A WHILE before we started doing the Microdot parties in Leeds, me and Jez did a few nights at the 1in12 in Bradford called VLF, which stood for Very Low Frequencies or Vegetable Liberation Front, depending on who we were talking to at the time.
On the flyers, we added the subtitle “dub techno touchdown”, which reflected the mix of dub reggae, techno and acid we played.
I don’t think anyone came down to it, ever – apart from our guest DJs Mark and Farrah from Kaos, who not unreasonably demanded their money despite playing to a completely empty venue (except for me and Jez, most likely tripping our heads off and doing stupid dances regardless).
We wanted to create a very specific vibe. I was always very impressed by Renegade Soundwave’s The Phantom, a muscular, serpentine amalgam of dub, techno, hip hop and, with its cheeky White Riot sample, punk rock too, come to think of it.
I liked the way The Phantom combined the heaviness of dub with the trippy energy of acid house, but still had the funk. I wanted to hear more of this kind of stuff, but apart from honourable exceptions like Meat Beat Manifesto and Leeds’s own Ital Rockers’ and their classic Mental Dub, nobody else seemed to be making it – and certainly nobody was playing it in Leeds at the time.
Hardcore seemed to be exactly what I was looking for. It ticked all my boxes. Unlike many other people who were into it, I was coming at it as a reggae fan who was also into house rather than anything to do with hip hop. Though I had a soft spot for odd tunes by people such as EPMD, Digital Underground, Queen Latifah, Public Enemy and KRS-1, I didn’t really know how to dance to any of it – and after years of listening to punk rock maybe I was just a bit weary of blokes shouting stuff at me too.