Dark Star

If you have set foot near any drum and bass dance floor within the past two years, then you have undoubtedly grooved to the speaker-rumbling bass sounds of Twisted Individual. Since going from a virtual unknown on the major drum and bass circuit to being voted best producer by long-running U.K. event promotion company Accelerated Culture in 2003, Twisted has been busy establishing his own label, Grid Recordings; working with like-minded producers such as Influx Datum (featuring Miami’s Marco Fabian); and tearing up the dance floor with evil techstep tracks.

“I won best producer, and I’m never going to win best DJ, so I’m going for best label,” he says as he’s leaving a daytime charity festival in Flitwick, England, where he has just finished spinning an afternoon set. “I need new goals now.”

Born Lee Greenaway in Croydon, England, Twisted Individual is best known for his productions on the London-based imprint Formation Recordings. His path to that label began when, as a DJ with a show on London pirate radio station Ruud Awakening (RUDE-FM 88.2), he caught the production bug. Over the next few months, Twisted shaped his sound, digging holes as a construction worker by day and making songs at night.

Twisted’s first vinyl twelve-inch single was the now-rare “Get Funky/Mission Impossible” on Federal Records. He went on to start his first label, Crash Recordings, and release a few singles before having a chance encounter with Formation Records label boss and acclaimed producer DJ SS. “I was in the Music House cutting ‘Wales’ onto a dub [plate], and Leroy [DJ SS] was there, and he started running back and forth, like a chicken with his head cut off, and said, ‘I want this man!’” remembers Twisted. “So I gave him my number and he contacted me, and since then everything I’ve sent [him] he’s taken on.”

Released in 1998, “(Wales) Muzik” earned Twisted a spot on the memorable 1999 mix CD The World of Drum and Bass. With each subsequent release, the producer built a reputation for crafting tracks with deep and wobbly bass lines that seem to resonate through speakers and bodies. However, it was his early 2002 release, “F Word,” with its playful melody and a vocal sample of foul-mouthed cockney banter on the breakdown, which caught the attention of legendary Radio One DJ Grooverider. When Grooverider began playing Twisted’s tunes, the rest of the international drum and bass scene followed.

In 2002 Twisted issued Tooled Up, his first complete album. It was a collection of hard-hitting tracks such as “Wales (Sheep Fetish remix)” and off-key yet moving and musical numbers such as the vocal-laced “Trench Foot” and “Thumb Screw,” featuring cinematic horns and choirs. Tooled Up also demonstrated his proclivity for peculiar song titles such as “Gimp Mask,” “Felch Nugget,” and “Bitch Muzzle.”

Twisted established Grid Recordings shortly before he signed to Formation, and the label has undergone an incredible makeover through the years. Once a home for close cohorts such as Zen and Pleasure, Grid now boasts a large catalog of tunes by big-name producers such as Total Science and Baron. He also started a sister imprint earlier this year, Zombie, to showcase new talent filtering into the drum and bass scene. His latest find, Rob Sparx, has released some dark and heavy-hitting tracks (“Stink Bomb”) that hark back to the forward thinking, tech-sounding drum and bass popularized in the late Nineties.

Over the next several months, Twisted plans to continue producing records on a regular basis and banging out the dance floor vibes with his tracks. His methodology for making music is simple. “If I make a tune that I can listen to over and over again while I’m getting stoned without getting bored of the thing, wanting to change the record — I mean, I can sit there for two or three hours listening to the same groove smoking weed — if I could do that, then it’s going to make it on the album,” he says. “If I get bored after a couple of times, then it’s not going to make it on there.”

Twisted Individual and several others perform during Brock Out Sessions at 10:00 p.m. Friday, July 2, at I/O, 30 NE 14th St. Tickets range from $12 to $15. Call 305-358-8007.

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Robert Sawyer