Will Kennard, better known as Status from Dubstep’s most dynamic duo, has told how a Drum’n’Bass vinyl habit, which he fed on trips to BM Soho, pushed him on to become a DJ and now super-producer.
Back in the early 90s, a teenage Will would tentatively venture into the basement and try and score the latest releases before other Jungle junkies.
The Blind Faith star remembers there being a hierarchy amongst the clique of DJs and regular customers, but that just added to the appeal of becoming part of the scene.
He also believes youngsters mostly discover new music through online forums these days but are missing out on the highs and lows of scouring the indie record shop scene for hidden gems.
Will said: “My favourite record store is BM Soho. It used to be called Black Market Records when I first started going there in 1994 or 1995, when I was about 15.
“I’d be in the basement, where they sold all the drum’n’bass records. The shop was tiny, with two, big, PA-sized speakers that took up half the space.
“Big-name DJs like Ray Keith worked behind the counter and they’d be blasting white labels and promo recordings out really loud.
“It was an iconic place, one of the centres of the whole Drum’n’Bass scene. Everyone in there would try to be cool, so the place had a bit of a moody vibe to it, and it could be intimidating.
“And there was a hierarchy among the customers: DJs would get the VIP treatment, be invited into the back room and given all the promos first. The odd tourist would wander in and people would take the piss out of them. So it was very cliquey, but that just made me want to be part of it even more.
“I always dreamed of working there, but you could never get a job unless you were a friend of a friend of someone already there.
“But if you did work there, you were almost famous and could get bookings as a DJ. At that time, I was just DJ-ing in my bedroom and desperate to be part of the Drum’n’Bass scene in any way that I could.
“There was no internet back then so the only way to discover new music was to go to a club or record shops. If I was 15 now, I’d probably still be going to record shops, but I’d be scouring the internet as well.
“It’s all online forums now. I’d hate to think there will be a day when there are no record shops, but they’re probably going to be a bit more rare than they are now.”
Get down to BM Soho, 25 D’Arblay St, London W1 for Record Store Day tomorrow – maybe you’ll see Chase and Status diggin’ in the crates.
Photos by Ash Williams Photography