Talkin' Headz: The Documentary That Put Metalheadz in Focus
23 Nov 2020
Rare Sunday Sessions video is the lost Blue Note chapter of the drum & bass doc
Talkin' Headz: The Metalheadz Documentary is a film that captures an exciting time around 1997-1998 when drum & bass had established itself as a musical force coming out of the underground and Metalheadz was a leading light with vision and drive for the cutting edge from all involved.
The documentary features interviews and behind-the-scenes sharing the pride in what had been accomplished so far with the label and the music genre and a generally positive outlook and hopeful attitude towards the future. There's alot about the 'science' behind various aspects of drum & bass also. The science of making tunes, the science of djing, etc. Some great looks at legends at work like Dillinja (the "bass scientist" himself) and Lemon D, and also Ed Rush & Optical who were working on their own groundbreaking scene-shifting work at the time of filming, the Wormhole album on Virus Recordings. So many appearances and insights from key drum and bass people like Goldie, Grooverider, Doc Scott and faces from the roster at the time like Source Direct, Peshay, Digital, J Majik, Adam F, Loxy and Ink etc. It goes on to venture around the London scene to include Andy C, Ray Keith and Nicky Blackmarket too. It's nice to see input from people who've been around and are real tastemakers weighing in like Gilles Peterson who features a lot. There's also time for some antics which show the closeness of everyone involved, the family nature of the scene in London particularly, with entertaining footage of the kru go-karting and having a football kickabout. Time and time again in the interviews and footage the documentary shows the focus of everyone at the time bringing it all together. From the artists' forward thinking sounds, the hardcore breaks and bass ethos, elements of rave and soundsystem influences and all those vibes around drum & bass that at this point was basically a very solid scene.
The Lost Blue Note Chapter #
One thing the documentary doesn't get into as much other than a few mentions and maybe backdrop for filming is the pivotal role of the Metalheadz-hosted night at the Blue Note, the 'Sunday Sessions'. The small weekly event brought together the label's forward-thinking output with the cutting edge dubplate culture of its rave and soundsystem roots into an intimate club setting with vibes that are legendary to this day. That's where this rare video ripped from a VHS tape comes in. Not even clear what the title is but Sunday Sessions - Runnin With Goldie - a club culture film by Phil Smith & Jason Greenwood - As it is - Like it is - Volume 1 seems encompassing enough. It's basically the lost Blue Note chapter of Talkin' Headz. It features a bunch of interviews mixed with tons of footage from the club night from the queue to the dj booth to the cafe and is all about Metalheadz of course. Nice to see bits with Kemistry and Storm whose role at Headz and impact is undeniable. While at times it feels like an advertisement or music video for the night it does have a quality soundtrack of tunes and some of a set Blue Note and general scene don Grooverider with Cleveland Watkiss MCing. Altogether it's like watching a rough cut of Talkin' Headz, raw and right out of the underground - perhaps what spawned the idea to make a full documentary in the first place.
Check it out to complete the viewing experience like it's 1998!
You can find some copies of the Talkin' Headz documentary online to stream with a quick search (or if you can find a VHS player to play your old tape!)
Cover photo: Talkin' Headz promo poster announcing the documentary's release in 1998.