NOSTALGIA: UK GARAGE “IT’S A LONDON THING”

“This ones for the stylish ones out there..”

UK Garage

Years before Grime, there was a phenomenon that we called Garage. A genre that was founded in the UK during the early 90s, deriving from the mix of house & jungle music, we can’t forget the US Garage which also played a part in the creation of this wonderful sound. The sonics become a cultural hit and had the teens and people in their early 20s captivated with it’s percussive beats featuring a mix of hi-hats, cymbals, and snares to create a 2 step pattern on a 130bpm tempo. The style was one of a vocal symphony-led sound, which got distorted or pitch heightened to compliment the beat with mainly female singers. A lot of sounds have been birthed from garage in the following years, when we entered into the 2000s this is where Bassline, Grime, Dubstep, and Funky House emerged onto the scene which are all closely related.

DJ EZ from North London is a living legend who was one of the first if not THE first to play a Todd Edwards track in England but at a faster tempo to keep up with the current house and techno sound which then took off and become a hit over the pond. This was the transition from speed garage, which was in the US, to what became UK garage over here once our DJ’s started to incorporate soul, reggae, r&b and bashment sounds into the tracks to create our own unique sound, which became a London thing.

“Inside! Big up all the Patrick Cox steppers..”

UK Garage – Style & Feel

That feeling of a garage rave has tried to be replicated ever since the first one for the last 20+ years which hasn’t fully come back. The essence of going to your local designer store from Brother2Brother, Proibito, or Kricoss on the day of the event to get the latest off-key Moschino shirts or two-piece sets, Versace tees and blazers, Patrick Cox loafers, D&G jeans to match with your gold square link bracelet and necklace. In the days of garage raves, it was a night to make a statement while raving, it was to be elegant in the dance with all of your new designer clothes flowing, surrounded by a group of women, a bunch of friends, and drinking the champagne of your choice! (also, the champagne was getting drunk, not sprayed in the air like today). In the age of no early internet, people were still used to hearing about things via pirate radio, word of mouth or flyers, so to be in the know, you had to know.

Nightclubs: Club Colosseum, The Cross, Joiners Arms, Gass Club

Events: Liberty, Twice As Nice, Garage Nation, Sun City, Rewind 4Ever, X-Rated, Indulgence

Image Courtesy of Ewen Spencer | Instagram: @ewenspencer

“Who remembers this one, selecta!”

Pirate Radio

Pirate Radio isn’t a new discovery, it has been around since the 1960s, but when you get a multicultural melting pot of people like you find in London, they all want to feel and be a part of a movement or collective which led to the rise of crews and pirate radio stations popping up all over London during the late 80s, early 90s. This is the transition from ships at sea to high-rise tower blocks, where the highest point is in most cities to transmit the frequencies across the boroughs. Even if you are from the suburbs outside London, you could still tune in if the frequency reached far enough.

Hijacking the FM dial was a way to rebel against the system that wouldn’t let them in, so why not kick off the door and start your own show by tapping into the FM. The buzz of finding a location to set-up your station, climbing the building to put up your aerial and transmitters, staying off the radar was all apart of the experience and for most, it was invigorating.

Pirate Radio Stations: Rinse FM, Flex FM, Freeze FM, Deja Vu FM, Freak FM, Heat FM, Y2K FM

UK Garage Artists: MC Charlie Brown, Pay As You Go, Heartless Crew, Shola Ama, So Solid Crew, Craig David, DJ Luck & Mc Neat, Artful Dodger, Oxide & Neutrino, Sweet Female Attitude, MJ Cole, The Streets, MC Creed, The Wideboys, DT, DJ Pied Piper & The Masters of Ceremonies

There were a handful of real prominent stations that would become a staple within the scene, that have since transitioned into legal broadcasting radio stations which can be listened to today from Rinse FM to Flex FM.

“Hold tight the phone line crew inside.. 07989376189 send in your requests”

Transition: Garage 2 Grime

Pirate Radio also played a big part in the rise of Grime, because this allowed the next generation of artists who came from the same areas but with a new wave of grittier lyrics, harder sounds, and moving into a lane of their own which led the likes of Wiley to produce one of the first 140bpm beats which created the pivotal moment from garage to grime. But, we have to remember at the beginning we still didn’t know what to call the new genre emerging which led to the song “Wot U Call It?” by Wiley.

Grime DJs: Target, Slimzee, Tim Westwood, Cameo, Geeneus, Sir Spyro, Karnage, Logan Sama, Charlie Sloth, Maximum

Grime Artists: Wiley, Kano, Dizzee Rascal, Skepta, Boy Better Know, Roll Deep, Nasty Crew, Ruff Sqwad, Ghetts, P Money, Griminal, D Double E, Crazy Titch, Chipmunk, Devlin, JME, Mercston, Tinchy Stryder, Scorcher, Frisco, Lethal Bizzle, Mr Wong, Durrty Goodz, Jammer, Lights, Discarda

Image Courtesy of Lord Of The Mics | DVDs from Risky Roadz (Rooney) | Instagram: @riskyroadz | Instagram: @lordofthemics_

Golden Era of UK Garage

Images Courtesy of Ewen Spencer | Website: Ewen Spencer | Instagram: @ewenspencer

Written & Edited By Dalton Notley (Social & Content at Brother2Brother)

Comments are closed here.