An individual who is undoubtedly synonymous with the birth, growth and rise of UK Dance music particularly Drum N Bass is DJ Grooverider and two words synonymous to him are Pioneer and Icon. Having been integrally involved within the UK underground scene for well over 15 years he has participated in and supervised its evolution to it now being an highly eclectic club culture regarded and revered globally for being one of the most dynamic and developed.Despite being for the most part associated with Drum N bass and regarded by both avid listeners and his fellow artist and peers as being the Godfather of this genre, he himself is quick to publicise his own musical journey charting his other creative influences and exploits prior to the birth of Drum and Bass. I’ve listened to black music all my life. Reggae, Hip Hop, R&B, Funk, Disco the whole thing. I started cruising to house then Hardcore. Now its drum n bass but house is what I know inside out.
That’s what I grew up with, my first love. I know everything about it. Drum n bass is something we formulated out of house. Its this cultured journey which qualifies him for almost unrivalled praise and recognition as clearly his efforts and his contributions have been critical in helping to establish and nurture UK Urban music as we know it today, which is flourishing as one of the most lucrative mainstream genres. As a DJ his credentials are phenomenal and testament to this is the fact that despite the underground club scene having unbelievably calmed since the memorable and tumultuous years of the 80 and 90s rave era, Grooverider is of a select few DJs who continues to play out at numerous events many of which are worldwide.
This acclaim and notoriety is a far cry from the so called early days and his time on a sound systems and pirate radio station Ill always be a DJ first. I used to DJ on a sound system years ago then I got on to a radio station It was called Phase 1 I was playing acid house every Sunday morning, like, 8 ’til 10 in the morning sometimes we would start 3 am and go on ’til the next day The guy who owned the station opened a club after-hours and booked me and Fabio, cause we were both on the station This association with Fabio also considered by many as a forefather to the scene, proved not to be a flash in the pan and the two of them remain close friends, sidekicks and business partners and presently cohost the weekly radio 1 Drum n Bass show. Among Grooverider lasting legacy will be not that he simply helped establish the genre but also he helped it grow and expand it by exporting this energetic and progressive music to those who traditionally would not have listened to it.
“It’s not just about me and Fabio, its a whole platform for drum n bass. It’s about what’s happening in drum n bass, taking it on the road and showing people who dont necessarily go to drum n bass parties that this is what we do.”
This aim is clearly something that motivates him and it is clear that his long journey to where he is today had many challenges and struggles but with tenacity and resilience he started also to gain the respect of larger legitimate mainstream radio stations who could no longer ignore the genre or Grooverider eventually he was given a set on Kiss Fm We were on Kiss beforeand when Radio 1 called us in we ran at it.
“We didn’t know what it was going to be like… but we had to take the chance Kiss was changing into a commercial station and Radio 1 was going the other way. I think it was the right time to jump ship. The underground side of Radio 1 was still developing and we were able to add to it. Im now in my fourth year on Radio 1. It’s been going really well. Radio 1 are happy and weve moved our time forward an hour.”
In closing Grooverider has had a profound influence on UK music in general and in several different capacities as he has successfully assumed the both mantles of being a pioneering DJ and Producer. He is also the recipient of countless underground and global dance awards but perhaps his most reputed achievement was the MOBO best DJ award he won in 2002. As long as he continues to play at massive events, produce great tunes and pursue his Radio 1 shows it is likely that he will receive many more awards yet and each one will be deserved.