Club Classics: Combination


Who were the Combination DJ’s:

The combination DJ’s were Mista Weava (Richard Weaver) Jnr Funk (Duncan Spite) M.I.G (Mark Ian Gurney)

How did Combination come about:

Combination came about from a mutual love of music. We negotiated a monthly gig every third Thursday of the month at the Quay Club, Barbican, Plymouth. None of us were anything other than bedroom DJ’s and have never played out, well Richard had played once at the Thekla, Bristol that summer, prior to the first gig at the Quay Club in the October of 2000. Mark had no experience at all and we simply tied him to the decks and beasted him at our shared house for 6 weeks to get him up to scratch!

Because we all had our own niches that we collected records in, me drum and bass, Duncan soulful house, Mark hip hop, we tried to mix the music up and gradually we each bought more music across the board as our collections grew and we crossed over into each other’s original styles and expanded on the vibe. We coined the expression “an eclectic progression through funky soulful dance music” to define our approach. We were heavily influenced by Gilles Peterson’s worldwide show on Radio 1 each Wednesday. This gave rise to playing the Broken Beat records that were emerging from the London scene. Duncan really embraced that vibe. We really loved the idea of building a night BPM wise and genre hopping our way to a pumping dance floor vibe, without the necessity for heavy and fast beats, but with vocal and instrumental lead Latin/soul/funk attributable sounds. Just great music to dance to with a happy, uplifting vibe.


I believe you guys were the first to DJ regularly in Boardriders (later to become Cafe Ride) how did that spot come about:

Boardriders emerged from us drinking there and the then proprietors, Shonk and Rowan asking us to play an early session from 8pm until about 10/11pm. It was great fun. Every Friday we would transport what was essentially Hi-Fi gear to the pub. We would play and the payment was drink, generally potent cocktails of Shonk’s own recipes! Needless to say it set us up nicely for the revelry of the weekend! Great memories of those sessions.

Where else did you guys play other than Boardriders:

We played Ride quite often and this was monthly or bi-monthly. That was quite a good vibe and we had some good sessions there too. That rolled from about 10-2am I seem to remember.
We did back rooms for Pete Isaac of Jelly Jazz when he did his special events at the Dance Academy. Pete was really good to us and recognised what we were about and supported us. We are grateful for that.
Also, Barney Roe was running Definition with his mate Simon Ware. They did some incredible drum and bass nights and hooked up some amazing names Grooverider/Fabio/Goldie/Dillinja and many more. Quality promotions. We did their back room nearly all the time at venues like the Candy Store.
There were the Warleigh House ‘Mansion Parties’ out at Tamerton Follet, which a lad called Olly promoted and they were pretty cool. We were in the Ride tent with Phil Banks, which ran from 8pm – 8am!
By far the most significant for us was when we broke Mr Scruff into south-west scene with an amazing road block night at the Quay Club. We also hosted Ross Allen too. Those nights were about doing something different and having lots of genres played together in sets. The scene back then was very much about one type of music being represented on a night. So you’d have a straight ahead DnB night or whatever. We wanted to play across the board.


What challenges did you face and how was the scene different back then:

To be honest, sometimes it was a tough sell. We stuck to our guns and only ever played music we believed in and whilst we had some amazing nights with enthusiastic, large crowds, there were invariably the tumble weed moments, but the experience would never have been complete with out them. Certainly any young DJ’s need to experience an empty dance floor at some point in their career to keep them grounded! The lack of social media back then was a big factor. Fly-posting posters all over the city and standing outside the student union and the clubs at kicking out time was par for the course. Catching the revellers as they left venues to promote your own night, was a big part of getting people to your night. The big benefit of those cold late night flyering sessions was the interaction and networking with the other promoters (including one Francois Parker!). That and the mighty Bigga Records were instrumental in bringing the city’s promoters together. Simon and Mitch at Bigga were big supporters of the scene and frankly without them many nights would never have come about. A great focal point and fondly remembered.

What are you guys up to these days:

Richard is a funeral director in the family business on the Isle of Wight. He is into motor-sport, participating in rallying in UK and Belgium. A keen car enthusiast, owning, restoring and collecting classic cars.
Duncan worked in Richard’s building business as a carpenter/joiner. Since the closure of the building division he is working on his own in the building trade and taking in small property developments in the village we live in on the Isle of Wight.
Richard and Duncan are still loving music and buying and playing vinyl and DJ-ing at ad-hoc nights they put on locally with their own sound-system (Lane End Downbeat). Richard and Duncan have lost touch with Mark, but believe he is running a record label called 2nd Drop Records in London.


Three tracks for combination:

Without a doubt Afronaught / Transcend Me.
Classic early broken beat sound.

Next, John Cutler / It’s Yours.
Fantastic, warm, good times house record.

And finally, DJ Patife & Fernando Porto / Sambassim.
Brilliant Brazilian twist on the liquid drum and bass genre, which embodied our love of the Latin vibes within a great dance floor record.

The common theme with all of these tunes is that they work on the dance floor, they’re upbeat good times tracks, they’re quality production and at the time certainly Afronaught and DJ Patife were pioneering a different sound. I think those three tracks would sum up the spirit of Combination and what we were trying to achieve.

Big thanks to Mr Weava for making this feature possible.
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