The Heatwave
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The Heatwave

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The Heatwave carry the city's torch for jubilant dancehall riddims - Red Bull Studios


As the Heatwave instructs, just make your own Carnival wherever you are. - The Fader


As the Heatwave instructs, just make your own Carnival wherever you are. - The Fader


One of the UK's best dancehall outfits - The Independent


One of the UK's best dancehall outfits - The Independent


Their collisions of dancehall, soca, one-drop reggae, grime and UK funky are always future-minded but with a firm understanding of heritage - FACT


Their collisions of dancehall, soca, one-drop reggae, grime and UK funky are always future-minded but with a firm understanding of heritage - FACT


Heatwave: the most exciting new luminaries of London's dancehall scene - Time Out


Heatwave: the most exciting new luminaries of London's dancehall scene - Time Out


“Sound Bwoy” has turned out to be quite the hit for Stylo G. The single can currently be found high up on music charts in the UK, where it has already surpassed the deejay’s breakthrough single “Call Mi a Yardie” in terms of popularity and recognition.

Ahead of their trek to Jamaica this week (where they’re set to play Kingston’s Fiction and Quad clubs), British bashment crew The Heatwave set about giving the electro-pop-dancehall single “Soundbwoy” a roots-y makeover, placing Stylo’s speaker-burning a capella over some vintage Studio One—the Truths and Rights riddim to be exact. Turns out Stylo’s vocals, and the classic instrumental make a great fit. - LargeUp


“Sound Bwoy” has turned out to be quite the hit for Stylo G. The single can currently be found high up on music charts in the UK, where it has already surpassed the deejay’s breakthrough single “Call Mi a Yardie” in terms of popularity and recognition.

Ahead of their trek to Jamaica this week (where they’re set to play Kingston’s Fiction and Quad clubs), British bashment crew The Heatwave set about giving the electro-pop-dancehall single “Soundbwoy” a roots-y makeover, placing Stylo’s speaker-burning a capella over some vintage Studio One—the Truths and Rights riddim to be exact. Turns out Stylo’s vocals, and the classic instrumental make a great fit. - LargeUp


When talking to people about dancehall, the "V" word crops up an awful lot. "It's just a viiiiiiiiibe innit. It's liberating, and it's hype," exclaims north London dancehall artist Lady Chann. "In Jamaica they have Passa Passa Wednesday, in Harlesden, every day there'd be a rave. Growing up, we used to have all-dayers in community centres. They would start at midday and finish at midnight, and it would get so rammed. You'd have all the junior sound systems coming through … those were the days, that was the vibe."

The Jamaican-born genre has traditionally always been associated with big-name male performers – from Beenie Man to Sean Paul – the popular presumption being that, like hip-hop and rock, dancehall is a man's world. However, a new compilation put together by UK soundsystem Heatwave aims to redress the balance. Gyal Power brilliantly repositions female performers as an important voice in the world of dancehall. Lady Saw, Macka Diamond and Ce'Cile, it insists, are as powerful a presence as Elephant Man, Mavado and Tommy Lee.

They may not have racked up the multi-platinum albums of their male counterparts, these women's achievements shouldn't be overlooked. Dawn Penn – though not strictly a dancehall artist – appears on Gyal Power with her No 3 smash No, No, No, as do Louchie Lou and Michie One, famous for their cover of Lulu and The Isley Brother's Shout. There's also the amazing Patra, known for teaching the world how to butterfly as well as her slow-grind cover of Grace Jones's Pull Up to the Bumper. There are newer names too, such as Natalie Storm, O, Spice and British MCs Lady Chann, RoxXxan and Stush. In fact, over the course of the hour-long mix, there are 49 different female performers, reggae from Amy Winehouse and remixes of Adele by Jamie xx and Heatwave.

"Some of our favourite dancehall tunes have been by female artists but female MCs are often sidelined by other artists, or by DJs and promoters," says Heatwave's Gabriel. "Obviously there are more male artists, but they are over-represented in many ways. Because there are so many artists who we love who are female, we always try and give them space and extra shine. Gyal Power is just the logical conclusion to that."

Dancehall has been around since the late 70s but it's undergoing yet another commercial resurgence. A$AP's Ferg and Rocky just dedicated a song to Mr Loverman (Shabba); Florence Welch recently took a trip to Kingston to gather "viiiiiiiibes" for her new album, while Kanye West samples Popcaan, Assassin, Capleton and Beenie Man on his Yeezus opus.

That the world revolves around men is hardly news, points out Ce'Cile, who was born in Kingston and appeared on Sean Paul's multimillion seller, Dutty Ruck. "Jamaica, culturally, is pro-male in everything, not just music. Men are deemed the head of the household, the 'boss', the breadwinner, while women are deemed the child bearer and home keeper," she says. "It just takes certain women to break that mould."

South London MC Stush agrees. "If you are a woman in dancehall, you have to be good. You've got to have double what the guys have to be able to come through. You can do it, but you have to be of a certain calibre. I got my respect from my stage performance; I'm fearless, I don't have time to be scared." Tracks on Gyal Power like Tanya Stephen's Power of a Girl, Lady Saw's Man a Di Least and Lexie Lee's Women Run It underscore these sentiments. "Of course I'm more talented than lots of seemingly bigger male acts," says Ce'Cile. "So is Lady Saw, Alaine, Queen Ifrica and so on. Don't play with Tanya Stevens. She's more talented than a lot of them [men] combined."

Some people might expect dancehall's sexually enthusiastic lyrics (known as "slack") to put women off. In fact, a listen to Tiana's audaciously amazing Pum Pum Phat track tells you that women can be as fantastically filthy and, crucially, in control as men. "The female artists who are slack, they never talk about how they've been mistreated by a guy – sexually or otherwise," Stush points out. "Instead they show that they're empowered and that they're dominant. It's not really about the exploitation of women. If anything, it's the other way around."

On Gyal Power, you can expect to hear a lot of "risqué" talk, including various demands for cunnilingus and what women think of sexually incompetent partners (step forward again the always excellent Saw and her Mr Short Cummings over the Sexxx Tape Riddim).

"I don't think dancehall is exploitative. I feel it's more that woman are sexually liberated, and that's why they express themselves through dancehall," says Lady Chann, whose explosive E - The Guardian


To bring attention to women in dancehall, The Heatwave have released the mix 'Gyal Power'. If you've not heard of them, The Heatwave are Gabriel, Rubi Dan, Benjamin D, three DJs who bill themselves as a 'bashment raving scandal' with their weekly nights and legendary mixes.

While a mixtape of 'wimminz in music' in another genre, like those 'Women Who Rock' magazine covers, might seem reductive and absurd, the trio behind Heatwave wanted to challenge the stereotype that dancehall is sexist. What better way than with a banging 68-track one-hour long mix? We're loving it in the NME office.

"Dancehall is often represented as misogynistic but actually there are more powerful female figures in dancehall than in many music genres - and female dancehall fans are hugely influential when it comes to records being hits," explains Gabriel. "That misunderstanding about female participation and influence in dancehall is precisely why we wanted to make this mix - to show that rather than simply being passive objects, women in dancehall are often centre stage in control".

Lady Chann, one of the MCs on the mix, believes the mix had to made, saying women in dancehall are "severely underrated in our contribution to music, especially in the underground scene". Gabriel cites Tanya Stephens, Cecile, Keida and Natalie Storm as female dancehall artists who aren't given enough kudos but the mix also includes versions of songs by Amy Winehouse, Adele and Leona Lewis. - NME


To bring attention to women in dancehall, The Heatwave have released the mix 'Gyal Power'. If you've not heard of them, The Heatwave are Gabriel, Rubi Dan, Benjamin D, three DJs who bill themselves as a 'bashment raving scandal' with their weekly nights and legendary mixes.

While a mixtape of 'wimminz in music' in another genre, like those 'Women Who Rock' magazine covers, might seem reductive and absurd, the trio behind Heatwave wanted to challenge the stereotype that dancehall is sexist. What better way than with a banging 68-track one-hour long mix? We're loving it in the NME office.

"Dancehall is often represented as misogynistic but actually there are more powerful female figures in dancehall than in many music genres - and female dancehall fans are hugely influential when it comes to records being hits," explains Gabriel. "That misunderstanding about female participation and influence in dancehall is precisely why we wanted to make this mix - to show that rather than simply being passive objects, women in dancehall are often centre stage in control".

Lady Chann, one of the MCs on the mix, believes the mix had to made, saying women in dancehall are "severely underrated in our contribution to music, especially in the underground scene". Gabriel cites Tanya Stephens, Cecile, Keida and Natalie Storm as female dancehall artists who aren't given enough kudos but the mix also includes versions of songs by Amy Winehouse, Adele and Leona Lewis. - NME


The six-deep crew of The Heatwave, Rinse FM’s weekly dancehall show, recognized Caribbean elements in Jamie XX”s masterful Adele shuffle. They got in touch with Jamie through South London’s Oneman, a mutual friend. Turned out he’s a fan of their radio program and happily allowed them to make it their own. The Heatwave boys did so without tampering too much with Jamie’s production, adding vocals from Jamaican stars Ce’cile, Mr. Lexx and Timberlee. The new layers make the song brilliantly dense—Lexx punctuates the taunts of Adele’s chorus with guttural vocal punches and a spare drum section is filled out by a nicely integrated sample of classic New Orleans incantation “Iko Iko.” Allegedly, Jamie’s already incorporating the rework into his sets. - The Fader


Even though it starts off with magic-magnetic duo Rihanna and Vybz Kartel, The Heatwave‘s Energy Bashment mix is not about the latest fresh-off-the-plane reggae and soca tunes. The riddims that it mashes remind us of perennial, always-fresh 90's golden-era Dancehall, just some fun shit to jump up to, even if you don’t know the designated move. It’s perfect for rolling down the windows and testing the mettle of your bass speaker. Lyrically, its on some real dancehall queen type shit—Keida’s “We Ready” is a little crass and definitely blush-worthy, Vybz Kartel and Gaza Slim pack plenty of “long-pipe” mentions in “Like a Jockey.” Heatwave has even thrown in some oldies— Supa Cat, Beenie Man and Miss Dynamite. Wherever you make your dance hall, when the tunes run everybody can act a bad gal. Tracklist under the download. - The Fader


Even though it starts off with magic-magnetic duo Rihanna and Vybz Kartel, The Heatwave‘s Energy Bashment mix is not about the latest fresh-off-the-plane reggae and soca tunes. The riddims that it mashes remind us of perennial, always-fresh 90's golden-era Dancehall, just some fun shit to jump up to, even if you don’t know the designated move. It’s perfect for rolling down the windows and testing the mettle of your bass speaker. Lyrically, its on some real dancehall queen type shit—Keida’s “We Ready” is a little crass and definitely blush-worthy, Vybz Kartel and Gaza Slim pack plenty of “long-pipe” mentions in “Like a Jockey.” Heatwave has even thrown in some oldies— Supa Cat, Beenie Man and Miss Dynamite. Wherever you make your dance hall, when the tunes run everybody can act a bad gal. Tracklist under the download. - The Fader


An unlikely hit was The Heatwave, a DJ/MC duo that turned the unlovely environs of a shadowy basement into a carnival spectacular. Taking inspiration from Jamaican soundsystem culture, The Heatwave used a tried and tested method of getting the crowd going: DJ Gabriel mixed up reggae classics while MC Benjamin demanded that everyone move to the left, shimmy to the right and generally have a blast. - The Times


An unlikely hit was The Heatwave, a DJ/MC duo that turned the unlovely environs of a shadowy basement into a carnival spectacular. Taking inspiration from Jamaican soundsystem culture, The Heatwave used a tried and tested method of getting the crowd going: DJ Gabriel mixed up reggae classics while MC Benjamin demanded that everyone move to the left, shimmy to the right and generally have a blast. - The Times


The London party-starters and dancehall specialists of The Heatwave have just unleashed 2013's annual celebratory mix for Notting Hill Carnival, a sizable DJ set which arrives before the crew's Hot Wuk Truck warm-up party goes down on August 24. The offering follows soon after last month's 65-track, all-female dancehall mix from The Heatwave, and presents a run of 55 fiery jams from luminaries such as Vybz Kartel, Popcaan, Busy Signal, and Mavado, with a handful Top 40-friendly tunes by the likes of Rhianna, A$AP Rocky, and Rick Ross thrown in for good measure. The whole thing can be streamed and downloaded for free below, where its massive tracklist can also be found. - XLR8R


The London party-starters and dancehall specialists of The Heatwave have just unleashed 2013's annual celebratory mix for Notting Hill Carnival, a sizable DJ set which arrives before the crew's Hot Wuk Truck warm-up party goes down on August 24. The offering follows soon after last month's 65-track, all-female dancehall mix from The Heatwave, and presents a run of 55 fiery jams from luminaries such as Vybz Kartel, Popcaan, Busy Signal, and Mavado, with a handful Top 40-friendly tunes by the likes of Rhianna, A$AP Rocky, and Rick Ross thrown in for good measure. The whole thing can be streamed and downloaded for free below, where its massive tracklist can also be found. - XLR8R


Who are they? A DJ/MC duo who take the fun and energy of reggae and dancehall to turn every gig into a carnival.

What do they sound like? While DJ Gabriel mashes up classic reggae and modern Jamaican music, MC Benjamin leaps about and gets the crowd going. Guest stars come and go: the indomitable dancehall queen Lady Chann is a regular collaborator.

Go and see them: to forget all your troubles, to lose yourself, even to make the festival mud go away. The Heatwave have one simple but noble goal: to give the crowd a good time, all the time.

Don't go and see them: if you want to feel sorry for yourself.

Catch them at: Glastonbury, Jun 28; Lounge on the Farm, Canterbury, Jul 26. - The Times


Who are they? A DJ/MC duo who take the fun and energy of reggae and dancehall to turn every gig into a carnival.

What do they sound like? While DJ Gabriel mashes up classic reggae and modern Jamaican music, MC Benjamin leaps about and gets the crowd going. Guest stars come and go: the indomitable dancehall queen Lady Chann is a regular collaborator.

Go and see them: to forget all your troubles, to lose yourself, even to make the festival mud go away. The Heatwave have one simple but noble goal: to give the crowd a good time, all the time.

Don't go and see them: if you want to feel sorry for yourself.

Catch them at: Glastonbury, Jun 28; Lounge on the Farm, Canterbury, Jul 26. - The Times


Discography

Stylo G, Soundbwoy, The Heatwave Refix, 2013
Mr Lexx & Nikisha, TNGHT Riddim, The Heatwave Refix, 2012
Stylo G, Call Mi A Yardie, The Heatwave Refix, 2012
Adele & Jamie XX, Rolling In The Heatwave, The Heatwave Refix, 2011
An England Story, LP/CD Compilation, Soul Jazz Records, 2008
Things Change feat Warrior Queen, 12" vinyl Soul Jazz Records, 2008
General Levy & Lily Allen, Mad LDN, The Heatwave Refix, 2007
Kelis & Beenie Man & TOK, Trick Me Twice, The Heatwave Refix, 2004

Photos

Bio

The Heatwave is a London dancehall crew but we cause insanity all over the world: catch us on the radio, in clubs, with crazy remixes or on our legendary mixtapes.

We run Hot Wuk, the UK’s maddest bashment party. Hot Wuk is monthly on Friday nights at 600 capacity London clubs plus we have a midweek residency in the West End and throw huge raves three times a year at larger venues. For example, we sold 1700 tickets for Koko in Camden in August 2013 with only The Heatwave on the bill.

Outside London, the Hot Wuk brand has expanded to five cities round the UK: Brighton, Bristol, Leeds, Manchester and Nottingham. We throw 4/5 parties a year in each city at 500 capacity venues, so we have a strong and growing national following.

We've worked with the leading dancehall stars in Jamaica from established acts like Sean Paul, Beenie Man and Mr Vegas through to newer names such as Popcaan, Konshens and RDX. Plus of course all the London-based dancehall artists like Gappy Ranks, General Levy, Stylo G and Lady Chann.

Our music reaches a large international audience thanks to online promotion through sites like Soundcloud. Our landmark mix celebrating 50 years of Jamaican music in the UK, Five Million Rewinds, has been played 45,000 times while our other mixes and remixes usually get at least 20,000 and our fortnightly podcast attracts 5,000+ listeners per show.

We play all over the world, touring Canada (Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, Ottawa and Calgary), Australia (Sydney, Melbourne and Meredith Festival in front of 20,000 people), Brazil (Salvador and Ilheus with the Bass Culture Clash tour) and Scandinavia (Stockholm, Malmo, Copenhagen, Gothenburg and Trondheim) in recent years as well as one off shows all over Europe (Holland, Germany, Poland, Belgium, Spain, Austria) and an upcoming festival booking at NH7 Weekender in India.

We are regulars on the UK festival circuit, playing on 1000-3000 capacity stages in recent years at Glastonbury, Bestival, Lovebox, Secret Garden Party, Outlook, Boomtown Fair, Latitude, Shambala, Radio 1's Hackney Weekend, Big Chill and WOMAD. We've also played smaller festivals such as The Great Escape, Lounge On The Farm and Standon Calling.