Groove Chronicles: Noodles Vs. El-B

Two champions of the garage scene going head-to-head in our latest versus interview. From 1996-1999, Groove Chronicles were responsible for creating some of the finest garage music ever set to wax, pushing the 2-step sound and bringing darker shades of colour to the fledgling genres palette. Made up of South London duo El-B and Noodles, the pair created a number of classics in their fruitful partnership, before going separate ways to pursue solo success (in the case of El-B) and pushing a new label venture (Noodles’ DPR imprint).

Both as a duo and individually, both artists have produced and released some of best UK garage music around. Groove Chronicles‘ 1997 hit ‘Stone Cold’ is still a regular in many DJs’ sets today, as well as a number of tracks from the seminal ‘Roots Of El-B’ compilation. Steve Gurley, Zed Bias and numerous originals have emerged from the DPR camp, and El-B’s Ghost Recordings have issued work by the likes of J Da Flex, Caski and El-B himself.

In short, there are few to have left a lasting impact on UK underground music, and it is with that in mind that we consider their thoughts on changes in promotion and distribution, future predictions, influences and what makes a good record.

Noodles questions to EL-B.

Who and what influence you in music?
Alot of jazz, rare groove and funk as a child. Alot of hip-hop music as a boy. Alot of acid house and techno as a teen.

Would you call yourself a DJ or producer?
Though I’ve been turntable mixing from the age of 10 and producing from the age of fifteen, I never call myself a DJ. I am a writer and producer of music.

What changes have you seen in the music scene?
The only thing I’ve really seen change is the style of the music, the style of the crowd and the drugs they take!

What makes a good record?
Strongly written melody-basic catchy hooks & leads-a good groove and a good mixdown.

What was your creative high points & lows?
Highest point ever known were the early days of ghost records 2000-2003, new fresh fat ideas were flowing through the studio daily with a squad of no less than eight producers working for the one label from the same studio. Lowest point hasnt really come yet…

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
Would love to be writing, producing and assisting in more mainstream big productions across the musical spectrum.

El-B questions to Noodles.

What was your first job in the music business?
I use to sell records in Heaven nightclub on a Monday night which was called Earth and on a Thursday night Rage.

Was it easier for beginners to put vinyl on the shelf back in the 90s?
Yes it was because there used to be a lot more distribution companies around press & distribution.

Do you think good music is more “few and far between” nowadays?
Yes the quality of music has gone downhill in the last couple of years, it seem to be directionless.

Have you found that promotion methods have changed over the years?
Yes – a lot more internet-based, which a lot people don’t really take much notice of. Back in days it there was a lot more vinyl being sent out and also the record shops use to have a lot of promo as well which was either sold or given away.

How was Groove Chronicles different from other garage outfits?
I didn’t really wanted to be put in any genre box, because I heard music all day every day whilst working in the record shops it all seemed to blend together – as I call it “hybrid” I wanted my production to reflect that and I still do with new material coming shortly.

What do you predict for garage music in 2013?
We have some good releases coming out on dpr recordings from the likes of Royce Rolls / Price/ CJ Reign/ D3adline / Dubchild so that should set the pace for quality UK garage music.

You can check the latest from Noodles here, and be sure to check for El-B’s Ghost Recordings here.