Back around 1996 or so, something called The Sunday Scene started in London. The idea was to essentially squeeze in one more party before Monday made its dreaded call once more. As the name suggests, these parties took place on a Sunday and the music initially consisted of lots of Masters At Work dubs played at around 130bpm.
Todd Edwards dubs were also especially popular as they could be speeded up and the chopped up vocal samples would still sound like, well, chopped up vocal samples. However, more music was needed – and amidst this backdrop, the UK’s own garage movement was born. Names such as 187 Lockdown, Tuff Jam and Dillon & Dickins dominated. As the next few years went on, the music left its more soulful roots and become more bass-heavy.
Eventually, the scene started to implode from around 2001 onwards due to an increased association with violence within the scene. People were going to parties where UK garage was being played in the likes of Birmingham and London and being shot. The infighting within the scene inevitably followed.
A few years ago, a new movement rose out of the UK called garage house. The movement suffered problems from day one – the music was never particularly clearly defined and there was a complete lack of any vocal songs. In addition to that, this scene was particularly cliquey. Despite my attempts to support the scene, I was categorically rebuffed by several record labels in the gene. They simply didn’t want to know – plus ça change, eh?
Last week, D3ep Radio Network favourite James Lee announced that he would not be playing at The Garage House again – when asked why by Grant Nelson, a man who’s done a few things in this genre over the years, he simply cited “politics”. And yesterday, DJ Lindsey Ward mentioned on Facebook that people have “been slandering me” and “I feel I might be calling out a few names on here”.
So, why on earth is the garage house scene tearing itself apart at the moment? I’ll be coming back to this issue once I’ve had time to look into it more thoroughly. But for now, I shall simply quote a source (with their permission, of course!) close to the movement who has a few thoughts on the matter.
He simply said “Yeah, I find all this a bit weird as well. I think it’s because of the weird situation we’ve all been in for the past year. A lot of wounds were appearing before the first lockdown happened, and they’ve kinda been left there to fester for a while. Now that clubs are open again, everyone’s fighting for every booking they can f***ing get. Lots of dirty tactics being used too, like trying to undermine other people’s sets. It’s really unedifying”.
Hard to disagree…