Flex Records started in the north of England by L double was one of the heroes of the 90s jungle / drum & bass explosion. Alongside Headz, Shadow, 31, Reinforced, Urban Takeover, and others FLEX brought a fresh sound to the scene. First to release tunes with artists like the mighty Marcus Intalex, S.T. Files, Acetate, and the legendary Sappo, FLEX was the label that every Junglist could count on for a solid release every time. L Double also was the main man on BBC1Xtra with his essential show. During the 2000’s Flex’s output slowed and the show was canceled. But Dubbs never left the cutting edge. We caught up with him as he embarks on the next step in Flex’s evolution!
How did you get into drum & bass culture for the new generation that isn’t familiar with your history?
For me it all began in the late 1980’s , growing up around hip-hop and reggae sound systems. House and Acid clubs began to spring up which for me was the start of the British hip-house scene and shortly after the music was heavily influenced by soul and jungle-techno, hip-hop began to fade into the background as there was a growing need for something different.
Flex was one of the first labels to come out of the Jungle Explosion of the 90s and If I remember right the first to come from the Northern part of England, what made you decide to set up the label in the first place?
My work at the time was heavily influenced by Unique 3. There just wasn’t anything else around like us at the time in our part of the country but we knew that other artists were starting to adopt the sound.
The mid 90s into the early 2000s saw the label going from strength to strength with releases like Little Rollers, Da Intelex, Saturday Flex, Mad Phunk and more. What is it like having that kind of legacy to build off of?
It really makes the ability to get on with the work so much easier. Flex have global brand association from a golden era and genre.
Da Bass 2 Dark is to this day a floor filler, What’s the story about that one? What made you give that one to Metalheadz instead of releasing it on flex?
Bass 2 Dark began as a drum experiment , utilizing a sample from LL Cool J and using my Korg 05R half rack unit…was originally scheduled for the B side to Little Rollers…Metalheadz were a big label and network. It was a very safe place to put the track and an easy decision to make. I recall bumping into DJ Trace at Music House dub cutting studio and swapping a dub plate of “Babylon shall fall” for “Bass 2 dark” very exciting times for the Jungle and emerging Drum and Bass sound.
With a stable of artists like Marcus Intalex, S.T. Files, Sappo, Rough Cut, Stranjah, and Acetate, who are you most proud of introducing to the world of DNB?
I’m proud of them all, over the years they have all contributed to our success and I will always be truly grateful to them.
Your show on Xtra was a must listen for any true fan of the music. What brought that time to an end?
It was an absolute pleasure to be part of a such a huge operation like BBC1 Xtra but unfortunately constraints and evolution of a national show makes for a highly competitive scenario. My six years of contracted work with them will stay with me forever.
You continue to be a driving force in dnb, with stalwarts like Renegade Hardware shutting their doors, what makes you feel like this is the right time to relaunch?
I was sad to hear about that. I know the guys at Renegade Hardware well and respect them very much. I’m a vibes man… I’m not watching statistics. The vibe feels right, we feel good and the music is fantastic!
Watch out for the new breed folks …Raw talent with outstanding production quality with releases coming soon on Flex!! Big shouts going out to Ricky Force, Fat Cap, Bassgrow, DJ Mastas, Scattyone, Dungeon Master, Missin’ Link, Greekboy, Gappa G & Tobias, Crisis & Ikon B , Sappo, Advisory Records, Maff Stenning , Stiipo , Galvatron, Cymanite & DJ Baka . Flex001-010 re-mastered going on digital sale for the first time very soon – and shortly after will be the 1st new release from Flex in a very long time. Covering all styles of Jungle, Drum and Bass Flex are diversifying.