PhillyDnB Interviews 001: Deb.e.
After another successful Philly Jungle Jawns event this past Friday, it’s becoming more and more obvious that there is a a new “classic” vibe that’s coming back to Philadelphia. Drum & Bass as a whole has it’s ebb & flows in every scene and location around the world and we here in Philly know this all too well. With crews like Imperial, UUA and Tribe 6 bringing their own style and brand to the forefront, it’s the little home grown feel of Philly Jungle Jawns that really hits a certain note. Imperial rivals such classic events like Bedlam or the legendary Platinum with their stout residents and top notch guests but Philly Jungle Jawns has that New City Tavern feel… for those that remember! Smoke filled venues, tight spaces, …cheap drinks! That vibe… that feeling is special. One that us old timers will never forget.
The mastermind behind this resurgence? The one and only Debbie Ellerkamp aka Deb.e. Everyone knows Deb.e. If you’ve been a part of this scene for 20 years or 20 mins, there hasn’t been many that haven’t been affected by her. And we couldn’t have imagined anyone better to be our first PhillyDnB Interview.
Get to know, Deb.e.
–Hello! Thank you so much for taking time out to talk with us! How are you these days?
I have been better and I have been worse, but I’m grateful for every day I’m given and feeling blessed, thanks for asking.
-What is your earliest introduction into Drum & Bass and into the Philadelphia scene?
I guess it was mid 1995, I was 14…it happened by chance. I was down south street with my home girls and ran into our friend Gamal who told us about a party that was going on that night at the Troc called “Flight”. All I remember is it being really smoky, the lights, a lot of adidas jumpsuits, I think it was breaks or house or both…needless to say, I fell in love…i was hooked. At the time I was really into hip hop (still am) and skating, so I was already in an alternative scene…but this new experience really was a pivotal point in my life, I felt like I was home…I had found who I really was…the next party I went to was fever, then became a regular at yo’man @ 1415, next step @ skyline and pretty much any rave from here to NYC to Bmore and everything in between. I was a full on raver…but back then we didn’t like that name, so we used the term “party kid”. I was always a jungless tho. J smooth, lorne and diesel boy really did it for me back then. I was always in the small jungle back room…sweating lol, and a little pissed we didn’t have the big rooms…
-When did you decide to cross over from partygoer to party thrower?
When I graduated high school in 1998 and moved to south philly, I used to have after parties at my spot almost every night…and b4 that I would have massive ragers at my moms all thru high school, so I’m not new to entertaining and throwing parties…but it wasn’t till march of this year when I made the plunge into official party thrower. As I already mentioned, I’m a jungless. There was no jungle in philly, and I need that shit on the reg, so I said fck it, imma throw my own jawn…thus came philly jungle jawns…I was sick of having to go up to NYC for a good party; don’t get me wrong ny junglists are my shit and after witnessing the jungle vibe at the stuck on earth 15th year reunion, and how they were holding it down after all these years, I had to try and bring that back to philly…and so I do, every month…
-With your own event, Philly Jungle Jawns, what are you doing differently to make sure you succeed where others have failed?
This is a loaded question, so I will keep it kosher…my main objective is to bring people together for the love of the music. There is a special energy that comes with my event. Everything I do, I do with good intention, positivity and no bull shit…it’s not about money, ego or praise…I simply want people to come out, dance, smile and have a good time. Period. I do my best to make everyone involved happy and feel that they are part of something special…and they are. This is a movement, and I’m trying to unite a city that has not been in a very long time…I won’t go into the politics, because that is the one thing I will not do, scene politics…it falls into the category of bull shit…I only book 3 djs a month and each one in my opinion is a headliner. I list alphabetically and don’t do time slots…I try and book someone from out of state every time and eventually will expand that to out of country. I do this in hopes to put us back on the dnb/jungle map…and it’s working. Whether it’s 30-70 people that show up, you can bank on bohtastic beats and a vibe like no other…I think another thing that sets me apart is that I engage with my guests…I like to thank everyone for coming and try to get to know my crowd…after each night I set up a group “family pic” which is a lot of fun and after 12 months I plan on making a calendar 😉
-What can we expect from your new partnership with Tribe 6 and their Breakage event?
Not that that would be a bad thing, but that is not really official. I contributed to the oct. 9th event by bringing Sage in. I had been contacted about booking her and that date was the only free date, so I committed to it. Just so happens breakage was the same night, so instead of trying to do a conflicting dnb party; which I would never do, I talked to JC about putting her on and we made it happen. Because of that night and my growing friendships with BP2 big things are in the works. So as of right now I can’t say that I’m in a partnership with tribe 6, but will continue to support and help them however I can.
-What do you feel is the biggest thing holding Philadelphia back from once again gaining its former glory?
.Politics/ego. Lack of promoting to the new school.
-Do you think that we’re on the right path? What’s holding us back if anything?
As long as our intentions stay pure (plur lol) and we continue to support each other instead of compete with each other, yes…I am really blessed to have so many supporters and people who genuinely want to help and be apart of the movement. For PJJ personally, I can only see growth and good things in our future.
-If money was no issue, right now, top 5 DJ’s you would book for a mega PJJ event… GO!
Aphrodite, hype, a guy called Gerald, craze, and funk…done…best party ever! lol
-When you’re not owning the town as the official/unofficial Jungle Queen of Philadelphia, what are you doing with your time?
:blushing: thank you for that, deb.e.does.jungle. but deb.e(also)does.all.the.things. I run my own cleaning/organizing business (main source of income atm) but my dream/passion; as most everybody knows, is in photography. I have been documenting the scene and everything around me for as long as I can remember…I was one of the main contributors of philly jungle massive and florida dnb.com. It’s something that brings me complete and utter joy, and hope to make it my main source of income; sooner than later… “I take pictures to remember, if I remember to take the pictures” 😉 deb.e. I also like long walks on the beach, making new recipes, sunset sets, and grabbing ass.
-Final Words? Plug your shit!
Hmmm I will never have final words, till my final breath, but for now I will leave you with this…keep your heart and mind open always…let the music move you, bass face is a the ultimate compliment, and remember where you came from…leave that jaded “old school” shit at the door and welcome the new school…with classic beats 😉 every 3rd Friday philly jungle jawns brings it to ya! Starting dec 18th we will be moving to front street dive at 10 s front st in old city, above the victoria freehouse; the old swanky bubbles. Nov. 20th pjj and dsm are gonna bring it to ya on 2 floors at fireside tavern with “that scorpio jawn” celebrating mine, nobi and all our scorpio sistas and brotha’s bdays; event page coming soon (flyer on the pjj page) .onelove.
check me out 😉