TOTD // 05/08 // Heartless Crew

Published: August 5, 2017, words by Harriet Shepherd

Part of the Eastern Electrics 2017 takeover


After calling it a day six years ago, the UK Garage veterans known as the Heartless Crew are back. Announcing their return in 2016 with a headline slot at sold-out Garage Nation Festival, MCs Bushkin and Mighty Moe and DJ Fonti have adopted a “better together” attitude that we should all be glad for.

Going back 25 years, the crew first collaborated in North London in 1992, united by a love for Hip Hop, Jungle and the Jamaican Dancehall, Bashment and Ragga sounds that had been quick to infiltrate London’s underground scene. Bushkin and Fonti’s Afro-Caribbean heritage and ties to Jamaican sound system culture resonate in everything the crew does. From MCing and DJing at house parties and small clubs, to pirate radio, to a long-term residency at the now-closed Hackney club, Chimes, the crew have stayed true to their roots and delved fully into London’s underground scene. From humble beginnings on pirate radio, the crew gained leverage throughout the late 90s, earning a regular spot on Radio 1’s 1Xtra and a Mobo nomination in 2002. Their compilation album, Crisp Biscuit Vol. 1. also featured the crew’s debut single, ‘The Heartless Theme’ aka ‘Superglue Riddim’.

What’s been clear since day one is the Heartless Crew’s unwavering love for the music they’ve devoted their lives to. Mighty Moe summed it up back in a 2002 interview when he said: “Our mission is to simply to spread love and play our music. That’s what we’re about. That’s why we’re Heartless – because our hearts are in the music.” And the UK’s love of garage seems to be unwavering too. Whether it’s a nostalgic reluctance to let go of our youth or a continuing new-found appreciation by a new generation, garage is to the UK dance scene as House is to Detroit. And as long as the Heartless Crew are on the scene you can be sure that the UK’s inextricably tied dub, jungle, garage and dancehall scenes will live on. Ahead of their performance today at Eastern Electrics, they pick out a few London favourites.

via youtube

Bagga Worries

Ride De Punany

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“DJ Fonti: The London tune for me is ‘Ride De Punany’ by Bagga Worries. This tune is a Bashment tune – in those days it was called a ragga tune. It reminds me of the All Dayers I went to at age 12/13 in Hackney downs and clissold park. He was a UK artist and mentioned Ridley market etc so felt like it was more our tune. The deep bassline on this tune is phenomenal though and hearing it on a classic sound system in a tent squashed between pier girls… that was heaven for me then! Take me back!”
via youtube

Daniel Bedingfield

Gotta Get Thru This

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“MC Bushkin: My London tune is Daniel Bedingfield – Gotta Get Thru This. This song gives me such fond memories of the UKG scene and in particular the London raving scene as there was a time in the height of the Garage era when you could not go to a club in London without hearing this tune. The main memory I have of this was hearing the first four bars of this tune being mixed in and seeing 2000 people in Camden Palace go crazy knowing what was coming next! Garage will never die!”
via youtube

DJ Taktix

The Way (The VIP Mix)

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“Mighty Moe: I first heard this tune blaring out of someone’s window in the summer of ’94 and on a compilation mix by DJ Hype. At the time I was yet to experience being in a rave but was well aware of the movement, especially Jungle from flyers, pirate radio and hearing stories at school. The MC sample (Mad P from Top Buzz) taken from a live recording gave me a sneak peek into a rave and I painted the picture in my head. I also love this tune for using the infamous time stretch effect which was synonymous with Jungle around that time: Bloooooodclaaaaaart!!! I think Jungle music really defines London as the city it is a melting pot of different vibes and influences.”
via youtube

London Posse

How's Life in London?

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“Mighty Moe: This was the first hip hop track I heard with UK rappers rapping in London accents. First time I heard this song was when I saw the video on an MTV home recording video! The tune opens with a news reporter and image of Big Ben instantly stood out among the numerous American rap videos. A hard beat and bars to match with Jamaican patois, 90s fashion, haircuts and humour – this is a definite London vibe!”

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