[Q&A] Darko Stepic: There are great Drum and Bass artists at the Balkans [Broken Balkanz Special]

Darko Stepic is one of the most famous underground artists on the Balkans. The Drum and Bass music entered his life back in 1994, when he began to listen jungle and other DnB sub-genres. In 1998 he and his colleagues from Skopje launched an organization, aimed at promoting and DnB Techno in Macedonia with a serial parties, named "Drum and Bass vs Techno". Thanks to the organization Firehouse, Darko shared decks with many European artists from Switzerland, Austria, Russia, Belguim, Great Britain and many other countries.

In 2002 Darko Stepic participate in The Fifth Red Bull Music Academy in Sao Paulo. The artist played in countries like Brasil, Romania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and many other. In 2004 he and Hypertech founded the promotional organization D2. Later it became a leading DnB organization in Macedonia. At present a part of D2 are many artists who regularly participate in local parties in Skopje, the Balkan countries and countries of Central Europe. Darko Stepic and Hypertech are hosts of the underground radioshow Liquid Kitchen.

Darko Stepic is a regular participant of the biggest festival in Eastern Europe - Broken Balkanz. For several consecutive years, the Macedonian artist shows his skills behind the decks and presents its diverse sets, which are a mixture of different sub-genres in DnB music: Jungle, Neurofunk, Dark DnB, etc.



Bass Blog [BB]: Hello, Darko! You are one of the most famous Macedonian Drum and Bass artists. Tell us, when have you started to listening to DnB? What attracted you to this style? Who were your favorite artists in the beginning? When have you started to mix and produce DnB?

Darko Stepic [DS]: 
Hello! I have started listening to Drum and Bass back in 1994 when everything was actually categorized as breakbeat and jungle. The pure energy of the broken beats was the hook that caught my attention. Complex rapid fire percussions, no kick rhythms with heavy basslines were causing smile on my face (and still does). The honest approach of the artists to create something recognizable, progressive and timeless was evident. Always pushing the boundaries. It is music that comprises many influences and never forgetting the roots. My music identity was defined by artists like Goldie, A Guy Called Gerald, 4 Hero, Omni Trio, LTJ Bukem, Fabio, Grooverider, DJ SS, Randall, DJ Hype, Cool Hand Flex…The evolution of my love to the Drum and Bass music was learning the basics of mixing. It is a relation with no expire date. I am Djing professionally from 1999 and producing music for 2 years.      

In Macedonia, you have a very well developed DnB scene. There are many artists (you, TeckTone, Hypertech and many more) many organizations (D2, Liquid Kitchen Radio), a lot of parties (mostly in Kapan An). Does the scene everywhere in Macedonia is so well developed, or only in Skopje?

There are Drum and Bass DJ’s (Puk’kah, HansSHC, D.Lite, Nultabyte, TeckTone) that came out from the 5k DJ workshop that me and HyperTech have started few years ago and they are doing great job of presenting the sound on the proper way. The Drum and Bass scene in Macedonia has ups and downs and unfortunately mostly everything is happening in Skopje. There are smaller Drum and Bass events in other cities like Kumanovo. One of the best Drum and Bass parties are in Stip at the RUN MK festival which happens two times in a year. For developing a healthy and strong scene, there must be a dispersion of the gigs in other cities in Macedonia, but everything gravitates to Skopje in every possible way of living.

BB: Every year you participate at Broken Balkanz Festival in Bulgaria. What are your impressions of the festival? Do you see a lot of familiar people from Macedonia? Do you like the crowd and the atmosphere?

My personal opinion is that Bulgaria has the best Drum and Bass scene at the Balkans and it is always a pleasure and privilege to play at The Broken Balkanz festival. The place where the festival happens at the Vitosha Nature Park, never ending music playing during the festival, representation of all kinds of Drum and Bass, open minded and party ready crowd fulfill the magic behind the oldest open air Drum and Bass festival in Eastern Europe. Each year friends from Macedonia are visiting and enjoying the festival.

BB: What means the Broken Balkanz Community for you? Do you think, that the music can unite the countries at the peninsula?

The Broken Balkanz Community is the perfect prove and manifestation that there are great Drum and Bass artists at the Balkans and no one can deny that. The network is getting stronger with mutual understanding and support. That is the only right way to move forward. I see it as a movement, not just an open air festival. The unified goal of promoting the sound and love to the music break all possible boundaries that are artificially imposed. There is no room for pretentious behavior on the festival. It is a weekend of celebrating music and opportunity to meet old and new friends. 

BB: Are there some artists at the festival, which would you like to hear with pleasure?

All I can say is that HMSU are doing great job organizing the festival and the selection of guest DJ’s performing each year. The coverage of artists from all sub genres of Drum and Bass makes it always interesting and challenging to be part of it. I am happy that this year it will be festival with artist only from the Balkans. 

BB: What kind of tracks will you choose to put in your selection?

I am always trying to give my best on every single performance. One thing is sure, the selection will be full with energetic, fast and heavy Drum and bass tunes that always makes me excited and eager to mix on my own specific way.

BB: You are producing very dark Drum and Bass. Have you signed some of your tracks with a big label? Can we expect some releases from you soon?

No, I have not signed anything yet. I hope it will happen soon :) I will continue to work on my production skills, ideas even harder and more tunes will be out for sure.

BB: Are you preparing some Broken Balkanz Warm up party in Macedonia? When and where? Which artists are going to attend?

Yes, each year we are trying to have Broken Balkanz Warm up party. Last year Disphonia were our guest and the year before that High Roll. This year on 04.07.2015 in Kapan an, Skopje we had the Bulgarian producer and DJ, FUNKWARE. 

BB: What goes on with you after Broken Balkanz? Will you attend at some other big festivals in Macedonia and Europe?

Resident Drum and Bass nights in Kapan an, Skopje will continue and so far confirmed festival outside Macedonia is NGOM in Prizren, Kosovo. Unfortunately, there are no summer festivals in Macedonia where we can play Drum and Bass since everything is focused on commercial dj’s and music.

BB: Thanks about your time! Wish something the readers!

Many thanks for the interview invitation and I wish you many years of successful work. Always be honest to the music, enjoy it, explore it and support your local artists, promoters and the scene. We have to keep it growing up. See you at the festival!


This is our last article before Broken Balkanz Festival. We want to thank our guest Insom, Freqax, Disphonia, Fall From Cloud and Darko Stepic for the positive and informative answers! We wish every reader a nice hours during the Festival, full with great emotions and proper music! See you all at Vitosha Mountain!

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