Reinforced Records was run by Mark Clair, Gus Lawrence, Dennis McFarlane & Ian Bardouille (aka 4 Hero).
They first met in college in 1987 while all studying electronic engineering (OND). Mark and Ian had already formed a sound system from '86 called Solar Zone.While in college they met an electronic wizard who claimed he could build radio transmitters (Gus), so they put their money together to start a pirate radio station. A determinedly individual approach to the music played ensured that Strong Island Radio soon established a cult following. Enter Dego, one of the best DJs on the station, and the quartet are formed.
At Gus' suggestion, they started to produce hip-hop, with some level of success. Mark was convinced that the cru could record and put records out themselves but, by this time, the UK hip hop scene was fading, due in part to the explosion of House Music but also because of frustration at the perceived failings of the UK scene felt by those within it. So in the Autum of 1989, Mark and Gus formed Reinforced Records.
The first release on the label was 4 Hero's 'Rising Son' produced by Mark, a rough, hip hop beat using the current House sounds incorporated into the beat. The main loop was from the 'Shaft in Africa' soundtrack, and gave the track a 'jungle' sound . Once the track had been recorded on an old broken down 4 track fostex, the guys put money together and pressed and sold 800 copies. The second recording was a track called 'Mr Kirks Nightmare' produced by Mark and Gus. Mr Kirk sold more than 24,000 copies and the rest, as they say, is history. Goldie later joined the label as A&R and sleeve designer.
Through the whole of the 1990's, Reinforced earned, and deserved, a reputation as the most important and innovative Drum n' Bass label in the world. Their limited-edition 'Enforcers' picture discs are now worth more than gold! Maybe a dozen of the scene's most important producers (including Goldie) kick started their music careers with Reinforced...the influence of this label reaches far and wide and now 20 years later... maybe even further.
It is distributed by LOAD Media