Famous Bands from Bristol

Famous Bands from Bristol

Since the 1990s, Bristol has contributed a very unique impact on British music. In the 1990s, it was at the pioneering forefront of trip-hop and more recently it has been a hotbed for dub infused genres, such as drum & bass, reggae and dubstep. As if to inspire you, this is compiled of our favourite artists from Bristol who have made a discernable impact on Bristol’s and England’s music industry. 

Massive Attack are a two-man music collective formed in 1988 and were pioneers in Bristol’s trip-hop movement. Massive Attack consists of Robert "3D" Del Naja and Grant "Daddy G" Marshall, whom are usually accredited with the founding of the ‘trip-hop’ genre, an experimental reworking of hip-hop beats and electronica with vocals forming the lyrical content. Their own formulation of dance music was notably slower than many other forms of British dance music and also highly experimental: many of their most popular songs were without a chorus. Their LPs Blue Lines (1991) and Protection (1994) were met with popular and critical acclaim: Blue Line reached #13 on the UK albums list and is Q readers voted it the ninth best British album of all time! 

Portishead are another ‘trip-hop’ group, formed by Geoff Barrow, Beth Gibbons, and Adrian Utley in 1994. Interestingly, Geoff Barrow worked on Massive Attack’s debut as an intern tape operator at Bristol's Coach House studio when the album was recorded! Their debut album, Dummy, won the mercury prize in 1995 and is ranked #419 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Their last album was released in 2008, showing that there is still some creative impetus within the band, and they still tour occasionally. Geoff Barrow has even said that there might be a new album in the pipeline, but that it might be ’10 years’ in the making. Well, still something to look forward to I guess!

Will Gregory is best known as the synth player and creative director of British electronica group Goldfrapp. Will Gregory is a multi-instrumentalist and originally studied Music at the University of York. Since he has toured with a number of different acts, including The Cure, Tears for Fears and Portishead. He’s even played the oboe for Tori Amos! He formed Goldfrapp in 1999 with vocalist Alison Goldfrapp and has since gone on to have a successful music career with this group. Their best known single is probably ‘Ohh La La’, taken from their 2005 album Supernature. The album charted second in the UK album charts and ‘Ohh La La’ was fourth on the UK singles chart, firmly establishing Goldfrapp at the forefront of UK dance music in the early 2000s. 

Reprazent have probably achieved more air play in the last couple of years that for the last decade. With the resurgence in popularity of dub genres, Reprazent’s pioneering role in the founding of jungle and drum & bass has seen the return of their music to dancehalls across the country. With UK bass’s obsession with 90’s garage dance, it’s hard to attend any sort of alternative dance night without hearing the frenetic beats of ‘Brown Paper Bag’ or  ‘Heroes’. Roni Size, the brains behind Reprazent, brought together a number of influences including soul, house and hip-hop and his band were relatively unique in the fact that they employed live drums and double bass in their live shows. If they’re touring, this is one band not to miss out on. 

Photography: Christian Bertrand

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