In celebration of our Versus campaign we count down 10 of the most influential names in the UK garage Scene. These are the Masters of Garage.
Richard 'Sticky' Forbes built his reputation as one of the country's leading club music producers at the height of the UK garage scene. His distinctive sound not only made his music unavoidable in the clubs during this era, but also launched the careers of a number of the UK’s leading talents including the Mercury Music Prize-winning Ms. Dynamite (the pair's collaboration "Booo!" is regularly cited amongst the greatest of UKG club classics).
In 1989, at the age of 15, EZ (known at the time as Easy O) started his radio career on a pirate radio station called Dance 93FM playing house music, where he remained for 4 years. In early 1994, EZ set up his own pirate radio station based in Tottenham called Dimension FM, playing mostly hardcore dance music, rave music and house music. Dimension FM didn't last long due to being closed down by the authorities. This did not hold him back however. Despite early setbacks, EZ has gone on to cement his place as the absolute godfather of garage DJ's. With outrageous mixing technique and an encyclopedic knowledge of the genre, EZ is well and truly one of the biggest party DJ's to have ever graced the decks.
The Dream Teem
Originally started up by Ministry of Sound favourite Spoony, The Dream Teem are responsible for some of the most anthemic garage tunes to ever grace our ears. Spoony was born in the London Borough of Hackney. His career started on London Underground (a leading pirate radio station in the mid-nineties). He then joined Kiss 100, with the other members of the "Dreem Teem" Mikee B and Timmi Magic. The Dreem Teem, via a groundbreaking show on Galaxy, brought UK garage to Radio 1 in January 2000. They went on to win a prestigious Sony Award in their first year.
Zed Bias is best known for his single "Neighbourhood" which reached No.25 in the UK charts in July 2000. He has remixed songs by artists such as Gabrielle, Kosheen, Maxim, Pharoahe Monch and The Streets. He also runs the prestigious Sidestepper Recordings label. Zed Bias's releases, which explore a more experimental or progressive side of the 2-step garage sound, have been hailed as a crucial element in the establishment of dubstep as a definable sound or genre.
Cole once stated, "London is a multicultural city... it's like a melting pot of young people, and that's reflected in the music of UK garage". His debut album was the Mercury Music Prize nominated Sincere, and he followed up this with the less successful Cut to the Chase. In 2002 he selected tracks for a compilation album for the Back to Mine series, which focused on tracks suited to post-club relaxation. He is currently releasing new material on his own record label, Prolific Recordings, as well as making remixes for various artists like Lana Del Rey, Wretch 32, and Above & Beyond.
The Streets started out in 1994 as a solo project. Skinner moved from Birmingham to Brixton to pursue his recording career, he then moved to Camden Town for three years before returning to Brixton. While working on music, he tried to start a record label, as well as working in fast food restaurants in order to support himself. In 2001, the Locked On label, who had success with The Artful Dodger featuring Craig David, released "Has It Come to This?" under the name The Streets. "Has It Come to This?" proved to be a breakthrough hit for The Streets, reaching No.18 on the UK charts in October 2001.For The Streets' debut album, Original Pirate Material, Skinner wanted to take UK garage in a new direction with material reflecting the lifestyle of clubbers in Britain. The album was released and proved to be successful both with critics and the general public alike. In the UK, the album was nominated for the Mercury Prize and was a favourite with the bookies to win it (it was later won by Ms. Dynamite). To this day, Mike Skinner and The Streets remain at the very top of the list of garage royalty.
Scott Garcia is without a doubt one of the pioneers of the UK garage scene after setting up his own record shop in 1994 at he very young age of 16 he has not looked back. Scotts shop Ruff Trax was one of the first of its kind stocking only house and garage made in the UK while the Sunday scene was dominated by dub versions of US garage tracks made by American producers such as Smack and DJ Disciple. In 1999 Scott decided to set up a new record label of his own and started by signing up artists such as Oxide and Neutrino, DJ Luck and MC Neat, Shy Cookie and The Genius Cru all of who went on to do big things in the new skool UK Garage scene.
At some point we have all been touched by the music of Sunship even if we may have had no knowledge of the fact. Producer of Sweet Female Attitude’s “Flowers” which was one of the most memorable records of 2000 (No.2 in the UK) and still a massive club anthem to this day. In addition to this, the Sunship remixes of Craig David’s “Fill Me In” and “7 Days” became the staple diet of all self-respecting clubs, reaching anthemic proportions, as did his own singles, “Cheque One-Two” and "Try Me Out". His production of Misteeq’s "All I want" gave him another No.2 in the UK in 2002 and won the Dance Star award as best Producer that year to prove it.
Jameson, real name Jamie Williams, is a British drum and bass and garage producer and MC, best known for a string of hits in 2003 and 2004. Jameson emerged in the underground music scene, breaking through in January 2003 with the release of "True", a dance track featuring vocalist Angel Blu and a rap by Jameson, which peaked at number four on the UK Singles Chart. This was then followed up by "Complete" which also peaked at number four on the chart in August 2003 and "Take Control", which peaked at number sixteen in February 2004. Jameson also ran his own record label, in addition to dealing with his own promotion. He has also remixed many tracks since 2001 such as The Streets' "Has It Come To This", Jay-Z's "Isso", Maxwell D's "Serious", Sugababes' "Freak", Big Brovaz' "Baby Boy", Harry Wilkins' "Sex Go Round" and Destiny's Child's No.1 hit "Survivor".
Disclosure are an English electronic music duo, consisting of brothers Guy and Howard Lawrence. The siblings grew up in Reigate, Surrey.Their debut album Settle, released on 3rd June 2013 through PMR, was nominated for Best Dance/Electronica Album at the 2014 Grammy Awards. They represent the influence old-school garage has come to play on the modern day dance music scene. Disclosure serve as a perfect crossover of garage and house in a contemporary, modern atmosphere. This remix of garage legend Artful Dodger's anthem "Please Don't Turn Me On" encapsulates this modernisation of the genre.
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Words: Louis Curran
29 Oct 2014