Grooverider Keeps Drum ‘n’ Bass Alive

GROOVERIDER and FABIO with MARCUS, MYSTICAL INFLUENCE, SLIP 'N' SLIDE and more, at Red Square (203 Richmond West), Friday (November.


GROOVERIDER and FABIO with MARCUS, MYSTICAL INFLUENCE, SLIP ‘N’ SLIDE and more, at Red Square (203 Richmond West), Friday (November 22). $20 advance, more at the door. 416-593-6660. www.mostwanteddjs.com

Rating: NNNNN


Few figures in the drum ‘n’ bass world command as much respect as Grooverider. He’s often referred to as the godfather, as much because he’s one of the true pioneers of the genre as for the formidable weight his opinions hold and the influence he exerts on the scene.

Through his weekly radio show on BBC 1 with his partner, Fabio, Grooverider is often the first to break new tunes and sounds to the wider d ‘n’ b audience. Fans expect the DJs to drop lots of unreleased tracks and dub plates, and the turnover is so fast that what was big six months ago is already too played out for Grooverider.

That’s why you won’t hear much next week from his latest mix CD, Fabric Live, Vol. 6, part of a series spotlighting the residents and high-profile guests at the renowned UK club. Fabric has become many DJs’ favourite club, Grooverider’s included.

“Everything is great about Fabric: the sound system, the people, the vibe of it, the look of the club. It’s the best thing right now,” says Grooverider over the phone from his studio in London. “They’ve got their shit down. They know what they’re doing.”

Although his and Fabio’s previous Toronto appearances have all been at big raves and large club events, next week will see the pair in a much more intimate venue.

While admitting that the big parties have their place, Grooverider says he prefers the freedom that a small club audience gives him.

“The small clubs are more intimate, and you can play different kinds of music, get a bit more underground. You can experiment more than you can with a massive audience who want to hear the commercial kinds of tunes. I’m a proper underground DJ, so I’m going to prefer the smaller crowds where you can play a different kind of set.”

Grooverider and Fabio have been DJing together since the acid house explosion in the UK during the late 80s, and they helped guide the birth of jungle through their residency at Rage from 1990 to 93. Their styles have always been complementary — Grooverider pushes the dark, noisy and aggressive side of d ‘n’ b while Fabio favours the genre’s more melodic, jazzy and soulful aspects.

“We just like playing music. I might prefer the harder edge, and he prefers the softer side. That’s why we complement each other so well, because we each know our side. But at the end of the day, we could reach across and do each other’s thing if we need to.”

Grooverider’s now been DJing for more than 12 years, and although he has a strong record as a producer, he’s always been better known as a DJ. Unlike many DJs-turned-producers, he hasn’t lost touch with the thrill of playing for a crowd and exposing music that might not otherwise have had a chance.

“The music’s kept DJing fresh for me. I’m not one to think I’m making the best music in the world. There are other people making better music, and I get access to it, which is why I’m a DJ.”

BENJAMIN BOLES

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