What began as a simple idea of the reviving drum & bass events in Astana evolved into a collective effort through the many highs and lows along it's short journey

January 14, a date once set for a huge celebration, now just a bittersweet memory of 175 BPM's one-year anniversary. The cherished KHS Hub, our symbiotic partner in rhythm, chose a different path, leaving me to reflect on the rich history of drum and bass events that preceded our own. As we rewind the narrative, 175 BPM's genesis unfolds.

Analog, digital, stereo, mono - I don't care! MSX is a hard act to follow

My mind often drifts to a simpler time, when at the age of nine I was cruising the streets of GTA3's Liberty City in my Banshee, all the while its ingame drum and bass radio station MSX FM captivated me with it's fast paced basslines and MC Codebreaker's unstoppable bars. MSX FM was based on the Moving Shadow 01.1 mix by DJ Timecode. Figured that Rockstar Games were fans of d&b and jungle too.

Narrated by Akira and Khanna, many captivating tales of the infamous disheveled car wash transformed into a makeshift D&B venue all the way back in 2004 made me so envious of the time when drum and bass, jungle and neurofunk flourished. In the summer of 2017 Andrei Termin, an old-school raver and a friend, introduced me to Carbon - a local drum and bass event that just debuted in Papa Carlo. That night, as Andrei embraced the bar, I felt a profound connection to the music and the atmosphere that surrounded me. I danced so hard my legs hurt the next day.

The morning after, exhilarated, I reached out to Carbon's Craig Vapour, expressing gratitude and unwittingly placing myself on his radar. Our first awkward meeting at Keruen's Marrone Rosso set the stage for collaborations and a friendship that would define me as who I am now. From designing flyers for Carbon in his kitchen, sharing the same drum and bass lexicon, organizing events and livestreams together, Craig and I forged a bond like no other. As September of 2019 rolled around Craig departed Kazakhstan, passing the torch of drum and bass events to me and leaving behind a legacy that fueled my determination to carry the momentum forward.

Craig playing some major belters in Boroda Bar

However, global COVID pandemic brought unforeseen challenges, threatening to change the life courses for everyone. Yet, where there's passion, there's resilience. In the midst of the pandemic's turmoil, a small room, once a kitchen, became our refuge. Nestled within a mainstream bar, it was a haven for underground techno, dubstep, electro, and, of course, drum and bass. Nemezida and Wasabee, two incredible collaborators, brought many ravers away from the main venue as we transformed this nook into a sanctuary where the music thrived. RIP Techno Kitchen.

Quick fast forward to late 2022, and the beat goes on. Returning from a lackluster business trip to Indonesia, I was determined to reignite the drum and bass flames. The inception of 175 BPM can be traced back to the profound conversations with Akira and Khanna. They gave me that crucial nudge that I needed. With a short DM to the manager of KHS Hub, the wheels were set in motion.

KHS Hub, not known for its vibrant nightlife, became our chosen canvas. Having a history of DJing at KazHackStan hacker events with Termin, the venue welcomed us with open arms. It might've been not the most popular spot in town, but it sure had a killer sound and lighting equipment. Anticipating a rocky start, with concerns about attendance, sound quality, and management reception, those worries evaporated instantly as a hungry crowd flocked to support this nascent endeavor.

Our happy family

The debut of 175 BPM exceeded expectations. Khanna, Vlad, Maja, Ali, Aruzhan, Tom, Darkhan, Zhanerke and many more brought a swell of enthusiasm. The foundation was laid, and its success resonated with a whole new community starved for a quality rave. Starting solo, I felt pretty savvy tackling visuals, stage setup, lighting with all my past experience with Carbon. But the caveat was that I had to move the tables out of the way and do a 4 hours DJ set all by myself as well.

Encouraged by the triumph, Akira stepped into the DJ booth for the first time, investing countless hours to curate a mix that seamlessly blended her favorite tracks. The idea of resurrecting Carbon's legacy was met with love and shared passion. Connectik, an ex-DJ of Carbon, eagerly joined our ranks for the next event, forming a trio that painted a vibrant palette of drum and bass progression. The night unfolded as Connectik set the stage with liquid funk drum and bass, followed by my regular rollers, and Akira culminating in her neurofunk prowess. The collective synergy transformed the night into an buzzing example of many events to come.

In the heartbeat of Astana's drum and bass scene, I embraced a profound realization early on – my primary duty was to provide a platform for others to showcase their talents. DJs, from various walks of life, reached out, and with open arms (well, almost all open arms, except one – for reasons that still make me chuckle), I welcomed them into the fold. A unique blend began to form as DJs hailing from Russia, escaping their homeland's political climate, brought their own flavors and influences to our collective. The family expanded, now including me, Akira, Connectik, Progside, Ilony, AR41, Ekatkatya, Jazzothra, Metodica, Peregruz, Neki, and our diverse sounds and backgrounds. We all developed a tradition of snapping a group photo at the very end of the event. Just something to reflect on and say to yourself: -I was there.

As each event unfolded, our momentum surged. I delved into the intricacies of event promotion, ensuring our bar management was content, and personally ensuring that every attendee experienced the magic of our drum and bass nights. Feedback became the lifeblood of our collective effort, with every suggestion, critique, and applause being valued. "Keeping the Astana's Drum and Bass alive" became our steadfast motto.

Yet, there loomed a specter – the infamous "glass ceiling" of Astana's drum and bass events. Many endeavors, akin to Carbon and "Underground Sound of Astana," witnessed a growth cap, followed by an abrupt halt. I feared the same fate for 175 BPM, especially witnessing the demise of others upon reaching the ominous 300 followers on Instagram. Unfortunately, that fear turned to reality with the abrupt change in management, just as we were gearing up for our most ambitious projects – welcoming foreign artists like Berenika as part of their Kazakhstan tour and orchestrating a grand Halloween drum and bass event.

The new management's focus on their bottom line proved detrimental. Their lack of good personnel, manners, and approach clashed with our ethos. The tried-and-tested formula in Kazakhstan – selling hookahs and playing pop music every weekend clashed with our drum and bass identity. Both of our ambitious events faltered, and the aftermath was severe. Sleepless nights, vanishing strands of hair, and a cloud of depression settled in. Berenika's event had to hastily find another venue, and this unexpected change saw its expected outcome – a mere 15 attendees.

In the wake of this setback, my focus shifted to repairing my health. Despite the eagerness for the continuation of 175 BPM, I found solace in the fact that, at least for a while,

I was a part of something special – I kept the sound of Astana's drum and bass alive.

Huge thanks to all the wonderful people that came along for this journey. I can't exactly promise more things to come, but we sure did had our fun together. Love and hugs. ―renderpunk