Exclusive Interview With Groove Chronicles: The Meaning of Rave, The Changing Scene, & Lockdown
If you’re unfamiliar with this man, it’s time to get familiar. Groove Chronicles, aka DJ Noodles, has been making moves in the garage scene for a good while, since 1996 to be exact. During 96’ he formed Groove Chronicles, and started putting out 2-Step innovations that paved the way for the urban Dubstep/Grime sound. His seminal release ‘Stone Cold’ is as strong a track can possibly be. The irresistible groove and unique Reese Bass breakdown have made it into a serious classic. His discography is vast, his new stuff is consistently great, and his label DPR Recordings comes out with fresh tracks regularly. So, being straight from (arguably) the golden age of rave, how does he feel the scene is doing? How is it compared with the past?
This is a fairly common question that surfaces every cultural cycle: is the rave scene in safe hands? This time around, the alarm bells are being rung by the Grime scene’s recent morph into Drill and UK Rap, the sheer amount of money being pumped into rave, and the adoption of rave into popular mainstream culture. We all saw what happened to Dubstep, we all saw what happened to House. The commodification of such sounds seems to have a habit of leaving behind any of the core values or meanings originally embodied by the genre. No slander to EDM, but Skrillex’s and Benga’s music don’t exactly carry the same purposes. Will the same happen to rave as a whole? I asked Noodles what he thought, is the scene changing? Or is it just nostalgia?
“I wouldn’t actually say change? More as in, (it’s) new to people who wasn’t there in (the) first place, aspects of “rave” have now been adopted in everyday life now. Rave was to me a term of freedom to experience this new phenomenon which was created out of nothing back in the 90’s. It will always be “old head talk”, then (there) will be another load of old head’s so the cycle will continue.”
Aside from the actual sound of the music, how about the live events themselves? Has there been any fundamental changes in the raves of today compared with the past?
“Obviously there are a lot of events to choose from, so I think people seem to drift to events where they think more people are going to be at? Which in some case’s isn’t the best bet. Back in the day it was more music led, most of the good DJ’s played together so it was a proper mixture of sounds.”
This may be it. Sure, there are genres that dilute the ideas of rave and leave that phenomenon of freedom vibes behind somewhat, but equally there are genres that embody it perfectly. Maybe rather than rave culture changing, it has merely been built upon with varying levels of faithfulness. More to the point, sure, we may be losing some genres along the way, but what they stand for is definitely being represented in new genres. Just look at Drum & Bass, Tech House, Techno, and the like. It being “more music led” is interesting though, perhaps the importance of image and branding is more important now.
“I don’t think currently there is going to be much change as the blueprint is done already, the only difference is you can buy a Barbour jacket & Mc Dee’s now at a festival/live event.”
We also discussed the pandemic and lockdown, and how that was for a DJ, producer and label owner. How is the transition?
“I’ve been fine with the situation, having time to deal with projects and general day to day work has been good. Also the fact of not having late nights has been a blessing.”
Now to clear up the rumours. Did you engineer peoples tunes back in the day?
“You mean twiddle buttons? Yeah here & there producing is my thing man (samples, direct of tracks etc…) I lay a lot of ideas down in ableton.”
Noodles’ favourite set ever?
“Honestly I think any club where you can make people dance is a gift, so I would say everywhere!”
No matter how the scene may or may not be changing, it’s clear the pure spirit of rave remains in Noodles. To end here’s some of the exciting stuff he is up to. You can catch him on radio sets from time to time, and all of his new stuff releases on DPR Recordings.
What does the future look like? When will you be returning to the clubs?
“I will when I’m ready to go back to the clubs, for now I’m happy working on new material with Dubchild and doing a monthly/bi-monthly show on Run Dem Radio”