Following the success of last year’s “SMD: The Ultimate Collection” and this year’s “The Ultimate Universal Collection”, fans of breakbeat hardcore and jungle are in for a real treat this Christmas as “The Ultimate Awesome Records Collection” is available for pre-order on Monday 4th December.
Featuring 30 tracks, and spread across a double CD pack, just like the previous two collections, you can be sure that this is going to sell out quickly. Awesome Records – established by Slipmatt and Lime in the early 90’s – was responsible for so many huge tunes that it’s hard to know where to begin…
From the crossover hits of “Way In My Brain” and “DJs Take Control”, to the goosebump drops of hardcore anthems “Breaking Free” and “Hear Me”, via the hugely influential “R-Type” (an early jungle classic that still holds up today in any drum and bass set), Awesome records was a label that was right there before sub-genres had yet to be acknowledged, when all that mattered was the quality of the track and how it made you feel.
The 2-CD pack features a disc of 15 complete tracks and a second disc of 30 Awesome tunes mixed by Slipmatt and Lime.
The Rave Generation managed to catch up with Slipmatt for a few questions prior to the album’s release…
“The Ultimate Awesome Records Collection” is available for pre-order next week – what can people expect from the album?
The album is a history of the label right from the beginning when myself and Lime set it up way back in 1991. It’s a real journey through the first half of the 90’s, from Hardcore to the Darkside to deep in the Jungle.
What inspired you and Lime to start Awesome Records in the first place?
We got burnt with our first record deal in 1989. The tune – SL2’s “Do That Dance” – did really well, but the label knocked us for the royalties. Being rather entrepreneurial by nature we made the decision to release our own music, especially as it was becoming much easier with the latest technology, and more smaller independent distributors were popping up in London.
The label was very active at the time when the scene was starting to split between the happier vibes of hardcore and the darker jungle sounds. Were there ever conversations regarding whether to steer the label in one particular direction or another?
No, the label was fairly experimental. We wouldn’t have released anything too different though, like banging Happy Hardcore or minimal techno. We naturally kept within the London-influenced rave genres and still had piano tracks like “Ten 44” and “Hear Me” as well as darker tunes like “Damn Tuff” and “R-Type”.
“Breaking Free” and “Hear Me” were huge tunes and are considered classics. Did you have a sense of how big they would be at the time?
Not at all. They both started as a bit of a personal journey with no intention of huge sales whatsoever. “Breaking Free” is so basic when you break it down. There’s not even any kicks, snares or cymbals in it – just 8 tracks of breakbeat, bass and a couple of samples off an old vinyl. “Hear Me” was my experimental crossover track, showing off my love for euphoric piano mixed with heavy as fuck bassdrum and bass!
Do you have your own personal favourites from the label?
The early tracks have amazing memories attached to them, and “Hear Me” is a bit of a personal favourite… I love the whole lot really as it all reminds me of a great era in dance music that paved the way for some of the best music of today. I think we should all be very thankful for the early 90’s and the way it shook things up.
Will the album include any of the early releases from SL2?
Yes totally! All the SL2 tracks from 1991 are on there in their full length digital glory. “The Noise”, “Bassquake”, “DJs Take Control” & “Way In My Brain”.
Finally, you and Lime have shared so much over the years – do you still get to see each other often?
Yes we’re still best mates, in fact he’s round at my house for lunch later today, with Jay J too! We’re also back in the studio again and have just finished a brand new E.P for release in early 2018. You can actually expect a few new releases from myself and SL2 next year, as well as possible collab’s with Hot Creations superstar DJ Sooney, Mark Archer, Ellis Dee and Mumdance. Keep an eye out at slipmatt.net and my Facebook page.
“The Ultimate Awesome Records Collection” can be pre-ordered from World of Rave from Monday 4th December.