The year was 2000 and British dance music was in the throes of a quiet revolution–one that some of UK garage’s pioneers were not too thrilled about.

With the traditional elements of soul and groove being replaced by a grimier new sound, tensions between the “old guard” and new wave of artists were reaching an all-time high.

One can recall a particularly heated debate on the Dreem Teem’s BBC Radio 1 show between spokesman Spoony and three members of the emerging south London group, So Solid Crew–Lisa Maffia, Romeo and Mega Man.

The exchange, as reported in The Guardian, serves as an eye-opener into the conflict that became the main point of discussion at the UK Garage Committee meetings of the early ‘00s.

"Any tip for ageing rockers like ourselves?" Spoony asked them sarcastically. "How can we stay out there?"

"Give the youth of nowadays a chance to bust through that barrier - 'cause you lot have been there for so long and it's our time now," retorted Romeo.

"Are you saying we must step over?”

"A little sidestep," Romeo suggested. Mega Man added: "Look for new talent that can carry your name when you lot are too tired to DJ.”

DJ Norris “Da Boss” Windross, one of the main players in the UK garage scene back then, worried about the new style of “breakbeat garage” mutating the core of the genre itself.

“I felt that we had to be conscious about our sound, and be true to it – otherwise new sounds were going to come in, and we were in danger of becoming something else. And that’s exactly what happened,” Windross said in one interview.

Fast forward decades later, the UK garage music scene sounds barely anything like it did years ago–is that a good thing or a bad thing? Depends on who you’re really listening to.

**Picture courtesy of Native FM**

Article published: 17th October, 2019
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