A life in music with DJ Bunjy of Laid Blak Bunjy, who’s real name is Ivor Anderson, is a well know Bristol DJ and member of the band Laid Blak, who have toured all across Europe and played at some of the biggest festivals in the UK. He has been involved in the music scene, starting out alongside names such as Tricky, Wild Bunch, and Fresh Four, and is now an official ambassador for Bristol as chosen by the Mayor of Bristol. He grew up in Knowle, and learnt his DJ skills at local youth projects in South Bristol. He has now decided to become an ambassador of Youth Moves and we look forward to working with him to raise the profile of the organisation. He sits down for a chat with us about his life in music and growing up locally. How did you get into music? I got my first set of decks aged 13, and loved it. And I just knew it was my thing straight away. I was lucky as a kid I would see the likes of Wild Bunch and watch them at gigs, people like Nellie Hooper, Milo, Claude all of them. My dad also lived on City Road in St Pauls, next door to Grantley Marshall (Daddy G) from Massive Attack, so I was around musicians from a very young age. All Bristol boys the Wild Bunch crew - Left to right - Milo, Daddy G, Nellee Hooper, 3D (Nellee Hooper went onto produce Soul II Soul, Bjork, and Madonna. Whereas Daddy G and 3D founded Massive Attack) I just absorbed it all, and started to play hip hop and soul more and more. I went onto play with the likes of Fresh Four, who went on to have a big top ten record in Wishing on A Star. I soon began entering DJ competitions, and even went on to win one or two national ones in the UK. And it just grew from there. Fresh Four - Wishing On A Star. Released in 1989, and featuring the Thompson brothers from Knowle. Where did you go grow up? I started life in Chelsea Road in Easton, and as a young boy aged 7 I moved to Knowle to Kildare Road. My father is Jamaican and my mother Irish, and we already had family in Broadbury Road in Knowle, so we came across. At that time there was a big Irish community there. I went to Christ the King Primary school, and we used to go to the Christ the king social club by Filwood Broadway, all the Irish Catholics did. My secondary school was St Bernadettes. What was it like for you moving south of the river back then? At first it was a bit of culture shock, moving from a cosmopolitan area with black, white, Indian, Asian, every nationality to an all-white working class area. My first days at school I would be chased and called all sorts of names. I would take different routes to school to escape it, and that’s no joke. Once I got older I was having none of that and started to hold my ground. But I did experience a lot of racism at first. So did my mum, from the local community for having a little mixed-race baby, that they were not in agreement with it, from white people and even from some black people at the time too. But I began to make more friends, and there were other black families and we all hung around together. But we had a mixed group. We all grew up together, from a young age, the likes of Krust and Gary Thompson, and Tricky. In fact it was Tricky that got me into trouble a few times! Lol How was it seeing someone like Tricky going onto be internationally famous, and a Knowle west boy? I loved it, proud of him, because he has been nothing but himself the whole time. And it actually spurned me on, because I am competitive. I was with fresh four, with Tricky, with Massive Attack, it pushed us all on. I thought if they are from here, and they can do it, then I can do it. Tricky - who grew up in Knowle West, was in Massive Attack, then launched a solo career and became a globally acclaimed music artist We were all together, we were a tight group. We were the Wild Bunch of our generation. I would be inspired. Inspired to do the same. Tricky - Hell is Round the Corner. How did music benefit you? It took me away from all the stupidness and naughty stuff I was doing, kept me on the straight and narrow path. The more I got into music, the less I was doing that. There were two roads. I have seen a handful guys I know that from kids that are now dead, by drugs, in prison or caught up in other stuff. Which is so sad. But music became my thing. My passion, my love. The thing that keeps me sane. Did you go to a youth club growing up yourself and where? Yes we had Eagle House at the bottom of the road, it was a hub for all of us. They had snooker, badminton, weights, a football court and lads would be doing graffiti there. There were some great youth workers there. One was a guy called John Stokes, who I have so much love for. He helped us get some decks at the club and got pots of money for music projects. Eagle House Youth Club in Knowle Who was your biggest influence? I had a few – John Stokes as I said. Also Milo Johnson from Wild Bunch, the founder, I would stand and watch and admire him. He had awesome DJ skills, I never saw him drink alcohol, and I was intrigued as I'd heard rumours about him as a City hooligan, as someone who grew up in Hartcliffe. And then John Nation, who got me into DJing at big rave events. John was a youth worker in Barton Hill, and I used to go over there from time to time. As the hip hop events dried up a bit, he persuaded me to try my hand at rave music, by telling me how good I was, and I started playing at some of the big events like Dreamscape and Helter Skelter. I would practice at the Barton Hill Dug Out club which is famous for where Banksy started graffiti. How did the band Laid Blak come about? The band Laid Blak - lead singer/rapper Joe Peng (centre), and DJ Bunjy (centre left) I first met the front man of the band, Joe Peng, at Barton Hill Dug Out. He was always selling trainers back then, and we used to buy them from him. Then later on a friend introduced us, and I was going to do a mix tape, and John nation said we should get an MC, so he suggested Joe. And in 1993 we did our first mix tape, called Bunjy and Peng, which is considered one of the legendary rave mix tapes around. Was huge in Knowle West, Bedminster and Hartcliffe at the time, in the days when it was all word of mouth. Laid Blak - It's A Pity (Feat Tanya Stephens). The band Laid Blak was later formed in 2002, but as an idea was formulated in 2000. The style is as our first guitarist James Barlow terms it - Street Soul. Joe is into all flavours of music , but comes from a reggae sound system background, I come from hip hop, and there is soul and funk in there too. What are some of the best gigs you have played at, and your biggest tunes? Lots. We have played Glastonbury, Boomtown, and we have toured extensively around Europe. I have DJd personally in America, Brazil, Jamaica and Japan. Our most well known stuff is from the Red and Blak album, like Red, Bristol Love and My Way, but also some tracks from the About time album, such as It’s a Pity. Laid Blak - Bristol Love. One of their first hit records. We also have the unplugged album, and we have just released a complication album of tracks and unreleased tracks, with remixes from the About time album. What advice would you give young and aspiring musicians and artists? Simply be yourself, be real, and love it. To be honest whatever you do. I would do music for no money. I have done so many genres of music, because that’s what I feel like doing. I have a house label, I put out drum and bass tunes, I release hip hop stuff, and am in a band that’s quite reggae centred. Some say I am confused, but nah I know me, and love it all. So don’t be pigeon holed, or feel you need to do one style or another, just follow what you feel and love. And enjoy it. What plans are their in the near future for you? We are working on putting out a new album, and the label is doing well, we are doing well on spotify, and doing well with our streams. Of course touring and gigs are off the agenda with covid for a bit, but we are dropping a new album before the end of the year, called from the vaults that has not been released before. A multi-genre one. DJ Bungy (centre) with former MP for Streatham from 2010 until 2019 Chuka Ummuna (left), and Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees (right) Why did you decide to become an ambassador for Youth Moves? Because I grew to love the area, and I see it as my area now, even though it didn’t start great. I want to put something back to local kids, like the help I had. I used to do some youth work before too, but now I support young people with my music studio, so seems a good time and right organisation in Knowle. So it’s giving back where I can, and hopefully inspiring people to believe in themselves. To find out more about Laid Blak and DJ Bungy check out this brilliant short documentary.