DJ Krome & DJ Time ‘Brok Out/London Talk’ – 1994
DJ Krome and Mr. Time have been friends since they were at school. They both grew up in Hackney and lived a couple of streets from each other but did not meet until they were 14. The school that Time had attended closed and it was merged with Krome’s school which then collectively became known as Homerton House. This all happened around 1985 during the era when Electro, Hip Hop and Breakdancing was emerging across the country and kids came together to form crews. The pair were both listening to a lot of reggae music, a core element that gravitated them together, enjoying soundsystems like Saxon, Jam Down Rockers, Young Lion and Fatman Sound. Influenced by heritage music like reggae, coupled with the future music of electro and hip hop, Terry (Krome) and Bernie (Time) formed their own crew; Bernie was on the mic and Terry was on the decks – “They had no speed control, and you know how hard it is to mix without speed control!!!”. They made a few demo’s together which they took to their local record shop where a young Trevor Nelson use to work. Trevor was already DJing on Kiss at this point, so they felt he could give them constructive feedback, which was basically a polite ‘Keep on working at it lads’. So they did but in 1987, everything changed for them. That change came in the form of Acid House, which they had started to hear earlier that year on LWR (London Weekend Radio).
Bernie remembers going to Camden Palace in late 1987, dressed up in a shirt with shiny shoes (you had to wear that to get into clubs back then) and getting all boozed up, which was pretty much the norm for UK clubs at that time. He got into a fight and got turfed out, which was also pretty much the norm for UK clubs at that time! The next time he went to that club, two weeks later, he had been swept up by the acid house culture, dressed as a raver and topped off with a bandanna. The transformation was that quick! It was at that very night that someone gave him his first Ecstasy ‘pill’ and his life was changed forever, as was the music that he was making with Terry. Not long after the Camden Palace adventure, they both went down to Danny Rampling’s legendary club night Shoom, a very hard club to be able to get into as it only held 150 people. But it was these two life changing events that got the pair away from hip hop and thrust them into the fledgling London rave scene.
Mr. Time in the studio – 1996.
Inspired, the duo wrote their first ‘Rave’ track in 1990 and this was engineered by the legend that is The Scientist, who they had hooked up with thanks to another legend, DJ Hype. Terry was now a DJ on the pirate radio station Fantasy FM, alongside DJ Hype, and it was down to this connection that Terry and Bernie got to meet The Scientist, a trained pianist. Bernie recalls that “He (The Scientist) was a trained pianist, who could get sounds out of a keyboard like nobody else”. Completed sometime in 1990, nothing happened with the tune for a while as they didn’t have the means to release it. It wasnt till Fantasy FM presented them with another opportunity that they got the break that they needed and their careers would change forever.
Fantasy FM was transmitting from a tower block and at the base of this block was a newsagent where they use to go into for snacks and drinks. The owner of the paper shop was curious as to what they were all up to in the block and when he found out they were part of a pirate radio station, the guy said that his son, Dan, was keen to get involved in the music industry and could he meet them? They agreed to meet, forming a friendship with a young Dan Donnelly, who went on to set up the Boogie Times record shop in Romford and soon after that, Suburban Base Records. It was this label that finally released the Krome and Time’s debut ‘The Rush’ under the alias of Kromozone. The scene was now set.
DJ Krome in Switzerland – March 1996.
Bernie and Time didnt earn much from their Sub Base releases but they did learn during this time a great deal about music production and what gear they should be buying by gleaning as much info as they could from the in-house engineer for the label and fellow label artist, Austin, who was engineering Dan’s tracks as well as Krome & Time’s. They purchased an Akai 1000, and an Ensoniq SQ80, which Bernie comments was “A bloody icon synth. I wish I still had one”. In addition they had a Roland SH-101 for the bass sounds, a Roland XP-60 and the classic Roland JD-800 workstation. Fully kitted out, they then plundered their record collections and their stash of Soundclash tapes. These, coupled with their newly acquired studio set-up, enabled them to start putting together some ideas, and around late 1993, the first versions of ‘Brok Out’ and ‘London Talk’ were created as rough sketches. As they were no longer recording for Sub Base, they had to create their own label to start releasing their reggae influenced jungle.
A few years previously they had decided that if they ever had their own label, it would be called Tearin Vinyl – “It was a wicked name that mean what it said” Bernie muses. And now the opportunity had arisen that a label was the next logical progression in their career, so they jumped on a train and went to Reading, where they met up with Vinyl Distribution, who at that time, were the main distribution company in the UK for indie Jungle releases. They took the now finished versions of ‘Brok Out/London Talk’, which were the first tunes that Bernie had engineered and mixed down himself, and played them to the guys at Vinyl. A deal was struck there and then and Tearin Vinyl became a proper Jungle label. The first release, ‘Brok Out/London Talk’ was cut by Stu Hawkes at Masterpiece, who cut the majority of the labels early releases.
Mr. Time & DJ Krome in Switzerland, 1996.
Mr Time & DJ Krome – London – August 2019.