Whatever happened to Source Direct? Part 2 : Jim Baker interview

MI0001407597If you are reading this, than Source Direct really need no introduction. Over the years since they disbanded they have developed a cult-like following, with music lovers from beyond the boundaries of drum and bass applauding their 90s body of work.

Until a few years ago, the mystery of Source Direct and what happened to the duo was far from clear. All we knew is Phil Aslett left departed sometime around 1998, and Jim Baker continued to produce under the Source Direct moniker until about 2000.

If you are a regular reader of Drumtrip may be familiar with this interview Phil, who now goes by “Phil Source”, gave Knowledge mag back in 2010. The interview, which is curiously no longer online, was mostly focussed on Phil’s new label “Vampire Records“. However, at that time he did touch on what happened to Source Direct…..

Phil-Source-WEBWould you ever get back together with Jim as Source Direct?
Because we started out so young we kind of eventually grew apart. When we signed the big deal with Virgin there was a lot of pressure on us and it drove us apart really and we almost began to hate each other which was a real shame.

We had musical differences and it all just fell apart. A lot of it was to do with the pressure and stress of having a major deal. I don’t think it will ever happen to be honest with you. We don’t really speak any more and a lot has happened in the past which no one will ever know.

It’s personal stuff and I don’t really want to go into it but what’s done is done, my new baby is Vampire, that’s what I’m pushing now. Source Direct is part of my past, a great past as we made a lot of great music but I’ve got to move forward. I’ve always been forward thinking and that’s what Source Direct was about.

Why did you have a break after Source Direct?
I had four or five years completely away from music. I went to the odd club but it was more techno. I just wanted to get away from drum & bass. I was heavily involved with it for eight years so it was a long time.

I wasn’t sick of the music but I was sick of the scene. When you get really amongst it and get to know all the people and the way that the scene ticks it can swallow you up. I just needed a complete break and it was good for me to learn about the world and real life as well.

Fast forward to 2014 and a lot has changed. Excitingly, Jim Baker has returned! Jim now exclusively DJ’s under the original Source Direct name, with a promise of new productions for 2014 and beyond.

In one of his first interviews since returning to the fold, the excellent Gotham City blog inevitably moves onto the issue of the Source Direct split. Jim is a little more forthcoming in his explanation.

BlP-2l0IIAAzLc5GCB … You’re working solo now under the SD name, but obviously that hasn’t always been the case. I set up #GCB to ask the difficult questions, so with that in mind. What happened with the original SD partnership, why did you guys part ways and will we ever see you work together again in the future ?

SD … They say you should never say never but I will never work with him again. There’s no point as his contribution to the music was negligible and simply more of a mate (from school days) who ended up helping to buy a few items for the studio with his family support so it was more of a extra pair of hands to help do the mundane things.

All music creation, programming, mixing, production, engineering and mastering has solely been myself from day one. He used to make a good cup of tea to be fair… lol!

S.D. has always been my baby and always will be, it cost me a lot emotionally and financially to keep it as well as blood sweat and tears but S.D. and its trademark are by law & contractually owned and vested solely by me.

If you honestly had created and genuinely contributed to the S.D. body of work would you really happily agree to sign over all ownership, publishing, copyright etc. for a little pay-off cash? I know I certainly wouldn’t! S.D. is mine and tattooed on the inside of my head for life…lol!

Phil then moves on explain what happened around the time of the Virgin album deal for Exorcise The Demons, and their fateful tour of America.

It all became a serious business when the major players got involved and by this time Phil was up his own arse thinking he’d made the “big time” (have a laugh!) when in fact the “door of opportunity” had only just been knocked on and the hard work was just about to begin as far as I was concerned.

He didn’t put in the studio time to assist in the process of making the tracks and it was a constant battle with him moaning about the work schedule. Virgin/Astralwerks organised a US Tour with a couple of dozen bookings & “press” interviews over 3 weeks and Phil pulled out just 48hrs before … didn’t want to go or be part of SD any more, he was off to do his own thing…

I don’t think you could even begin to imagine how I felt, this was my baby and I had built it up with him only to be let down by him. I did the gigs alone and my manager Graham Bell came along with me.

It all went really well but on my return I had to go through loads of shit dealing with the split and loosing the Virgin deal because of this. It was a nightmare and it went on for months and months taking its toll on me.

This is why I will never work with him again. If he had come along for the ride who knows where it would have taken us but its water under the bridge now, his input has never been missed and many S.D. tracks where created since he was bought out. Only recently have I been playing them out and getting a good reaction to music I made 10 years ago. They will get released all in good time together with the new projects.

This is just a part of an excellent and quite epic interview conducted by the guys at Gotham City blog, much respect to them. Check out the full interview here.

Personally I think it’s a great shame how it all panned out, as even putting all the fantastic music to one side for a moment, the end result of this fruitful partnership was a complete falling out between two friends. But, whatever happened, it does not detract from what an impact Source Direct had on the drum and bass scene, and continues to do so today.

Drumtrip wishes Jim and Phil all the best with their new projects. I’m really looking forward to hearing some new beats… especially from Jim!

Catch Source Direct (Jim) online at….
Twitter @Source_Direct
Soundcloud @source_direct_official
acebook @Source.Direct.Recordings

About Law

Main author and creator of Drumtrip. I have been listening to and mixing drum and bass in its various forms since 1998. Drumtrip was designed to celebrate the glory years between 1991 and 1997.