Growing up in London, I was introduced to UK Garage when I was around 15 and got my first set of decks about the same time. I used to go searching through record shops for the latest white labels and the more mainstream releases everyone knew and loved.
When I discovered Hard To Find Records and Reckless Records, some second-hand resellers, I started digging for tracks I’d never heard of, or even known about, and records that were released years before I was even following Garage. My love for vinyl had begun - though I remember my grandparents being shocked that I had an interest in vinyl, being media they thought was redundant.
The UK Garage scene slowly declined around the same time I finished my A levels and started a full-time job so naturally I lost interest and put my records into storage. I knew I didn’t want to sell them as most people around me had, I’d put time into building a collection that was personal to me.
Fast forward a few years to around 2010, I remember hearing Maya Jane Coles’ “What They Know” in a bar and my love for music started again, but this time with the Deep House genre and MP3s. It wasn’t the same as collecting vinyl, but the buzz of finding tracks I loved was back.
It was around 2015 when (again) the scene changed for me, and I wasn’t finding anything new that I enjoyed anymore. After settling down, getting married and moving, one day in 2018, my wife suggested that I get my vinyl back out of storage for a few months. Why not? From there, I started searching for old UKG tracks to see if I could get my hands on a few that I’d missed - and discovered Discogs. The search for UK Garage began again, digging through sellers’ collections (with the help of YouTube and uploaders) and almost tripling my collection. My decks have gained residency in the house ever since!
I like the underground 97/98 style of UKG, but there’s plenty of good, new slices that I’m collecting too. One of the labels that interested me was Vibesey, their second release got me hooked and waiting for their third, I found myself on Bandcamp. I managed to grab a test press on Bandcamp day, which was superb. A week later I got a knock on the door, expecting it to be one of the many couriers but who was it, one of the Vibesey crew, hand-delivering it!
We talked, and he pointed me in the direction of Instagram, where I found a like-minded community of people, very much into their music and collections. I talked to Crate Digs’ Dan Speed and featured a guest set on one of his shows, and here we are today.
During the pandemic, I’ve taken an interest in music production, learning music theory from a few books and purchased a DAW and some MIDI controllers...this time my love for music is here to stay.