Don Ranking, Ste. Luce, TheSaint972, D.Haze The Blaze, ppVoltron, Slim Jim Fresh, Newface, Love2LoveSoulsystem aka Whats Your Name? …..
How it all began
Music and DJing had been prominent in Nic Plésels life from the start. His dad, hailing from Martinique, (French West Indies) was a passionate DJ and record-collector who founded the legendary Mama Africa Soundsystem, which held weekly events in and around Basel from 1992 until 2004 playing Reggae, Salsa, Zouk and african Music. The love for all things musical had been passed on to young Nic at a very early stage.
The trial and error-years of his youth saw nic move from the smooth vibes of reggae and funk to acid jazz and punk, from there to hiphop, acid, techno and eventually in 1993: british hardcore and rave.
Producers such as The Prodigy, Blame and Mike Slammer and labels such as Moving Shadow, Knight Force, D-Zone and Naughty Naughty spawned the desire to try his hands at DJ’ing himself. The day of his 15th birthday eventually witnessed the step onto the next level: His very own DJ-setup.
Consisting of a dodgy 6-channel desk, complete with gameboy-style 8bit-effects, a non-pitchable “Telefunken”-turntable and a second no-name, clockwork-driven turntable painted bright yellow by his dad (at least it had a pitch control!), the set-up was everything other than slick and attempting a mix equaled eating a kebab with chopsticks, but it was finally there..
War between Comic-Heroes
As the proud owner of a battered DJ-setup, it was time to choose a DJ-name. Influenced by the rundown warehouse-aesthetic of Basels legendary “Stücki”-location, Nic decided to use the moniker DJ Darkwing (remember Darkwing Duck?). A short time later, in the wake of Nic’s growing love of breakbeats and dubbed out basslines, p.p. Voltron (of Voltron, “Defender of the Universe”-fame) came into being and eventually went on to become his preferred DJ-name.
As a talented Skater p.p. Voltron explored the streets of Basel with his buddies, whose main focus was Bands like Bad Religion, NoFx, Pennywise and most importantly, Beer. Then one day, two previously unknown skaters joined the crew...
One had long hair, a big nose and looked like DJ Dougal, the other was skinny, drummer in a punk band and rather shaky on the board. But both had a profound knowledge of music and had too fallen victim to the growing rave-fever.
Sharing the same interests and mutual sympathy, they soon exchanged mix-tapes and –techniques. Heavily influenced by Bay-B Kanes classic “Jungle Warriors” and attempting to capture the feeling of neglect they suffered by the increasing lack of Breakbeat and Jungle on the local rave-lineups, p.p. Voltron, DJ Toon and Mad Marshal founded their crew “The Last Twisting Jungle Warriors” in 1994.
Each of the three followed his own preferred style and vibe of Breakbeats, Jungle, and later Drum and Bass, bringing together a wide diversity as a DJ Team, covering everything from Good Looking to Suburban Bass and Reinforced. Not only talking about the wide spectrum of the music but actively representing every aspect of it, gave their formation continued success and longetivity to this day.
First Steps in Production
1997 came the point where they were ready for the next step, not only to strengthen their profile but to turn all their ideas into actual music. After each had produced a tune with a mutual engineer-friend and cut it at musichouse on a trip to London, they witnessed how fellow swiss DJ’s Evol (famous as DJ Remady) and Fine Style set up their own Studio and started banging out tune after tune.
Nic was seriously hooked and decided to follow suit and get his own gear. He invested his savings into a used Akai s30000i and bought a Novation Bass Station complete with a Phonic 16 Channel Desk, from Swiss Hiphop legend DJ Def Cut. Equipped with a big fat manual and some jump-start help from Def Cut, Nic set to work with in his studio, that had grown mysteriously by every end of a month.
Boogie Man Records...
Ideas where there aplenty, the skills to execute them came hard earned and slowly. Nevertheless, 1998 came and went, LTJW-Events went from strength to strength and everyone agreed it was high time for a label. Boogie Man Records focused on the by 1999 pretty much inexistent Ragga- and Dub-influeced side of Drum and Bass.
By releasing music lots of people loved, but which the dominant UK-scene had neglected, the label received attention in Switzerland and beyond. Bookings to Geneva, Berlin and Barcelona came in and gave them a boost to carry on in their quest.
p.p. Voltron’s collaborations with fellow local DJ Rough J and the foundation of their co-owned Redirect Records in 2000 where signs for growing studio-skills and a broadening of his musical horizon. Furhermore, Boogieman 005 went into repress, and shifted almost 1000 units in the USA alone, which was a mighty success for an unknown, independent DnB Label from tiny Switzerland.
Not to forget 1999 he started is own 7inch Reggae Label called Good Vibe productions. Releasing Reggae & Dancehall with Swiss upcoming Bands & Artists.
Soulsurfin’Music and Ste.Luce...
Fuelled by the success of these ventures, Nic decided he needed an outlet for his very own musical ideas, that were in process of shifting towards a more musical, soulful sound, but neverthelss remained rooted in his bass-heavy past.
In 2001 he brought SOULSURFIN MUSIC (thesors.net) to life. It was a new chapter as a producer and as a result, Nic released the first catalogue number under a new moniker, Ste. Luce (pronounced “saint loose”, french for “holy light”, the village his family in Martinique originates from).
Scoring a new job as a professional promoter in one of Basels busiest clubs, Nic booked DJ Addiction for a clubnight. As an eminent fan of the re-emerging soulful side of Drum and Bass, DJ Addiction had caught Nic’s attention via the legendary Collaboration with Carlito, the mighty “Supergrass”, released on Defunked Records.
2003 – Haze The Blaze aka D.Hazelnut
Starting a side project as Soul Funk Disco DJ and producer called Exposure The Pink Arena. DJing under the name of D.Hazelnut aka D.Haze the Blaze (www.hazetheblaze)
Meeting DJ Addiction
DJ Addictions Set went down a storm and Nic was chuffed by questions about his own dubs. The contact has intensified ever since, leading to studio sessions in Basel and London.
Nic started focusing 100% on the production and release of new tunes, but received a serious blow when the distribution went bust just after his fourth Soulsurfin-release, resulting in a financially dry time on top of seeing his label collapse.
Nic decided to file it under “creative pause” and founded the “Circlemuzic” agency with DJ Rough J and promoting partner Y.Moshfegh, which supports the local electronica-scene.
2005 witnessed the re-launch of Soulsurfin’ Music. “King” Michael, respectively Groove Attack-distribution from Cologne, agreed to take Soulsurfin into its roster and the deal was secured for the coming releases SOR 006, a collaboration with DJ Addiction and the solo-effort SOR 007.
One day after Nic’s 27th birthday, Michael from Groove Attack asked him to turn his attention to Bailey’s playlist from his BBC 1xtra show - and there, to Nic’s astonishment, was the as-yet unreleased tune “Remember”. Probably one of the greatest birthday presents you could wish for as a DnB-producer..
Defunked’s knocking on the door
Nic sent the tune around via AIM, and promptly received an email from Darren Hickey aka Fellowship, boss of the influental Defunked label, simply asking if “Remember” was still up for grabs... Nic couldn’t believe what he saw. This was unbelievable! The answer, of course, was “it’s yours”, resulting in a coming release on Defunked and a dream come true.
In February 2006 Ste. Luce got booked to Londons legendary “Movement” night, at Bar Rumba on Shaftesbury Ave. which has been going for 10 Years, run by Bryan Gee from V Recordings.
Working the decks alongside DJ Friction, Addiction and Bryan Gee himself, Nic found himself coming full circle from the days he visited Bar Rumba back in 1997 checking out DJ Brockies selection...
On The 8th of April 2006, Ste. Luce’s release of “Remember b/w “Supernatural” on Defunked will be celebrated at Kaserne, Basel, with DJ Addiction and the mighty Storm as special Guests.
not much going on taking a break of all music bizniz.
Back in Studio after a longer break, producing tunes with the one and only
Starting his own Consulting & Production Company called Flamingofarm.ch
Events, Artists, Promotion, Marketing, Music Productions.
The Birth of the Love2Love Soulsystem Project, Soul, Funk, Disco, Grooves mix with
Basslines and Tropical Vibes.
2010 – Rankingreggae.com / Don Ranking - Reggae Productions
Re-Infected by Reggae & Dancehall Music, starting a new project called Rankingreggae.com releasing reggae & Dancehall with world most famous Reggae Artists like Burro Banton, Gappy Ranks, VC (by his Deeds), Dutchie Gold, River Jordan, Bunny Rugs, Skarra Mucci and more to come (biiiigness,.. tell yuh)
The Love2Love Soulsystem Album “A touch of Love” released on CD & Digital (itunes, amazon, Juno, etc.)
Releasing some EPs and the first Album of Rankingreggae.com with the Jamaican Reggae & Dancehall Veteran Dutchie Gold (Massive B. Junior Reid, Two Tufff)
Following releases with UKs biggest Reggae Artist Gappy Ranks …
The Love2Love Soulsystem releasing serval E.P`s and a 70s / 80s influenced
Disco Album called “Magic Disco Löve” produced & mixed by D.Haze The Blaze
Out Sept 22nd 2012 on CD and Digital Music Stores.
01st Oct the “Lets Talk Acid E.P. will be available on itunes, Beatport, Juno etc.
a 100% Acid House Flashback into the early 90s with DJ Tool Basslines and Riddim
for all djs and Acid freaks..
A other transatlantic cooperation has been released on the 22nd of October!
Rankingreggae.com presents Wine it up E.P. with Promise No Promises from Antiqua
And still in love with music..