Vinyl Junkie Interviews – GOOD2GO RECORDS
Going back a couple of years, a true oldskool raver, DJ and producer, Sync Dynamix aka Lee Croucher launched a vinyl label especially to cater for the 92-95 oldskool sound. Fast forward to the end of 2022 and in a few short years Good2Go DMR has notched up 14 vinyl releases and is already turning into something of a prestigious label with legendary artists like Blame and Peshay a part of their artist roster...
Vinyl Junkie caught up with Lee to chat about the label, vinyl, music production and more...
Hi Mate. How’s your week going so far?
Hi John, absolutely fantastic, lots going on in life and with the G2G label, plenty of project planning, design work and most importantly lots of time in the studio making all things underground.
So lets start at the beginning… What is your earliest musical memory?
My earliest musical memory, I think tbh I was brought up on music most of my life and always seemed to take to it like water, but it’s gotta be Desmond Dekka’s Shanty Town, Also Adam and the Ants Stand and Deliver when I was 5ish.
When you were growing up, what music was being played in your house?
I was brought up to love a variety of music rather than one, but it had to be most Ska music and your more Mod rock, Police and the Jam bands.
What was the first record you ever bought and how old were you?
My first ever record that I bought was a 7” of Marky Mark and Funky Bunch’s - Good Vibrations, and even today I still love that track for the female vocals. I believe I was 12 as it came out in 1991, bought from Tower records.
What was the first rave you ever went to and how did it effect your life?
Ok so I have to go back some years, it’s gotta be ENERGY which at the time was run by Sydney of Bassment Records in Southend On Sea, What happy days. I think I was 15 at the time and not having a lot of money back then, anything we earned just went back into music, that was the way of life then. Being I was quite young and the world around us was just Hard ore and Jungle, a few of my close friends and I ventured out and what can I say, the feeling, the adrenalin, watching LTJ Bukem and Danny Breaks as the headliners and Bazil who at the time worked at Bassment records just smashed it. I believe the MC on the night was Spangler G.It’s hard to explain to anyone who didn’t witness those days, That feeling and buzz which was thriving then. The place was packed and all I did was just dance the night away to all the fantastic new records coming out. I would say at that point in 93/94 that kicked started my love for the music and scene, even though I was a bedroom music guy, this event just changed my mindset completely, WOW is all I can say!
When did you first start learning to mix records and what inspired you to do so?
After I purchased Marky Mark - Good Vibrations at 12/13 , I started buying records by the bulk loads with every penny I could get, and a lot of those were Rave compilations as you had more tracks on one LP. But playing those on one Thompson player just didn’t cut it. So I asked my old man if he could help me buy a double deck and mixer, and what did I get? Ha ha an oldskool Vintage Twin deck console with built in mixer, had no pitch, so to mix you had to do real well, I just loved it.So that was my first set of decks and from there the world just got bigger. I think then at that age, technology was something I always loved and with music they both came hand in hand, so what inspired me was how DJ’s did it, listening to the early acid house and Early Rave tracks coming through and listening to them mixing. That’s when it started at 13, mixing and scratching it up, or trying to!
What DJ’s have influenced you over the years and how have they effected your DJing style
If I had to choose my favourite DJ, that has to be LTJ Bukem all day long, then DJ Hype, Randall, Billy Bunter, Kenny Ken, Doc Scott and Ratty. I think it was their own style of music they played, each had their own select of music types in each set and they stuck to those sounds which is what made them great.I had to create my own style and stick to a sound, one that I loved. So I chose the Bukem way and sound including beautiful tracks from Good Looking, Lucky Spin, Moving shadow, Legend etc. my style was to achieve smooth mixing with a cut off when tracks hit, and as we know it’s hard to smooth mix any Jungle or Hardcore track, takes a lot of Concentration.
When and where was your first gig and what are your memories of this night?
From what I can remember it was an event called RUSH in Basildon around summer 95, Dj Hype was also mixing that night and what a top guy he is, so alive, felt a bit more relaxed after talking to everyone involved, more a family scene environment, all about the music. I remember feeling extremely nervous being I was playing just before Hype, so I knew I had to do as well as I could. The place was packed and the vibe was just pure adrenaline, I spun my first track which was the Original Omni Trio - Feel Good - Original In demand mix, went down a storm as a lot of the other DJ’s played tracks more of the current time, but from there it was just amazing.
Vinyl DJing Vs Digital DJing… What do you prefer and why? And how do they differ?
This is an easy and a hard one for me as I’m oldskool and love the decks to much, it’s gotta be Vinyl. I prefer mixing Vinyl because of the feel, the sense of being in control and the Raw, boxy sound Vinyl just gives off. I think there is a real skill in being able to mix Vinyl, but In saying that there is a real skill in mixing digital these days as you can play digital on vinyl.As mentioned, loving technology myself and that really is my inspiration to starting my musical venture, I’ve never really been one for mixing CD’s or MP3s, and I’m sure there are alot of DJ’s, Producers and Clubs that would say it’s a great thing and more efficient. But there’s nothing like carrying a case of records no matter how heavy into a club or studio and doing what u love. I’m an open world I suppose it doesn’t really matter either way, because your doing what you love and playing the music you love.
There has been a massive resurgence in vinyl sales lately with loads of old classics being remastered and repressed. Is this a good thing and why? Discuss….
I’m going to answer this in the very best way I can as i feel this is a very delicate subject within the Vinyl loving community. The only reason I feel old classic’s should be remastered and repressed is for the younger generation coming through and living the scene once again, which it is fast and furiously growing. The younger crowed who hadn’t the chance to live the moments we oldies did now have the opportunity to buy old classics, take something that was great and move it forward positively. The other good parts of represses are the classics that we missed back in the day and hadn’t collected.But! There is another side to me (the older me) that says why repress these classics when they essentially are becoming rare, hard to come by and are part of our 90s history. Again I think it’s like most things, a positive and a negative balance of understanding why, should it be and are their values? My views are equal.
Do you think the vinyl thing will grow or fizzle out? discuss your reasoning…
Vinyl has been produced on mass scale ever since 1930’s, and we are seeing massive sales even today! Vinyl as we have seen these past two years has overtaken a lot of other musical formats which is crazy when u think digital was the future back in the early 2000’s. I don’t see Vinyl fizzling out anytime soon that’s for sure.But I think the main question I ask myself is who will be included in that group of future labels to keep the vibe alive and production pumping? we just don’t know? The price of production and everything that goes into each project is just consistent increasing, and this becoming hard for smaller labels like Good2Go to produce the quality and sales that everyone wants.We certainly want to create artistry in each Vinyl release, but that does come at a cost, and costly it is becoming. Bigger commercial labels like Sony and the larger underground names who have stuck it out and done tremendously well, will be the ones who come out ontop, or will they? I think we have to just keep resilient, keep producing quality Vinyl packs and see where it all takes us.
How is the current state of the economy effecting you as a label?
At this present time it is only the increasing cost of production that effects our projects and mostly the industry. We as a label pride ourselves in bringing quality Vinyl packs by great artists and very talented professionals. I’d say that because we do put our all into every release, this shows and appeals to the Vinyl loving crowed.The above mentioned plays a very big part to our sales as brining something that not only can be played, can also be part of our artistry history, and that we run limited releases with no repress, there is a lot of value. So, I suppose where I’m going with this is yes the countries economy is not in the best state and every person is watching their pennies, but the love for records is there and we bring that value and history to each person at the very best cost we can.
What inspired you to start a label and what are your goals and aspirations for Good2Go?
In the 90s we were very young and money was very hard to come by, when your 15-16 years of age all you wanted to do was enjoy the scene around you and try to be part of it as much as you can, so decided to DJ rather than Produce. But since those years I always had an interest in sound journeys, the equipment that creates sound (Synths, modular units etc), also sound engineering.I always kept sample library’s and over time built a small studio space which I had when moving from Southend to London, basically playing with sound, beats, how I could better myself in this area and create a label. Unfortunately all of this fell apart when life took me by the hand and led me in another direction as it does.
But! After meeting with one of my best friends Paul Hudson (Subversiv) around 12 years ago, he reintroduced me to Production. 4-5 years ago I met James Townsend who owns Twotwelve Tens record store, and as you do your buying records and having a chat over labels, production etc etc, and out of the blue just mentions why not start a label? So I did and Good2Go DMR was Born in 2018.
My idea was to set a sound style (1992-1995), a specific brand design that was easy but strong, and I suppose long lasting, so the Thumb was born and the Good2Go DMR logo was created (by art designer Wesley Fur).Our focus was to start slow with 1 - 2 releases every other month and gradually build the brand, then part way through (which was a year later) step the ladder and take more onboard, new artists, better designs and moving onto colour vinyl. We want Good2Go DMR to fit in with bigger more established labels, and we know the work involved would be hard, but now we have the confidence in such a strong support, we can take the label further and produce the very best artist packs we can.
What has been your involvement in production and running labels before you started Good2Go?
My past production areas were always Sound Journey and sound engineering involved (recording the sounds around us and manipulating those to suit). After working with various oldskool dance labels I was consistently learning their techniques, for which my own sounds / samples were being introduced into various tracks. This kept my focus on music very directed, and thus helped me to spread my wings in production mixing.I had no experience in running labels prior to Good2Go DMR, but did have the knowledge in various areas of Graphical design, sound creation and DAW mixing, so took all of these professions forward.
Whats on the horizon for the label, can you tell us about any future projects you are working on.
Well! Not sure I can let to much out of the bag ha ha, but what I can say is that our focus is to bring more top quality Vinyl Packs including Top artists and New up and coming Artists (all round). Our next release is due out on 30th Sept and it’s such a cracking piece of work, featuring Blame with a remix of Music Takes Me Higher (Originally produced by Myself Sync Dynamix), also my new track Won’t You be with Me and Cold Leaders track Vital Elements. We also have planned the LineOUT EP which should be due out in the next 8-10 weeks (Dec 2022 timescale), this featuring Flatliner with his remix of Never Gonna Take It (Original by Myself Sync Dynamix). But I can assure you that what is planned after these is mind blowing, seriously good projects.
How did the link up with Blame come about?
My world is all about Networking, and after working with so many top new up and coming artists, my idea was to start taking the next step. After looking at so many artists and focusing on their styles (which Was really hard but important that the G2G Sound came through in any remix or new production). Blame was just to easy to decide upon due to his flexibility to adapt to most or all styles, and from what I could see he was really putting in the ground work to promote his music.Let’s be honest, Blames production work is superb, he loves what he does and the fact he is such a professional speaks volumes. So Out of the blue I messaged Blame, introduced myself and what projects I have in mind. Ever since that call (which was around a year and half ago) we have met up for lunch pretty much every month, great chats, discussions of past projects we have achieved, new plans going forward, a true pro.
The sound of the early 90’s hardcore and jungle has come full circle with lots of young people, who were not even born first time round, adopting this sound, buying records and even producing music in this style… Its amazing… whats your thoughts on this and how is it going to effect the future of the scene?
This is an easy one for me, Four names come to mind Tom Lavery, Tim Reaper, Kid Lib and Phineus 11, all of which even when we thought the 90s Jungle and Hardcore scene was left behind, these kept going and believed in the oldskool style, Vinyl and it’s values. Obviously there are more newer producers who are exceptionally good, but these four have really taken the 90s Jungle, hardcore Jungle, Hardcore sound and reproduce their own classics that will last.
I’d say since 2015, the Jungle and Hardcore scene has gradually been coming through slowly but surely, and now we are seeing a explosion of Production, DJ’s, new equipment (including easy adaptable DAW’s) and Events which I think is fantastic. How I feel the future scene will be effected? Let’s keep living the dream in an oldskool way but in a new skool manner, Pushing the boundaries with both production, Dj’ing, also planning those most important events which keep us positive and helping all involved. We lived around 5 years (in the 90s) of what was probably the best generation of music in 30 years, why not try to make it longer and ongoing because we all know what we’ve been missing! The future is bright as long as the support is there all round.
How does the newly produced hardcore / jungle compare to the original stuff?
Oldskool 90s productions were created mostly on 8 and 12 bit hardware and software, so in order to emulate that oldskool authentic Jungle / Hardcore sound you realistically have to be using the hardware which included the Atari ST or Amiga computers, obviously the legendary Akai s950 for break sample crunchiness and effects, and lastly the synth / piano hardware including the M1, DX7, DX27, Juno 6, Jupiter and other 80s / early 90s synths that produced those amazing pads, scapes, leads and bass, just something special. Bringing things into the 2022 era, DAW’s like Pro Tools, Ableton Live, FL studio and other software packages, all are massively advanced to what they use to be, more efficient, adaptable, with a selection of plugins included in the packages and online, you would only dream of having such integrated equipment in the 90s.Things are more plug-in / vst related, and tbh they sound just as good! I’ve used both brilliant hardware back in the day and all the top synths in more modern days, there is just so much more to choose and create with which I love and spend so much time on.
Producers In the modern era I would say have a lot easier job to produce a track , only because the DAW’s are easier functional and plugins are available on a mass scale. But, even with the new DAW’s and plugins available, you can tell an authentic hardware based oldskool Jungle track to a more modern Jungle track, but sound engineering to a more modern produced track using modern techniques is definitely cleaner.
Do you have a big record collection and how long have you been collecting?
Once upon a time I had over 3000 records, all of which were a mix of Jungle, Hardcore, JTech and Trance. But over the years I kept a lot of of my favourite Vinyl (more 93-97 stuff) and the rest I sold to invest in production equipment. I think back then I was collecting for over 6-7 years, and paying £5 a record which was a blessing.
What are your 3 most treasured records (give a little bit of info on each one why they are so special to you)
My three top records:
- Torchman’s - Tell Me
- Omni Trio - Thru The Vibe
- Crystl - Warpdrive
Torchman’s Tell Me, I heard this on an edge Tape in 93 and was the first track that gave me goosebumps instantly. As soon as I heard those intro pads and vocals, this really got me into the Jungle vibe and knew I had to have it on vinyl. Since then I literally play it in every set.
Omni Trio - Thru The Vibe, my lord how deep can you go with a track? The whole track takes you away into a jungle dream of piano, strong variations of breaks and drums, and when that middle section just drops, well! I mean to even create such a track is genius, and I heard this at my first Rave at Energy in Southend, straight down to Bassment records and bagged it. Again ever since I have had this track I’m my bag and played at every event.
DJ Crystl - Warpdrive, well what can I say? It’s hard to chose side A or B, but when those breaks hit instantly, WOW! And those deep dark and emotional pads, this is why I wanted to produce, to create tracks like this. Always in the bag!
What record is top of your wants list?
I have all three of them, but if I was to choose a 4th, that would have to be 3rd party’s - Screwface by Brainkillers - Original version on Borderline EP
Tell us a crazy / random / funny story about something that has happened to you whilst out and about DJing
A lot of funny things have happened, but I suppose one moment that comes to mind was DJing at The Cross in Kings Cross back in late 90s. After taking a break for a couple of weeks whilst living in London, I get a call from The cross club management to ask if I could work (DJ) on Saturday night (can’t remember the exact date), and it would be a deep Trance house music night? Well how could I turn it down! I said yes.After arriving with my bag of records I was buzzing, but not knowing who was playing that night! Well that’s when it started to get crazy and funny, I was told as I arrived that I would be playing in place of Another top DJ who was unable to attend, and I’m on before Another top DJ whom I won’t name here, but how crazy is that I’m DJing just before a top top DJ!So naturally I became really nervous, the place was packed and I had a bag of records that had some real bangers. Anyway as the night went on it was my turn, and I kicked of with my set. I think it was probably the best set i ever achieved, got right into it and the crowed was with me.This is when it gets funny, I get tapped on the shoulder by a guy and girl asking for my autograph? I said really! yeah no problem! so I did so and we went on without realising why (as I’m a DJ unknown).Another girl and few guys come over, and then another and another etc etc? I’m thinking what’s going on? My old agent comes over and says hello mate how did the set go? I said yeah really good, but I have to ask why lots of people are asking for my autograph, he laughed and says that’s great because u just played (I won’t mention the world famous DJ’s name but initials S F). Well my head just collapsed, so I signed DJ Lee C on everyone’s request and no one realised i wasn’t S F! My agent laughed because he said that’s not the only thing mate, the top DJ’s name was up on screen whilst you were playing, I never even noticed!
Any final words??
Keep your eyes on Good2Go DMR, there’s alot of fantastic stuff coming!
Also everyone involved and supporting the current scene, keep going and do what you do best for as long as you possibly can.
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