4 hero

From Jungle to Hip Hop, Jazz to Broken Beats, Marc Mac and Dego are the nucleus of Reinforced Records, one of the godfather labels of Drum n' Bass.

They started their career in a tiny Dollis Hill studio packed to the rafters with the kind of old electronic kits you'd more often see in second hand stores. It was here they made their first Jungle album ('In Rough Territory') and followed it in the early 90s with a bewildering array of artiste aliases to unleash an unstoppable avalanche of progressive Drum n' Bass into a fledgling genre crying out for innovators.

From these beginnings, there has followed a rollercoaster ride, crowned by a Mercury Music Prize nomination and a MOBO award for their 4 Hero identity which produced two albums for Gilles Peterson's Talkin' Loud label.

Marc and Dego are real world musicians. Rather than simply integrate, they interrogate and still strive to innovate: able to mix sounds from past, present and future. The Jungle/Drum n' Bass scene was unquestionably both their home and training ground but the acclaimed moody, filmic album 'Jacobs Optical Stairway' (1996 on R and S Records)was probably their last production that could even remotely be called Drum n' Bass. Since then, Marc and Dego have progressed to a level where they are happy to be judged for their music rather than their reputation. But what a reputation! Their touch can still be felt in virtually all corners of the post-dance music world.

And so to the present. Marc has set up the labels Omniverse Records and Twisted Funk, while Dego has launched his imprint 2000Black, which covers, in Dego's words: "every style of music other than Drum n' Bass. But unfortunately today's commercial radio isn't geared to such diversity". Yet this isn't some misunderstood-artist chip carried on the shoulder because Dego is fiercely proud of the fact that 2000Black isn't scared to release artists (the compilation album 'GoodGood' for example) which only Dego believes in because "it's still just all about the musical content".

Like Marc, Dego finds that working with people from the 'street' is more rewarding then dumbing down for cheap biz sucess: "They are a lot more open minded, without these misguided preconceptions of what goes into making a track. These people are down for some maad shit! We just try and help them to explore."

Most artistes disappear after commercial success. Not Marc and Dego. The last few years have found them venturing further and further in hitherto unknown musical fields, creating patterns that no-one else has imagined. Working with diverse and talented poets and singers, right now they are shaping a new musical sound with Broken Beats-meets-Jazz-Latin-Soul.

Marc and Dego have only just started.....