As a fan of the label since 2010, the Butterz journey has been a fascinating one. The daunting task of restoring grime's credibility was first taken up with enthusiasm and integrity by a youthful Elijah and Skilliam back at University. Their Butterz blog had grown to become one of the most comprehensive go-to grime resources on the net but there remained little to shout about in a scene that had lost its way considerably. Over-crowded, lacking organisation and full of resentment for former proteges chasing record deals, grime was bereft of the energy and drive that had propelled the sound into the spotlight in 2002. A chance to air their frustrations by way of mixing came in 2009 when the duo were invited a chance to host their own show on Rinse FM. What has happened since has been nothing short of astronomical.
The label soon followed in early 2010, giving a home to some of the most exciting producers the genre had witnessed for years, whilst also placing a greater emphasis on fan interaction than any label had done previously. Suddenly people were interested, engaged.
Thirteen releases and 2 years later, the sheer enormity of just what the label has managed to achieve came to fruition in the form of a sell out birthday night at Cable on March 24th alongside Terror Danjah's 'Hardrive' imprint. Aside from Wiley's legendary Eskimo Dance, never before have I witnessed an 8 hour celebration of all things grime embraced so profoundly. It would be all too easy to look back across the individual brilliance of each set, all of which were delivered with a real sense of occasion, but what startled me the most were the demographics.
I managed to grab a few words with Swindle after his set and even he was blown away by the spectacle. 'It doesn't matter where you're from or what you look like, it's just Butterz, it's where it's at' I remember him saying and I can't say I disagree. For a genre we are ignorantly led to believe promotes violence, gang culture and just about any said social issue, the vibe was incredible - I even bumped into people who had made the trip all the way from Aberdeen. For the first time in years, grime enjoyed a party - no egos, no competition, no pre-conceptions about how to look or carry yourself, just a good old fashioned knees up. There were whistles, there were lighters, there was even JME in a onesie but perhaps most importantly, people were dancing.
(Credit to http://dotrmmxii.tumblr.com/)
As well as making grime both credible and accessible again, Elijah and Skilliam had placed a strong emphasis on reviving it's dance floor credentials. Through the emergence of the likes of Royal T, Swindle and Champion, Butterz have succeeded in creating grime you can dance to and March 24th was the ultimate testament. Though were we treated to the best the label had to offer, there were also numerous tributes to some of grime's formative tracks. Royal T's ingenious re-work of Danny Weed's 'Creeper', Spooky's tribute to Pulse X 'Pulse Y', SLK's 'Hype Hype', Jon E Cash's 'War' and even Jameson's early garage joint 'Urban Hero' were all particular highlights on a night when grime appeared truly united. No corner of the genre remained untouched with emcees past and present also making appearances, including a notably excellent set from Riko.
If that wasn't enough, JME proved to be the icing on the cake. With a crowd already rallied by incredible sets by Champion and Terror Danjah in particular, he arrived in textbook style, clambering onto the top of the DJ booth kitted out in a onesie assuring club staff that he would be 'really careful'. With little introduction, he hushed a bustling crowd with a chorus of 'Well Well Well' before flying into a series of his most iconic tracks, culminating in an in-crowd performance of latest smash '96 Fuckries'. You'd be hard pushed to find a better performer in the UK on current form.
Bruising sets from funky selector Marcus Nasty and Spooky followed to rapturous vigour from an unrelenting crowd before Elijah and Skilliam took to the decks to close the night out in fitting fashion. Swindle had said their first Cable party last summer had struggled to hold it's audience past 4 in the morning but their second was still rocking at 5.30. I left feeling physically exhausted but massively inspired by a label I had always hoped could restore my faith in grime. They have proved that it still has so much to offer.
You can exclusively listen back to Spooky's set from the night via the Uncle Albert Soundcloud here:
Butterz & Hardrive 2nd Birthday - Mar 24 2012 ft Spooky by UncleAlbertSays
You can download the set here: http://www.mediafire.com/?jx7u9j9mb1md2lw
BR009 Swindle & Silkie - Unlimited / Pineapple is out as of April. You can pre-order via Boomkat here:
Champion's Formula Records imprint is also hosting a free payback party at East Village: https://www.facebook.com/events/403246066352471/404050146272063/?notif_t=plan_mall_activity
Everything else Butterz plus more content from the night: http://butterzisthelabel.tumblr.com/