Chicago Grime Producer, Brut Force Crew
J Courage (a.k.a. Suburban Soundbwoy) now resides just outside the city of Chicago. “For me it’s not where my house is located, but rather anywhere that my tunes come through a PA system—that’s home. I put everything I have at that period of time into each track I write, so when you hear one of my tunes you’re hearing what I was feeling at that time.” Making occasional appearances at local Chicago area Grime and Garage events, this veteran producer can usually be found in his home-based recording studio.
J Courage ventured into electronic music production with the purchase of his first drum machine in 1989. His first purchase was a used Sequential Circuits Drumtraks. It was somewhat primitive even back then, but was enough to get him started making beats.
Over the next decade he collected a wide variety of drum machines, synthesizers, samplers, effects processors, and various electronic instruments. These were the tools he would eventually use to create many different styles of electronic dance music. At one point or another, he’s written everything from House to Techno but had concentrated mainly on DrumnBass. Between 2003-2004 he decided to sell off his entire studio, in favor of a scaled down software-based rig in order to save much needed space.
Beginning with the Chicago House music of the mid to late 80’s, J Courage later switched his attention to the sound of the UK Hardcore rave scene. Furious breakbeats began to take the place of pulsating 808’s and the quickly evolving sound fascinated and drew him in further and further. The birth of Jungle and its transition to DrumnBass were the defining moments for this young producer. Diving head on into DrumnBass, he spent the next 5 to 6 years fully enveloped in the sounds—collecting vinyl, CD’s, pirate radio mixes, and whatever he could get his hands on—there wasn’t much he hadn’t heard. Then around 1997-98 something happened—a new sound.
The marriage of his two musical loves: the stomping 4×4 beats of House and the huge distorted basslines of DrumnBass. “This was the music I was waiting for. It was a new sound, it was fresh, and it combined everything I loved about music.” As the Sunday scene—or so-called “Speed Garage”—sound developed and 2-Step was born, he followed UK Garage through all of its incarnations. After a few years, the Garage scene started to stagnate. Seemingly out of nowhere an explosion happened in the scene. Grime, or so it has been called, was born from the ashes of UK Garage.
Under the UK Garage umbrella alongside 2-Step, Dubstep, 4×4, Eski, and other various offshoots, the emergence of Grime is where J Courage stepped out of the shadows. Leaving the years of DrumnBass production behind, he dropped it all to pursue his musical interest in UK Grime. “It’s more than a type of music—it’s a lifestyle and an addiction. I listen to mixes online or CD’s all day long. No matter where I am, I have music playing.”
2005 marked J Courage’s induction into Chicago’s Brüt Force Family, commonly recognized as one of America’s top UK Garage crews. Alongside DJ’s Sushi and Whoa-B, J Courage continues to push himself as a producer breaking down the distinction between Stateside and UK Grime.
One of his recent tracks “Too Deep” can be heard on DJ Whoa-B’s new mixtape, “Welcome to Grimerock.” Gaining support from UK, as well as American DJ’s, J Courage’s tunes have been making a definite impact. With recent plays on UK pirate radio, as well as Stateside club support, J Courage has been gaining a lot of interest from Stateside and UK MC’s to lay vocals over his instrumental tracks.
Select tracks are currently in the studio receiving proper vocal treatment and will be ready early in the new year. With new beats, collaborations with UK artists, and a seemingly tireless work ethic, 2006 looks to be a big year for J Courage, the Brüt Force Family, and Stateside Garage and Grime as a whole.