Tag Archives: UKG

Grammy award-winner Flowdan headlines Bongo for Uplands Roast

20 May 2024 -

Flowdan headlines Bongo for Uplands Roast this Thursday night, the first time a Grammy award-winner will have played the club in more than a few years and it’s set to be a road-block.

If you’re not familiar with the former grime MC and founder-member of east London’s legendary Roll Deep crew, this recent interview he did with Ammar Kalia for The Guardian is not a bad place to start at all…

He helped create grime and his baritone growl causes frenzies on the dancefloor. Now that the MC is finally getting his dues, what are his plans? To conquer America – and create more mayhem.

It has been two days since Marc Veira, AKA Flowdan, woke up to a flurry of messages and missed calls congratulating him on becoming the first British MC to win a Grammy. “I wasn’t expecting to win so I wasn’t waiting for the news,” he says by video-call from his east London home. “I still haven’t even celebrated. I guess it means I’m a newcomer in the US, even though I’ve been doing this for 20 years.”

At 43, Veira has spent the past two decades applying his baritone growl to tracks guaranteed to cause a frenzy on British dancefloors. As a founding member of the UK rap collective Roll Deep, Veira played a key role in the birth of grime, alongside fellow members Wiley and Dizzee Rascal, while a long-running collaboration with producer the Bug created classics like the bass-heavy dubstep staple Skeng. Towering over 6ft, his beard peppered with grey hairs and his gold tooth glinting when he delivers his patois-inflected bars, Veira is an experienced marshal of unruly crowds, finally experiencing mainstream recognition.

His best dance/electronic recording Grammy award, for the track Rumble, caps a momentous year. It takes EDM pioneer Skrillex’s knack for gut-churning bass frequencies and UK co-producer Fred Again’s skill with a sample, and adds a skittering drum beat that interweaves with Veira’s high-tempo yet somehow languorous flow. Teased in DJ sets throughout 2022, the menacing track soon became a staple of arena shows, reaching its greatest power when dropped to a crowd of more than 100,000 people at Skrillex and Fred Again’s Coachella headline set in 2023.

Ever since, Veira has noticed a different energy among the crowds he performs to. “In the UK and Europe,” he says, “people know who I am but now they are responding to me with more intensity. It feels as if I’m getting more respect, like I’m the people’s champ.”

It is a response, no doubt, helped by another dancefloor smash Flowdan has had a guiding hand in over the past 12 months: Chase & Status’s Baddadan. Moving away from the crawling dubstep influences of Rumble into thundering drum’n’bass, Baddadan has become an emblem of the genre’s recent revival and reached No 5 in the UK charts. A Boiler Room recording of Veira performing the track in October captures the crowd erupting through four wheel-ups. It has since been viewed more than 6m times. “It was instinctive to put that one down,” Veira says. “Saul [one half of Chase & Status] sent it through and I just followed, since it’s music I’ve known my whole life.”

Indeed, Veira’s entry into MCing came through the 90s birth of drum’n’bass. After discovering a knack for rhyming and storytelling at 13, thanks to a homework assignment to write a poem, Veira began picking up on the style of formative drum’n’bass MCs such as Skibadee and MC Det. He realised that they were giving the sound system culture of his heritage a new form of bass-weight. “Listening to them on the radio awoke something in me,” he says. “They were English and Caribbean like me, so I began to emulate their lyrics. I was too young to go to the raves but I kept hearing how sick they were. It was a world I wanted to be a part of.”

It wasn’t until he met Wiley at college as a 16-year-old that Veira started finding his own voice. By 2001, the pair had formed Roll Deep and planted the seeds of grime. Now he was old enough to go to raves, Veira was the one on stage performing and creating the chaos. “There would be times,” he says with a smile, “when you’d get to a performance and the promoter would say, ‘Try not to get them too rowdy’ – which is not down to us. I remember some clubs had a ban on Pow! (Forward) [a 2004 grime release that Veira features on] because of how mad people would get when the song came on.”

While members of Roll Deep went on to achieve solo success, Veira kept seeking out unusual collaborations that were focused on keeping that sense of dancefloor madness alive. Producer Kevin Martin, AKA the Bug, was drawn to Veira’s vocal tone and their work has produced some of the loudest, most aggressively vibrational music you can hear at a club. “Sound system culture isn’t something I got to experience because of my age,” Veira says, “but when I started working with Kevin, he showed me what it’s like to create a sound so big it moves people. When you are the front guy, it’s a powerful machine to control. I’m proud to command the bass, vibrations and people.”

Their most lauded track is 2008’s Skeng, which emerged from only their third recording session together. “I was just about to leave the studio when Kevin convinced me to stay and work on the track,” Veira says. “I didn’t really want to be there, so I was being a spoiled brat and only using a minimal style, trying to get away with one word a line.” Ironically, that laid-back feel is what gives Skeng its raw, menacing power. “Kevin basically gave me an opportunity to be myself,” he says. “His audience might be from a different world to what I was used to, but we were all trying to channel the same energy.”

Ultimately, it’s this flair for crowd mayhem that has given Veira longevity in a young person’s game. He no longer sees himself as a grime artist, a rapper or a drum’n’bass MC. “I am the ultimate UK vocalist,” he says, with only a hint of mischievousness. Now the US is calling, with tour plans in motion, Veira will be taking his distinctly British brand of vocals global. “The UK scene has always been exciting, whether we’re winning awards or not,” he says. “I’ll keep doing what I’ve always done – and I’m celebrating every time I’m on stage.”

You can still grab a ticket for the event here but don’t sleep, as these will definitely sell out.

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Steve Stamp Q&A

26 February 2020 -

We’re buzzing to be welcoming Steve Stamp aka DJ Steves (Kurupt FM) from genius BBC comedy People Just Do Nothing to the building on Thursday 5th March, not least as he’s co-headlining with jungle legend Randall!

TICKETS (SKIDDLE)

TICKETS (RA)

Promoters 23 Degrees caught up with him for a quick chat before the gig.

How old were you when you first started learning to mix? Which DJ’s inspired you to start?

Around 15 I think. I had some basic belt drives and me and Beats would go back to back after school. We were inspired by the West London pirate radio DJs. A lot of the time I didn’t really know who they were but I remember people like Oxide were playing the darker stuff that I was most into. I also had one tape with Deekline where he was scratching over garage, that was the maddest thing I’d ever heard. Blew my tiny mind.

Your sets are on ode to the Garage sound, what are your top 3 Garage slammers?

It’s hard to pick but there’s a few that have stood the test of time. Stuff like Roy Davis Jr ft Peven Everett – Gabriel, Active Minds – Hobsons Choice, Groove Chronicles – ‘Hold On’. They always existed on the classier end of the garage spectrum, very sexy production. They’re not tracks you’ll normally hear in a rave though, what I hope I can do with my sets is introduce some of the less obvious party tunes and show people some classics that they might not have heard before.

With Garage fully back on the map right now, which of the new school producers are you feeling?

Ah there’s loads of people making good beats. Conductah, Murlo… In terms of new stuff I’m more into grime: Sir Spyro, Swifta, Rudekid, Spooky. What I love about the scene is that a lot of these guys are selectors and their music emerges out of the radio and rave culture. It’s all connected and that’s what keeps it so authentic.

You’ve played in Edinburgh before with the rest of Kurupt FM, how was it? Are you excited to return?

Scotland is always messy. Weird shit seems to happen every time I’m there. DJs ending up in ambulances, McDonalds lock-ins. I blame the Buckfast. Need to add that to my rider actually…

We had Danny Rankin aka Decoy perform back in 2019, he had some serious Jungle music up his sleeve, do you ever sneak in some Jungle/DnB into your sets?

I’ll leave that to the pros. We’ve got Randall on the lineup with me and he’s told me that I’m not allowed to go beyond 140bpm. I mean he hasn’t actually said that, but he’s a legend and I know my place.

Any dubplates/suprises up your sleeve?

At some point during the set I sometimes like to surprise the audience by going briefly into character as Steves and doing a bad mix. So if you hear that then that’s why. And you’re welcome.

Finally, taps on or taps aff?

Taps aff. Trousers down. Red Stripe in each hand. Eyes closed.

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DJ Q headlines Distrikt launch night at the Bongo, Thursday 18th Oct

15 October 2018 -

Launching at The Bongo Club, Distrikt is presenting to you some of the best drum and bass, bassline and garage dj’s in the current scene and who better to headline our launch than DJ Q!

Part of the TQD collective, DJ Q is an innovative bassline DJ who is set to raise the roof for the first event. With recent performances at Boomtown and Lovebox festivals earlier this year, this event is one that is not to be missed!

Tickets have been flying, so don’t hang around if you’re keen!  Grab one here.

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Messenger Sound System Re-opening Night Party at Bongo this Sat 1st Sept!

31 August 2018 -

It’s been a long, hot summer…  Have you missed us?  Come show the Bongo dance floor some love!

High Grade Sound System Experience
Original Roots Advertiser since ’87…

Conscious Reggae Muzik / Dubwize.
Full Custom Built Sound System.
Good vibes/ heavy duty bass line…

Room 2 – Sound System Legacies with DJ Skillis and crew playing jungle, dub, garage, dubstep.

2 Floors of music – Don’t miss!
Powered by Messenger Sound System.

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Big n Bashy welcomes pioneering grime and UK garage producer Jon E Cash, Sat 2nd April

31 March 2016 -
JonECash
Following President T and Sir Spyro, who played the club in February, Big n Bashy welcome pioneering grime / ‘sublow’ producer Jon E Cash (Black Ops) plus Dread D (aka T Williams) on Sat 2nd April.  More info about the Black Ops label / crew here, here and here. 
More info:
Back back in the day, before Grime there was Garage: too many types to mention, be it Chocolate Sweet Boy through to 2 step through to the darker vibes that started dubtep…….In between these times were DJs, producers and labels boldly breaking ground with new sounds and laying the foundations for future current UK sounds.
One of those producers is the mighty Jon E Cash, who had his own, signature sound and style which forged and heavily influenced the sound we know as Grime today as well as starting the much revered Black Ops label which was responsible for close to 50 releases breaking many new sounds and producers such as: Dread D, Charmzy as well as Jon E Cash’s own productions which are still in demand to this day.
Joining us on the night: Jon E Cash will be on mic hype duties alongside a very special suprise guest of Black Ops fame on decks playing classic Black Ops dubplates to make regular DJs weep.
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