GROOVERIDER is one of the most influential figures in the history of UK dance.
Whatever UK sound you are into, from House and Techno to Dubstep and Grime, Grooverider was there before the beginning, instrumental in creating the environment of extreme experimentation which makes the UK dance scene one of the most fertile grounds for new sounds anywhere in the world.
A risk taker, pushing the boundaries of sound, whether it be in his sets or what he chooses to release on his seminal label Prototype Recordings, Grooverider has always been at the forefront Of UK Drum and Bass. After an extended hiatus his revered imprint Prototype Recordings is back with a vengeance.
We caught up with Groove to talk about what’s been happening with the label and the ever-changing face of Drum and Bass in the UK.
So, Prototype is back releasing. The first and hugely successful of the most recent releases was ‘The Odyssey Vip’ from Drumsound and Bassline Smith, now the follow up is the mighty “Run it/Surge” From Modified Motion and Faction. Tell us how the link up with Modified Motion and Faction Happened?
I’ve Known Tony (Modified Motion) for 20 odd years, before he even started to take his engineering seriously. He has helped me with my music (engineered for me) for a long time and as a producer has a technical ability that is ‘really up there’. His music is on another level, Modified Motion and faction are able to bring both technical ability and musicality to their tracks.
I heard you drop ‘Run It’ as your intro track at Stonebridge at Glastonbury Festival last summer and the crowd reaction was Crazy…
Yeah ‘Run It’ is one of those tracks that just gets people, it’s got that indescribable vibe, especially when played loud on a big system.
Prototype has been releasing for over 20 years but you had a long break and have just recently started getting back in the game?
Yeah, it’s been around lot of years, but it stopped for a while, (releasing music) I just couldn’t get my head round the transfer from vinyl to mp3, you know as a label you go from selling thousands of vinyl to hundreds of MP3’s, so what do you tell an artist after he has put that amount of work in when you have nothing to give him… But artists know now, they know what the situation is. You don’t have to explain, don’t have to throw down a million apologies everybody knows you don’t make music to make money. You make it because you love it and if anything, what you do get out of it is that it helps you with your DJ bookings. The whole game has changed and that’s what it’s about now.
Prototype has always been known to put out the most upfront sounds in Drum and Bass seeming to push new sounds within the scene.
It’s not even about that, it’s just about records that I like. There are a lot of labels out there that just put records out for the sake of putting records out. I’ve never done that! I would rather put out nothing than put out something I don’t like. Prototype is not one of those labels pushing through five releases a week just turning them over. That’s why the releases are limited with me. It has to be a tune that I like I don’t really care what anybody else does, this is about my personal taste.
So, any plans for future releases on vinyl?
To be honest with you a part of me really wants to. The last release which was the “Odyssey VIP” from Drumsound and Bassline Smith had a very limited amount of vinyl pressed and they sold out which is fantastic, but unless it’s a really special project I can’t see the point in releasing vinyl on a large scale… I mean who has turntables? A lot of kids don’t know what they are, (laughs) I went to the science museum and saw turntables in there ‘like this is what DJ’s used to use’ type of thing.
How have the fans who have followed Prototype from the very beginning reacted to the latest releases?
I don’t really pay any attention, I’m not the sort of person to pick up music magazines or look on social media, especially when my names involved. It can make you real high or real low, and I would rather not know and just stay in the middle. I try and just stay away from it (social media) and just promote my events and what we have going on with the label. You can’t please everybody and its best to just try and please yourself first and hopefully the rest will follow.”
What is the ethos behind Prototype?
You know we are always just trying to find the next big thing, I’ve had quite a few big artists pass through the label, hopefully helping them get on their way to “stardom” and I would like to find more, and you know having the label keeps me interested in music.
So, what if somebody produces at home and wants to get their music to you, how would they go about that?
We are always looking, they just need to send their demos to Prototype Recordings, prototyperecordings.net/demos or go on Facebook go on Twitter and find us, send them and see what can happen. We get lots of demos as it is, but I make sure I listen to all of them personally its very time consuming but it’s the only way to do it.
We touched on social media briefly before, and you and I are well aware that the whole music industry is very different to how it was even 10 years ago. What effect has that had on your work load?
You have to be up on everything. You have to be out there, posting every day, you have to be there or you get forgotten, well that’s the way it seems. I mean I don’t know if you have to post every day if that’s relevant or not, but at the end of the day it’s a shopping place and you need to be in the window.
Do you think it’s taken away some of the mystery of being a DJ?
I suppose so, hmmm I guess if you’re out there every day then I suppose it does, but it’s not really something I’ve ever thought about.
I mean back in the beginning DJ’s like yourself would come on stage and perform, command the dance, enable people to lose themselves for a few hours. To the people in the rave you were almost like mystical figures. Now we know what your real names are and some artists put their whole lives on social media. For me as a fan it’s taken some of the mystery away.
Yeah, as an artist it has taken the privacy away, which for me isn’t a good thing as I’m a very private person… but it is what it is, it’s all part of the package.
So, you could look at it like, for us, the fans social media has taken away some of the magic and mystery, and for the artists it’s taken away your privacy?
So, in the beginning you started off as a DJ rather than as a producer which is the route in 2018?
Yup I came through the DJ angle, I’m not really a producer as such, I wouldn’t categorise myself as that, I’m a DJ that makes music for fun. A lot of people came through the other way and are producers that DJ for fun. I don’t think it matters as long as you’re into both, as long as you’re into whatever you do in life. It’s all about being true to yourself.
The Jump Up genre of Drum and Bass is so strong right now! Do you think there is a split in Drum and Bass?
Yeah well there has always been a split in DnB (laughs) it’s nothing new, it’s about DJs trying to bring it together, I’m one of those that just hear Drum and Bass, I don’t hear if it’s a jump up tune or a liquid tune. I just hear if it’s a good tune or a bad tune that’s what I hear. You’ve got to find a balance, I don’t want to just hear one type of drum and bass I want to hear the full spectrum, I can’t just do the one dimensional, I’m not about that.
Well I guess that’s the beauty of Drum and Bass, it’s so varied.
Yeah exactly! The raw talent picks out the best of the best, that’s what talent does.
Well a lot of promoters hedge their bets and tend to stick to one sub genre of DnB when choosing line ups for events.
Yeah but how long is that going to last?
So what’s coming up next from Prototype Recordings?
Our next release is from DJ Limited, It’s due out the end of April, so keep your eyes and ears peeled it’s a big, big tune.
Modified Motion and Faction’s Run it/Surge is out now On Beatport and all digital download stores. Grab your copy here.