Last updated

Metalheadz logo.png
Country of origin United Kingdom
Location London
Official website

Metalheadz is a drum and bass record label based in the United Kingdom. It was founded in 1994 by Kemistry & Storm and Goldie. [1] [2] [3] [4]




Goldie's early experiences of the rave scene, especially the club Rage had a profound effect on him. DJ Kemistry introduced him to 4hero's Reinforced Records where he went on to create some design and artwork for them, leading to doing A&R for the label. In his autobiography, Goldie explains how he took a 1991 design created by Darren Bartlett and that he added headphones to the skull design "so that the skull symbolised the head, while the 'phones were music, because music will be here long after we're all dead and gone." [5] During a webchat with British Newspaper The Guardian, Goldie states that the design was also inspired by Wolverhampton FC's logo. [6]

Goldie credits Grooverider with the term "Metalheadz", coined with reference to Goldie becoming increasingly obsessed with the metal acetates known as dubplates used to test out the latest tunes before release. [5] Metalheadz effectively started out as a "dubplate label" for Reinforced, with the logo first appearing on an acetate for a Rufige Cru track. [5]

DJ Storm recalls Kemistry bringing Goldie to London nightclub Rage: "The night Goldie really 'got it', we came back to our flat and he said 'right, I want to make this music, you’ll be the DJs, we’ll have a label and a club, we’ll make some t-shirts'. That was our dream and that dream became the Metalheadz label." [7]

Early years: 1990s

The label's first release was a split 12" single with Doc Scott's "V.I.P. Drumz" backed with Goldie's "V.I.P. Riders Ghost". The accompanying press release stated that Metalheadz aimed to "explore both the roots of Breakbeat and Jungle, and rework it into a new dimension, Drum 'n' Bass." [8]

The Metalheadz back catalogue from this era features many major figures from drum and bass, with artists such as Photek, Dillinja, Adam F, Grooverider (as Codename John), Doc Scott, Peshay, Alex Reece, Wax Doctor, Source Direct, J Majik, Lemon D, Hidden Agenda, Ed Rush and Optical contributing productions to the imprint. [9]

In July 1995, the label launched the weekly Metalheadz Sunday Sessions club night, which achieved legendary status at London's Blue Note club. [10] [11] [12]  

In September 1995, Metalheadz in conjunction with FFRR Records released Goldie's critically acclaimed debut album Timeless . [13]

In 1996 Metalheadz released the first instalment in the groundbreaking Platinum Breakz series of compilations, (again in collaboration with FFRR Records). [14] The first volume was billed as "21st Century Urban Breakbeat Music" and included tracks by 11 artists which had previously appeared on 12" as well as new efforts. [15] The series was hailed by critics as the uniquely futuristic sound of young, multiracial Britain[ citation needed ]. They showcased a maturing genre of music that displayed the influences of reggae, hip-hop, house and techno and were highly sophisticated and intricately produced, contrary to the image of the music that had been presented by the mass media up to that point. Before their release, drum and bass compilations had been more closely associated with live DJ mix albums of varying quality, and the interest in the Platinum Breakz series proved instrumental in bringing the scene from its underground origins to the brink of mainstream success (at least in the UK). [3]

1998 saw the release of "Talkin' Headz - The Metalheadz Documentary", a film by Manga Entertainment. [16]

Goldie, the club night, the label and its artists were some of the key elements in drum and bass/jungle's mid-to-late 90s mainstream resurgence.[ citation needed ]

21st Century

In February 2010, Metalheadz beat Soul II Soul, the Trojan Soundsystem, and Digital Mystikz in the first Red Bull Music Academy Culture Clash at the Camden Roundhouse. [17]

In 2012 the label celebrated its 100th release. [18] [19]

Metalheadz artists

These include:

See also

Related Research Articles

Drum and bass is a genre of electronic music characterized by fast breakbeats with heavy bass and sub-bass lines, samples, and synthesizers. The genre grew out of the UK's jungle scene in the early 1990s.

LTJ Bukem Musical artist

Daniel Williamson, better known as LTJ Bukem, is a British drum and bass musician, producer and DJ. He and his record label Good Looking are most associated with the jazzy, atmospheric side of drum and bass music.

Photek English composer, producer, and DJ

Rupert Parkes, known as Photek, is a Los Angeles–based, British record producer, film and TV composer, and electronic music DJ. Photek was born and raised in Ipswich, Suffolk, England.

Goldie English musician, visual artist, and actor

Clifford Joseph Price MBE, better known as Goldie, is a British musician, music producer, DJ, visual artist and actor.

Jungle is a genre of dance music that developed out of the UK rave scene and sound system culture in the 1990s. Emerging from breakbeat hardcore, the style is characterised by rapid breakbeats, heavily syncopated percussive loops, samples, and synthesised effects, combined with the deep basslines, melodies, and vocal samples found in dub, reggae and dancehall, as well as hip hop and funk. Many producers frequently sampled the "Amen break" or other breakbeats from funk and jazz recordings. Jungle was a direct precursor to the drum and bass genre which emerged in the mid-1990s.

Grooverider Musical artist

Raymond Bingham, better known as Grooverider, is a British drum and bass DJ. He and DJ partner Fabio are regarded as "originators" of the scene.

Valerie Olukemi A "Kemi" Olusanya, commonly known by her stage name Kemistry, was a leading English drum and bass DJ of the early 1990s, half of duo Kemistry & Storm, and co-founder of the Metalheadz record label.

Alex Reece is a drum and bass artist. He popularized the use of two-step breaks in drum and bass, and was an influence of the jazzstep sound, a mix of drum and bass and jazz. Reece was one of the musicians in the Metalheadz collective, and has also worked under the pseudonym of Fallen Angels.

<i>Timeless</i> (Goldie album) 1995 studio album by Goldie

Timeless is the debut studio album by British electronic musician Goldie. It was released on 31 July 1995 and is universally regarded as a groundbreaking release in the history of drum and bass music. The album blended the complex, chopped and layered breakbeats and deep basslines of jungle and drum and bass with expansive, symphonic strings and atmospherics, and female vocals.

Good Looking Records

Good Looking Records is a jungle and drum & bass record label, formed in 1991 by producer LTJ Bukem. The label specializes in jazz-influenced and atmospheric, so-called Intelligent Drum & Bass.

Drum and bass is an electronic music genre that originated in the UK rave scene having developed from breakbeat hardcore. The genre would go on to become one of the most popular genres of electronic dance music, becoming international and spawning multiple different derivatives and subgenres.

<i>DJ-Kicks: Kemistry & Storm</i> 1999 compilation album by Kemistry & Storm

DJ-Kicks: Kemistry & Storm is a DJ mix album, mixed by Kemistry & Storm. It was released on 25 January 1999 on the Studio !K7 independent record label as part of the DJ-Kicks series.

Kemistry & Storm were an English drum and bass DJ and recording duo, composed of Kemistry and Storm. They were active in the 1990s. Along with Goldie, they founded the Metalheadz label in 1994.

Scott McIlroy, better known as Doc Scott or Nasty Habits, is a British drum and bass DJ and producer.

Ed Rush Musical artist

Ed Rush is the stage name used by the drum and bass producer and DJ, Ben Settle. Rush has been releasing records since 1992 and primarily with his musical partner Optical, since 1997. Along with Optical he is also the co-founder of the record label Virus Recordings which releases his records along with other drum and bass acts. He is most associated with the aggressive styles of drum and bass music known as techstep, darkcore and neurofunk.

Matt Quinn, known by his stage name Optical, is a British musician, producer and DJ. He is co-founder and owner of Virus Recordings. He is best known as one half of the drum and bass duo Ed Rush and Optical. He is also the brother of Jamie Quinn also known as Matrix.

Reinforced Records

Reinforced Records is a British breakbeat hardcore, jungle, and drum and bass record label, first founded in 1989 by 4hero and based in Dollis Hill, London. Reinforced is one of the groundbreaking record labels of the genre.

Peshay Musical artist

Paul Pesce, better known as Peshay, is a British drum and bass, jungle, electronic music, record producer and DJ.

V Recordings British drum and bass record label

V Recordings is a drum and bass record label, based in the United Kingdom. It was founded in 1993 by Bryan Gee and Jumpin Jack Frost.


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