For decades, D.C. has housed a small but dedicated electronic music community, and the English-born genre of drum ‘n’ bass has been an integral part of it. (Take 2Tuff, the local drum ‘n’ bass promotion and DJ group that celebrated its 20th birthday this year.)
Now a new music video from Brit producer Dan Gresham—aka Nu:Tone—turns D.C. into a drum ‘n’ bass dreamland.
Shot by Robin Bell (who directed forthcoming doc Positive Force: More Than A Witness), the video for Nu:Tone’s “‘Til Dawn” stars local belly dancer Ebony Qualls as a camera-toting explorer shooting images of public art. (That’s Kelly Towles’ Espolón Tequila-commissioned mural on H Street NE in the video’s opening.) As her shutter clicks, we’re shown images from an older D.C., notably the neighborhood and nightclub district razed to make way for Nationals Park. That footage comes from filmmaker James Schneider (Punk the Capital), whose 2006 documentary The New Ball Game captured the neighborhood’s demolition.
The song’s vocal refrain is sourced from a classic house tune, New Deep Society’s “Warehouse (Days of Glory),” an ode to the iconic capital of Chicago house music. But paired with D.C. imagery, the sample helps tells a story about what used to be a vibrant D.C. club scene.
Bell says he took on the project because Gresham is an old friend; they met long ago in a youth summer program sponsored by their two churches: Gresham’s in England and Bell’s in Arlington, Virginia. Bell credits Gresham with getting him into electronic music back when drum ‘n’ bass was just beginning to take over U.K. electronic music.
“‘Til Dawn” is the first track on Nu:Tone’s fourth studio record, Future History, out next month on Hospital Records.