Few can claim to have been as instrumental to growth of drum & bass as Grooverider. A key figure in the genres expansion, the DJ has been a crucial part of the scene for over 25 years now.
Grooverider is a name that is synonymous with drum & bass and a few of us here at Guestlist regard him to be one of the best DJs in the world. He has supported drum & bass from day one and encouraged it to grow from its hardcore jungle roots to the sounds we hear today. He became a taste maker, providing a benchmark for the genres artists and fans through a variety of means. Despite this long history, Grooverider is still at the cutting edge of the scene and continues to play an important role in the scene; remaining a stable name to rely on at drum & bass parties across the globe; including the upcoming Innovation in the Snow festival.
Despite his close association with drum & bass, Grooverider isn’t only concerned with beats at 175 bpm. His tastes are so vast, and stretch out from reggae, hip hop, R&B, funk to disco, house and hardcore. Even as a DJ you shouldn’t be surprised to hear him making selections from early 90s acid house. He has a deep understanding and knowledge of the UK’s electronic music scene, but in terms of jungle and drum & bass, he was a little more instrumental than most.
He fell into drum & bass naturally through DJing at the time it first emerged. Grooverider was a selector for the pirate radio station, Phase One. He would collect the tunes that were setting off the raves and warehouse parties and transmit them out, primarily focusing on acid house. Another selector at the station was Fabio, who’d gain a long time association with Grooverider with their combined efforts. Once they started working with each other, they had formed a coalition the likes of which the UK’s club culture has never seen.
An interested in drum & bass’ early beginnings came around as jungle techno began sweeping through the raves. Grooverider saw this new sound as a formulation of house, so the move from the 4x4 seemed instinctive and it wasn’t long before Grooverider and Fabio started their new residency at Heaven, Rage. This new event was the UK’s first weekly jungle party and the pair immediately took the helm of the underground's newest sound. Each week both Grooverider and Fabio would test out new tunes from a wealth of artist, many of whom went on to achieve great things. To get a play from these two was like a stamp of approval, even to this day.
Whilst Grooverider wasn’t at Rage showcasing the newest and freshest cuts he was cutting his own plastic’s through his imprint, Prototype. The label was responsible for laying the foundations for a handful of legendary artists including Matrix, Ed Rush, Optical, Drumsound & Bassline Smith and Dillinja. He would even make an appearance under his alias Codename John. Over the years the label collected such a wealth of music Grooverider decided to release a special album, The Prototype Years; later followed by his own LP, Mysteries of Funk. Despite all of this he still managed to find time to squeeze in his own event, Grace and choosing the DJs for Metalheadz' Sunday Sessions at the Blue Note. His hold of drum & bass was now firm and solid.
What was a new form of electronic music, had now morphed into a thriving, diverse genre with fleeting sub genres breaking off including liquid and techstep. Without the important influence from Grooverider, or Fabio, this wouldn’t have happen, lest as quickly as it did. What was a dark underground style of music that only suited warehouses was now being played on daytime radio and had videos for MTV.
So things hit the top right? It couldn’t go any further? Well both Grooverider and Fabio proved to defy all expectations, and once they hit the big commercial radio stations they once more took drum & bass to new heights. Their new weekly radio slot, firstly on Kiss FM and later BBC Radio 1, quickly attracted a vast dedicated following. Drum & Bass wasn’t just a small time, fleeting genre anymore it was a mainstay in the UK’s musical psyc. Countless artists and producers depended on the support structure that their weekly show provided. First plays and exclusive chats meant countless acts went from zero to hero rather rapidly. Pendulum, Camo & Krooked, Sub Focus, DJ Fresh, Chase & Status, Sigma, Calibre, DJ Hazard hit success after the early exposure on drum & bass’ most reliable platform provided by Grooverider and Fabio. Their reputation as taste makers was now more true than ever.
2012 and Grooverider and Fabio left BBC Radio 1. They still host a regular show on Ministry of Sound and are always popping up at raves across the globe. Grooverider’s drive and enthusiasm for drum & bass has seen the genre explode into one of the planet’s most sustainable sounds. He now sits comfortably among the UK’s elite musical players, with Outstanding Contribution from DJ Mag’s Best of British Awards under his belt and a position in Drum & Bass Arena’s Hall of Fame and Mixmag’s 25 Best DJs of all time. If all this doesn’t add up to legend, then nothing will!
Grooverider is still very active today and remains a regular on the club and festival circuit. Goes as no surprise that he’s up there on the bill for innovations debut, in the snow event this March. He’ll be performing along with other legends including DJ Hype, SASASAS, and Nicky Blackmarket.
Full details for the debut Innovation in the Snow