James Billingham
RESIDENCIES/GIGS: Pressure, Seattle's longest-running drum 'n' bass night, Thursdays at the Mercury; after-hours at the Bohemian; selected nights at Watertown.

You started Pressure almost five years ago. What was the climate for drum 'n' bass then? "It was almost unheard of--it had a very small following of dedicated people. This is actually Pressure's fourth venue. It started at the Alibi Room, then moved to the Vogue, then ARO.space, and now the Mercury."

What was your first gig? "I actually got my first job before I even knew how to mix. The owners of the club were so clueless, they had no idea that I didn't know what I was doing. I mean, I thought I was great. But I remember one night, the bartender was like, 'You are the worst DJ I've ever heard in my entire life,' and it just about killed me. I was crushed, but he was so right. It was kind of a wake-up call, and I redoubled my efforts to figure it all out."

Tell me how you got started with jungle. "I've been spinning now for almost 11 years, which is longer than most people. I started listening to music a lot in the mid-'80s, like breakdancing stuff and hiphop--that's sort of what attracted me to drum 'n' bass in the first place. I have tapes of DJ FS and Grooverider when they couldn't even beatmatch. They'd either put their records together or just do quick train wrecks when the MC was talking. I'd hear these tracks and I'd say, 'Wow, these guys are really good,' and then I'd find the record and find out it wasn't even them mixing at all. We loved it so much."

So back in the day.... "I got into the music thing because me and my friends would walk around with a boombox, listening to Afrika Bambaata and Grandmaster Flash, and then that song by Herbie Hancock came out, 'Rockit,' and we thought that song was so cool. We'd only allow ourselves to listen to it once a day because we were so scared we'd get sick of it."