As We Enter… 2021 DYSTOPIA DNB dj battle [June 18-26th]



That is the question bass heads. Which drum and bass dj, brave enough to enter the arena. Will walk away with the prizes, the bragging rights, the glory, and..the “juice”? This is the third installment of this series hosted by Dystopia dnb . A Drum & Bass Collective based in Oakland, CA who are dedicated to promoting, marketing and managing Drum & Bass events. Dystopia was founded by Zykes Chilly and R3M in the heart of Oakland’s Laurel District January 28th 2011. And recently have been doing IRL events at the DNA Lounge in San Fransisco.

This year, 18 djs have been chosen amongst a huge base of applicants within the global dnb community. Each contestant will get an initial half hour to flex their arsenal and skill set (via their own dojo’s) to move into the final round. Where the field will get cut down to 6. Where the final djs get one more half hour set to run the virtual dance floor. In the end, over three nights of semi’s, and one night of finals . Only one walk like a champion, and talk like a champion.
This event has been meticulously curated by Micheal Remson aka R3M . With assistance of the streaming monolith, THE MAN LIKE “BILLY LANE” and the hombre’s over at 916JUNGLIST & the technical likes of that wan  like Gypsy Kid  at Hardcore Jungliest Unite. We are guaranteed a proffesionally assembled stream. Complete with  all of the bells and whistles that twitch can offer. Respectfull trash talk, so many fucking emotes, people flexing their biddies, massive amounts of shots, and hopefully moshpits and bottle fights. get your !- typing skills ready. Because this virtual smackdown will be spoken of like the last house party you went to that was raided by the cops. Shit will be B A N A N A S !!!

I first learned of this event via the ever growing Twitch djing community. Like many of us, I spent last year living through a machine. Trying to hold on to my sanity, and my nightly bloodlust for any sort of entertainment. While I was frantically blocking & deleting many family members, friends, and “internet aquiantances ” due to the tradgic intersection of the pandemic/the election/ and social injustice. I was   simultaniously making more connections and allies within the stateside community via social media.

One of those connections also happened to be entering a “dj battle” . Something I myself always found sacred in the art and culture of jungle and hip hop. When I started djing. I would find myself watching stacks of DMC vhs tapes trying to learn the art of djing and turntablism. That’s how I learned how to dj. Needless to say, its been almost a decade since I have even heard of a dnb dj battle. So I immediately set all the reminders of the event so I would have a reason to escape the bummer of 2020, and have a weekend of joy.

What I experienced kind of changed a lot of my views of not only the strength & size of the stateside dnb community, but they means in which we could connect, entertain, and make a little scratch over the platform Twitch.  I watched the whole thing. Every set. I was immediately impressed by the level of creation, technology adaptation, and overall POV that each dj was able to convey to me through a computer. I can honestly say that I have never heard of any of these djs, crews, or scenes before this battle. But now I know everything about all of them, and follow all of them like a non violent stalker.

I was all in with my bloodclotting ganja smoking choppage homies laying down heavy kombucha vibes. Locked onto this guy from Texas who seemed to be a technical wizard with visuals, green screening, and controlling the mix. At the edge of my seat with a couple of Cali selectas seamlessly pulling huge tune after huge CHOON, emulsifying the mix like a fine hollandaise. There was even a totally stoked homie, living for this who ended up adorning a fucking T-Rex head mid set. It was bananas. A weekend of bliss. A three day long hangover. And a moment of 2020 that actually gave me, and seems like 1000’s others, a new found joy and link to each other.

Now the time has come again….

Starting this weekend, June 18/19th . Followed the next weekend with one last round of semi’s on June 25th and the finals the following night the 26th. We will get to invade each others comfort zones, and GET INSIDE THE RIDE!!! This weekend we will all make the junglists cyber pilgrimage to the  916 JUNGLIST twitch channel to watch it all go down again. The chat will be next level raging. The zoom room will be the drunkest who’s who of channel lords celebrating our highs, and dragging the fuck out of our lows.  And as always, the ravenous junglist massiffffff will be blessed with over 14 hrs of the amazing sets. Back to back. With every performer pulling out all the dopest routines, dubs, and OBS tricks we can think of.


I had a moment to catch up with some of the contestants. Get to know about them, their dnb journey, and try to coerce them into a little pre-fight trash talking. I asked all of the the same five questions.

1 : Where are you from?

2: How long have you been djing?

3: Have you ever competed in a dj battle?

4: What is your chosen style to win the battle?

5: Any last words for the soldiers you are about to put in the ground?

So let’s go down the line. Starting with  the reigning 2020 champion

                                                     SCREWTAPE : Shelter SF, Dystopia dnb

1: I’m originally from Nebraska. I grew up in a small town of about 6,000 people just north of Omaha. I lived in Seattle in the 90’s. I’ve been living in San Francisco since 2000. so this is home now.

2: I’m relatively new to djing and the Drum & Bass scene. I cut my teeth in 2015. So, six years now. But, I’ve making music my entire life.

3: Yes, I won last year!!!

4: What is your chosen style to win this battle? I’m afraid that information is top secret at this time; as I’m not at liberty to disclose that. What I can say is that after a lot of soul searching I’ve decided to go back to my personal roots of how I got into this amazing music. Then we’re gonna get grimey and nasty AF.

How has winning the title changed you doing path in the last year?

That’s an interesting question. The crown weighs heavy on the head of the champ. I will say that. But, it has also definitely opened doors for me. Especially in the online Twitch community. Which I can’t say enough good things about. It’s been truly awe inspiring to see what people have built and an honor to be a part of it. And this scene has welcomed me with open arms. I suspect winning the title helped me a bit there.

5: See you all on the battlefield. Good hunting. For those about to die: we salute you!



1: I’m from SoCal.

2: I’ve been djing for 20 years

3: I played the last battle tied for third.

4: I’m an open format dj. As far as dnb and jungle, I spin everything

5: Best of luck, let’s have some fun!



1: I’m from North Carolina, lived in Cali for a long stretch. But now I’m in Washington State.

3: I’ve played a few battles.

4: I plan to play the styles that appeal the most to me. I typically lean towards choppy amens and dark tunes.

5: I hope you all play your best and are proud of the show you put on. I am excited to hear what you all play!



1: I’m from Castro valley, CA . Suburb outside of Oakland & San Fransisco.

3: I have competed in one other dj battle called “King of the Ring” in which I won.

4: My chosen style is to bring the heaters, the bangers, the slappers, along with clean mixing and fun!

5: I appreciate the opportunity and have nothing but love & respect for the completion, judges and everyone!



1:Pittsburgh PA

2: 13-14 years from the start of playing with turntables. About 9 or so years seriously

3: Yes! A few but I was a finalist last 916 battle! But i love friendly competition!

4: I lean Hardcore when I mix as a personal style. I also like a lot of turntablism / controllerism in my sets to add some extra fun.

5: Good luck, have fun, lets jam!!



1: Born in Queens, NY, spent my childhood in Oklahoma/ India. I’ve been a wandering nomad most of my life.

2: About 10 years

3: Nope, this is my first one.

4: Shhhhh…

5: I’m the Undertaker so I may not have batted before, but I’m very experienced at burying people.



1: Calgary, AB, Canada

2: It will be 13 years this year!

3: A couple over the last few years. The last one I did, I won and got to play in front of 100,000 people before Chris Lake and Knife Party!

3: Dancefloor bangers – we’re going to do it fast, loud, and wild.

4: Stoked to hear what everyone’s gonna put down, everyone is incredibly talented and it’s going to be a great couple nights – but may the best woman win.



1: Sacramento, CA

2: 20 + years

3: Yes
4: Be like water my friend. That is my style.
5: I have nothing but respect for the ones I put in the ground . . .




About Author

I am a dj/producer/professional drummer/event curator living in Phoenix, AZ. I've been in a passionate love affair with all things drum and bass since 1995. I've been curating dnb events since 2001, and currently operate Melt Drum and Bass. I've produced for Faction Digital, and Tactical Audio as well.