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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.