Soul Control was conceived and founded in 1984 by the three original founding members, DJ Case (Junah Bailey), Rob Dog (Robert Brown) an Def D (Delroy Edwards). Soul Control started life playing at Blues House Parties in and around South Central Manchester and quickly built a reputation as a DJ clique who knew how to rock a party! In 1986 “The Operator” Toe Caps (Morris Banton) joined the collective in a logistics role closely followed in 1987 by T2 Bad (Anthony Stevens).
Throughout 1987 and up to February 1988 when the legendary Reno Nightclub closed, Soul Control had proved themselves to be the Undisputed Kings of Blues Parties, but this wasn’t enough. T2 Bad quickly identified that if Soul Control were to realise their full potential, this could not be achieved through house parties and gigs held at local community halls, but only through them expanding onto the bigger stage of City Centre venues where Soul Control could appeal to a wider audience.
Essentially, Soul Control had outgrown their breeding ground which dismayed a few, but made most others proud to see their homeboys taking the Street Soul essence of 1980's South Central Manchester to a wider audience. To Soul Control, it was crucial that they also took their disenfranchised, yet vibrant fans along for the ride with them. Along with Soul II Soul, Soul Control proved there was more to Urban music than was ever portrayed in the media. Street Soul essentially supplanted the more sedate traditional Soul genre therefore opening the gateway for En Vogue, Soul II Soul, Mary J Blige, Destiny's Child, Aaliyah and the whole Street Soul / R&B music revolution which was to change the face of popular music globally, forever...... This is how important Soul Control were to the music you hear today!
The Gallery Night Club was home to the longest running Soul event Manchester has ever had. This legendary night ran from May 1982 until September 23rd 1989. Many prominent DJ’s played at the Gallery from Steve Roofie, Mike Shaft, Colin Curtis, Hewan Clarke, Lascelle, Andy Madhatter and Lee Brown, to The Jam MC’s Tomlin & Chris Jam. Saturday Nights at The Gallery set the standard for Soul music nationwide. People came from far and wide to rave to the latest Soul, Funk, Hip Hop, and Rare Grooves that the UK had to offer.
The Gallery took a severe dip in attendance in 1987. In February 1988, a new phenomenon took the UK Club World by storm. The Mighty Soul Control took up residency on the failing Gallery Saturday nights and brought with them a 10,000 Watt Double Bass Sound System that shook the foundations of The Gallery to the core measuring on 9.5 on the earthquake Richter scale, and as a direct result of this, the music genre of Street Soul was born.
Street Soul was a mixture of Soul mixed with Hip Hop break beats delivered with an eyeball compressing overdose of Trouser Flappin’, Chest Tumpin’ Bass! Live PA’s appeared at The Gallery on a regular basis, from Deluxe to Smith and Mighty, Maxeen and Rick Clarke to name a few. There were two big Soul Sound Systems in the UK at this time, Soul II Soul in London and Soul Control in Manchester. During their meteoric rise in 1988, Soul Control also ran Manchester’s second most popular weekly Soul Night every Monday at the Manchester City Centre Nightclub, Rebecca’s.
Due to building redevelopment, The Gallery closed its doors in September 1989 and Soul Control moved their Saturday night Soul Central event to the Mall Night Club which again proved to be massively successful. In 1992 the boys launched another Soul Nightclub venue called the X-Club, where acts like China Black, Gabrielle and Tammy Payne all performed their first live showcases there. This was also the time when Soul Control became the “Six Pack Collective” when 'Guvnor' (Gary Graham) joined the crew.
In 1993, along with the DJ’s from Frontline Radio Soul (FLR), Soul Control launched Soul Nation 104.6fm which just like The Gallery took Manchester and the UK by storm. The Soul Nation launch party was attended by over 2000 revellers and took place at the world famous Hacienda. Soul Nation's first birthday party took place at the Ritz Nightclub with Mica Paris and Wayne “G Spot” Marshall headlining the bill.
The second birthday party was at Liberty’s Super Club with Innocence and Kreuz as the main headliners. Soul Nation remains the most popular Soul based radio station in British history, where it achieved a 20% audience reach which was unparalleled and has never been matched since! To put this into perspective Soul Nation was the fifth most listened to radio station in the UK, placing it behind only Radio 1, Capital FM, Piccadilly Key 103 and London’s Kiss FM!!!
In 1998 the boys purchased Club Havana and again the main Saturday night was hosted by Soul Control. The night was called Rush and became legendary in its own right as Soul Control had to appeal to a younger clientele many of whom had first heard of Soul Control from their parents! Featuring DJ’s Kaos, Leaky Fresh, Bizzy B and Soul Control, Rush was the main Soul night in the UK for its four year duration. The unparalleled success of Rush has now become a part of UK clubbing legend.
Many legendary artists & DJ's appeared at Havana with Goldie, Hype and Jack Frost performing at Steppaz Presha; and EZ, So Solid, Pay-as-U-Go and The Dreem Teem touching down at Sugar & Spice. BBC Radio 1's Trevor Nelson and Tim Westwood made several guest appearances at Havana's regular Manchester Arena concert after parties. Lennox Lewis, Nigel Benn, Macy Gray, Snoop Dog and Destiny's Child were amongst tens of other A-List celebrities who chose Havana as their Club of choice to go to when in town.
They all loved the venue because it was as real, and as underground as you could get in comfortable surroundings. Club Havana ran for 4 years between 1998 - 2002, and it's fair to say, it has never been matched since. Soul Control readily admit they still get a buzz from hearing turn of the century Millennium Club Goers talking about “The good ole days at Havana”!
In 2015 the acclaimed DJ 'Styles' (Phil Davies) joined Soul Control which gave them two of the world's best DJ's in one collective! Styles has since gone on to strengthen an already world class line up of MC's and DJ's by becoming the final piece of this amazing jigsaw. Styles first came to prominence as the Hot Mix DJ on Soul Nation FM and he was the beaten finalist for the UK DMC World Mixing Championship heats.
Styles won by a country mile, but the judges were swayed by the home crowd into awarding the title to the eventual winner who went over and admitted in private that Styles was the clear winner who should have gone on to represent the UK in the world finals. In Styles' mind though, it was job done, point proved and he moved on to tour Europe as a headline DJ in his own right.
Soul Control's legendary Macro DB Double Bass Sound System has been upgraded many times over the years, a practice that we continue with up to the present day. For those who are interested, the average domestic Hi-Fi player is normally around 50 Watts in total power output. To put this into perspective, Soul Control have a total power capacity of 120,000 Watts RMS Continuous and can reach peak bursts of 500,000 Watts!!!
Obviously we have never used anywhere near that amount of power indoors, but it’s not been for the want of trying!! Our Sound System can induce feelings of nausea, so we do advise our fans to keep a safe distance from our Towers or Power so you can hear and feel our music the way it was made to be played. There have been several legendary milestones reached by Soul Control, far too many to mention on these pages, but after 29 years from the Gallery until the present, Soul Control are still here and are still setting the pace. Pure Vibes, Pure Rewinds, Pure Bass…..Yeah Boyee!!