Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Nu Killa Birthday

Desptite this writer's obvious lack of drum n'bass terminology and nuances, he has always applauded the endeavours of the good burgers from Nu Killa Kru, so much so that he has decided to revert to the third person for this opening sentence.

Time to blow out the candles then, as they celebrate the ninth birthday of Nu Killa Beats with a shindig at the Underground in Baker Place. It's a full line-up, with every dn'b dj worth his salt in the region spinning discs on Friday night (February 27). That means Code, Bee, Roller T, Mecca, Deep Cut, Lymer and Leon, from 10.30pm 'til late.

Happy birthday to Conor and folks involved. Should be a cracking night.

To celebrate, here's one from "the ones I prepared earlier" file. This was an article done around the time of their seventh birthday two years ago...Enjoy


This time seven years ago we were just getting over Y2K fever, the Euro was still two years off, and George W. Bush was just the Governor of Texas. Obviously a lot has changed since then, but here in Limerick, a collective of drum and bass lovers have continued on in a steadfast manner.

The Nu Killa Kru was essentially born out of frustration. Pallasgreen native Conor O'Dwyer, djing under the handle of Code, teamed up with Kevin Beegan (Bee) and Tony Power (Roller T), with the aim of putting together a night playing the music they wanted to hear.

O' Dwyer takes up the story of the Kru's origins: "There was a club called 'Skint' that used to run up in Costello's, and they played bits of hip-hop and break-beat, as opposed to the constant 4/4 beats of techno. We went there, and they used to occasionally play drum n'bass, and we got to play a bit. Then that ended. After a while, we realised that if we weren't going to do it ourselves, then nobody else would".

With a pilot of sorts during Christmas 1999 at the Globe, they quickly organised their first night proper at the now defunct Dog House on Thomas Street for February 2000. "Any night I know that ran in Limerick had just gone on for a year or two, and we certainly hadn't looked beyond that year", says Conor. "We were encouraged by the first night in The Globe. The first night in the Dog House, we had a decent crowd. The second night was one of the best nights we've ever had; it was a basement of a pub, and the place was rammed at half-ten with people going crazy!"

However, it hasn't been all plain sailing, with the Kru experiencing the unfortunately usual problems inherent to running club nights. Nu Killa Beats has moved around numerous venues in the city, and O' Dwyer has had to deal with scheming managers and over- zealous bouncers. "There was one occasion when one of our own guys basically had to disguise himself to get in. He spent the entire night with a hat on, up behind the decks!".

Additional to those problems is the time and resources required to promote a monthly night. It is clear from talking to O'Dwyer that Nu Killa Kru do what they do for the love of it, and without any financial agenda behind it. However, nights like this will not run on fresh air, and Conor is well aware that if punters don't keep coming in the door, it will be the death-knell for the night.

"If we were doing it for the money, there's no way we'd still be going", he laughs. "It has got more difficult to promote. When I was in college, I could stick up posters around there and create a bit of buzz, but finished that a good while now. Also, I tend to spend a lot of time with the label (O'Dwyer runs his own label, Subtle Audio), so it leaves even less time".

Despite this, the night has continued to go from strength-to-strength, due in no small part to a strong local crew that, as well as the founding three, includes Deep Cut, Lymer, Cain and Leon. Conor notes that the audience has changed and grown older over the years, and the fact that they have moved from running their nights on Thursdays to Fridays certainly reflects this.

He is also the first to admit that it is not the easiest sell to the public. "There isn't a high concentration of Limerick people into Drum and Bass. Even the biggest Drum and Bass names are small in the global sense; you never hear of them in the same breathe as the likes of Sasha or Digweed. And then what we do is different again to what the big names are doing. It's a niche within a niche".

Seven years is a hell of a long time, and it seems the addiction of the night is key to its longevity. "It's been a bit out of stubbornness that it hasn't stopped. Every now and then, you think of packing it in - like every time one of my decks gets damaged, or a CD player blows up, or we have a low turnout. But frustration wears off after a day or two, and I start getting excited about the next night".

Nu Killa Beats continues to mix the best of local talent with international guests, with particular highlights for O'Dwyer being a live set from UK producer Paradox, and two appearances from Macc, who also releases on Subtle Audio: "he plays live with his drum kit. It's all these really complicated drum beats".

There's a birthday cake to be cut this weekend, and Conor is confident that there will be more occasions to blow out candles in the coming years for Nu Killa Beats. "As long as I'm living here, I will definitely try and keep it going. I'd hope that we'd make it to ten years anyway".

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