When one refers to an artist as ‘an absolute legend’, ‘Godfather’ or ‘international hero’; more often than not it can be a term applied by the support of loving fans Worldwide or in some cases media hype that pertains to the artist in question being somewhat exceptional in their chosen skill on a global level. ‘Godfather’ as many of those that have witnessed Francis Ford Coppola’s award winning cinematic trilogy of films of the same name will attest, can also refer to a Sicilian Crime Family Boss. Now, whilst the DJ and Producer and all round ‘international legend’ known as ‘Slipmatt’ has no affiliations with Sicilian families or crime (thankfully), he is most definitely in this case one deserving of the titles ‘Godfather’ and ‘Boss’. Here’s the exception to the rule though, he did not give himself these names, these accolades were not created off the back of some 90’s hype campaign, the name Godfather – in reference to the ‘Godfather Of Rave’ is a name he has worked very hard for nearly three decades to earn, and earn it he most definitely has.
Picking up and playing his first record at just eighteen months old, it was pretty much decided upon there and then that it was obvious that bringing new music to the masses on a regular basis was going to be his chosen profession moving forward. By the age of 4, he had purchased his first record and by 10 he had played his first gig at his School Disco. Little did anyone truly realise at this point that for many years to come he was going to be the one educating people at School, well that is of course if you count the ‘Old Skool’, a generation that he and a very close circle of friends would become the pioneers of. At 13 he had a very impressive collection of 2 Tone, soul and reggae records; then at 14 he was already playing out at parties and putting together his own tracks by playing around with different genres of music, splicing tapes and experimenting with samples. It was around this time that he discovered a deep and respectful fondness for house music and a taste for blending house and hip hop together which one might comment that he became quite skilled at, so much so that he took his skills to the World famous DMC mixing competition shortly after where he joined fellow (now international) artists Carl Cox and DJ Hype in the running.
At just north of the tender age of 18, Slipmatt had worked hard to purchase his first set of Technics 1200 turntables and already was a fully fledged, beat matching, crowd rocking DJ, playing to fully stacked parties and events before he had so much as considered his still so far away twenties. This would be a feat achieved with close friend and musical colleague, DJ Lime with whom Slipmatt would create an outlet for their musical exploits together in the setting up of pirate radio station Raw FM. That would not be their primary achievement though, as in late 1989 the two would form to create the now legendary production duo SL2, alongside MC Jay that would go on to become one of the most incredible acts in underground music history.
Their first record together, ‘Do That Dance’ was signed to B/WARE RECORDS and shot the boys to underground fame whereby either as a double act or apart the lads would quite literally be the talk of every town hosting a major underground party, something that would eventually then take them to a Worldwide status. As rave was exploding in a majorly successful way, so was Slipmatt, with bookings for such organisations as Perception, Vision, Fantazia, Universe, World Dance, United Dance, Dreamscape, Helter Skelter, Slammin’ Vinyl, Rezurrection, Hardcore Heaven and Moondance all coming a calling; it would be the very beginning of something for Slipmatt that would take even bigger shape still in the coming few years.
Not truly realising the level of popularity in which SL2 were reaching at the time (the two had by this stage created and cultivated their very own Awesome Records label), their first huge release on their own outfit, ‘The Noise / Bassquake’ had taken the notice of the owners and operators of the now colossal record titan known as XL Recordings, also responsible for electronic music Godfathers and game changers The Prodigy and in later years, the ground breaking Basement Jaxx and even, to this very day and in more recent times the multi international award winning, platinum artist; Adele. SL2’s release ‘DJ’s Take Control / Way In My Brain’ would hit number 11 in the National UK Charts propelling the lads into a life changing career state that would see their follow up record ‘On A Ragga Tip’ become one of the most iconic tracks in all of dance music history. Taking a No. 1 chart position in the Network Charts and No. 2 in the UK National Top 40 meant Slipmatt and Lime were to become a focal point for the media spotlight with appearances on Top Of The Tops and Dance Energy becoming career highlights for the wayward team.
To achieve even this much as a DJ, in such a short space of time is quite the feat, especially in the late 80’s and early 1990’s, but Slipmatt has always been a do-er.; so much so that his pioneering of the acid house and early rave scene in the UK circa 1988 / 1989, inspired his older brother Paul to create the ‘Raindance’ event brand, a party that is supported in the thousands and still going strong for the masses in London today and has become equally as infamous amongst the peers of this generation’s rave scene as Slipmatt himself had.
Paul’s success as a Promoter of course would continue alongside his brother’s in equal measure with such events as Peace Fest, Zillion at Brixton Academy and various other raves that would go down in infamy. Paul later opened Club Aquarium in 1995 which swiftly became the talk of the town and naturally, Slipmatt played at them all. That is not to say that both Slipmatt and Paul were in complete synchronicity at all times though, whilst Paul, with the aid of his resident and now fast becoming well sought after sibling Slipmatt was taking over putting on the best parties in all of London if not, the entire rave scene at the time; Slipmatt was finding his new found stardom as a DJ and Producer was to continue well into the 90’s with the development of the SMD (Slip Matt’s Dubs) record label. SMD #1 sold over 10, 000 units on its first press and became one of the most sought after releases in hardcore music at the time. 1993 was the year and Slipmatt’s global takeover was still, despite much accomplishment in terms of gig dates, productions and media attention unrelenting and continuing to soar.
During the roaring trade that was 90’s rave culture in all its guises, Slipmatt carried on releasing material via SMD and compiled, mixed and recorded a series of sets for release upon CD compilation albums such as ‘United Dance Anthems 1 & 2’, ‘Moondance’, ‘True Rave Anthems’ and many other titles before moving on to host his own Kiss FM radio show towards the mid to latter end of the 90’s, filling as many clubs, events and festivals as possible along the way Worldwide.
Slipmatt is not just limited to Radio and several TV appearances you understand. He was also a regular featuring artist in Dream Magazine, M8 voted him 'Best DJ' and Muzik Magazine nominated him for a top flight award. Slipmatt is also no stranger to the World famous DJ Magazine Top 20 DJ poll either, being voted in the Top 20 by the readers on a number of occasions, as well as receiving the title of 'Best Remixer' from the readers of M8 and deservedly; was awarded for ‘Best DJ’ and 'Outstanding Contribution to the Industry' from Kiss 100. In 2003 he scored a DJ Chart No.1 with his production ‘Space’ which was heavily supported on BBC Radio 1’s A-List and then later, in 2006, won an award for ‘Best Old Skool DJ’ at The Official Old Skool Awards followed in 2010 with a ‘Best DJ’ and ‘Best Producer’ Award courtesy of nurave.com and another in 2011 - ‘Best DJ’ ‘Music Industry Award’ again, via nurave.com.
At the turn of the millennium however, dance music began to evolve once more, with the club sound becoming more and more viable on a commercial level globally, trance, breaks and a fusion of other genres becoming prominent within night life culture, Slipmatt, always versatile in his approach to new music successfully maintained a career embracing new sounds. In 2006 through to 2009 Slipmatt compiled and mixed a series of chart smashing CD album compilations with then business partner Billy ‘Daniel’ Bunter for the UK’s most famous club and record label, Ministry Of Sound. In 2010, he up kept his now uncanny knack for showing up on the box by appearing in a cameo in Worldwide drum & bass royalty Chase & Status’ best selling ‘Blind Faith’ video and then in 2011 featured in a comedy sketch with famed British Comedian David Mitchell in which the pair ‘reviewed the Rave Scene’ for Charlie Brooker’s ‘How TV Ruined Your Life’. The program aired on BBC 2 to an audience in the millions.
It is because of all of this hard work and dedication, that Slipmatt has done and repeatedly continues to play across the globe in the USA, Australia, Europe, every corner of his native UK for club events such as Raindance, HTID, Epidemik, Tasty, Slammin Vinyl, Ravers Reunited, Fantazia, Hardcore Heaven and Dreamscape; at leading Festivals such as Glastonbury, Boomtown and Bestival and, a particular favourite of his, overseas visits to Ibiza where Slipmatt enjoys regular return trips to the White Isle’s most infamous hot spots such as Space, Es Paradis, and Amnesia. Slipmatt held a 19 week Summer residency at ‘Summum’ during 2007 and 2008, whereby the night he was resident was voted as second place in the ‘Best Ibiza Club Night’ stakes during that period and then in 2012 also held a 17 week Summer residency at Eden. Slipmatt is often asked to return to many clubs across the Mediterranean too, with hot locations such as Corfu, Malia, Rhodes, Zante, Majorca, and Cyprus also on his well established hit list.
Well over twenty years on, with best selling, international single, album and compilation chart releases deservedly adorning his studio wall, a recollection of performing at every major branded event, festival, party or club in the UK, USA, Europe, Australia and then some clearly and lovingly marking his memory (and now ridiculously large flyer collection) and with no signs of stopping such activities any time at all just yet, one can only hope, more of the same is on the agenda, but with a constantly cutting edge twist, as is Slipmatt’s style, of course.
Consistently cutting, scratching and blending new beats with classic riffs and truly a DJ’s DJ, Slipmatt has always kept all of the classic tone and original rave anthem sound that had rocketed him to stardom, but yet still does so with a fresh approach, perpetually shaping new sounds and encouraging and supporting new music from all corners of the globe. He maintains at all times that it’s about good music, whatever it’s genre and if it sounds great and more over keeps a crowd dancing, then it’s worth playing. It’s essentially what is at the core of what has kept Slipmatt at the top of his game for many years – an ear for groundbreaking music, whether that be old or new school, an upbeat, entertaining and interactive attitude towards his fans, listeners and crowds and an ability to read a crowd perfectly.
These skills, combined with ongoing innovation in new rave, electronic and underground music, the development of his World Of Rave Show, which now runs weekly via a number of radio and digital online radio distributors as well as being available via Soundcloud - Mixcloud - iTunes and his never ending World Tours educating the new school and entertaining the old school mean so long as there’s a scene that needs teaching or a packed dance floor that needs a true, real, outstanding and simply incredible artist to lead the way and continue to write the rule book of standards by which other DJ’s have followed implicitly – then Slipmatt is that artist.
Godfather Of Rave? Absolutely.
Jon Brown, September 2013
Updated April 2015