ASBO Meets: DnB Allstars (Joshua Williams)

DnB Allstars is an independent music group spearheaded by 28-year-old founder Josh Williams. DnB Allstars was first created in 2017 as a social media page but has grown exponentially in the last 6 years, as they prepare to host their first-ever festival in Gunnersbury Park.

I spoke to the mastermind behind DnB Allstars, Josh Williams about his love for DnB, his journey with the company and what more he has to achieve. “My love for drum and bass is just my parents, the culture, upbringing and then as I got into it you notice the community around it, which I really liked, became one sort of big family”, Josh’s first experience of heavy baseline and banging electronic music coming from his parents love for the sound before developing into a stronger personal passion as he grew up and began to immerse himself within the music and culture in Drum and bass. 

Josh first started his involvement with the community online with a page on Instagram called Ketflix and Pills, amassing over 1 million followers before the page was ultimately deleted. He started the page with his mate Joey just posting clips from events or memes and funny videos to do with raving culture, before moving on and being paid by labels to post and advertise new releases. Josh saw the growth of his page and created different sites more specified to specific genres, he first created the page ukdnbevents but after 2 months while on a boat in Thailand with his friend Joey, they came up with DNB Allstars due to their dislike for its previous name UK DnB events. Josh then gave all his attention to the new page leaving Joey to run their Ketflips and pills socials pages which after its deletion has amassed 300 thousand Instagram followers as well as similar numbers on Tiktok.

“(From the Instagram page) We would be paid by a lot of major labels to do promotion for them after a while I looked at it as we’re doing a lot of promotion, and I’m seeing these tracks do a lot of streams. Why shouldn’t I do this myself”, Josh came from a background in promoting and saw the money and attention he was able to amass for these big labels and thought why not do it for his own artists and began the DnB Allstars label, first starting with independent distributor Label Worx and now working alongside Warner as the labels major distributor.

As well as starting a label, Josh wanted to host events coming from a promotion background as well as having created one of the biggest online communities for Drum and bass, ”When you’re doing something the pinnacle is events”. 2 years after the creation of DnB Allstars in march 2019, they held their first event at E1 with a turnout of 1600. Now 4 years on and Josh is preparing for his first festival at Gunnersbury Park with 15,000 people in attendance,” It feels super surreal that this many people wanna come to our festival … from the idea coming all the way to having a festival with lots of people is very different”.

DnB as a sound and culture is extremely community-based and that is a big part of DnB Allstars, whether it’s the artists they work with on the label or the artists performing at their festival they actively seek out smaller emerging talent, ”Thats a big part of the brand we’re community-led so our thing is we try and go for the smaller talent”. DnB Allstars holds events that they call 360º, a free ticketed event where an emerging talent will play a recorded set that then gets uploaded on the DnB allstars youtube channel that sits on just under 200 thousand subscribers.” We try to keep the vibe, keep it underground, with the  360º it was how do we get something where we can get people there and keep the demand really high, there’s no better way than keeping it free”.

With so much having happened in the 6 years since DnB Allstars creation it’s honestly nearly impossible to fathom what’s next, after putting on a festival it’s hard to see where they can push the brand further but unlike me, Josh is always thinking of his next move, “To be honest I didn’t think it would get to this point, but I’ve always got the vision of further, to do more. Like it’s massive, it’s so massive but there’s always more that can be done with the business … I really wanna be doing events in all these other countries, the Americas, Europe, Australia.”

DnB Allstars Festival will be held on the 17th of September at Gunnersbury Park, with tickets available to buy here.