The Story So Far…
It could be their ‘Zoo Experience’ radio show, the longest running show on London’s Kiss FM, or the legendary parties that were ‘Garage City’ and Soul Heaven? Perhaps it’s their ultimate dance weekender Summervibes, or their sell-out parties at the Miami Winter Music Conference? Maybe it’s the famous Klub Zoo, or their Friday night residency, Groove On @ Heaven or it might just be their exciting agenda of plans they have for 2005 the list is endless. Exactly what makes Bobby & Steve so successful is hard to define, but one thing is for sure, they’ve come a very long way from their weekly slot at Simpson’s Wine Bar in East London’s Forest Gate.
Brought up on and inspired by the greats of soul music, such as Teddy Pendergrass, Loose Ends, The Chi-Lites, Leroy Burgess, McFadden & Whitehead, Barry White, Thelma Houston, and the Jones girls. Born and bred East End twins Bobby & Steve’s musical heritage rests firmly on the shoulders of soul funk and disco. In 1984, at just twenty years of age the twins landed their first regular DJ gig at a local wine bar, ‘Simpson’s’, and soon afterwards were holding regular Saturday night warehouse parties, searching out illegal venues which were big enough to hold the hoards of followers as the word spread. Bobby & Steve soon became both instrumental and respected figures in the eighties warehouse party scene, through playing their favourite soul and funk music at their own parties alongside fellow guest DJ’s Norman Jay, Linden C and Trevor ‘Madhatter’ Nelson.
News of the success of the boys’ parties soon spread, and it wasn’t long before Bobby & Steve were approached by Gordon Mac, initiator and pioneer of London’s biggest (then) pirate radio station Kiss FM, who offered them a weekly slot. The already established ‘Zoo Experience’ was born. Ten years on and the ‘Zoo Experience’ was Kiss 100 FM’s longest running specialist show. Hosted by Bobby & Steve, the ‘Zoo Experience’ broadcast each and every Friday night between the hours of 10.00 pm and 12.00 am.
Once Kiss FM was granted its legal place on the airwaves in 1990, the twins decided to do the same with their now somewhat legendary Klub Zoo night. Originally held every Wednesday night at Munkberry’s in the heart of London’s west end back in 1988, the timing was perfect for the return of Klub Zoo every Friday night with it’s new found home at the Soho Theatre. Famed for its mix of classic soul, disco grooves and very early house music, the Zoo regular following would flock religiously to the club each week to hear their favourite Salsoul, Prelude or Philadelphia International grooves. Klub Zoo ran for Three successful years and Bobby & Steve and the club later became instrumental in planting the UK roots for what would later become more commonly referred to as US House and Garage music.
However, it was a trip to New York at the tail end of the eighties that was to mark a major turnabout in the futures of Bobby & Steve and Zoo. A visit to Larry Levan’s infamous Paradise Garage club gave the twins their first taste of a new sound dubbed ‘Garage’ music, a sound which American jocks such as Levan and Tony Humphries were championing. Evolving from the more soulful and gospel parts of disco, garage music with its soaring vocals, intricate melodies and jazzy instrumentals, captured the ears of the twins. They had found their sound, dance music that still contained their beloved soulful influences.
With this in mind Bobby & Steve went back to London and wasted no time in launching their legendary Saturday night venture ‘Garage City’, hailed as the UK’s most established Garage night out, playing the best in soulful, funky and uplifting house & garage each and every Saturday for a phenomenal 12 years, and seeing them joined regularly by the biggest names from the house and garage arena. ‘Garage City’ has had visits from the likes of Louie Vega,, Tony Humphries, Eric Morillo, Todd Terry and Danny Tenaglia. ‘Garage City’ has also enjoyed two successful seasons at Es Paradis in Ibiza, plus the release of the ’10 Years of Garage City’ album mixed by the twins via Defected Records to mark it’s 10th anniversary. Since September 1991, and after 12 years of weekly Garage City parties, the twins are now concentrating on promoting one-off monthly “Garage City” tribute parties throughout the UK.
Aside from regular dates in the UK’s leading clubs, the boys held a 5-year exclusive residency at Mazoon in Italy. They have also held a presence in Ibiza, with 13 summers of playing out at the exclusive El Divino, Pacha, Es paradis and Amnesia. Another initiative was the production of 2 special “Summervibes Weekenders”, in association with the Southport Weekender crew, which saw them take over the Pontins Holiday Camp in Camber Sands for two days. These went down as one of the “ultimate dance weekenders”.
The twins surely have a fabulous legacy, and perhaps one of their greatest contributions to the UK scene took place when Soul Heaven was launched with Oli White on 17th February 2001. Bobby & Steve were joined by Masters at Work’s Kenny ‘Dope’ Gonzalez playing to over 2500 party people and brought back the vibe to the Ministry with a further 1000 queuing outside. The follow-ups were just as successful with guest spots from the likes of DJ Spen, Terry Hunter and none other than Louie Vega. The Ministry of Sound must have been impressed too – as from January 2002 Soul Heaven became a monthly fixture and word on the street is that Louie Vega requested it became his only UK residency too! Bobby & Steve left Soul Heaven in January 2003 to dedicate their time and energy to launching and promoting their very own brand new label, Zoo Groove Stereo Records.
1988 saw the launch of their own Zoo Experience Records through which they released two tracks with Leroy Burgess. Their own production ‘Love’s Gotta Hold of Me’ featuring Destry was released via Cooltempo Records in 1992 reaching the dizzy heights of NO.66 in the national charts, whilst in the same year they released their first of four ‘Garage City’ compilation albums through Telstar Records. Their Klub Zoo International label saw their artist Overjoyd nominated for the ‘Best Gospel Group’ at the 1997 MOBO (Music of Black Origin) Awards. In 1999 they produced a remix for Puff Daddy “All Night Long” on Arista/BadBoy with the artist Faith Evans. Bobby & Steve and Zoo Events have also been representing the UK at the Miami Winter Music Conference for the last 9 years, hosting some of the biggest parties of the conference alongside some of the biggest names in dance music. They were high flyers with their production of Johnny Fiori ‘You Will Survive’ which was the subject of a bidding war between the UK’s biggest record labels.
Bobby & Steve have made Two trips to Asia since 2001, both being in HONG KONG and playing for the MTV ASIA MUSIC AWARDS & CHIVER REGAL PARTY and in 2002 they were invited to play for THE ALFRED DUNHILL LAUNCH PARTY for their new and recently opened store in the City.
September 2003 saw the launch of their latest venture Zoo Groove Stereo. The boys are continuing to fly the flag for soulful house with their brand new monthly event at Herbal, spinning soul, funk, house, disco and classics. In addition, they have an exclusive residency at City Loud, Turnmills in connection with their Zoo Groove Stereo label. They are focusing on producing monthly releases on the label and are enjoying a heavy but exciting release schedule. This year they celebrate 20 years of Djing and promoting, and to mark the occasion they have a double CD coming out on suSU in June 2004, revelling in classic soul, funk, disco and soulful house. Their US tour kicks off on the 4th June, where they will wow the crowds in LA, San Fran and Salt Lake City before moving on to Paris and then back to England where they will visit, Nearly every major city.
From the early days of their influential soul haven Klub Zoo, to their monumental 10 Year Anniversary ‘Garage City’ party at Fabric, and their ten year show on Kiss FM, Bobby & Steve have been constant figure heads in championing the soulful House Sound. Two of the most respected names in dance music, Bobby & Steve, Zoo Events, and now Zoo Groove Stereo Records, continue to command respect for their huge success, past, present and future.
There is no doubt that the brothers have created a timeless legacy, and a certainty that they will go from strength to strength in preaching the gospel of soulful house for years to come.