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DJ, Producer, Radio Host, London

Collins Nemi is the 23 year old 2-step obsessive who wants to single handedly make UK Garage great again. We reckon he might just do it.

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Collins Nemi is keeping both eyes firmly on the future. When we meet the Radar Radio resident 23 year old UK garage genius in his West London studio, he radiates the kind of easy-going warmth that comes with knowing you’re good, really good actually, at what you do. “I'm taking garage forward in 2018,” he says, a broad grin sliding across his face. “It's on me to make people enthusiastic about it again. Producers are making grime; no one's doing garage. Three or four more crossover tunes and bam, we're hitting somewhere. And I'm going to make it happen.”

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“I'm taking garage forward in 2018”

For the last few years, Nemi’s been quietly honing his craft, amassing a back catalogue of rumblers, rattlers, and rollers that sit somewhere between the technicolour melodicism of Todd Edwards and Tuff Jam’s rough’n’ready swing. Now he’s ready to blow up, and with tunes as good as 2017’s Big Zuu -featuring Mina Rose & Coco on “Wanna Go”, it isn’t hard to see why he thinks 2018 is the year that he single-handedly gets the nation’s ravers wholeheartedly embracing the sound that dominated clubs up and down the country for the best part of a decade. And hey, spending time in the studio with one of the original garage superstars can’t do any harm, surely? “Can I say this,” he asks his manager, that big smile back again. “OK? I'm working with Craig David. That's in the pipeline. I've got more tunes with MCs lined up, too,” he says. “I'm really looking to bridge that grime and garage gap.”

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When it comes to DJing, Bristol-born Nemi equates to being back at school. “You're like a teacher trying to get people to enjoy the class,” he says, clearly enjoying the analogy. “You can be strict, and rigid, and follow the curriculum but I do it differently.” Putting himself in the mindset of a dancer, he zips between darky and gritty speed garage, bumping 4X4, and the very-occasional bit of classic 2-step, constantly varying things, always looking for seamless segues, refusing to wallow in champers’n’Moschino nostalgia.. Modesty prevents Nemi from naming names, but he’s stern when it comes to selectors who refuse to engage with the present and future of the genre. “They might play the kind of stuff you'll find on garage compilations, which is an easy thing to do. I never like the easy thing,” he tells me. “There's no point in NOT playing new stuff. I might as well slap Spotify on.” Something tells me that we won’t be seeing that any time soon.