Profile of a bass-head
Saturday 27 June 1998
Most responses tell of admiration for another DJ or detail a love for music, but when I ask drum'n'bass legend Grooverider, his response is as unconventional as his music.
"I started because I wanted to get into nightclubs for free," he says, without a hint of sarcasm. This wasn't going to be a run-of-the-mill interview.
Grooverider (he won't reveal his real name, but my bet's on something dull like Fred) grew up in south London, and, by his own admission, has been blagging his way past club doormen since he was 15 years old.
When he did take up DJing, it was hip hop and rare groove that caught his ear, until acid house crossed the Atlantic 10 years ago.
"I've always been into dance music, the more progressive the better," he says. "When acid house came out, a lot of people couldn't get it. I got the gist of it straight away. At that stage it was considered to be gay music, and I'm the most heterosexual person in the world, but I just got straight into it."
His willingness to embrace new music stood him in good stead when jungle burst out of the UK's urban metropolises. As an integral part of the original Metalheadz collective, he was at the cutting edge of a new musical revolution.
"Goldie is my best friend really, and I've known him for around seven years. When he did his first album, he decided to open a club on the back of it, and asked me if I wanted to come in with him. We hooked it up and banged it out, but it was just a little fun thing for the boys.
"We weren't doing it for the money, so we didn't really give a toss. We used to go there for a drink, and then more and more people came through the door.
"It was just an avenue to explore new music and hang out together. Nobody expected it to blow up, but when it did we tried to make the most of it, and we've been working hard to keep the thing going ever since."
Drum'n'bass is now an integral part of the British music scene. For a long time the UK imported its dance music from the US, but now the roles have been reversed. People aren't always sure how to classify it (in the US it's put into the same grouping as The Prodigy under "electronica"), but it's definitely global in appeal.
As one of drum'n'bass's leading lights, Grooverider has been gracing Technics across the UK and the world, but I wouldn't say that it has all gone to his head.
"It makes me feel proud to be at the forefront of music that is so popular around the year, but it's no big deal," he says matter-of-factly.
"I'm just a guy playing music; I don't believe I have power over people. I haven't always been paid for doing this. It's nice, and it's probably the best thing that has happened to me, so I respect it and work hard at it. As long as people are having a good time, I don't really care. I'm not really a crowd-pleaser, because you can't please everybody. I play for myself, and if you're into it, then great."
Meeting Grooverider, it becomes difficult to think of anything, with regard to his success, that he does care about. Turning up an hour late for the interview, I'd wouldn't bet that journalists are high on his list, but it's hard not to admire his approach to his work. Despite his enduring appeal in clubland, his "no bullshit" attitude means that this is one DJ whose feet are firmly on the ground.
"I'm not a pop star and I don't pretend to be one. I don't hang around with people I've just met on the scene; I hang around with real people. I've got a lot of friends, but I'm tight with the same people from back in the day."
Like the powerful music he plays - he's true to his roots.
See Metalheadz review, opposite
Life & Style blogs
Watching TV after work makes you feel 'guilty and like a failure'
Zebra meat: Exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Alien: Isolation preview - If you scream in space, it makes a sound
Xiaomi Mi4: 'Chinese Apple' launches flagship mobile to challenge iPhone
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
- 1 Malaysian cyclist could face disciplinary action after 'Save Gaza' gloves protest
- 2 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 3 McDonald’s removes chicken nuggets from the menu in Hong Kong amid major food scare
- 4 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
- 5 Satellite full of sexually experimental geckos adrift in space, Russia loses control of mission
£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...
Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...
£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...
£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...