Bournemouth’s Flava D is a DJ who is known for dabbling in the arena where garage, grime and bassline music intersects. For the last couple of years her high energy DJ sets have seen her travel the world and become one of the house/bass scene’s favourite DJs. (Check out her amazing Boiler Room recordings to get an idea of what she can do.)
Not only is she a highly technical DJ, but she can produce with the best, and last year she released a FABRICLIVE compilation which featured 90% Flava D productions. Yup, she is the real deal, and she just announced Australian dates for this coming September. With that in mind, and really no other reason outside of us having a soft spot for UK Garage, we thought it would be fun to go back to that period between 1998 – 2004 when garage had it’s moment in the mainstream sun.
Here are 5 tracks which will never be forgotten. And who knows, you might even hear one or two of these on her upcoming tour!
MJ Cole – Sincere
You cannot have a UK Garage list without mentioning this classy production. ‘Sincere’ is an exquisite piece of work which features a glorious vocal and shimmering jazz chords. Back in 1999 MJ Cole received a bit of help from Pete Tong to make this one of the biggest garage tracks of all time – and also one of the first UKG tracks to break into the UK’s Top 40 singles chart. The album this eventually were released on, also called ‘Sincere’, went on to make a star out of MJ Cole, earning him two top 15 singles on the UK Singles Chart, a prestigious Mercury Music Prize nomination, Brit Award nomination, and beat Dr. Dre to win MOBO’s Best Producer award in 2001. Sick.
So Solid Crew – 21 Seconds
If ‘Sincere’ is the equivalent of the well educated boy/girlfriend you bring home to meet the parents, then ’21 Seconds’ would be the bad boy/girl your parents warned you about. With it’s almost ominous 2-step vibe, and wobble bass which is only upstaged by the quick-snap vocal raps, this made national heroes out of the So Solid Crew. As far as crews go, So Solid Crew was huge, as in literally: they consisted of anything between 19 -30 members at any given moment. In fact, the song title, ’21 Seconds’, referred to the amount of time given to each member to do a verse to ensure everyone got a bit of airtime on the music video. The things you learn.
Artful Dodger ft. Craig David – Re–Rewind
‘Re-Rewind… The Crowd Say Bo Selecta!’ In 1999, the UK radio waves were filled with the soulful sounds of Artful Dodger and Craig David. Originally starting out life as a Craig David demo called ‘ Last Night’, it morphed into a track featured on David’s debut album ‘Born To Do It’, before the Artful Dodger boys turned it into a smash hit. You couldn’t go anywhere in the UK around it’s release date without hearing ‘Craig David, all over your BOING’, and with its fun and infectious drum programming you really didn’t want to ignore this song. It will make you smile, move, feel good and fall in love with Craig David.
Shanks & Bigfoot – Sweet Like Chocolate
In 1999 the MOBO Awards’ Best British Act category nominated the likes of Fatboy Slim, Armand van Helden and Phats & Small (what a great year for electronic music). In the end it was Shanks & Bigfoot who beat them all, no doubt due to the popularity of ‘Sweet Like Chocolate’. With it’s plucked strings, longing vocal proclaiming ‘your sweet like chocolate boooooy’, and crystal clear drums, it’s easy to see why this resonated so much: this is garage-pop of a very high standard. A huge success in clubs way before it hit the mainstream, the track went on to become possibly the biggest UK Garage track ever. It reached number one in the UK and went Top 10 in New Zealand, Ireland, Scotland and even Australia. Not bad for a track which was originally released as a promotional single with a short-run pressing of 1,000 copies.
DJ Pied Piper and the Masters of Ceremonies – Do You Really Like It?
In the summer of 2001 the Pied Piper hit the airwaves with an earworm so catchy that we are confidant McDonald’s ripped it off for one of their campaigns (to keep our lawyers happy let’s just add allegedly to that statement). Everyone in the UK was walking around ‘Luvin’ it, Luvin’ it, Luvin’ it!’, probably due to it being the only lyrics they could understand; some of the other rhymes include cryptic concepts like: ‘Personality, Originality, On a microphone, And got zippity’. Cool. And that is the appeal here, it literally sounds like someone played a beat, pressed record, and Piper and co just walked into the room and started to spit rhymes. It went straight to number one and gave Pied Piper his 5 months of fame, with massive interviews on sites like Registration Transfers to chat about personalised number plates for cars. Wait, what?
But I digress, this track is awesome.
And catch Flava D on her upcoming tour at one of the dates below:
Friday 15th September: The Met, Brisbane
Saturday 16th September: The Grand, Wollongong (Day)
Saturday 16th September: Chinese Laundry, Sydney (Night)
Wednesday 20th September: Vinyl, Queenstown NZ
Thursday 21st September: Empire Bar, Christchurch NZ
Friday 22nd September: Tetsuo, Perth
Saturday 23rd September: Revolver, Melbourne