Reinforced Records, one of the pioneers of the jungle sound, celebrates 30 years in the game this year. This legendary label is responsible for kick starting the careers, & giving debut releases, to the likes of 4Hero, Rufige Crew (Goldie), Doc Scott, DJ Randall, Peshay, Paradox & more.
Through the whole of the 1990’s, Reinforced Records earned, and deserved, a reputation as one of the most important and innovative drum and bass labels in the world… I can’t even imagine the jungle / drum and bass scene today without the groundwork that Reinforced, & their peers, put in back in the day.
Their infamous Enforcers series of picture discs always looked just as good as they sounded & are now valued collectors items for any jungle music enthusiast. We can’t forget their spin off label Tom & Jerry, still a buy on sight imprint for any vinyl collectors lucky enough to stumble across a 2nd hand copy on eBay or Discogs. Even represses on the Reinforced website sell out super fast!
To celebrate this 30 year milestone we tracked down Nookie, a bonafide dance music legend himself, to run us through his Top 5 Reinforced Classics. Nookie first released on Reinforced in 1993. Since then he’s gone on to have releases on Moving Shadow, LTJ Bukem’s Good Looking Records, Ray Keith’s Dread Recordings, recorded with Larry Heard (Mr Fingers himself!) plus being remixed & reworked by techno DJ Jamie Jones and Dizzee Rascal!
Before we jump into your top 5, what was your first introduction to Reinforced?
“I first met the Reinforced guys while I was working in Red Records in Beak Street, London. Back in those days the labels used to come in with a box of white labels, promos, etc and sell to the shops directly. Ian used to be the ‘delivery driver’! I think Mark and Gus also popped down a few times. So I had quite a good relationship already with the guys.”
“Then I started producing music on my own Daddy Armshouse label and Moving Shadow. One night down at Rage, in Heaven, Goldie said to me ‘You’re gonna release an EP on Reinforced’, obviously I said ‘OK’!” 🙂
“That was the ‘Return of Nookie EP’ which featured the ‘Sound of Music’ track. I met Dego by going up to their studio in Dollis Hill and smashing him on the pool table!”
How did you get your music in front of the right people before the internet was around? I’m not sure young producers today realise how easy they have it!!
“Demo tapes and mixtapes, spending hours getting mixtapes sounding perfect! Sending off demo tapes to all the different records labels. Fortunately, because I was working in one of the best dance music record shops in the West End I got to meet a lot of DJ’s and label A&R guys. It was quite easy for me to give my tracks to people like Grooverider, Fabio, Bukem, etc. Otherwise it would be a case of giving them out to certain DJ’s at Rage or at Music House, which were the weekly meeting points for the D&B industry”
Could you have imagined when you signed the Return Of Nookie EP in 1993 that we’d be here this many years later talking about it?
“Definitely not! Otherwise I would’ve made the track longer! And as a single!”
“It’s impossible to know how successful a track will be when you’re producing it. For me, as long as I’m happy with the result then that’s all that should matter, otherwise it’s not 100% me producing it. I would never produce a track just to please someone else”
Nookies Top 5
4 Hero – The Scorcher (Dance Mix)
Stone cold classic! I come from a Hip-Hop / B-Boy background and this is the perfect mix of breaks and bleeps!
Rufige Kru – Terminator
Way ahead of its time when this came out, Rage classic! This is Goldie all over, pushing the technology boundaries and creating a masterpiece
Manix – Feel Real Good
Does exactly what it says, makes you feel real good when this drops, from the piano to the raw breaks. I remember getting these white label promos in the record shop like it was yesterday. They all absolutely flew out the door!
4Hero – Universal Love
Beautiful full vocal jungle track, one of the very first I do believe. Pure emotion on a different level!
Nookie – Sound of Music
Had to include this… It’s been one of my most successful tracks to date. I spent very little time producing this track, everything seemed to just come together quite easily. I made it using just an Akai S950 sampler, Korg M1 keyboard, and an Atari ST! We’re definitely spoiled these days when it comes to producing!
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