How Lord of the Mics defined a London sound

May 17, 2014


Right place, right time. Throughout music history, combinations of location and circumstance have conspired to forge unlikely flashpoints, birthing radical sounds and scenes and pushing them into wider public consciousness. But even more dramatically localised than the residents of Haught-Ashbury and their acid-soaked Summer Of Love, or three alumni from Belleville High School accidentally programming techno in amongst Detroit’s industrial landscape, the core nexus of grime culture took place in an almost laughably low-key setting: a cramped, dimly-lit parental basement; The Dungeon, aka Jammer’s mum’s cellar.

Lord Of The Mics may have sprung up in an unassuming East London stairwell but its influence far outstrips those modest beginnings, stamping a defining imprint on a major part of British culture in the 2000s. Embryonic strains of grime had existed on pirate radio and in raves like Sidewinder for a number of years prior, and clash culture had been around for decades, imported largely from Jamaican soundsystem culture. Still, Jammer’s homebrewed DVD series brought another dimension to the emergent sound, gifting a visual element that legitimised and massively expanded the appeal of what had previously been tricky to definitively pin down.

Read it all

Interview: Frank from The Carvery Mastering and Dubplate studios

November 26, 2012

The NTS Compilation LP is very nearly ready for public consumption, and that’s all thanks to the guys at The Carvery Mastering and Dubplate studios in Hackney. These guys specialise in reel-to-reel recording and mastering primarily for vinyl. The complexities of which are an artform, so we decided to interview the guys about what they do and how the huge part they played in Masse Session 005..

Boiler Room: To start, can you tell us your name, where you are and what it is you do?

Frank Merritt: My Name is Frank. I run The Carvery Mastering and Dubplate studios in Hackney. I work as a mastering engineer specialising in vinyl.

BR: For Boiler Room’s Make Session with NTS Radio, we made a live recording of the night with the view to creating a vinyl record from this. What was your role?

FM: First and foremost, my role was to oversee the mixing and recording process to ensure we had a workable audio source to cut from when we got back to the studio.

BR: And what was the process for recording the session?

FM: Well, to start off each artist needs to be sound-checked very carefully. The last thing we wanted when we got back to the studio is any nasty surprises, such as overly loud vocals or drums that will cause the record to distort or jump. Each track needed to be mixed on separate channels with EQ and compression and limiting to control the dynamics. 

BR: And what happens when you are back at the studio?

FM: Once we are happy with the sound we can start working out how it will sound on tape. After the recording I brought the tapes back to the studio to master and edit them. This is old school editing with a razor blade and splicing tape. Its quite a long drown out process but one I love.

BR: Whilst it is incredible looking, when recording and cutting these records you use machinery and equipment that you yourself have termed ‘vintage’. Why is this? 

FM: I use a Neumann VMS70 to cut my masters. There are a handful of these in existence but mine used to be based in the US and was responsible for cutting all of the Motown hits of the late 60’s and 70’s. After that it travelled to Sony where it was responsible for cutting all the Michael Jackson records. I guess when I say ‘vintage’ I mean it more in the wine sense than the charity shop find. 

BR: So the machine has history and good musical karma?

FM: I like to think that some of the magic from previous records has somehow lived on in the mechanics and amps and will keep living as long as its cutting records. Then again I’m a romantic so I can’t help feeling nostalgic about things of age.

BR: What are the benefits of an analogue process?

FM: I think we live in a very transient world where we consume and delete information with little or no sense of consequence or thought as to how much work has gone into its conception and creation. Music has suffered since its digitisation not just in sonic quality but by the invention of the ipod which prompted both the demise of physical music forms but also the resulted in the invention of the ‘loudness war’ by record companies to increase download sales. We now primarily listen to music on far worse home sound systems than our parents did. Almost all of us listen to low quality mp3s music through laptop speakers. Analogue sound in in essence infinite in quality. Digital music is limited by the processing power of computers and our hard drives. If you wanted to make a digital file as high quality as vinyl, it would take hours to download and take up a gigabits of space on your computer.

BR: Do you feel that such techniques need to be preserved?

FM: I feel that physical forms of art are a vital part of our world, they produce memories and emotions. I ask you, when was the last time you felt emotional about an mp3? Thankfully, it would seem vinyl seems to be a medium that is hard to shake. The recording process used to make records was invented well over 100 years ago. So far it has outlived, 8Track, Dat, Minidisk, magnetic tape and soon CDs. Lets hope mp3s are next to fall by the wayside.

BR: In your studio, you were rerecording old, out of print records, restoring them and recutting them. Could you talk a little bit about that process and any difficulties with that?

PALACE (PWBC) – Family Business

May 1, 2012

London’s most vital skateboard company put in a valiant  effort at the Boiler Room Fives tournament. As the video above demonstrates, it was a family effort all the way. Those guys are the best!

The vid was put together by our goo friends at ISYS – so go like their page and all that good stuff because they’re proud of it, and rightly so!

Peh Per Ghost – ‘Slow Train’

March 25, 2012


A little something we think you’ll enjoy that got sent through recently right here, from an artist called Peh Per Ghost.

For more of their excellent work, go and check their soundcloud..

Midland – ‘What We Know’

March 23, 2012

 New Midland is always a treat, there’s just so few guys out there producing house music quite like him. So polished in production, such subtle use of ideas, frankly it’s just the dopest shit!

This fine EP is out on Monday.. 

Py & iO – ‘Whispers’

March 23, 2012

 We’re big fans of vocalist Py over here at Boiler Room HQ – and to convince you to become fans too, her’s a track off her forthcoming mixtape produced by iO.

Pretty spot on if you ask me!

Jamie Grind – ‘We Still Play’

March 23, 2012

 As Infrasonics continue their long-standing mission of bringing you excellent dance music, they’ve just released a new split EP from Jamie Grind and Kingthing. 

You can go and purchase the whole EP right now, over here.


Andy Blake – ‘Cave Paintings 3y’

March 21, 2012

A perfect slab of techno here from Andy Blake, label owner of Cave Paintings. The guys behind the Cave Paintings and Plain Sight labels are currently planning a Boiler Room session – and if it’s anything like the track above, we’ll be remembering/ recovering from it for a while..

Black Orange Juice – ‘Back Of My Car’

March 21, 2012

 Now normally I would advise you to stick well clear of black orange juice, because that shit is wayyy past it’s use-by date. This however is not a food product, and should be guzzled down in abundance.

Black Orange Juice is a duo with vocal and production talents in abundance, and this track right here is taken from their forthcoming EP on somethinksounds.

Tomas Barfod – Broken Glass (Shlohmo Remix)

March 20, 2012

 Tomas Barfod is one of the members of whomadewho, and he has an EP out today on Friends Of Friends. This track is on it, a pretty spectacular remix from YouTube sensation Shlohmo.

It’s all wholesome lovely stuff, so guy buy it..

Double Helix – ‘Chamber Of Light’

March 20, 2012

There’s a really, really extensive LP on the way from the LHF collective on the label formally known as Keysound. Seriously, it’s lengthy – but then again, there’s a massive collective behind it.

It’s a pretty cool approach to an album in my eyes, joining forces to work o something collaboratively – with a common idea behind the sound. More people should do that.

Oh, and there’s a launch party at Fabric coming up too.

Marcellus Pittman – ‘A Walk Thru Osaka’

March 16, 2012

So, the big news is that the delightful guys over at Still music are repressing the highly sought after ‘The Dark: The Soul Of Detroit’ compilation which they initially put out there way back in 2005. 

As an ultra bonus, the CD version of the compilation will be accompanied by a 30-min film, In The Dark: Voices – featuring interviews from Rick Wilhite, Ron Trent, Norm Talley, Mike Huckaby, and tons more.

This one from Mr. Pittman himself has got that ‘leaning on the DJ booth at 5 in the morning, having a little cry’ kinda vibe to it. Love that..

The Whendays – ‘Untru Love II (The Whendays Nu Love Mix)’

March 15, 2012

Some new faces for most of us right about here with The Whendays reworking one of their own tracks. We sure as hell do get sent a lot of stuff, and it’s always worth checking because sometimes you find total gems like this.

Check out some of their other work right here.


March 15, 2012

Wow, so Boiler Room FIVES seems like a ridiculously long time ago eh? But, in the wake of it’s greatness we’ve been catching up with all the teams involved – and now seemed like the right time to hit up Hotflush, what with Scuba’s album release and the fact they’re just generally killing it.

The vid was put together by our goo friends at ISYS – so go like their page and share their retweets or something because they deserve it.

Kelpe – ‘I Felt Fuzzy’

March 14, 2012

Some newness from the Svetlana Industries homies.. who have a new EP from Kelpe on the horizon. Like the title suggest this sure as hell does make you feel warm and fuzzy, like being wrapped in felt or being pregnant maybe. I’ve no idea what either actually feels like.

Released: physically April 16th, and digitally April 24th

Bleep’s ‘Filtered’ Compilation of Unsigned Goodness

March 14, 2012

Filtered was a project masterminded by the collective heads of Bleep, Warp Records, SoundCloud, and Transition Mastering Studios where they set about checking out the work of 4000 unsigned artists. The end result of which is a compilation of just 10 tracks. All of which are pretty on point.

Above you can hear and download (if you so wish) a track from S_P_A_C_E_S – which is killer, and below you can check out a little promo mix of the whole thing. Kapish?!

The whole thing will be available to buy on April 23rd..

ENA – ‘Analysis Code’

March 13, 2012

This one makes me all misty eyed, longing for those days when ‘Router’ wasn’t even released yet and everything that was getting played by the new cats in dubstep was so exciting we could barely contain ourselves. 7even are some of the best guys still pushing that sound – and they’re great at it.

This new one from ENA is wild like a ‘front-to-back’ emotional dancefloor. Remember guys, if you see a guy getting too emotional in the party, form a totem pole of support. Be there for each other.

Released: March 19th 2012

Mr Beatnick – ‘Shifting Sands’

March 9, 2012

 When rhythms and soothing synth melodies collide as well as this it can mean only one thing, perfectly executed house music. This is a sampler of Mr Beatnick’s new EP for Don’t Be Afraid – and it’s a bit of a heater.

Released: 26/03/12

Photek & Pinch – ‘M25FM’

March 8, 2012

Does anyone mind if I describe this as cinematic acid?! That’s what it sounds like to me.

If you hadn’t read the titles already this is the collaborative work of Pinch and Photek – soon to be released on the back of a 12″ by Photek Productions.

It’s also due to be included in Photek’s DJ:Kicks mixtape. POW!

pre-order here

Special Request – ‘Alone’

March 7, 2012

 Special Request is a new project from Paul Woolford, which was spawned by his career-long obsession with pirate radio but is apparently set to go all kinds of interesting places.

You can list to clips of the whole thing below, which is getting put out as two seperate hand-stamped white labels. Which is fun, because hand-stamped white labels are my favourite!

PLUS it’s going to have a Kassem Mosse & Mix Mup remix on it..

Traxman – ‘1988’

March 7, 2012

Straight from Da Mind of Traxman, here’s a delicious slice of dark, 303 madness laced with those undeniable footwork drums that are the hallmark of this Ghetto House legends work.

October – ‘Tension Point’

March 6, 2012

 Seems like October has been away for a little while in terms of releases, but thank the record gods he’s back. Apparrently he has quite a few releases backed up and set to hit stores in the coming months.. but to kick it all off here’s his forthcoming release on Simple.

This is backed with a killer remix from Legowelt, so watch out for that!

2562 – ‘Jerash Hekwerken’

March 5, 2012

Wow.. just listen to that percussion. Bet that sounds sensational in a club.

This is off 2562’s second single on his very own When In Doubt imprint. He always makes the best music ever, and this is further proof that he has no plans to stop doing so anytime soon.

Shield the ears of your children! They’re not ready for this..

Mirrorring – ‘Fell Sound’

March 1, 2012

Mirrorring is the work of Jesy Fortino, of Tiny Vipers and Liz Harris, who you’ll probably know better as Grouper, working together as one entity.

What we have here is a track from their album together, forthcoming on Krank. The whole LP is awesome, and until it’s released on March 19th – you can listen to it right here. Or download if you like.

Distal – ‘Gorilla’

March 1, 2012

 So the news of the day is that Distal is readying an album for Tectonic! The BBC are refusing to report on it right now, because it’s too hot for them to handle.

This is what it sounds like though, so if you could all do your part in creating mass hysteria – we’d really appreciate it.

Renaissance Man – What Do You Do When You Do What You Do (Matthew Herbert’s Little Liar Remix)

February 24, 2012

The question on everyone’s lips, What Do You Do When You Do What You Do? Well.. i’ve no idea what the answer. I don’t even understand the question really. Matthew Herbert however has put the time in to try and work it out. The fruits of which have resulted in this remix. Which is dopeness personified!

This is coming out as part of a remix album on Turbo, featuring other cool people like Paul Woolford, Call Super, Teeth, Locked Groove and Dexter. So set a Google alert for something along those lines.

T-Shirt Party.. New Beginnings

February 23, 2012

The re-issue of T-Shirt Party’s original run of 52 is about to end, but don’t cry as their new line starts March 3rd. That’s next week in case you don’t own a calendar.

To celebrate old times you should go grab yourself something nice and then check their takeover from way back when.. it was quite the jam.

You can also grab the official Boiler Room tee, which was TSP030, over here.

Samoyed – ‘A Small Good Thing’

February 23, 2012

Lukid’s GLUM label is a fine, fine outlet for music. 001 and 002 were unmissable releases from the man himself, but for the label’s third outing the reign have been handed over to Samoyed. 

He’s taken it in some pretty interesting directions, as the people of Glasgow can verify. Support it!