Team Brisk Streamers of the Week: Escape Velocity

This week, we visit the Drum & Bass power couple, SenseNet and A1-Voodoo, in Tennessee, United States. They together control America’s longest running Drum & Bass record labels and stream from their tour bus, The Escape Velocity. They are producers, remixers, DJs, and live streamers. Read on, folks and learn about their musical journey!

Where are you from and where are you living now?

A1-Voodoo is from the states, and as a child grew up around the D.C. beltway. Then as a teen and into his thirties, grew up in Florida through the heady rave days of the early to late 1990’s and early 2000’s.

SenseNet is from South Florida and has lived in many parts of the state until moving to Asheville, NC with A1-Voodoo in 2015. In 2022, we both bought a home in a small rural town in NE Tennessee.

How did you come up with your DJ name?

I’m a fan of William Gibson, a prominent sci-fi author. Yet, although his influence has permeated our culture (he’s credited with basically creating the CyberPunk genre including terms like “wet wear”, “cyber space” and “eye-phones”), most don’t know his name. So when people search up my name, I wanted him to also show up in the search results. My name is from one of his most famous books, Neuromancer. My first choice was actually Wintermute, but a saw another DJ had that name, so I came up with another one. “The sense/net” is a giant infrastructure which stores the AI constructs for various people, whether famous or criminal.

The A1-Voodoo name has quite a long story, but an abridged version is that I’d been using the alias while ghostwriting and engineering for other DJs and producers for a very, very long time, and then one evening a mate of mine, Jason (Cambridge, A-Sides), was having a laugh about line-up orders on big flyers. Anyways, one thing led to another, and a joke turned into me changing my public performance name from CLRH2O (which I’d used for about 20 years at that point) to A1-Voodoo so I would always be billed above him on any of the shows we played where artists are placed on the lineup alphabetically! If you know Jay-Sides, you know what a cut-up he is, so it’s sort of obvious the name would at least partially have its origins in a joke! The more ‘serious DJ guy’ explanation of the name is that I was trying to say my ‘musical voodoo’ was the best, or A1-Voodoo.

Since we bought our tour bus, we’ve been treating her like a starship (she’s our Millennium Falcon!). We love sci-fi and space exploration, so we used the term “Escape Velocity” which describes the velocity needed to escape Earth’s gravitational pull, but it’s also an ideology of what you need to achieve to reach your goals. What’s your Escape Velocity?’ Years later, we updated our logo to also include the tagline, “Music, Compassion, Mindfulness”. These are our core tenants, and we hope to bring a positive influence into people’s lives from the messages we are putting out there.

What’s your equipment list?

Which studio?! For A1-Voodoo, as an audio engineer and the owner of Straylight Music Group and Straylight Mastering it’s all about the audio post production studio kit (that full list can be found here: straylightmastering.com).

SenseNet is mainly production-based and is working on a live set-up integrating various analogue instruments within the DJ shows. As DJ’s, our streaming setup in the Tour Bus is mostly what you might expect: 1200’s, Serato on an Ultrabook, and the Pioneer DJM-S9 set up battle style. It’s a decidedly ‘Turntablist’ sort of setup that we have packed into the relatively small salon of a Prevost Tour Bus. Then there’s the streaming PC, a nice Sony A7S, some extra webcams, OBS and, for any streamer these days it’s standard fair we’d gather, except the Tour Bus part obviously!

When we think about it, the Prevost (tour bus) is sort of the single most important part of our ‘Equipment List’ these days. And it’s certainly what everyone in the scene and around the world has rallied behind, that’s for sure. The “Escape Velocity” aka “The Tour Bus That Jungle Built,” aka “The Drum Shanty” is our 1992 Prevost XL40, and it’s what we stream from for every show you’ve seen us do for the past five plus years we’ve been on Twitch.

Where did your musical journey begin?

My uncle is a pianist, and I looked up to him as a kid, so when my mom wanted to start me on music lessons at age 6, I asked to learn the piano. I started out on electronic keyboards, and then at 8, my parents bought me a Wurtlitzer upright piano that they kept until I left for college. Today I have a 1960’s Baldiwin Acrosonic upright that I love. I eventually learned other instruments as well, but although my start came from traditional forms, I’ve really always loved the sounds and creative expression that came from electronic music, which was becoming popular in the 80’s. That’s led me to the Jungle, DnB, and Ambient that I produce today.

I can think of two moments: The first calls back to a night in late 1989 while in 8th grade as I huddled under the covers trying not to get in trouble on a school night while listening to another young man named DJ Three’s (now the person I help run the record label ‘Hallucienda’ with and who was only 4 years older than myself at the time!) late-night radio show on the Tampa FL radio community station 88.5FM. At one point, he dropped a pre-release copy of “The KLF: Last Train to Trancentral” and I was utterly inthralled. I didn’t know it then, but what I was cueing into the simple but effective breakbeats in the song. Two and a half years later, an advance copy of ‘Cloud 9’s “You Got Me Burning (up)” remix by Nookie and Ray Keith hit my hands by way of a story too long to recant here (though it relates specifically to why I started my first record label…), and THAT tune quite literally changed the trajectory of my entire life, leading to who I am, what I do, and how long I’ve been things in music to this day!

We met in 2012 at a DNB event and started dating in 2013. We’re both passionate about music, and SenseNet had been dabbling in DJ’ing for years, while A1 had been in the scene since the mid-90’s. He proved to be a great mentor, and seeing how well we got along behind the decks, we turned our Friday nights into DJ practice sessions, which later became our live Twitch streams. We had probably been doing our Friday night sessions for about a year when we felt we were ready to introduce a “live” element into our practice regime.

What made you decide to take up DJing?

While home from college in the summer of 1998, I was working as the door girl at a club. I always loved seeing how the DJs were able to command a crowd through their musical selections. I also noticed I never saw any females booked at the club, or hardly any other clubs for that matter. I saw an opportunity to inject some female talent into the pool and combine my love of music and performing all into one.

I was astoundingly lucky to fall in with a rather large group of friends who were all either DJs already or music producers in the 1993–1995 range. Being a part of the Hallucination Recordings (Rabbit in the Moon, DJ Monk, DJ Three) family at that time sort of kept me toe to toe with so many amazing people in the game that, in retrospect, it was clear at a point I was going to take up DJing myself. But it was starting to produce my own music that really made the desire to also DJ that music strong. After starting my first label imprint with then roommate Frank Mendez in Ft. Lauderdale in 1997, I started practicing in our studio, eventually playing out around FL and in my then home town of Tampa, FL in 1998 as Bamboo and I started my second imprint, ‘Force Recordings’, and were throwing shows together there (for our Stateside Collective DJ Collective and the label).

What are some of your interests/hobbies/passions outside of streaming/DJing?

Making music (Ambient, DnB, Synthwave, and others), veganism, cooking and nutrition, mindfulness and meditation, yoga, animal rights activism, human rights activism, 3D-printing, interior design, stained glass, costuming, and stream tech. Any given weekend, you might find me attending webinars on parrot behaviour or watching videos on food and nutrition to prevent and reverse chronic illness. I’m currently taking care of a moth with a damaged wing who can’t fly, so I’ve been researching all about moths the last few days and learning how to take care of him since he can’t be released back into the wild.

Renovating the tour bus, for sure! I consider it the clarion call of the mid-life carpenter’s crisis or something, but after 35 years of sitting at a computer being a designer, a music producer, and an independent record label owner, being able to work with my hands on something physical with tools is astonish-ably zen-like. Every time I go out into the shop and inside the bus for whatever is the next project on the seemingly unending list, it’s a bit of a ‘reset’ from everything I do. I love it! Besides that, I’ve been lucky enough in my life to have a fun supercharged sports coupe, and whenever possible, I take it up into the mountains on runs.

We’re both vegan, so compassionate living is at the core of our foundation. We donate to animal charities, adopt rescued animals (adopt, don’t shop!), sometimes do volunteer work, and host charity streams with some regularity. We’re also avid DIY’ers and spend most nights and weekends working on our 96-year-old home and 1992 tour bus that we are in the process of renovating. In addition, we love renewable and sustainable technology and are working on our first entirely self-designed solar system with battery storage for whole-home backup and self-reliance.

When did you start streaming on Twitch?

It was in June of 2018 and we’ve now just closed the book on five full years of Twitch, and settling into our 6th year on the platform.

Is there anything you really hope to accomplish in your life, whether it be related to music or not?

I’d love to do more for our planet by helping people and animals. Whether it’s getting involved at the governmental level, finding avenues to spread nutrtional awareness for preventing and reversing chronic diseases, or teaching compassion and mindfulness to everyone. I’d love to be able to own land to facilitate the ability to rescue more animals. My neighbours would hate me right now if I had a few giant parrots in our backyard lol. I’m currently trying to figure out how to buy a franchise to increase my revenue so I can then take my profits and funnel them into passion projects that focus on our food system, our mental health, and to tackle the rampant animal cruelty that occurs in the industrial agriculture system. When we save one soul, we’re also saving a piece of our own.

I want to build a house with my own hands that SenseNet and I can grow old in. What sort of home, what size, and where? Honestly, even after easily a decade of thinking (and in some cases, actually beginning the planning phases), I’m still not entirely certain. But that would definitely be one thing. Another is to make my scrappy little record label, Force Recordings, known to at least most of the people who might be inclined to find joy in listening to and collecting Jungle and Drum & Bass music. I was ushered into this space by the rich histories of Rob’s Moving Shadow, Danny’s Suburban Bass, and Dego & Mac’s Reinforced Records, so I’ve always wanted to see the label reach for those lofty heights. I’ve made it part of the way there at this point, with the label being the USA’s longest continuously operating DnB label. But for me, there’s still so much more ground to cover! I’m also old enough to know that money makes things happen, and even if I end up with the best tunes in the world, they only go so far. So I really need a patron of the arts to bankroll things. Happen to know any?!

We look forward to finishing the bus so we can take it on tour throughout North America. We want to visit all of our fans who have been watching that process for the past 5 years now! We also want to travel overseas for an extended period of time to visit everyone we’ve met in other countries and experience the music scene in their areas. Lastly, we want to one day be able to live fully off-grid on multiple acres up in the mountains so we can blast our music as loud as we want! lol

Who are some of your favourite streamers and why?

I love the entire community! There are way too many to list. But I actually don’t find myself much on Twitch unless we’re streaming or it’s a special event. It’s too easy to be glued to Twitch 24/7, with so many amazing creators on the platform. I realised a couple of years into my Twitch journey that if I didn’t treat it like a job with a schedule of work, it’s easy to lose yourself and get overwhelmed with so many events and activities occurring. Running the labels, producing music, and rennovating the bus (and taking care of our adoptive non-human family) are our primary focuses, and those keep us busy pretty much all the time. With that said, if I need a good laugh, I’ll tune into Kitboga. Currently, I’m learning about Sumo wrestling, and ‘Midnightsumo’ curates an awesome channel so you can learn all about the ancient sport with plenty of help for Sumo noobs.

Some that spring to mind are SushiDragon (that guys’ tech is INSANE!), QueenBee (she’s who convinced us to start streaming in the first place, real talk!), and SubCuturePostPunk‘s show is pure music appreciation bliss; if you’ve not caught one of his streams, do change that. Another on the 45 RPM tip would have to be SpinScott‘s Funk/Soul/Raregroove shows. Not only is the man one of the top 3 electronic finger drummers in the world (his ’25 Years to Life’ set for the DnBArena 2021 Awards show was FIRE!), but he’s got this collection of 50/60/70’s and 45’s that any collector would die for! Of course, yourself ya speed beats freak! An influential pair of DnB headz from way back that I’m happy to know here on Twitch are Lee L-Double and his FLEXDnB show, as well as the scene’s resident multimedia nerd, John-B! I’m also quite keen on Catch22‘s streams (as well as seeing him and BB, who are both insanely nice). I’ve also got to call out what Mark-1 (ATM FAM!) and Norbskii have built here on Twitch. Their 164 and 174 festivals are a highlight each year. And rounding this out are Billy Lane and the 916 Junglists as well as Juice Drum & Bass (who are the nicest duo you’re ever likely to meet in this music!) for each of their crews, not only being streamers but also throwing IRL events for the decades in their respective areas and supporting the local and travelling DJs alike <3

What is your favourite genre to play and why?

You can’t beat some Classic Jungle. The tracks are so full of life and rythm and they’re a blast to play for a crowd. On the other side I love playing some minimal deep rollers or heavy 2-step action. Anything that gets my body moving.

I keep it simple and tend stick to my heart-song; Jungle & Drum & Bass!

What are some of the most memorable events you’ve participated in or streamed?

Wow! There have truly been so many! For us personally, our annual themed Halloween shows are always epic. We go all out: Cosplay, IRL set design, props, special curated DJ sets, bespoke interactive commands, and point redeems. I only wish we had more time and resources to do more! SenseNet comes from a theatrical performance background, and A1 comes from a theatrical production background, growing up working on shows for Rabbit in the Moon and other productions. We both love to create an immersive experience as best we can in this virtual space. We also love doing charity streams and bringing awareness to different causes; those events are always very special and close to our hearts. It’s awesome knowing that we’ve raised thousands of dollars to help our noble causes.

Our battle sets for Norbskii have been standout good times, for sure. A stream I put together with compatriot label head Andy Odysee for his label ODYSEE Records UK that featured an hour-long interview covering the early days of Source Direct, his involvement with Rupert ‘Photek’ Parkes (a new Photek is on the way soon!) and his label partner T-Mirage stands tall as well. But the BIG ONES have to be the ‘themed streams’ that we try to do about once a year. Those are ridiculously involved and will always stand tall among any of the streaming work we’ve done. The Bladerunner, Dune, and CyberPunk shows are definitely three to track down and watch if you haven’t.

What does Team Brisk mean to you?

Team Brisk allows us to reach beyond our own followers to meet so many other people! I love how the team has many different genres, so we’re able to connect with people we normally wouldn’t bump into in our specific genre circles, and that is very healthy from a creative standpoint. It’s been amazing seeing how large the electronic music scene is now that we’re all connected globally! The DNB scene in America is extremely spread out, so it’s difficult to feel part of a larger community, which Team Brisk has done for us. Thank you, Brisk!

It means community with other creatives that I know give a shit about what they’re doing. You’ve (Brisk) got a really clear vision of what makes a performer worth their salt. And no matter what genre another team member may be playing, I can be sure they’re likely at the top of their game. I’ve always felt that if you’re going to create, perform, or just generally be involved in the music space, you should treat it with respect. Further, you should care enough to put your own stamp on whatever part of it your are involved in, so that once you are gone, the others who come along after you have a high water mark to shoot for and hopefully even surpass. Always progressing, always improving. That’s what Team Brisk means to me.

What’s your favourite thing about DJing on Twitch?

I love the freedom you have as an artist. IRL gigs are sometimes rampant with rules and restrictions that can be quite stressful, and you can’t always perform in the conditions you’d prefer. I love being in full control of our show and being able to play whatever we want and for however long we want. I also soon realised that the Twitch community has been so incredibly supportive that it’s helped me come out of my shell and develop my DJ persona. When I first started, I was so timid and unsure how I’d fit in, but over the years, I’ve been able to experiment and try new things without any backlash. The understanding of our followers that we sometimes like to veer off the beaten path has been so freeing to me as an artist and has really encouraged me to keep trying new things, which only makes me a better artist.

It’s not one singular thing, so let’s see where to begin. Well, there’s the fact that you’re not paying $10 for a beer at the bar after waiting 10 minutes to get that beer from a packed bar. You get to play on gear you know is always in working order, with typically longer than 2-hour sets. SenseNet and I are a duo, and when gigging out, 2 hours is about the average we play. But on our own show, 4 hours is the standard. And if the viewers are hot and heavy at the end of those 4 hours, we can just keep on going! No prick venue managers screaming at you to “cut it off!” or worn-out and disaffected bouncers trying to toss your mates out the door so they can get paid and make it to the strip club. For that matter, no wondering if the payment went through on your way to the next venue or not and having to call an agent just to find out. No worrying if the ride back to the hotel is as drunk as you are or not, or if they’re even going to be there to take you (much less the next morning to the airport). And for the local shows, no worries about packing in the ride to drive home yourself in likely a less than reasonable state. And let’s not forget the bathroom situation at some of the smaller gigs. Outside of all that, I think the single best thing is being able to perform for people all around the world at once and be more intimately connected to those watching at the same time. I’ve got a few friends who are still in the international headlining game, and the simple fact is that a human body can only move so quickly around the world from gig to gig without completely giving up on you. And if you want to be international, Twitch really opens up a new way of accomplishing that.

What is a challenge you’ve faced as a DJ/streamer?

We’ve been very lucky to have avoided the drama that can sometimes destory communities here on Twitch. Over 5 years in, and there’s only a handful of people we’ve had to ban from the stream. We were getting some trolls in the beginning, but as soon as we turned on the “follower only” option for chat, that pretty much caught 99% of them. The biggest challenge is still knowing when to ban someone, especially if they’ve been with you for a while or are financially supportive. We have a very long fuse and try to give people the benefit of the doubt, but ultimately have zero tolerance for any sort of ill will or rude behaviour directed at us or our followers. SenseNet is a domestic violence survivor, so she won’t put up with any sort of verbal abuse from a follower; even if they were just drunk that one night, there’s just no room for that in our community. We support everyone in their journey, but respect is a two-way street.

Do you have any special projects, streams or events you would like to tell us about?

Recently, we were the subjects of a video short highlighting small businesses leveraging technology to, in effect, punch above our weight. The business that contracted the project was non other than DROPBOX, and they stood tall behind the two of us as creators, label owners and quite suprisingly as ‘JUNGLE and Drum & Bass’ artists. They flew in the whole film crew and spent 3 days on site, in the tour bus, in the studio, and at a 3-day festival we were booked to perform at. That debut’s sort of right now! https://blog.dropbox.com/topics/customer-stories/a-music-duo-inspiring-the-next-generation-of-artists

Next up, our contemporary Jungle imprint, TUFF LOVE DUBS, has just completed the release of the ’10 on 10′ 10″ vinyl dubplate series. We started planning this series as a way to re-launch our TUFF imprint in 2018, and everything got rolling in early 2020, right as the global lockdowns started – talk about timing, (ugh!) but the amazing music carried it through! Every release was only on a 10″ plate, and each only got around 10 to 12 cuts. Plus, we don’t tell anyone who makes the music, only the song name, which helps keep some of the mystery that’s been lost in the process of hunting for music you love. The whole project harkens back to the mid-90’s, and the acetates show how many of us loved to hear the DJs play, try to hunt them down afterwards for ourselves, and just generally how powerful an effect they had on our music culture as a whole. For the Jungle heads, lock in tufflovedubs.com

And last but certainly not least, our original imprint, Force Recordings, is celebrating its 25th anniversary right now, and to book-end this first quarter of a century as the United States longest continuously operating DnB record label, we’re in the process of compiling and creating three double-length LP’s of music. Two of the LPs catalogue the first and second generations of the artists who defined the earlier and later periods of Force’s history with re-masters, the very best of our releases. And the third is a massive 25-song remix LP featuring a who’s who of current DnB producers from around the world working up their visions of the songs that have been my favourites as label chief over the past quarter century <3 These will all be available in 2024!

Is there anyone you’d like to shout out and/or thank?

I will undoubtedly leave out someone, so I will just give a huge shout-out to the Twitch community and everyone I’ve met on it for helping to shape me along my artistic journey. You all mean so much to me in many different ways, and I am ever so grateful and always humbled.

Oh man, so many! Chris DJ Three, Oona Dahl, Brian Bamboo, and John Jaybee (Stateside family!) Frank ‘Evilbase’ Mendez, Nick Sluggo, Dave AK-1200, Steve DJ Monk (thank you for literally opening this underground door for me!), Dave RITM Confucius, and Steve Bunny (the tour bus is coming to the production warehouse in LA eventually, dangit!), Kevens Marley, my Miami brother from another motha! Oliver Vector Burn (welcome back to the ride!), TheNeverMirror, ACID_LAB (the chameleon), Empire-X (don’t you buy that RTX 4090!), Screwface (original Jungle bastid), Tommy 8-Track Cruz & Disco Donny, Olivia QueenBee So many from my Force/Stepping Forward family: aFlame, Mikal, MSDOS, StunnaChi, Magnafide, Antares, DLO, DLX, Actraiser, B-Complex, Severity Zero, Quentin Hiatus, Flaco, Phat Playaz, Salaryman, Mad Rabbit aka Foreign Concept, XTC UK (RIP), HumaNature, Gappa G (the original information centre!), Silence Groove, SST & Glitch, Itchy Robot (still taking you up on the visit next time in the UK man), DAVR, Geoff Bukk (Canada’s finest!), Bukez Finezt, Static Function, Bare, Reika… I just have to stop now.

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9 October 2023 All News News