Do you know drum ‘n’ bass? Chances are you do. Even if you feel unable to pin down a track that falls under the heading of that subgenre of electronic dance music, you could surely recognize the uptempo rhythms, loping basslines, and jazzy undercurrents in either a track by TikTok pop sensation PinkPantheress or bouncing in the background of TV shows and commercials.
Drum ‘n’ bass had its critical high tide here in the States in the ’90s. Thanks to milestone albums like New Forms by Roni Size and Reprazent and Talvin Singh’s OK, and artists like The Roots and Everything But The Girl embracing its sidestepping beats, the genre appeared to hit the American public consciousness before vanishing in a flash. But, as all dance music styles do, drum ‘n’ bass continued moving forward even as its elements were quickly absorbed and transformed to build the sounds of footwork and drill.
Even beyond its use as bed music for a cooking competition or a real estate ad, drum ‘n’ bass has remained a fruitful creative enterprise. And no entity has proven that better than Juice, the showcase for the genre’s best DJs and producers that has been part of the Portland music community for the past 12 years. In fact, the roots of this monthly event run even deeper, stretching over to Bend, where DJ and promoter Chemynne Perlingieri relocated after escaping the dot-com insanity of the Bay Area.
“It was really just an experiment,” Perlingieri says of Juice. “I was making money as a designer and I thought, ‘Nothing better to do than to bring some of that music here if possible.’ I had never promoted a show before, but having a background in marketing, branding, and design, I took those skills and applied them to this really esoteric area of promotion.”
For the next five years, starting in 2005, Perlingieri brought a wave of drum ‘n’ bass artists from around the world to Bend, including Bristol, UK duo Kubiks & Lomax and Chicago producer Stunna, and drawing from the pool of Northwest talent. Four years later, Perlingieri and her family relocated to Portland to look for better design work and to help expand Juice’s profile. Since then, the monthly night has bounced around a number of venues–and, during the pandemic, became an online enterprise with regular livestreams on Twitch.
“After two years, we’ve got 4.4k followers and 46,000 views on our VODS on Twitch,” says Perlingieri. “It’s mind boggling. Twitch enabled that which was almost impossible at times in Portland with in-person shows. I felt like I was pounding the pavement all the time. Twitch has broken that down. We have a level of support that can be monitored and seen and felt.”
All of which adds to the excitement surrounding this Friday’s Juice night at Holocene. It’s not only the first in-person event they’ve held in over two years, but it’s also the 17th anniversary of the drum ‘n’ bass gathering. With that in mind, Perlingieri has gone big, bringing in celebrated U.K. producer LTJ Bukem and French artist Redeyes to perform alongside DJs Kid Hops and Praderz.
“I am in disbelief that it’s happening,” Perlingieri says. “It’s really, top to bottom, going to be an incredible night of music.”
The music fans of Portland clearly agree with her, as advance tickets have been sold out for some time now–though there will be a limited number available at the door. That’s only got Perlingieri even more fired up for what comes next for Juice and for her new role as owner of BassRoutes, a boutique agency that books tours and does promotion work for music artists.
“It’s a gamble, but it’s one that’s done with a lot of love,” she says. “I really want to make my impact and make my own waves right now.”
Juice Drum ‘n’ Bass is happening on Friday, April 29 at Holocene (1001 SE Morrison, Portland). Advance tickets sold out but a limited number will be available when the doors open at 9 pm. Proof of full COVID vaccination (or negative COVID test) required for entry.