British DJ Lee Burridgehas mixed and compiled the fifth installment of Global Underground's "Nu Breed" series, due out Aug. 13 in U.K., plus Ministry of Sound launches a new label.
Tyrant Goes Global
British DJ Lee Burridge has carved out a formidable career since he first began playing records for a living in England's West Country. Firstly taking acid house to Asia in the early '90s, he later returned to the U.K. with Sasha and Craig Richards in tow to form progressive house brand Tyrant. Now, he has mixed and compiled the fifth installment of Global Underground's "Nu Breed" series, due out Aug. 13 in U.K.
Burridge and Richards were obvious choices for GU's diffusion series, which focuses on emerging talent. As Burridge explains, "They'd been in a loop for a while with the same DJs and they came up with the idea of letting a few new people in." But he had to reject the label's original offer to contribute last February as it clashed with the impending first chapter of Tyrant's own mix series on Distinct'ive. "It was a really generous offer, but we decided to concentrate on doing the Tyrant CD," he says.
He re-opened negotiations with GU earlier this year. "I decided it was the right time for me, rang them up and they were very happy to let me do one," he says. He finalized his mix for the series over a three-week period and the results speak for themselves -- two discs of incendiary breakbeats, deep, progressive, and tribal house, spanning Rennie Pilgrem and BLIM, Photek, Marshall Jefferson, and Mood II Swing.
In August, he will tour North America to promote the album and hopes "Nu Breed" will assist his own introduction to the U.S. market. "America was one of the reasons for wanting to do the 'Nu Breed' CD. There's a British invasion -- I think promoters believe at the moment that they can just get any English DJ, put 'U.K.' in brackets behind your name, and it'll fill a club, but people aren't stupid," he argues. "You need a little selling point behind you -- Global Underground, perhaps, will get confidence in people."
Burridge is no stranger to success outside the U.K. -- in 1991, he relocated to Hong Kong to serve his DJ apprenticeship in a commercial disco called Joe Bananas. Things might have been very different had he not been seduced by acid house and begun organizing his own raves at an after-hours club called Neptune. Between the hours of 5 a.m. and 3 p.m. as Saturday slid into Sunday every week, he introduced a crowd of ex-pat Australians, Brazilians, Americans, and Brits to his unique mix. He was also keen to encourage the local Chinese people to attend. "At one point we wrote half the flyers and posters in Cantonese to attract those people," he recalls.
Scenes began developing in Wan Chai (a popular area with the military personnel stationed in Hong Kong) and Central District (its commercial center), and he began making a name for himself. By the following year, Burridge had become a regular DJ at the much talked about Full Moon Parties at Ko Pha Ngan in Thailand and was finding his way onto the booking schedules of numerous British promoters touring Hong Kong, including Cream, Ministry, and Northern Exposure.
It was whilst in Hong Kong that he encountered Craig Richards and Sasha, who subsequently convinced him to return to the U.K. in spring 1997 to form Tyrant. As Sasha departed for super stardom, Burridge and Richards concentrated on building the progressive house brand, landing themselves a high profile residency at London club Fabric and a recording deal with Distinct'ive Records, which put out the first Tyrant compilation (mixed by Richards) last summer.
A subsequent dispute with the label means it will not be releasing the follow up album, which Burridge has already mixed. "We're still sitting without a definite record label to release it," he says, but adds, "We're gonna put it out at the end of September [or the] beginning of October."
Additionally he co-runs the London-based Fire label with Cass Cutbush (former Flying Rhino label manager) and Pete "Slide" Martin, which was set up last June. They have concentrated on breakbeat and progressive house releases so far, and continue with Cass' forthcoming mix album, "Fire 01/Prologue," out Aug. 6 in the U.K.
Ministry Launch New Label
Ministry of Sound Recordings has set up a brand new label, which will search out new talent in London's breakbeat and techno scenes. Sean Hickland and Nick Anand -- whose previous success stories include 2-step artists Genius Cru and DJ Dee Kline -- will run the label. Details of its name are not yet known.