DJ Spoony looks back at the golden days of garage

Garage was something that came about naturally for me. Back when I was at school I was already djing. Although this wasn't the beginning of my career it was the start of the passion, I was sold. I had a couple of slots on pirate radio but it all started shaping up when I joined London Underground. Around this time I had a 6 month residency at Garage City too, so could feel the progress. In 1997 (with the Dreem Teem) we joined Kiss FM until 1999 when we left for a prime time slot on Galaxy and then Jan 2000 we went to Radio 1. The rest is history...

Do you remember the moment you fell for the garage scene?

I was hearing and buying the music but when I went to Pleasure Playground at the Arches (Southwark Bridge Road) that was me. Hooked.

What moment do you see when you think of the height of the scene?

Hard to speak of a moment in singular terms when there were so many great things happening. Shanks and Bigfoot had a number 1 in 1999. Pied Piper & Master of Ceremonies and So Solid repeated this feat a little later. Our show on Radio 1 too were all special moments for the scene. My ‘moment’ would last between 1999 and 2003.

Who do you consider a part of the golden generation?

The golden generation…wow…how long have we got here? I would mention some people that don’t always get the love but for me are golden. All played huge roles in the scene. Producers like Jeremy Sylvester, Paul Benjamin, Grant Nelson, Zed Bias, Nathan Lockett and TJ Cases. Labels like Confetti and Public Demand. Pirate stations London Underground, Freek FM, Delight FM and De Ja Vu. Unsung heroes Inn the scene that deserve recognition.

Talk me through your most ridiculous garage memory.

Haha…there are a few. Meeting a member of the Royal family (who asked to meet me). Surreal. Dinner with the Versace Family… And getting the call from Radio 1 to say they wanted us to join. These all because of Garage music. Did I mention NYE at the Millennium Dome??

Do you think there’s a scene as subcultural to the modern world nowadays?

Not in the way that the Mods or Punks were. We are lucky here because we do promote diversity. You can be different and will still be included. Things don’t seem as ‘sub’ as they did for this reason. The advent of the internet means things spread quicker, don’t stay underground as long so its really hard for it to be a ‘subculture’ when it has 1m likes or follows. That said the ‘movement’ of the UK based ‘black’ music at the moment is a joy to see.

Get to know the golden age of garage with DJ spoony’s ultimate playlist…


DJ Disciple – Keep On Movin’

“No self respecting DJ would’ve been without this in their sets. Hailing from Brooklyn, Disciple would’ve had no idea from that far away how big and important this record was to the scene and sound.”

Somore – I Refuse

“Featuring Damon Trueitt on vocals, another absolute banger from the other side of the pond. A remix package that includes versions from RIP and Ramsey & Fen, another must for the collection.”

Todd Edwards – Saved My Life                                     

“One of my personal favourites and just one of a number of Todd’s records I could choose. Using his signature ‘slicing’ of the vocal, this would be in my ‘Desert Island Discs’.”

George Morel – Let’s Groove

“Released on the legendary Strictly Rhythm label, this double A side (with Bouncing Sax) was another of those must have/must play records. 4/4 beats, melodic and VERY catchy key rift.”

Praxis feat Kathy Brown – Turn Me Out

“What can I say about this? A song and vocal that has truly stood the test of time. It’s been sampled, edited a thousand time but no version better than the original Extended dance mix for me.”

Cheese and Pickle EP – Einstein and Chewy

“One of the finest UKG EP’s ever made. A classic that set the bar for producers at the time. ‘Deep Breath’ was my favourite cut but I played everything on this.”

24 Hour Experience – The Test Press EP

“Another EP that had bangers on both sides. Heavily Jazz influenced ‘Jazz From the Heart’ to ‘Not Gonna Let Ya’ feat Bryan Chambers, this is a winner. Worth a lot of money on vinyl now.”

NuYourican Soul – The Nervous Track

“When I first heard this Id never heard a house record like it. One of a kind. Thank you Nervous Records and of course the legends that are Loiue Vega and Kenny Dope for this. Iconic music.”

Baffled – Going On

“A magical record for me. Garage beats, reggae bass-line. This was unique and I was sold. Dubstep and Grime owe a lot to this particular track. Powerful piece of work from the UK.”

MK – Burning

“MK has been making bangers for years. This was released in 1992 and his hit remix ‘Look Right Thru’ in 2013. Anyone that can still be dropping heat over 20 years later is a don. Burning is UKG eventhough it was made stateside.”

Get tickets for the AFROPUNK takeover at Electric Brixton tonight here.

7 September 2018