London’s jungle pioneers look back on 25 years: 4hero’s Marc Mac, Gus and Ian take us through Reinforced’s bulletproof discography.
There’s no shortage of nostalgia in dance music these days, but when it comes to Reinforced Records, glassy-eyed remembrances are justified. Founded in 1989 by “Marc Mac” Clair, Gus Lawrence, Dennis “Dego” McFarlane and Ian Bardouille – they came together via London’s Strong Island pirate radio station – the label officially kicked off in 1990 with a series of singles from 4hero, the quartet’s chosen moniker (most of the production was spearheaded by Clair). Combining elements of hip-hop with the ravey house and techno sounds that were exploding in the UK, the label caught fire when the classic “Mr. Kirk’s Nightmare” hit the streets. During this time, genres were mutating and evolving at an almost absurd rate, which meant that house and techno quickly gave birth to hardcore, which then spawned jungle and drum & bass… Reinforced was there through it all, and eventually became one of the most important drum & bass outposts. Although the label’s output tapered off during the 2000s, much of the early catalog – especially the limited-edition Enforcers picture discs – have become sought-after collectors items.