban, always evolving. Soho: ditto. It seems fitting that the HQ of Moving Shadow records, one of the leading drum & bass labels, should be based here; cross the borders of this tiny square half-mile of London and life takes on a whole new urgency. Everyday occurrences are achieved with impossible speed: coffee is ordered and drunk without breaking a stride, and shops change hands -- and d├ęcor -- before lunchtime.

Even in this hothouse environment, there doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day for Rob Playford. For the best part of a decade, he's subjected himself to a punishing regime of running Moving Shadow records, producing and engineering his own music (as well as that of many others), DJing around the UK club circuit, and, until recent times, holding down a nine-to-five job as a software engineer. Phew!

Rob is riding on the crest of the still-ongoing musical revolution brought about by drum & bass -- or whatever you call it; as the Moving Shadow home page on the Internet succinctly puts it 'breakbeat, hardcore, jungle... call it what you will, it sounds like the future'. David Bowie wanted to be part of it with 'Hello Spaceboy', Roni Size's Reprazent shook up the prestigious Mercury Awards with it, every rock act wanting to spice up their singles sales has a remix using it, and everything from game shows to shampoo advertisements is trying to grab our attention with it. But it wasn't always this way...


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