MIX OF THE MONTH - POLISH JUKE

photo by Bartosz Holoszkiewicz
Polish Juke is the group of polish DJs and producers who are trying to promote music genre known as juke or footwork. Juke/footwork originally developed in Chicago during the noughties. High tempo (around 160bpm), hybrid rhythm structure and a short looped vocal samples are characteristic components of this genre. Integral part of juke is the specific dance called footwork which was originally developed in eighties. It is usually performed as a competition between two groups of dancers in a circle formation. The most notorious legend of juke is DJ Rashad who passed away last year after lethal drug overdose. Is juke popular genre in Europe? How did juke influence european club music? You can find out in a mix made by PZG who is a member of Polish Juke crew and in an interview with Pawel Paide Dunajko below!

Tracklist:
K.R. Ufo - Hip Hop
Lux Familiar - Dance Sucka
Spisek Jednego - Bitches, $ & Drinks
Symbiotic Sounds - Get Smoked
Benncart - Back Then
Comoc - Cancel #3
K.R. Ufo - Funky Feeling
Dubsknit - Baleo
PZG & Dubsknit - Sinner's Road
Rhythm Baboon - First In Your Heart (Rhythm Baboon's alternative version)
Fidser - B.U.K.
xtnt - Do I Want You
Lux Familiar - Sweet Fantasy 2
Dubsknit - Whoosh
AR - GNOJ (PZG remix)
Bennelux - Flip The Coin
Miko - Get High


INTERVIEW

How did you come across juke/footwork?
My thing with juke started by accident. In 2010 I came across DJ Nate’s Hatas OurMotivation EP released by Planet Mu. At first I didn’t know I was listening to footwork. I thought it was just some experimentation on hip-hop or that it is yet another dubstep hybrid. More or less at the same time I also had a chance to listen to Addison Groove’s mix for Marry Anne Hobbs, which was one of the first attempts at incorporating juke/footwork elements into european scene. So I took a closer look at it and suddenly many, seemingly, random and unrelated strains found its common explanation.
What is the thing that attracted you into listening to juke/footwork?
The thing that attracted me the most in these genres was the combination of the dirty sound originating from ghetto house with highly abstract rhythmic layer. I had never heard anything like it before. I always associated footwork with Mark Fell and SND’s experiments rather than with dance music. Footwork dance turned out to be a very crucial element of that newly discovered culture. It was the primal foundation for the music and thus the history of juke/footwork music starts with the dance, to which music was dedicated.
Is juke/footwork popular in Poland?
Juke and footwork popularity is not staggering. I think more and more people are getting the idea of what the two genres are and therefore you can hear them in clubs nowadays, however it is still a niche music.

Did you manage to play with some Chi-town juke/footwork DJs?
Yes. I had a great pleasure to play with DJ Rashad and DJ Spinn. Then I played with DJ Earl, another member of Teklife crew. They were unforgettable moments and every occasion to meet up with the scene’s most important representatives is a celebration in itself.
How do Chicago juke/footwork producers react to your own juke style?
I guess they should be asked the question. Despite the geographical distance between us, producers from Chicago are reacting spontaneously to the apparent increase in juke and footwork popularity all over the world. They’re happy that over the decade of hard work they are starting to see the results. Polish Juke is a good example of that.
How would you describe influence that juke had on european DJs?
Juke and footwork are having more and more significant impact on european dance music. Mainly thanks to such djs/producers as Slick Shoota, Om Unit, Machinedrum, who got inspired by these genres. The tempo is a different story. It’s similar to the one in drum and bass and jungle. On top of that, regular visits of Chicago DJs in Europe allow us to get familiar with their selections and ways of mixing.
In your mind how’s Polish Juke different to juke from Chi-town?
On the one hand the answer is easy as everything created outside Chicago is essentially different form what originates in it. Juke/foootwork music created in Poland is a combination of our local producers’ inspiration stemming from different traditions and influences such as dubstep, uk garage, drum & bass or jungle. But on the other hand, and here comes the difficult part to answer clearly, it is really difficult to pinpoint all the distinctive features which could be attributed to polish producers.
Do you think that juke/footwork is a growing music trend in Europe or a phenomenon for a few people?
I think that the growing popularity of these styles in Europe and all over the world is a fact. For sure what attracted more attention over time was a sudden death of one of the most important persons in juke/footwork - DJ Rashad. His music has inspired many. Two renowed british labels Hyperdub Records and Planet Mu are the european ambassadors of juke and footwork. They offered us a chance to listen to juke and footwork from Chicago.

Last question: is there something you wish to highlight in your mix?
The mix by PZG is a combination of tracks from the Polish Juke catalogue and soon to be published ones. Particularly interesting are tracks by Symbiotic Sounds, Miko, Bennelux and PZG.

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