DJ Ellis Dee, whose real name is Roy Sydney Reid has been DJ-ing since the start of the acid house scene in 1988. After staging his own party which was a big success, Ellis Dee was booked to play at "The Dungeon". After this, the bookings flooded in. Ellis Dee's name was firmly established when he headlined for Fantazia throughout 1992 and beyond, including performing as a PA under the name "Rhythm Section" along with Newton & Rennie Pilgrem. His mix tapes from this era are regarded as classics. Ellis Dee released several big tunes at the time under the name "Ellis Dee Project" including "Rock to the Max" on the Fantazia: The First Taste & "Desire" on Fantazia: Twice as Nice.
It was back in the early days of rave that he really made his name and Ellis Dee became a headliner at many of the big events like Telepathy, Raindance and Fantazia. As well as DJ-ing, he also began to make his own music as part of Rhythm Section with Rennie Pilgrem, Richard Thake and Nick Newton. From acid house to hardcore to drum & bass and most recently breakbeat, Ellis Dee has always managed to stamp his own style on whatever he turns his hand to.
It's breakbeat that he's most involved with these days and his forthcoming mix album, 'Hedonizm', shows he's clearly got his finger firmly on the pulse. It sees him teaming up with long-term friend Rennie Pilgrem once again as the album will be coming out on his TCR label to kick off their tenth anniversary celebrations (it's also the third instalment in the 'izm' series following B.L.I.M.'s 'Modernizm' and Pilgrem's own 'Tribalizm'.) 'Hedonizm' is also priced at a mouth-watering £4.99.
'Hedonizm' - accurately sub Prepare To Partyd 'Breakbeat for Party Animals' - is packed with new and exclusive material from the grittier side of breakbeat but still with enough funk to get any dancefloor moving. Right from the opening track, the vocal-driven and irresistibly catchy 'Set Free' by Clubriders (as remixed by Ellis Dee and Rennie Pilgrim), you know this is music to put a smile on your face and a wiggle in your hips.
Impeccably mixed in one take using two decks, two CD players and a mixer, it includes tracks by Koma & Bones, Chris Carter and many more, as well as 'The Chase', a cracking new track from Ellis Dee & Syrus (it will also be available on a vinyl sampler with 'Blogger' by Autobots.) It's damn fine music all round, full of throbbing basslines, funk-fuelled rollin' beats and bursts of acid noise.
Ellis Dee currently divides his time between DJing, working in the studio and running a course teaching DJ and production skills. Let's talk to the man himself, however, as he tells Knowledge a bit more about 'Hedonizm'. "I like a wide variety of breaks," he explains, "so I wanted to fit in as many different styles as possible but still make it all gel together. That was my concept and I think it's worked. I don't like to get pigeonholed with one particular style - I found that happened when I was playing drum & bass. If you weren't playing the really smashin' hard stuff people weren't really into it. I like to play a set where it goes up and down - something dynamic really."
Ellis Dee is currently working on new material with Syrus as well as solo projects for Point-Blank Recordings with several tracks ready to go. On the DJing front, he's moving away from drum & bass and old skool events to concentrate on breakbeat. In fact, he's starting to get more and more bookings as a breaks DJ - Trigger in Birmingham is a particular favourite - and there will be a series of 'Hedonizm' launch parties across the UK throughout February and March.
So, what is it about breaks that excites him? "I think it's brought the energy back. With breaks you don't have to play the same kind of record throughout your set - people seem to be more open-minded on the breaks scene. It's got a definite underground feel and the scene has really found its feet. People are looking for something that's good and trouble-free, somewhere they can really enjoy themselves."
Breakbeat does have a gritty, basement feel but Ellis Dee is cautious about the music moving too far in this direction. "We need to be careful it doesn't go overboard. Looking back to drum & bass, I've seen what happens when the music goes too hard and changes crowds. We don't want to end up just playing to a bunch of hardcore male ravers; we need to try and keep things funky. With the breaks scene we're starting to see older clubbers coming back out and enjoying themselves - we don't want to drive them out again."
"After the initial start of Acid House I could go to a place and play more or less what I wanted. I miss doing that sort of thing. I used to like dropping 'Why?' by Carly Simon just after playing an Acid record and they would have it. I was playing the original seven inch, but you couldn't do anything that diverse nowadays" - Ellis Dee
Check Out The Bass Bass (12") Rhythm Section Recordings
Once Again For The Ladies EP (12") White House Records
The Depth EP (12") Silent Justice Records
The Ellis Dee Project Part 1 (12") Ellis Dee Project
The Ellis Dee Project Part 2 (12") Ellis Dee Project
The Ellis Dee Project Part 3 (12") Ellis Dee Project
The Ellis Dee Project Part 4 (12") Ellis Dee Project
One For The Ladies / You Got To Believe (12") White House Records
I've Seen The Future / T - 31 Seconds (12") Kram Records and Productions
The Real Killer (12") Collusion Records
97 Style (12") Collusion Records
Rinse Out (12") Collusion Records
Blowin' Up (12") Kram Records and Productions
Babylon (12") Juice
Whitehouse Classics - Volume 2 (12") White House Records
21st Century Horns (12") Not On Label
Whitehouse Classics - Volume 4 (12") White House Records
Rock To The Max (12") Raindance Records
Lords Of The Dance (CD5") Lords Of The Dance (El... Fantazia
Lords Of The Dance (12") Lords of the Dance (E... Fantazia
It's A Jungle Brother (12") It's A Jungle Brother ... Rhythm Section Recordings
Acid Folk Remixes (12") Acid Folk (Allis D. Re... D.E.F.
Captain Of The Ship (CD5") Captain Of The Ship (E... Sony Music Entertainment (Australia)
Hedonizm (CD) Set Free (Ellis Dee & ... Thursday Club Recordings (TCR)
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