Amongst discerning fans of golden-era UK Garage, no single artist or project garners quite as much respect as Groove Chronicles. And rightly so.
Penning a multitude of genre-defining moments such as 'Stone Cold', '1999' and that Myron remix, Groove Chronicles were responsible for some of the biggest underground anthems of the late 90's - tracks that continue to influence and resonate with new audiences to this day.
The project was originally founded in 1996 by a young DJ Noodles, who had spent the formative years of his musical career working behind shop counters at some of London's most respected record stores - soaking up the full range of sounds and flavours that swept through the capital city during that fertile period of dance music history.
After enlisting close friend Lewis Beadle as the project's sound engineer, the Groove Chronicles became a production duo - a fruitful partnership that gave way to a countless classic singles and remixes during it's relatively short three-year lifespan.
Of course - the partnership couldn't last. The pair seperated in 1999, after which Noodles took something of a back seat. A few solo releases aside, the 2000s ultimately served as a welcome break from the clamour and chaos of the music industry - a time to take stock after the whirlwind success that the duo had weathered during the late 90's.
However, recent years have seen Noodles reinstating his place at the forefront of the UK Garage scene - reviving the Groove Chronicles alias as a solo project, and signing a clutch of promising new producers to his revamped record label, DPR Recordings.
Ahead of his set at Bristol's Lakota later this month, we caught up with Noodles to discuss his break from music, his plans for DPR, and the lasting strength of the Groove Chronicles legacy.
Yo Noodles. How’s it going?
Im good thanks - keeping busy.
I hear that you moved away from London recently. Why the big move? Where are you based now?
I’m based in Oxford now. I was born and bred in London, so it was time for a change for me and Bella - my wife and business partner. The opportunity came about and we took it. It’s great being able to juggle both city and country life.
Garage has seen a return to rude health in recent years, and your booking schedule has blown up with it. How has it felt to be consistently back on the road? What are your top tips for the touring DJ?
I've always loved playing out. The most important things are getting plenty of rest (a good hotel helps), and making sure that you’ve got all the things you need for your performance sorted and in order. And remember you are there to entertain people.
You still manage DPR Recordings, which has seen a flurry of activity recently. What have you been up to with the label? Who have you been working with, and what are your plans for future releases?
We’ve been busy working with various artists on the label and have joined a new digital distribution company so things are looking great. We’ve got releases coming by Dubchild, Detz, D3adl1ne and Wr1ng all in various styles.
What about yourself - have you been writing new music under the Groove Chronicles alias? Any release plans?
Yeah I’m back in the studio after a long time being out of it, which was good for me. I had time to learn other aspects of the music business. Being away from the studio has made me appreciate music more.
I’m working on a project with artist and producer Dubchild called Nu-Agenda which blends influences of house, R&B and techno. It’s getting good feedback.
Do you feel any pressure when it comes to living up to the name you built for yourself in the 90s? You’ve been going for over 20 years now – a long time to maintain the level of quality that you’re known for.
No pressure - the Groove Chronicles name is me; my personal journey in music since I started going out to clubs, working in record shops, selling music and DJing. For me its all about the music.
What do you think of the current state of UK Garage? Which producers have been catching your attention recently?
I think the scene is good. I honestly don’t watch too many producers at the moment as I’m concentrating on exploring old vinyl. I’m happy that there are more producers & DJs getting into Garage music.
Tell us a little about JumJum, the all vinyl club-night that you’re involved with back in London.
It all started with my old mixtapes, which I recorded in the late 80s and early 90s. They were a blend of deep house, garage and disco edits. I decided to put a couple up on Soundcloud as you don’t hear stuff like that anymore. They were really well received and it went from there. We’ve done a few nights now, most recently at the Ace Hotel in Shoreditch, which was fantastic.
You’re playing at Lakota in Bristol towards the end of the month. What are your best memories of playing in the city?
I played for Bodynod & Byte with Steve Gurley & Horsepower Productions years ago, which was a great night. Deep Down Inside was another good garage event in Bristol. I played there once on the Queen’s birthday - it was a proper party crowd! Most recently I played Heritage at Lakota last year, which was heavy. Bristol has a good energy and party spirit, which is always a refreshing experience. I'm looking forward to coming back in November.
Catch Noodles alongside Ms Dynamite, Oxide & Neutrino, Fonti & Mighty Moe and Piep Piper & DJ DT at Bristol's Garage Sessions, Lakota on Friday 26th November 2015.