Good Eggs: Richie and the new generation of upcoming teenage DJs get their Groove on at Fabric
Wednesday 3rd December 2014 | Izaradz
It’s 5pm on a Tuesday afternoon and we are standing outside the doors of Fabric. Before you jump to any conclusions, we have not just finished a 24-hour bender, and “No, Mr. Bouncer, we are not here to pick up lost property”. The reason that we are really here trumps both of these dull explanations by miles. We have arrived to attend one of Groove School’s DJ workshops!
Seeing Fabric in all its glory without a swaying body in sight was quite impressive in itself. Nevertheless, these wide, open spaces were soon filled with the familiar sounds of warming bass and a perky hi-hat. Our hosts? An exclusive collection of DJs that you won’t have seen before. These VIPs were between the ages of 11 and 16, and had just arrived at Fabric coming straight from school. This was the Groove School crew early evening takeover of Room 2!
We have already briefly introduced you to Groove School with our preview of their upcoming fundraiser on 5th December at the Prince of Wales, Brixton. Richie Littler started the project around three and a half years ago, bouncing around community centers and schools as he tested the water with his decks. He told us that at first, the workshops were getting more attention from adults than from the kids, but eventually the idea caught on with the younger generation. Soon their registers grew longer and ‘classrooms’ filled up, as more and more spinning starlets joined their groovy community. Richie and Damien (We Love Vinyl) explained that, in order for the experience to remain personal and worthwhile for the kids, they decided to separate the expanding groups by age, condensing the classes towards a more intimate experience. There was even an occasion when a bold five-year-old tried their hand at the decks! Suddenly I started to question what I’ve been doing for the past 20 years…
Groove School has been steadily gaining momentum, and now hosts weekly workshops. Children of all ages from various different background and abilities are able to come and learn DJ skills, musical production, musical history and background, without spending a penny. After speaking to some of the bright-eyed participants of this particular workshop, we discovered that hip hop was a popular genre that the young DJs liked to ‘scratch’, along with jazz, house and sometimes even dubstep. We also met a young boy named Bobby, who was near blind, who said that his aspiration was to be the ‘world’s first blind DJ’.
We also chatted to Terry Francis, a long-serving Fabric resident with an outstanding DJ career behind him, who has recently joined the Groovy family. He too expressed his excitement and support for the group’s activities, and told us that the Groove School would themselves be taking on a monthly afternoon ‘residency’ at the infamous Fabric.
The combination of the really quite impressive music mix for the evening, (the momentarily rapid volume changes and jolty queues were blissfully overlooked), the laughing faces of the cheeky young teenagers and the beaming chests of the organizers, proved that the Groove School was clearly much more than just a workshop. The children are not only gaining musical knowledge and skills that they enthusiastically told us they intended to continue, but they are gaining a sense of belonging into a very genuine and organic circle. At first it was strange to see a bunch of children playing and weaving in and out of the Fabric walls, replacing the usual sea of wobbly ‘wastemen’ and hardcore party-goers. Their innocent giggles became almost infectious, and we wondered whether we might be bearing witness to the next generation of upcoming DJs, lightly sketching out their territory.
The Groove School plan to continue their fantastic work for months and years to come, and are hoping to extend their network to different areas of London. The project is truly special and hugely important to the students and organisers, bringing people of different backgrounds and generations together with musical beats. Get yourself down to the Prince of Wales on Friday for a sneaky glimpse into their community, where you will see three of the Groovy students performing the skills they have learned over the past few months.