For a city its size, Nottingham has been punching with the heavyweights when it comes to music. With a number of vibrant, flourishing scenes that often intersect, the hub of the East Midlands is definitively a place on the up, which is perhaps best evidenced in the bass music community by the number of successful, small-to-medium sized promotions and the sizeable list of immediately recognisable artists.
One such promotion is 2Step — an unapologetically Garage-only party with the ambition of returning ravers to their roots by exploring UKG as a whole, in an eclectic, nuanced way. Before I had the pleasure of interviewing head honcho, Poach, I got to attend an event organised by the promotion, which was cracking fun.
Below you’ll find a write-up for the event I attended, alongside an interview with the main man himself!
My first experience with 2Step was a daytime, rooftop rave at a popular local haunt. Ordering a polite half with my pals to see in the day, I scaled the stairs to an inviting concoction of a hollering crowd and Garage beats. When our group sat it wasn’t long before heads started bobbing along to an excellent track selection, representing old and new-school talent including: Wookie, Jameson, Mind of a Dragon, Conducta, Higgo, Kobe JT and MPH, amongst many, many others. The playful, behind-the-decks environment saw frequent and fluid chops and changes between tracks and artists and even saw some of the selectors step up to mic duties. Each set managed to delicately toe the line between Garage House and 4×4 with the mood superbly maintained and piloted throughout.
Coinciding with the last of the summer sun the atmosphere was sublime and made for a perfect start to the weekend, with inclusive vibes all round. If each event 2Step throws is anything like my first experience, the relatively young promotion has only got up to go!
Q: Ey up 3000, it is my privilege to invite a key player in the East Midlands for UKG; could you please introduce yourself sir, along with your DJ Alias and Promotion?
A: I am Poach, a UK Garage and House DJ/Producer based in Nottingham. I run a promotion here in Nottingham called ‘2Step’ which stands today as the only purely UKG night and we spin all sorts of tracks, from new to old.
Q: Thanks a lot mate! To get right into it, what is it that got you started in the Nottingham scene?
A: I think what got me involved in the Nottingham scene was being around club-style music from a very young age. My Dad used to play Garage tunes in his van when I was around eight years old and I started going out in Nottingham around the age of fifteen/sixteen. At this time the Dubstep scene was thriving and one of my first attended nights was a Detonate event, funnily enough.
Q: You’ve mentioned Detonate, which has come to include a lot of different strains of bass music over the years — how do you view inclusivity/exclusivity in the Nottingham scene? Is cross-promotion quite common these days?
A: I think Nottingham has a healthy scene in which a lot of promoters work together, and if they don’t work directly together they still support each others’ nights, and attend where possible. I really do think this is a great part of the Nottingham scene as it helps us all grow together.
Q: And that really shows! Each event I’ve attended here has had a very receptive feel and it seems people are really there for the music. To talk a bit about the genre, the Berlin-based ‘Operate’ promotion I interviewed spoke about Garage as fundamentally linked to the progression of House; with bass music having such a foothold in Nottingham, how do you view your relationship to these genres?
A: I can completely see where they are coming from and to a degree they’re right. All of the 2Step crew are trying to provide a true UK Garage event, where we cover all things UKG — from the original Paradise Garage to House ‘n’ Garage sounds, to 2step, to 4×4 and right through to the newer movement, whilst covering everything in between. As much as I love the Bass scene and the sound we have today, we do have a policy at 2Step and that is to try and keep it strictly UKG.
Q: Tough follow-up question: what are your favourite tracks? Firstly in UK Garage, and secondly across all genres.
A: Ah… I knew this would be a hard one! It is hard to pick a track off the top of my head when I listen to so much UKG but I would have to say the two tunes that are up there for me are: Anthill Mob – ‘Burnin’ and Antonio – ‘I’ll take you there’. For a track across all genres, it would be from one of my favorite producers Freddie Joachim with ‘Autumn Rain’.
Q: Thanks for that mate and I’ll be sure to include the links to all of those tracks at the end of the article! Are there any upcoming shows/releases you’d like to spotlight?
A: All of the events that you’ll find me playing get announced on my Facebook Page or Instagram so you will have to check them out! The next 2Step event is coming this autumn and it is set to be a big one
Q: Any Closing comments for those involved in the scene?
A: I want to give a big shout out to all of the residents at 2Step! J Dubba, Rubz, Deadly Habitz, Jamson, Flewis, Faction and Jaka. If it wasn’t for these guys the night wouldn’t be the same! Also I want to give a shoutout to everyone who has booked me and everyone pushing the UKG sound so strongly at the minute like: Higgo, Kobe JT, Witchdoctor, Brock, MPH, Hurrell, Earthnut, On1, Minista and the breadth of other names I could mention! Without these guys doing what they’re doing we wouldn’t have the fresh sound that we are hearing today!
Q: Thank you so much for your time mate and I sincerely look forward to your next event!
// Interview Ends //
Many, many thanks to Poach for his availability and professionalism throughout this write-up! Despite a corrupted recording a number of logistical issues, he very graciously agreed to do parts of the interview again and was incredibly helpful from start to finish. You can find links to all the relevant socials, tracks and events mentioned in this article below and be sure to follow them to stay up-to-date with all things Garage.