D.R.S - Colin Grainge and Errol 'Remo' Gordon

Da Real Sound (D.R.S) Interview

So who are DRS, Da Real Sound?

Remo Don: 

We got together in the early 90s with the idea of fusing reggae with club music. It’s mainly me and Colin.

Colin Grainge:

We’re best known for the Jungle track, “Everyman,” released on Rugged Vinyl, with Stevie Hyper D and DJ Kenny Ken.

How did you get into music?

Colin Grainge:

Probably around 1987 –  I’ve always been interested in electronic music and synthesizers. Then suddenly this new genre, “Acid House” came onto my radar. So together with some college friends, Andy Smith and Frank McFarlane, we put some demos together. One track was picked up by Warrior Records on Acid Beats 1 in 1988. I think this put it into my head that we might be good enough to do something with music. However, it took a few years to build up the equipment needed, so I was largely working as an apprentice engineer at a studio in Dagenham, where I used the studio through the night to record new material. By 1990 I was able to build my first studio. It was a lot harder back then as there was no such thing as a DAW, (computer-based digital audio workstation), not in my price range anyway. 

Remo don: 

My love of music started when I was a child at a church in Stonebridge, North West London. I used to watch the church musicians perform, wishing I could play the bass. I also wanted to learn to play the piano but my Dad’s response to the request was. “If I send you to play the piano, you’ll end up joining a pop group, so no!” My Dad was a church minister!

Growing up, my first loves were Reggae and then Soul and Jazz Funk.  During my teens, when I went to my first under 18’s rave Soul & British Funk was my main focus.  Music was always an important part of my life.  

My music-making started in the 1980’s, when I co-produced and managed the first two tracks by an all-girl rap group called, The Wee Pappa Girl Rappers.  The girls eventually got signed to Jive Records and appeared on Top of the Pops.

During the early 80s, I focused on different genres, particularly reggae and soul.  In the late 80s, my friends told me about the rave scene. At first I ‘turned my nose up,’ until 1989 when I decided to see what it was all about.  After my first experience at The Rocket on Holloway Road there was no turning back, I was hooked.

What was the first success you had?

Colin Grainge:

It was in 1991 when I released a track called “High Tech Music,” which was co-produced with Andy and Frank. Soon after that, I co-produced “Chops and EMC Me Israelites,” which was picked up by Phase 2. It was really exciting to hear our tracks played in clubs alongside so many great records.

The tracks had to be built up on multi-track tape because the sampler could only hold six seconds of audio. It was quite laborious but the success meant we could update the sampling time and the studio, which changed things massively.

Remo Don:

I decided to focus on producing dance music after I met with Colin at his studio in London; we started to develop our style of fusing reggae with hardcore.

The first success was a Hardcore/Reggae fusion called, “Wonderful,” released twice by Kikkin Records and then “Slip Slide,” in 1992. I also had success with the iconic, foundation Jungle track, “Everyman,” in 1994 with Colin and DJ and producer Kenny Ken, released on Rugged Vinyl, which also featured MC legend Stevie Hyper D.

Did you work with any well-known artists?

Remo Don:

I worked with renowned house music producer Grant Nelson and Hardcore DJ/Producer, Vibes. I can take credit for being the catalyst for their successful collaboration in the happy hardcore scene, co-producing their first hit, “Sing it Loud,” on Asylum Music. I have also worked with Kenny Ken, Stevie Hyper D, General Levy and Garage star Richie Dan on a project with Colin and the Wee Pappa Girl Rappers amongst others.

Colin Grainge:

I worked with so many people in various roles including Crystal Waters, Kenny Ken with “Everyman” recorded with Remo as DRS, which also featured Stevie Hyper D. I’m sad he’s not with us anymore, 

I did some programming work for Roachford; he was incredible. There was Grant Nelson with Remo. I also worked on the original version of Can You Feel It, by Mr Reds, under the name Col G. that got remixed by DJ Skribble as “Everybody Come On,” and was quite a big hit. It made the national charts and Top Of The Pops.  

So many people came through the studio I called it the Cavestation. There was DJ EZ, DJ Monk, D.O.P.E, and Chris Simmonds from Cross-Section Collective. I’m afraid I don’t remember all the people who came, as I was too busy working.  I was alternately engineering, and programming as well as producing and writing, sometimes working on two or three tracks a day.  

I have over 70 credits on released records through the 90s. I did more, but a lot of them are uncredited, unreleased or lost as white labels.

Coliong Grainge and Errol (Remo-Don) Gordon

How do you feel about the work you achieved?

Remo Don:

I’m happy with the successes I’ve had so far.  I feel I have so much more to offer to the scene. I’ve never been afraid to experiment with fusing different live instruments, vocals and genres with EDM.  My ethos has always been to make music I love because if it makes me dance, it will make others dance. 

Colin Grainge:

It was a great time to be working in music and in London. The 90’s were probably the best time of my life. It’s brilliant that I still get messages asking about the old tunes; if some of them are good enough to live on for three decades, then I’m happy. Some of them are changing hands on the second-hand market for £200 a pop. I wish I still got royalties! I’m looking forward to doing more material with Remo.