How it all started
SL2 was created in 1989 when John and I (aka Slipmatt & Lime) decide to go in to a studio and make some tracks together. We found Noisegate Studio in New Cross, South London. This was the home of Rebel MC, Double Trouble, and Aston Harvey who is now famous for The Freestylers. We had our first serious attempt at making music with “Do That Dance / It Ain’t Nothing”, and got it signed to the B/Ware Records label. This was the same label that Double Trouble were signed to. The track sold really well but we didn’t get any royalties… basically we got knocked!
Going It Alone
Getting knocked for about 1,500 quid wasn’t the end of the world as we weren’t depending on it. We weren’t well off by any means – we were just very grateful and excited about getting our first record released. So with this experience behind us and a popular release in the bag, we knew we had to carry on. Thing was, we weren’t keen on trusting another label. There were a lot of small independent distributors popping up in London in 1990 so we decided to exercise our entrepreneurial muscles and go for the next SL2 release on our own.
We had been tinkering around in a new studio in Wood Green called The Watershed. Jay J and his mates had been there with us a couple of times as well working on Hip-House ideas. But our next release was to be just me and John again with “The Noise / Bassquake”.
The Birth Of Awesome Records
In early 1991 we went and cut our new record at JTS Studios in Hackney, East London. This was, and still is, predominantly a Reggae mastering / cutting studio. They also build great amps and big speakers and are now based in Homerton. The reason we went to JTS is because they knew how to cut a loud vinyl. That was the most important thing for us at the time. With test press white labels from JTS in hand, we then went to a few distributors around London. We managed to find the perfect deal with a great lady called Dionne. If my memory serves me correctly, I think this was a small company in Brixton. By our next release she was working at Mo’s Music Machine in Walthamstow, East London. She stayed and worked for years and we became good friends. We obviously needed to name our new label, and we came up with Awesome Records!
The Noise / Bassquake flew off the record shop shelves and we ended up selling over 3,500 12” singles which was pretty impressive. Both sides were big tunes at raves like Raindance and we had great support from most of the big DJs at the time including DJ Face, LTJ Bukem and Ray Keith etc. Our next release on Awesome was DJs Take Control / Way In My Brain. This literally sold out from Mo’s Music Machine, our new distributor, in under an hour!
Wow… the phone didn’t stop ringing, and the record was going mental. I remember giving a copy to Pete Tong at John Digweed’s event called Storm on Hastings Pier in the summer of 1991. I was on the decks straight after Pete and played DJs Take Control as my first tune, and then gave him my copy before he left. He went on to play it for 10 weeks in a row on his Radio 1 show and we subsequently hit the pop charts at number 11. We had taken a deal with XL Recordings and our whole world changed. Slipmatt & Lime had hit the big time. We were performing on Top Of The Pops, Dance Energy, and we were getting asked to do gigs all over the world. As SL2 we went on to release a total of 3 E.Ps with XL which all entered the pop charts, with the biggest track being “On A Ragga Tip” which sold over 200,000 copies!
1992 & Onwards
Even though SL2 had moved over to XL Recordings, we were still in the thick of the underground Rave Scene as well. So Awesome Records still needed to keep going, and it did. It was our vehicle for less commercial, more experimental music, and also great for other artists and friends of ours to release their tracks. Generator and Freestyle & DJR were part of our crew, and then MC Jay J & Devious D was another side of our crew who also brought in artists like IG1 Collective, Hyperactive and R.A.W.
We had some amazing underground releases from 1992 onwards that went on a journey from uplifting piano and breakbeat like Madness, Ten 44 and Time Of Our Lives, to menacing deep darkside sounds like Dam Tuff and Faith In The Darkside, through to crazy chopped up Jungle bangers like Breaking Free, Jo – R-Type and Shaka – Red Like Blood.
All of this history has been sitting there in my studio on DAT tapes gathering dust for years, some of it for over 25 years. In my opinion it needs to be out there in the world and it would be selfish to leave it tucked away forever. We often get asked for copies of the tracks or for DJ mixes of the label. So, Lime and I have picked 15 full length versions of the biggest tunes on the label for CD1, and mixed 30 tracks together for CD2. In total over 2½ hours of history from Breakbeat Bass n Bleeps through to heavyweight Jungle bangers.
Awesome Records is a big thick slice of Slipmatt & Lime / SL2 history, and we feel that this collection needs to be out there in the world representing Rave of the early to mid-90’s. There is only one batch of these albums being produced and they are only available at World Of Rave. Every CD will be lovingly signed and posted by ourselves in time for Christmas in the UK. We’ve put a lot of effort in to creating the track list, recording the mix, and re-mastering the whole package for you. We both really hope you enjoy the album, and also enjoy the memories that it brings back if you were there back in the day ?
You can purchase the album >> HERE <<
To listen to a preview please go >> HERE <<
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