Words: James Keith
Photography: Jimmy Mould

Born in Bournemouth, but spending much of her youth in Birmingham, Flava D (aka Danielle Gooding) has been crafting her own special brand of low-end thump for the better part of a decade. She was brought up on a diet of her aunt’s UK garage collection and her mum’s taste in R&B, and that musical lineage runs right into her own music in 2018. Add to that the Midlands connection and her productions begin to take on an almost biographical edge.

Flava D’s first foray into music production was creating hip-hop instrumentals and uploading them to MySpace in the mid-to-late 2000s. Eventually, her productions got grimier and she found herself selling beats to Wiley. After spending the rest of the decade producing highly sought-after grime riddims, she decided to make a change, switching her sound up to UK garage in 2011 and ultimately releasing the Strawberry EP the following year.

In 2013, Gooding signed to Butterz and ended up collaborating with Royal-T to produce “On My Mind” and then with DJ Q for “PS”. These two collaborations would ultimately play a big role in the formation of bassline supergroup t q d in 2015, a team-up that has kept all three busy since its inception. Her latest outing was the Spicy Noodles EP, a return to solo producing after a considerable amount of time spent touring and recording as one third of t q d.

“Hold On” / “Home” was the producer’s first release for Butterz, and immediately set the tone for what was to come. Both rock tracks were solid bassline bangers and were soon followed up with VIP mixes of each track. The “Hold On” VIP mix, in particular, let us in on the tougher side of what Flava D is about with snarling darkside bass and just a threat of jungle lurking in the shadows. Besides Butterz, she’s released on the likes of Local Action, Formula Records and, in 2016, she took the helm for the 88th edition of Fabriclive—a more than worthy addition to the series consisting of mostly her own beats and remixes (many of which were exclusives we’d love to have put in this list).

Whether it’s UK funky, bassline, UK garage or some combination of the three, Flava D’s signature sound is immediately apparent on every production and remix. Sweet almost to the point of sickliness, her bass sounds wriggle and bounce through every track with a boundless energy, often shot through with equally sugary vocal samples for the extra rush. To that framework she often adds a few other different elements—whether it’s a smattering of jungle, a piano house line or some grimey tinges—but her idiosyncratic sound always shines through. To the best of our ability, that’s exactly what we’ve tried to represent in this playlist.

Here are 20 reasons to love Flava D.

Posted on August 22, 2018