The A-Z of Garage with DJ Q

Becca Frankland asked DJ Q to reel off his A-Z of everything garage related - everything from gun fingers to Local Action to EZ.

Becca Frankland

Last updated: 7th Jun 2018.
Originally published: 23rd Jul 2015

Image: DJ Q (source)

Garage has become subject to a revival over the past few years, with the genre's recognisable two step beats merging into the charts and conquering club and festival shows across the UK.

After dipping in popularity in the mid-noughties, garage is now as sought after as ever with the likes of DJ QDJ EZ and Wookie exposing thousands of ears to both new tracks and ones that have helped define the genre. 

It was DJ Q's 'You Wot' which got scooped by Ministry of Sound back in 2008 before he got to grips with remixing the likes of Dizzee Rascal, Amy Winehouse and Katy B

Since then Q has put out massive releases on Local Action, Butterz and his own imprint Q Recordings, he's also held down a six-year stint as a DJ on BBC 1Xtra.

We asked the man himself to list an A-Z of everything that reminds him of the genre he champions. 

A - Alize

A drink that I will always associate with UK garage. It’s what the older heads would always buy at the shop before going to raves. I might change my rider and add Alize, in fact I’m going to buy one after this!

B - Brandy

Not the drink but the RnB singer. She must be among the most sampled singers ever in garage. I could name ten songs off the top of my head which sampled Brandy. I’m even guilty of doing it myself a few times. (Listen to Architech's sample below)

C - Clubs

I love them both as a performer and a raver. Nothing beats the vibe at all. Garage music sounds so different played loud in a club compared to being heard at home. You can really feel the vibe.

D - "Deep House"

aka 4x4 garage. That is all.

E - Energy

Because that’s what you need if you want to rave to a DJ Q set. If you don’t have energy then you’re just going to be slumped in a corner, tired, looking envious at all the other ravers who are hyped up with "bare energy".

F - Future Garage

Simply because of the fact that I absolutely hated this term. There was never anything future about it.

G - Gun fingers!

If you’re a DJ and you see someone in the crowd pointing gun fingers in the air don’t get scared. It just means you’re doing a good job.

H - Heavy

H is for heavy because the formula for any garage club smash is to have a heavy kick drum and a very heavy bass line!

I - Internet

The internet changed the way people listen to music and being from outside of London it gave me a platform to be heard. I don’t think the scene would be the same without it at all.

J – Juno 106

A hardware synth by Roland. Old School but I was messing around properly on mine the other day and realized a lot of sounds from the earlier garage days sounded like they were made with these. Might have to start using it in today’s productions.

K – MC Kie

One of my favorite MC’s to work with. When him and Sparks first dropped 'Fly Bi' I remember thinking "who are these!?". They brought a different dynamic to the garage MC game and I reckon it was these guys who paved the way for the grimier mcs who came a bit later on.

I work with Kie a lot now and he’s still on top of his game. A lot of mc’s from back in the day are scared of spitting on new instrumentals and beats but Kie just gets it!

L - Local Action

The label who released my first debut album ‘Ineffable’. Although I’ve been active for over 10 years, I only produced my first album last year. 

M - Moschino

Has to be in here, even though at the time I was too young to be able to afford full suits so I had to make do with the odd t-shirts and pants.

N - Numark

Belt drive turn tables. These were very poor entry level turntables at around £200 but I learned a lot on these, and because anything would do at the time and I just wanted a pair badly, they felt like technics 1210s to me.

O - Olly Olly Olly!

This is the one to get the crowd going! If you’re an MC struggling to keep the crowd hyper then draw for the "olly olly olly" and you’re set!

P - Pure Garage Compilations

These were legendary CDs and for a lot of people, an entry point into UK garage. It defiantly brought the sound to the masses. I used to buy the CDs, Buy the songs on there and then try and replicate the exact mixes I’d hear from there.

Q - The Q in DJ Q

When I first started I never had a DJ name but a close friend of mine told me I had to have one. his exact words were “You have to have a DJ name. Your last name starts with Q so it’s DJ Q from now on” and It’s stuck ever since.

R - Roy Davis Jr

Roy Davis Jr's 'Gabriel' was the first vinyl I actually went out and bought. Before it was always CD’s and tapes. I actually bought it by accident too, I went to the record shop with the tape and asked for the track.

I could only get it on record at the time so that was it, I didn’t even have turntables at the time I just knew I had to have that track. By the time I actually bought turntables I had a pretty healthy selection because there were a lot of tracks I would buy that you could only get on record.

S - Sun City and Sidewinder

I can’t just pick one so it’s going to have to be a joint entry with the two. A tape pack from Sun City was the first actual tape from a pack I listened to but the Sidewinder tape packs were instrumental in spreading the sound to a wider audience.

Without these I don’t think I’d have the same love for garage as I do now. It used to be like Christmas waiting for the new Sidewinder pack to drop after the events.

T - Timmi Magic

A DJ that needs more credit. Part of the legendary trio Dreem Team but when I first got into listening to garage his solo Timmi Magic sets used to always be my favorite tapes in any tape pack.

U - Underground 

Because in garage no one ever likes anything once it becomes ‘commercial'.

V - Vinyls

I still buy them, I still love them, I’ll always have a love for them. There’s just something about playing one of your favorite songs on wax after searching for it or waiting for it to be released for ages. 

W - Warp

Every banger needs some sort of warp noise. The speed garage scene was built on mainly warps and the sound lives on.

X – Exemen aka Wookie.

Technically it sounds like it should begin with an X so this is valid! The Exemen remix of Sia’s Little Man (above) is Legendary. The first time I ever heard it I thought "what the fuck is this!?"

Still one of the best garage tracks for me hands down. It’s been an honor to play b2b with Wookie, such a legend.

Y – YouTube

Because if you want to school yourself on garage old and new this is the perfect starting point, there’s a lot on there. Tunes, vinyl rips, live sets, videos and much more. 

Z - The Z in DJ EZ

The king of UK garage, I’ve been listening to him for over 15 years and he never fails to impress. He’s a big inspiration. So glad everyone is finally realizing this guy’s super powers.

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