Spotlight Artist: MJ Cole
Ahead of MJ Cole performing at Chew The Fat! this Friday 4th May, we wanted to throw a spotlight on one of the pioneers of UK bass music and perhaps fill a few people in on his background and length within the UK music scene.
Born in London, England, in his youth, Cole learned to play the oboe and piano, and attended the Royal College of Music. He also played piano on BBC Television’s Young Musician of the Year programme. He later discovered computers and turntables, and ended up working as a sound engineer for the drum and bass label, SOUR. Cole is regarded as one of the innovators of the 2Step or UK Garage sound, popular during the late 1990s and early 2000s, several of his tracks are on the UKG CD series Pure Garage.
Cole once stated, “London is a multicultural city… it’s like a melting pot of young people, and that’s reflected in the music of UK Garage”. However, his roots lie in drum and bass, the format in which he created many of his early records. He moved towards a 2Step sound and experimented with various pseudonyms, such as Mat-Lock, eventually settling on M. J. Cole.
Cole produced a song called “Sincere” in 1998, that he composed in his bedroom with a sampler and an Amiga. One of the twenty test pressings of “Sincere” was received by Pete Tong, who started playing the tune on his national radio show. Cole signed on Gilles Peterson’s Talkin’ Loud label, where he produced his first album.
His debut album was the Mercury Music Prize nominated Sincere (2000), and he followed up this with the less successful Cut to the Chase (2003). In 2002 he selected tracks for a compilation album for the Back to Mine series, which focused on tracks suited to post-club relaxation.
He is currently releasing new material on his own record label, Prolific Recordings and has had much success as a producer in the ever evolving UK bass scene, you can check out some of his recent work on his Soundcloud page, and just for ease we’ve only gone and hand picked a few classics below to get you going….
Want more coverage of MJ Cole?
Check out a quick interview we had with him couple of months back!