John Rolodex: Dissecting Alberta’s drum and bass history  

Friday 16th, November 2018 / 07:55
By Jonathan Crane 

Photo by Agata Raymond


CALGARY – As part of the Alberta Electronic Music Conference’s Saturday lineup, the “Fast Forward Rewind” panel will examine the history of drum and bass, both at home and in its birthplace of the United Kingdom, and how the two developments are correlated.   

The hour-long panel, which begins at 5 p.m. on Saturday, November 17th, will feature Alberta artists John Rolodex, DJ Fever, DJ Celciu, and Phatcat, as well as Chris Goss, the founder of U.K.-based label Hospital Records. 

Edmontonian John Rolodex, whose real name is John Knoll, has witnessed the evolution of the genre in Alberta since the mid 1990’s.   

“I don’t think people really realize, the people that are into drum and bass today a lot of them haven’t been involved for too terribly long, but it’s got its roots in Alberta from the early 90’s, over 20 years, I think that will be a surprise,” says Knoll. 

Knoll first became interested in drum and bass in 1995 and played his first DJ gig in 1997. In 2001 he released the Dragon EP on United Kingdom-based label Dread Recordings, a move that signalled the beginning of a new era for Alberta’s drum and bass community.  

“Back then that was a one way street, all the records came from England and we played the records,” says Knoll.   

“So that was sort of the only interaction, and then as years got on and those acts started coming through from the U.K. and playing at raves and club events here, that was sort of the beginning of almost drum and bass colonialism in a way. They started playing here and within a few years of that people like myself started releasing records on U.K. labels.” 

One of the aims of the panel is to examine how the community in Alberta, which initially began as an underground grassroots movement, became a hub for touring drum and bass acts.  

“We’ll be talking about how it first originated in Alberta, in Edmonton and Calgary, how it’s evolved, and how that mirrors or echoes what happened in the U.K.,” says Knoll. 

“In many ways if you think of a pebble dropping in a pool of water, it dropped in London and then it echoes outward from there, and the waves of different styles and trends I would suggest have been echoed in Alberta and other places as a response to what happened in the U.K.” 

According to Knoll, having Hospital Records co-founder Chris Goss on the panel will offer an unparalleled firsthand insight into the early days of the genre in the United Kingdom. 

“To me its very cool because Hospital is one of the iconic brands in drum and bass, and from a personal standpoint I’ve always admired Hospital, and myself I’ve released on Hospital, so it would be cool to speak to Chris in person about that sort of thing,” says Knoll. 

Similarly, Knoll is also looking forward to exploring the early years of Alberta’s community before he became active.   

“As a music fan I’m always interested in hearing the oral history of the scene and how it developed and evolved, hearing it from the mouths of the people that were there, and I’m really looking forward to that sort of discussion,” says Knoll.  

“Guys like Fever and Celcius, they were in the scene when I got in as a teenager, and I’m really looking forward to discussing what, as a teenagers, or guys in their early 20’s, what they experienced and what their first few years were like, what drove them to DJing.”  

The panel is open to all holders of full or Saturday-only passes.  


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