King Yoof grew up in Lewisham, south-east London with his mum.
“When she was at work, a Jamaican family who lived next door looked after me and all I would hear was Saxon studio sound tapes and Rodigan's radio show,” he recalls. His uncle had a huge dub collection and would take him to Reggae Sunsplash gigs at Crystal Palace to see legends like Dennis Brown, Yellowman and Sly & Robbie.
“This was my schooling, Jamaican music is what was ingrained into me from when I was a baby, and through the years I’ve understood that all bass music comes from soundsystem culture — whether its dubstep, jungle, garage or whatever — and I suppose I try to reflect that into my King Yoof project."
Alex Orton-Green, aka Yoof, had started going out raving in the early '90s and, after being kicked out of school, soon got work in the music industry — being a roadie and so on. Him and his brother Jody Shires started writing music and landed a record deal with East West, a subsidiary of major label Warners at the time, under the name J-PAC.
Through J-PAC he met an engineer called Neil McLellan who was working on The Prodigy's 'Jilted Generation' album at the time. “We became good friends and he taught me everything, especially how to write beats,” Alex tells DJ Mag. “The DJing side of things was natural to me as my raving mates had turntables and we just used to jam, play tunes, smoke weed and vibe.”
When they parted company with East West, the brothers set up the Mechanoise label and started chucking frenetic breakbeat releases out into the ether as Sonz of Mecha. DJs as diverse as Shut Up & Dance, Hatcha, Oris Jay and Tom Middleton supported their stuff, and the guys also set up the Breaks FM radio station to showcase the evolving scene still further. Breakbeat trio the Breakfastaz had a show, as did Ctrl-Z, as well as assorted proto-dubstep artists like Caspa and Kode9, dark garage don Oris Jay and Hotflush Records.
They did Breaks FM for most of the noughties before Jody moved to America and Alex began his solo project — King Yoof.
Linking with Jay Cunning's Sub Slayers, the growth of Yoof's profile has mirrored the blossoming of the wicked Sub Slayers bass imprint. His first solo release, 'Back 2 Hackney' fused exhilarating junglistic breakbeats with a deep burrowing bassline, horns, rimshot and a rocksteady dancehall swing — with a Rasta vox on top. Since then a succession of wicked dubwise junglist breakbeat missives — 'Murderer', 'Warrior's Charge', 'Call the Undertaker' (with Gold Dubs) and now summertime smash 'Soundboy Love' featuring Rony Blue & Mr Williamz — have emerged, and he's remixed Aswad, the Dub Pistols, Dreadzone, Papa Levi & Daddy Colonel and several more. This is his time.