If you lived in Ireland in the early ’90s then you knew who Greg ‘n’ Shane were. If you didn’t live in Ireland in the early ’90s then you really missed out. These gentlemen manned the mix at a club night called Sweat, which happened in a venue called Sir Henry’s (usually just shortened to Henry’s), situated in the southern Irish city of Cork.
Their style of playing was pretty eclectic. You would hear anything from very upfront American house releases on cult labels of that time such as, Emotive, Strictly Rhythm and Nu Groove, Italian deep house (which lay around in abundance in several Irish cities at that time), early progressive house, when it was deep, funky and enamored of Red Zone dubs and Freeze releases by Todd Terry, a bit of melodic techno and you’d even hear some hip-hop or Massive Attack dropped into the mix. It was also a good spot for catching some of the chunky house and garage coming out of Canada on labels like Hi Bias and Strobe.
The crowd was infamously up for it, and equally loyal to these DJs and this club night. I had the pleasure of attending twice — which wasn’t enough, I know. The first night was in the summer of ’91 with the boys directing the mix on their own and dropping some phenomenal business like “Northern Piano” and Frankie Knuckle’s inspirational mix of “The Pressure” by Sounds Of Blackness.
The second night I went down to Cork to hear them work it out, Justin Robertson was their guest. This may have been later in ’91, in the winter. I remember Robertson dropping “The Dance” by Rhythm is Rhythm. I also recall Greg working those fantastic, reverse drums on “Intoxication” by React 2 Rhythm out of “Feel The Drums” by M1. Later in the night Shane dropped the fantastic remix of “First Bass” by Separate Minds that appears on Techno 1. There was an Italian bootleg of it floating around in the late ’80s and it’s a wee bit louder than the compilation.
Fish Go Deep Vol. 1 was Greg ‘n’ Shane’s second release. The first being “In Motion,” which came out on Dublin DJ Mark Kavanagh’s Red Records label. The record reviewed below showed a real grasp of deep house while the nicely placed Carlton sample really set off “Dream” on the A side of this release. It has become somewhat of a collector’s item on the cogs and very rightly so. I’d still drop any track off it in a heartbeat now.
Shane Johnson And Greg Dowling
Fish Go Deep Vol. 1
Though Ireland has been long renowned for having an exceptionally ‘up for it’ vibe on its club scene, the soundtrack generally consisted of all things banging. At one point in Dublin, everyone was playing ‘hard house,’ which usually meant ‘banging, cheesy shite’ of a sub-Tall Paul nature. Not so in the southern city of Cork, where Shane and Greg have schooled everyone in the dynamics of deepness since 1987.
Their first release on their own label comes very correct with three slices of chunked out groovedom, bringing to mind Mr. Chandler and Mr. Fingers. Replete with a haunting Carlton sample, I am carried back to Cork’s wicked Saturday nights at Sir Henrys with Greg and Shane on the wheels and 700 cheesy quavers rocking out to the best in US house and garage. These guys know their shit, you need this record. Chris Orr