Basement Phil

  Basement Phil’s history is a long one with regards to the UK Rave  & Drum n Bass  Scenes. His influence through his long career has without doubt been notable and influential. His story starts before the rave scene emerged and Phils passion for music was growing ever stronger, his main passions were Northern Soul, Jazz, Disco, Funk & Electronica. It was during these years that Phil first started Djing in local clubs in his home town Camberley at clubs such as Pantiles & Ragamuffins. As the music scene started to get stale after the disco years, Phil’s ears picked up on a new style of music coming through, Electro Funk & House music, or Garage as it was first named.  As this style of music started to dominate his DJ set’s and the older record scene’s seemed to lose their lustre, House & Techno from Detroit and Chicago consumed all of Phil’s spare time, so it’s not surprising where his passion and knowledge of music would lead him on an exciting path for the next 25 years of his life.
It all started in 1987 when Phil had become bored with his careers in the Retail and  finance sectors, so he decided to see if he could finally work in the music industry that he loved and opened the ‘Record Basement’ with Partner and Soul DJ Pete Sinclair. The two of them quickly built up a reputation for the Rare Groove records they sold as well as the US House and Techno imports and all with a friendly smile. The original shop was in a basement under a Dentists practice just out side Reading town centre, which is why Phil named the shop ‘The Record Basement’. By 1989 the shop was dominated by the new sound of Rave and the Rare Groove record sales declined, the shops repututation had grown to such, that the elite DJs of the time were finding there way to the new store to find the hottest pieces of wax.
The likes of Loftgroover, Micky Finn, Top Buzz, Bukem, Fabio, Grooverider, Kenny Ken, Easygroove, Carl Cox, Swane, ‘Phantasy’  and many others were coming to see Phil. During the week when the new records arrived, Phil would select which ones were specially for certain DJs. Always out at the raves Phils knowledge of the DJs had grown to where the distinct style each DJ had, enabled Phil to put the right record in each of their boxes. It was during these early years Phil became friends with all the people who would eventually be so influential in his life and the dance scene we all know and love today.
  It was at this time when a lot of things were dropping into place, the shop was a huge hit, Phil’s love for tunes meant he tracked everything down from around the world and building contacts. Running local party nights as ‘Nitrous’, he also had a new residency at Gatzby’ nightclub in Reading where his nights were packed by 10.30pm every week to hear the hottest new tracks coming out week after week and the guest DJs being booked by Phil.
At at this time Phil was aching to try his hands at making a record. So he put together a couple of bootleg remixes, got them released and to a good response. So with this new confidence Phil produced his first release with local artists Atom,who within was Tom Rowlands ‘Chemical Brothers’ .The track became a hit and was taken further with a deal for Tom and Brendan aka‘Atom’, with ‘Eastern Bloc’ and the guys renamed themselves ‘Ariel’. Phil then went on and produced his first two EPs which received rave reviews and were released on his now Legendary label ’Basement Records’. Then friend and customer from the store DJ KGB KevBird, handed Phil a release for the new label followed by ‘Loftgroover’, it was through these two friends that Phil got to meet the legendary ‘Jack Smooth aka Ron Wells. After their first meeting their mutaul love for the same music led to the release of the first ‘Rush Til Dawn’ EP on the label, but more important was Ron agreed to produce for the label,this partnership led to the release of a stunning collection of some of the finest Rave Tunes from this era, the rest they say is history. Phil also launched sub label ‘Homegrown’. During these early years Phil recorded as ‘Basement Phil’ and in projects with Jack Smooth under the names, ‘Jack n Phil’, and the‘Beatmen’
Then in 1991 Phil launched his first distribution company ‘Vinyl Distribution’ which quickly acquired an excellent repuatation for sales and grew rapidly. By 1992 Phil was starting to lose his enthusiasm for the music and the scene itself that had dominated for the previous 5 years, the Rave Scene had started to fragment and the various genres of music broke away and started their own scenes. The Raves now were predominantly playing Hardcore and Jungle but the atmosphere was getting darker and more intense, a far cry from the carefree smiley world they had all been living in. It was at this time that Phil was being attracted to another form of music emerging, this new sound was the most exciting thing he had heard in years, it was a fusion of drums basslines and rare groove samples, this new sound, we now know as ‘Drum N Bass’ It was this moment of time when a lot of people Phil worked with thought he had lost the plot. Phil had decided not to release anymore 4/4 Hardcore tunes on the label and deciced to stop selling Hardcore and Jungle through his company ‘Vinyl Distribution’, Instead, Phil would put all of his energy into this new sound of music. It was at this time that Phil launched sublabels  ‘Street Beats’, ‘Precious Material’ & Mystic Moods 
At first  the shops were not keen on getting behind this new sound, and many a time, Phil would hear comments such as,”Really like you Phil, but don’t really like this new style of music your selling, but I’ll buy 1 or 2 of each, just to keep you in business”, but Phil was convinced this was the next big thing and pushed on.
In 1992 Phil got ‘LTJ Bukem’ a regular at the shop and whom he had become good friends with, to do a mix tape for him, on this tape was the game changer and Phil spotted it straight away, ‘Demons Theme’ and asked Dan if he could sign it, but Dan wasn’t convinced and didn’t have the confidence to release it. But Phil persisted and eventually Dan agreed to sign it to Basement. Over the next few months the buzz was growing so Dan approached Phil to ask would he mind if he started his own label at Phil’s Company Vinyl Dist’ and put ‘Demons Theme’ out as the first release. Even though Phil was sorry it wouldn’t come out on Basement,  it was a   great idea, as Phil felt the more new DnB  labels that started, the faster the DnB scene would grow, so ‘Good Looking Records’ was formed. Over the next couple of years this new scene sucked in most of the DJs from the Hardcore and Jungle circuit, and many styles of DnB had emerged. This variety of music allowed each DJ thier own sound and Phil helped them launch a multitude of labels including V Records, Metalheadz, Prototype, Photek, 31, Source Direct, Creative Source, InfraRed, Valve,  Virus, Urban Shakedown, Ganja & Real Playaz , Mix N Blen, tearin Vinyl, Proper Talent,  to name but a few.
By 1997 the Drum N Bass Scene was established worldwide, most of the top Artists had signed major record deals and Phil was facing another battle, but this time Political infifighting at Vinyl Dist’ which led to Phil walking away from his company and shelving all his labels in 1997. After a two year break Phil launched his new label ‘Pivotal Entertainment’ and in 2001  after a chat with Micky Finn & Aphrodite he decided to launch his second distribution company ‘Nu Urban Music’ with the backing of Micky & Gavin and James Shallcross and Tobie Scopes (Serial Killaz) at his side,  the guys set about building and helped to establish the next  sub genre of DnB Labels and Artists, that DnB genre we now know as ‘Jump Up. 
 Within weeks of returning to the the scene, Phil realised that  things had changed dramatically, the music had got a little stale, got a little dark, there were still some great tunes being made but overal things had not really moved on a lot since 1997. After speaking with the labels Phil decided it was the right time to reissue a lot of the early DnB and Jungle tunes from the 90s, the sales grew quickly and reavailability of the music quickly brought back lots of great memories for them and the kids buying the records. Then labels such as ‘the majestic ‘Congo Natty’ and the ever awesome ‘Ganja Records’ started to forge a new path by releasing  remixes of thier past catalogues and new material by a group of exciting new artists emerging.  Nu urban Music grew rapidly and established itself as a leading force in the DnB scene and helped to establish a plethora of new labels of all DnB sub genres and the re emergence of some of the great labels Phil had worked with in the past . In 2012 Phil had a serious accident which meant he was no longer able to continue and once again left the scene he so dearly loved, by closing Nu Urban Music and his labels.
2015 and Phil is back at work relaunching his record labels and the motivation to get back into the studio and produce music once again, the result is this new album from Basement Phil called ‘Past, Present & Future’. on the relaunched ‘Basement Records’ label. This album contains unreleased Basement mixes, unreleased remixes, and a new selection of DnB, Techno, Old Skool and House tracks and features artists  Jack Smooth, Wendy, Shadow Cartel, MC Mad P (Top Buzz), MC Wong, LTJ Bukem & Tom Rowlands (Chemical Brothers)..