Time Out: The Return of UKG – A Future Garage Response

Well, yet again it seems I am forced to explain what Future Garage is, as once again a lack of understanding and incorrect information is being spread about the movement.

Let me begin by saying that I LOVE Garage, be it Future Garage, Nu Skool / Nu Garage, 2 Step, 4×4, Old Skool UKG or whatever! I also rate all the people mentioned in the article as quality producers, djs and promoters who are all smacking it in one way or another and this response is not an attack on any of them or the article author, but is instead a response to the way Future Garage as a scene and movement has been represented and framed in the article.

I kind of don’t know where to begin in relation to the recent Time Out: The Return Of UKG article, so I guess I will begin by saying that the article author Kate Hutchinson has made more of an effort than a lot of Journalists/Bloggers do, she actually contacted someone prepared to explain the scene (me) and has given new heads some good resources to investigate. However she (or maybe the editor?) chose not to use any quotes from myself leaving the article overly skewed in favour of just a few producers and DJs, who by there own admission don’t make or play Future Garage.

So, being that I answered most issues raised by the article in the interview I did for it I thought what better way to reply than by posting that entire interview and then addressing a few points that I feel need raising in light of reading the article itself, so here goes:

The Unpublished Interview

Kate Hutchinson:

I’m writing a simple piece for Red Bull on ‘What is future garage?’ but I’m mainly interested in why old school garage has become so popular again in clubs (just like 90s R&B did – it follows on very quickly from that), how the old is mixing up with the new, and why no DJ seems to want to be associated with the term ‘future garage’ (see Mosca‘s recent comments on Rob Da Bank‘s Future Garage special).

What are your thoughts on all of this, as the founder of the scene. You’ve seen it grow a lot over the past two years, I’m sure.

Whistla:

Cool let me listen again to what Mosca said to get my bearings on the exact nature of the discussion and i’ll holla back.

Ok had a relisten and opinions are flowing haha.
Here ya go:

I’ll leave what is FG (Future Garage) till the end as it makes more sense to.

Old school garage is having a resurgence in clubs for a few reasons imo. One of the main drivers has been the FG movement, before the FG scene started up in earnest in 2008 Garage was still a swear word for a lot of “clubbers” (it never was in the Dubstep scene mind you, which is where many Garage heads took refuge after the “So Solid Situation” as I’ll put it for want of a better description). Once FG began to gain traction a large number of UKG (old school garage) djs/mcs and producers started benefiting from the increased interest in Garage. This has then led to lots of clubs booking “names” (rather than the people behind the resurgence) for nights. Most UKG (old school garage) djs will only play a very limited number of New Garage (FG or New School) tracks in there sets, this is due to fear of a bad crowd reaction, and due to the fact a lot of people when they pay to see an old school dj want to hear their old tracks. It then becomes an old skool thing, rather than the forward looking thing it originally started out to be.

A side note on your RnB comment is I think a resurgence of interest in that has been partly due to the fact Dubstep has blown up and the fact that a RnB vocal over a Dubstep tune (done well) can sound awesome which has lead to a proliferation of RnB/Dubstep crossover tracks and a renewed interest in RnB generally.

In terms of Old mixing with the New like I mentioned before it is entirely dependant on the DJ in that regard. An established UKG (old school garage) DJ will play very few if any new tracks in a set, whereas a Future Garage DJ will probably play in an opposite fashion to the old guys, playing very little old stuff and loads of new stuff. The current growth of more generalised “Bass Music” DJs has meant that some of the classic garage tracks are being played more alongside various other types of Bass Music, like Juke, Dubstep and UK Funky.

I don’t think no DJs want to be associated with the term Future Garage, Mosca certainly doesn’t and he is one of a number of people who dont like the term, but many more do and use it regularly to describe their music, just look at the growth of FutureGarageForum.com.

Ultimately I think dislike for the name stems from a general misunderstanding of what the term actually means. Which gets us onto “what is future garage”

Future Garage is a movement not a genre, FG is just a starting point not the end destination. It’s a collection of DJs and Producers who wouldn’t fit comfortably in the UKG oeuvre or the Dubstep one. They are somewhere inbetween, and Future Garage is that collection of DJs and Producers. Now that FG has helped to make Garage acceptable again the future is indeed bright, the future is garage! (The whole idea of the “Future” part of the name was to give garage a future, not be some kind of crystal ball futurism). Who knows where it will lead? That is the wholepoint of Future Garage. Before, Garage had become tainted by its past, Future Garage has given it a new fresh chance to develop into the scene it was always supposed to, with the ability now to evolve new strains of the genre much like how House and DnB have multiple sub-genres, so too is Garage starting to. All thanks to the impetus of the Future Garage movement.

KH:

Hah! Yes, true. Thanks very much for this Whistla. Very interesting indeed! I forgot to ask you two things

Whistla:

No Problem:

KH:

It seems like this year especially, the old garage fraternity has come back and not just playing Garage Nation nights but ‘cool’ young electronic nights alongside new DJs, people like EZ, Wookie (who has just remixed Jessie J!) etc. What are your thoughts on this?

Whistla:

This is because of what I was saying before. UKG (old school garage) has had a resurgence in popularity because of how Future Garage has started to influence Bass Music generally. This new interest, it’s best to call it “New” because about 50% of clubbers, or more, these days weren’t around for UKG (old school garage) back in the day. This means that promoters are like “oh if I book [insert old school garage dj name] I can not only get my normal crowd but also garage heads, thinking they are being up-to-the-minute but unfortunately miss the point entirely. Previously this was unthinkable due to the tainted nature of Garage I mentioned earlier. Thanks to Future Garage the old heads have been able to gain a lot of bookings (often to the detriment of true Future Garage djs unfortunately). A further point to note is that some UKG djs do “get it” when it comes to FG and want to take what they do into the 21st Century and are eager to play to new crowds to do that. Most however just play the old tunes, but there are some old boys who are helping take stuff forward.

KH:

What is your definition, in a nutshell, of future garage?

Whistla:

Unfortunately there is no “nutshell” definition, which may be why some people have a problem with the name. FG is a movement that is reinventing what Garage is, can and should be. Taking the Garage sound into the 21st Century, looking forward rather than backwards. Not interested in “chart toppers” (which the UKG crowd are totally obsessed with even still) but rather growing a strong and vibrant scene without all the dress codes and moodiness that UKG was affected by.

KH:

And is this happening outside of the UK? Or is this very much a UK movement?

Whistla:

This is one of the key points of Future Garage and why a new name was needed. UKG was only the UK (mainly London to be honest). Future Garage however is truly global with nights, djs and producers from all over the globe. A example of this is you will see lots more FG djs playing internationally than you will UKG. This is because UKG djs (remember when I say UKG I mean old school) don’t have the “name” status they do in the UK, so international events are not constrained in the same way UK promoters are, therefore they want to book the people who are moving and shaking right now, rather than the people who did big things 10 years ago.

KH:

Thanks very much!

/End of The Interview.

Some further points I feel I should add after reading the article itself. I had assumed that because this article was looking at Garage as it stands now that certain people would have been contacted and would have been able to state there case for the scene and what is happening from their perspective, a couple that need particular mention are Mike Delinquent and Elski, these are the people who I expected were going to be making the “Nu Garage” or “Nu Skool Garage” case, therefore I focussed my answers from a Future Garage perspective expecting lots of differing viewpoints would be aired. Unfortunately this was not the case, to the detriment of the article imo.

Another thing to note is, being as I wasn’t quoted, it is safe to say that the people who were quoted have only been partially quoted and as such there personal opinion may have been made to sound different and more “sound bitey” than they actually were.

Further, I wish people writing about Future Garage would actually ask (and then use the answers given!) the people who actually make and play it rather than people who don’t. Mosca has never used the term Future Garage and is a producer who makes all types of dance music, so why are people always asking him about FG? (For instance why have a “Rob Da Bank Future Garage Special” when no one that appeared on that “special” uses the term?)

Anyway that’s pretty much it, if you want to discuss anything raised in this post or Future Garage generally holla at me on My Twitter.