2017 is the year dancehall set the mainstream world ablaze. The Heatwave are the crew who have been steadily adding fuel to that fire for the last 13 years. While everyone may be talking about dancehall, no-one is doing dancehall quite like The Heatwave. Experiencing The Heatwave live is something totally unique: taking the Jamaican sound-system formula and adding their own London twist, Gabriel and Benjamin have created an explosion of authentic, outrageous and joyous hype. For the last decade The Heatwave has been building a loyal following of hardcore dancehall fans. In 2017 those fans are now buying their tickets in the tens of thousands.
“The Heatwave stands at the forefront, leading the dancehall revolution” MTV
Of course, it’s not easy to prove yourself in the world of Jamaican dancehall. Against the odds, The Heatwave have built a formidable reputation in the most fierce and competitive scene around. Not since David Rodigan made his name in the 1980s have English DJs made such a splash in Jamaican music. The Heatwave, two Londoners obsessed with sounds from the Caribbean, are turning the heads of rudeboys, dancehall queens and the mainstream alike.
“The Heatwave are the most exciting new luminaries of London’s dancehall scene” Time Out
Gabriel and Benjamin earned their stripes the hard way: fly-posting the streets of east London to promote their raves and hand-to-hand flyering outside Stratford Rex’s notorious dancehall parties. That’s how you spread the word about a party before the internet. How did you share your music? The Heatwave did it by selling boxes of bootleg 7” vinyl releases over the counters to reggae record shops owners across London. Between 2003 and 2008 they shifted thousands of units from the boot of their parents’ cars, from Brixton to Tottenham and Clapton to Ladbroke Grove.
“Critically lauded for jump-starting a recent dancehall comeback in the UK.” Mixmag
The inevitable next step was radio and The Heatwave swiftly joined the ranks of UK talent who cut their teeth on Pirate Radio. The Heatwave held down the only dancehall show ever on Rinse FM, back when it was still based in a top secret location near Bromley-By-Bow. They captivated the Rinse audience with journeys through the foundations of dancehall and bashment, detailed artist features and high octane cross-genre blending. Not to mention a few thousand rewinds. Naturally, BBC 1Xtra soon came calling.
“Few have done as much to spread the dancehall gospel as The Heatwave.’” Clash
The Heatwave’s irrepressible dancehall stage show is now touring non-stop, from festivals to club nights, single-handedly selling out some of the most prestigious venues in the UK. So infectious and intoxicating is this dancehall energy, you rarely see The Heatwave perform without the crowd spontaneously exploding on to the stage to exhibit their wining skills, show off the latest dancehall dance move or just blast an airhorn with joy.
This remarkable journey from underground champions to crossover flag bearers has garnered consistent and considerable press interest - with frequent coverage from The Guardian, Independent, NME, Clash, Time Out and Metro - as well as countless blogs and tastemakers who continue to support the movement.
“The Heatwave’s collisions of dancehall, soca, reggae, grime and UK funky are always future-minded but with a firm understanding of heritage” Fact Magazine
Today The Heatwave are a bonafide ‘must-see’ feature of the UK festival circuit, causing mayhem in recent years at Glastonbury, Bestival, Lovebox, Boomtown Fair, Outlook and Secret Garden Party. If you find yourself in a field this summer and you hear the ubiquitous ‘Heatwave Affair’ jingle cutting through the air, just follow the crowds; you’re in for a serious party. Overseas they have spread their unstoppable bashment energy all over Europe, from Australia to Brazil and from the US to India. 2017 also saw the return of the legendary event ‘Showtime’, which first took place in 2011 (featuring Wiley, Lady Leshurr, Skkibadee, General Levy and more) celebrating the unmistakable link between future urban music and dancehall - the roots that underpin the multiple genres spawned in the musical petri-dish that is London. The Showtime event came back in April and featured artists such as Chip, Ghetts, Top Cat, Bushkin and more.
“As The Heatwave instructs, just make your own Carnival wherever you are” The Fader
Whether it’s a sold out solo show in London or a rammed-out freshers party in Nottingham, when The Heatwave play the room comes alive: real dancehall connoisseurs with enough whistles, horns and strong rum cocktails to channel the spirit of Notting Hill Carnival pulsating through the speaker boxes.
This year has seen these solid foundations built on, as The Heatwave release a slew of fresh dancehall, bringing through new UK talent like K’More on the immeasurably hooky ‘Stopwatch’, and featuring authentic Jamaican idols like Ding Dong on London City and Mr Lexx & Keida on ‘Walk Out Gyal’, these releases seeing strong support from across the dancehall world and beyond, with the likes of The Guardian, Mistajam, Annie Mac and Gilles Peterson co-signing these releases, and Spotify and Apple Music taking a keen interest in The Heatwaves fiery output. 2018 looks set to continue to upwards trajectory for The Heatwave, with more releases to follow and live shows and festivals being locked in now. Catch a fire with The Heatwave.