The ultra-edgy venue that is Printworks, situated in London, has largely been the setting for some of the biggest names in house and techno, so when there was the chance to sample some of the most prominent drum n bass acts including Noisia, Kings of the Rollers and London Elektricity at the 6000 capacity space it seemed like a fantastic opportunity. As well as the chance to see a more unfamiliar genre take over Printworks I was also brimming with excitement to experience one of the capital’s newest event settings. Set in an area of the city where new developments are popping up at an incredible rate it was refreshing to hear about the plans to regenerate Printworks ahead of its opening at the start of this year. Upon stepping foot inside the former printing press I was blown away by how raw the place was. All around there was no escaping the location’s former identity, with a vast array of machinery on full view.
The way in which every effort has been made to leave as much of the place exposed really does help in creating a murky atmosphere, often the ideal backdrop for dance music. Avoiding the temptation to modernize as much as possible, such as keeping the factory walkways, has helped Printworks maintain a great deal of character.
Sticking with the feel I was simply awestruck by the impressiveness of the Press Halls, the main room for the event. Although the space is rather narrow it still manages to provide a grandiose arena for the artists. Where the room might lack in size it certainly compensates with the lighting. I have seen various videos which give the impression of transporting clubbers to another dimension and finally witnessing the mesmeric array of lights up close it is easy to why.
Fixated on the euphoric spectrum of colours absorbing the skyline it was sometimes easy to forget about the diverse range of dnb practitioners showcasing each of their nuances at the front.
From the liquid team of Nu:tone and Bcee to one of the most exciting super groups to emerge in recent times, Kings of the Rollers, there was such a vibrant mix showcasing the full dnb spectrum. The latter, made up of Bladerunner, Serum and Voltage, have championed funky basslines and extremely energetic drums ever since joining forces. Accompanied by Inja, who recently became the first MC to join the Hospital Records family, there was no escaping the overwhelming feeling of happiness by their presence. A moment which I thought epitomized the mood in the room came when Inja wished how we ‘could start every week like this’, in reference to the fact it was actually Monday. From start to finish the trio of artists combined to supercharge Printworks, provoking a mass of flailing limbs when they decided to rewind Serum & Inja’s ‘Blow Them Away’.
In a rather different way I was full of admiration for the way in which Special Request and DJ Zinc joined forces. The way that both artists have consistently traversed multiple genres with consummate ease was a big part of why there was so much excitement to see the pair merge their creative talents. From how everyone around me was in an almost hypnotic state, owing to the impressive collage of bass-driven sounds, it was clear their efforts behind the decks were greatly received.
Throughout the entire show I constantly felt the need to pinch myself at how unique the setting was. When a venue is able to command such a gaze over you it becomes clear just how much there is to appreciate. The next time I am able to sample this delightful place I’m sure it will give off the same domineering aura.
Photos courtesy of Printworks
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