Prototype Years. Stroy behind Compilation with comments from Grooverider

George Palladev 8.05.2020

Prototype Years. Stroy behind Compilation with comments from Grooverider


In 1996, the founding father of the jungle and drum and bass scene, Grooverider, was offered a contract by Sony. Another influential figure of the movement has made a deal with the devil—this is how the incorruptible participants of the scene saw it. Grooverider responded: “I don’t fly the flag for nobody. I fly the flag for me and what I feel is right. The DJs and producers control the drum‘n’bass industry and we ain’t go no majors telling us you go to this and that.”

Grooverider was supposed to be involved not only as a DJ, but also as a musician—in two years he was going to release an album. And he did—Mysteries of Funk became his only album, made with the help of colleagues. Grooverider resurrected his label Prototype, which had been middling since its foundation in 1994. It quickly started putting out good releases and preparing a summary compilation—Prototype Years. “Most of the album is newcomers,” says Grooverider. “Guys like Matrix and Optical. It’s like scouting out the brand new talent. You’ve got to keep things rolling, fresh people and new sounds. You’ve got to hand it over to others sometimes. I would never release records purely for the sake of it. I only release things that I’m confident with and something that I really want on my label. Prototype isn’t about figures—it’s about good music.”

Grooverider: “This deal has never been about what I was going to earn from it, the main attraction was that Sony have huge resources and the ability to push your music into territories where people haven’t even heard of drum and bass. It’s always been a dream to sign to a major label and be involved in a major work and that chance to get my music around the world was something I’d been aspiring towards for some time. I thought, do they want me to start making pop music or something? They’ve been really patient with me. Because it’s two years since I signed with Sony. But they’ve not put me under any pressure at all.”

John B. — Secrets

“John’s a new guy, a university student who’s only been listening to drum‘n’bass for about two years and hasn’t been able to leave it alone since. He’s fused a lot of different sounds here, techno sounds, old house sounds. He sent me a tape, I listened to it but there was only about five minutes of it there. I had to ring him strainght up and say Look where’s the rest of the tune? He sent me back an eight-minute version and it seemed to fit when this album business came up. He’s made a few tunes before and he’s got a some tracks coming out on DJ SS’ Formation label, but I thought this would be a good way to introduce him properly. He’s definitely somebody to look out for in the future.”

Ed Rush & Fierce — Locust

“This is something new from Ed, a little collaboration, and I can also bring Fierce into the album this way. It’s a pretty big tune as it goes, it’ll be a monster when it comes out on a 12-inch. It’s been around for about five months on dubplate but it’s been lively from day one. This is one of the main tunes on the album. And it explains Ed Rush down to his feet, it’s totally that sound, their department. And it’s a sound people associate with me. Well, that’s one aspect of me... there are many faces, you know!”

Dillinja feat. Cybotron — Threshold

“Dillinja is the Grand Master, he’s the Don, he's the Boss. I’ve had his tunes in my box for the past five years. He’s one major talent who’s been holding up a lot of this scene by himself. I wanted to link him to his alias Cybotron to show another side of him. Threshold is and old style string tune that takes me back to the nights of Rage.”

Codename John — Warned

“Who is Codename John? That’s me! I’ve got a track called The Warning coming out on Metalheadz and I took one section out of it and worked it into a little exclusive, something I’ve been playing out myself as one of my personal things, I never really intended to release it, it’s just one from the house.”

Matrix — Mute

“It’s just a trashin’ track man. It’s a really excellent tune from a new skool guy called Matrix. He sent me a copy of this tune and I thought Yeah, this fits in with the Prototype genres. It’s straight to the point and that’s what Prototype is all about, straight to the point. This guy got a lot of talent and I had to get something from him.”

Ed Rush — Subway

“Ed was one of projects I suppose. He was on No U Turn Records but wasn’t getting no recognition. I nursed him and pushed him into certain angles and now he’s starting to come of age. Subway is a nice little boucing thing. Basic but effective. This kind of energy has always been there but people haven’t looked at it before. Dillinja and Photek have been making records like that for years. People didn’t recognise it. Now it’s the era and people are starting to see it.”

Cybotron — Silver Blade

“It’s Dillinja, yeah. That speaks for itself really. Just hear the tune, that’s all I’ve got to say. Words can’t sum it up, I’m not even going to try. Hear it and you’ll see why it’s on the album. Dillinja is the daddy, nobody can teach him anything, not Goldie nor anybody. He’s been here longer than all of them. And he’s still young, he hasn’t even started to achieve his full potential yet. I know that when he’s making these tracks, he doesn’t think they’re anything. It’s frightening to think what’s going to happen when he sits down to make a tune he likes. I don’t think he knows quite how talented he is. Which is frightening for somebody like me!”

Lemon D — City Lights

“Lemon and Dillinja are like two sides of a coin, but that’s because they live next door to each other! But Lemon’s track is very experimental. For a start, it hasn’t got any breaks in it. It’s pure drum machine. It’s like Rage techno, a totally innovative track. A total Prototype. Something different for people to listen to well for the breakbeat boys, anyway. And the more different the music is, the longer it’s going to survive. You can’t have the same old thing all the time. That just makes it boring.”


Jon Black, designer: “The image used for this sleeve is an X-ray of a mans head. It’s illegal for hospitals to give these out, so I had to donate some money to get my hands on the image. Grooverider then had some photos taken of himself and I mapped them on top of each other. Grooverider had just signed to Sony and this was a collection of old and brand new material. The idea was to look inside the Prototype label, which is why I chose to go with the lenticular CD case and X-ray theme. Sony originally wanted the skull to be wearing headphones and mixing with decks—I had to talk them out of that!”