At the end of 2022, we asked for your help in deciding which sounds will leave a lasting impression on 2023 and you didn’t disappoint. With genres as varied as Bossa Nova, Jersey Club and Reggaeton, global music is in a wonderful place.

In the second part of our ongoing spotlight on the genres that mean the most to you, we’re in the UK to visit a genre close to our hearts: Jungle. Rising up from the dancefloor in the mid-90s at parties like the Metalheadz Blue Note sessions, and immortalized for the younger generations on tape packs by UK rave promoters Helter Skelter, Jungle has become a global sound. Classic tracks like Shy FX and UK Apache’s ‘Original Nuttah,’ M Beat and General Levy’s ‘Incredible’ and Leviticus’ ‘Burial’ moved the culture from the clubs to wider attention, while artists like Goldie made Jungle a true art form recognised worldwide. But what does the genre look like in the present day?

We checked in with one of the scene’s forward thinkers to find out. Mantra is a DJ, musician and co-founder of Rupture, a leading record label and events night dedicated to all things club music. Pushing the culture forward further, she also co-runs EQ50, a community aimed at representing women and non-binary artists within the club scene, one notoriously known for being male dominated. She gives us the breakdown on her love of Jungle and her role in leveling the playing field for creators of all kinds.

A Rupture club night at London's Corsica Studios. Photo credit: Jagoda Kotlarz

What is Jungle most known for?

Mantra: "It really depends on who you’re asking. The bare bones of it come from Black music, soundsystem culture, a mixture of Rare Groove, Funk, Hardcore and Acid House and Detroit Techno stabs and pads. There have been figureheads along the way such as Goldie, Roni Size, LTJ Bukem, Nia Archives and Tim Reaper. For me personally though, Jungle has been the backing track to my life. If it wasn’t for this music I wouldn’t have the family and friends I have, I wouldn’t be leading the life I live and love!"

Describe the energy of Jungle in three words.

Jungle is spiritual, raw and grounding.

Tell us about a DJ or party in Jungle that is really pushing the scene forward?

Nia Archives. She’s not bound by any restrictions and with her live band she’ll be pushing the boundaries even further. I’m so proud of her.

Who are some of Jungle's biggest names right now?

I don’t know about biggest but for me these are some of my favorites killing it right now: Coco Bryce, Djinn, Decibella, Nia Archives, Double O, Threshold, Holsten, Last Life, Paradox, AKO, Tim Reaper, Dead Man’s Chest, FFF and Artificial Red.

Photo credit: Jagoda Kotlarz

Switching focus to you and your journey, how did Rupture come about and what impact do you think it has on the Jungle scene?

Double O and I started Rupture in 2006. We were deep in the London Drum & Bass (D&B) scene, going out three times a week, working at SRD Distributors and on pirate radio every week. We wanted to merge the deeper, darker side of D&B but also rep Oldskool and Jungle so decided to start a night.

Back then we’d be out flyering after clubs 2-3 times a week; it was a lot of graft! It was an obsession so it never felt like work. It’s always been a passion project and if that feeling ever starts to dissolve we’ll know it’s time to stop. This music is too precious for it to be any other way. Nurturing new artists and making sure there’s space for lesser known DJs to play has always been something we’ve championed. It’s vital to create opportunities for others in order to keep the ecosystem of Jungle and D&B thriving.

What do you think makes a Rupture club night different to other parties within the scene? 

It’s always hard answering this type of question, it’s probably better to ask someone from our community who experiences Rupture solely as a raver! We’ve built slowly and steadily, growth and expansion isn’t at the forefront of what we do. Keeping the spirit of rave culture, trying hard to have diverse line ups and diverse dancefloors to create the best rave is our main aim. It’s not about branding, content or target audiences. It’s about trying to create a space for people to have those transcendental experiences through music. 

Tell us about your involvement with EQ50 and the gaps you think it fills in the dance music scene.

I co-founded EQ50 in 2018 alongside DJ Flight. Our aim is to ensure women and non-binary artists are better represented in what is such a heavily male dominated industry. There are still massive gaps to be filled when it comes to elevating women, Black women in particular. Our team also consists of Sweetpea and Chickaboo and together in 2020 we launched our first mentorship program in partnership with various record labels. It was incredibly successful and this is now our main focus; this is how we can make the biggest impact through our collective action.

We’re currently running our second mentorship programme, working with 10 amazing producers who are working with our partner record labels 1985, Audioporn, Drum & Bass Arena, Ram, Rupture, Shogun Audio and The North Quarter.

"Let’s keep doors open and make sure the younger generation have space to create their own collectives and cultures within this industry."

Looking back at Jungle, what is one trend that the genre needs to embrace/reject?

Embrace more mentoring. Let’s keep doors open and make sure the younger generation have space to create their own collectives and cultures within this industry. Reject false inclusivity in the form of only booking two women and lumping them together b2b on a warm up set.

What do you think lies in Jungle's future?

More ambition, less nostalgia, less parameters, more experimentation, music we can’t even begin to imagine!

Photo credit: Jagoda Kotlarz

Head over to Mixcloud to discover more Jungle shows and all of our genres.

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