“This sound system owes its roots to my father, although I was not aware of it at the time” says owner/operator Mr Sterling. One day after one of his fathers many trips to Jamaica (back in the early 70’s), he returned with two key pre-released 7inch 45r.p.m. records (by Prince Jazzbo called Kick Boy Face and Penny Reel along with the famous album by U-Roy called Version to Version).
“I kept playing them over and over again on the old radiogram that the family treasured and I can recall being hooked. I consider my early experience of sound systems was playing with a tiny selection of records at my uncle Rocker’s Christmas house party, where my whole family attended. The only other exposure to sound system knowledge that I managed to obtain was via stories and rumours, along with a regular dose of Steve Barnard and Tony Williams on the radio. All I knew was that one day I would own one of the big sounds systems in England”.
"Growing up in my early teens, I began to hear more and more about sounds systems like Sir Coxsone, Duke Reid, Ghetto, Sledge Hammer, God Father, Macca, Eastman, Mafia, Papa Alien Sir Biggs, Sir Dee’s, Count Shelly, Chicken, Sefrano B, King Tubby’s, Jah Shaka, Coxone Outernational, Frontline, Small Axe, Observer, Sufferer, Fatman, Quaker City, Stereo Graph, Moa Embassa, Jah Tubby, Java, Jamdown Rockers, Casanova, Gemini, Volcano, Stereo Mars, Stur Grav, Jack Ruby, Killamanjaro, Third World, Silver Arch, Race Symbolic , Stereo 1, King Jammy’s, Arrows, etc".
At the age of 14, while in the 4th year at ‘Upton House School’ Sterling’s industrious nature led to his take over of the promotion of school dances that were then being run by 6th formers. These dances were the largest to be held in Hackney at the time and very successful- due to the big named sound systems that were hired (eg.Sir Biggs, Casanova, Roxy, T.N.T., Sir George, Joshua, Sir Breena, Saxon etc). As a result of these dances, Sterling managed to build his own sound system (Trojan Bass Injection) with Eddie Nester, Ephraim Steele and Anthony Fredericks (the original deejay a.k.a. Joe 90). Sterling began investigating and purchasing equipment and tested amplifiers and speakers boxes in a local park.
“I began to understand the concept of using a pre amp to sculpt music recorded on vinyl discs into having my own favoured mix to it, then boosting the bass note through slave amps to create my own unique sound. This could make the vinyl recording sound completely different. It's like a conductor conducting an orchestra and putting their own interpretation on the music being played, but a sound system operator does it via electronics”.
The first time Trojan Bass Injection ever played was at Sterling’s ‘Upton House School’ in 1985 (a dance which also featured Saxon Sound).The other big sounds particularly those in his area soon began to recognise how good this Sound System was- in other words- this sound system had a reputation as 'a force to be reckoned with' in reggae sound system battles or what are commonly described as sound clashes. Over the years his systems have clashed with many sounds e.g. Saxon, Tippatone, King Josiah, Kingston Rebel, Jah Marcus, Volcano, Yardie High Power, Quadrophonic, Down Beat Affair, Personal Touch and many more.
In 1988 the Sound System played at Carnival for the first time thanks to Sterling’s long-time respected friend in the industry, Smokey Joe. This was when Sterling first became aware of how sound systems were being used as ‘scape-goats’ for almost every inevitability that occurred at the Carnival (not to mention sound systems receiving no credit, fees nor much else for all their hard work and commitment contributed at the event). A little while after this Sterling was instrumental in assisting Alec Cuffy to set up B.A.S.S. (British Association of Sound Systems.
“B.A.S.S. is now the most professional discipline within the Notting Hill Carnival Organisation and sound systems are still left out of any and all beneficial activities” says Sterling. “It’s funny to see how at the end of each Carnival day the floats and mobile sound systems reap all the financial benefits and they also try to play like static sound systems in order to capture a sizable crowd... I have nothing more than sheer passion for the sound system industry and also am proud of the fact that my sound is a part of a unique art form that made Notting Hill Carnival, not only unique but also the biggest open air spectacle in Europe”.
Sterling has spent the last few years completely upgrading this sound system, which is now call 'Metro Glory (Science of Sound)'. He is more interested in playing good music mainly on vinyl recordings and he has recently thrown away the new pre amp bought from an audio shop to resort back to using his original Barracuda pre amp (ancient technology). What he can say with confidence is that, after the service he gave it, it now sounds as good as ever. In his opinion he would "revert back to valve technolog "any day". Sterling has reservations that eventually the art of British sound systems with their unique legacy of music, art and audio technology in English heritage could fade out and be lost forever.
Click here to download Metro Glory's live Carnival video footage
Formerly known as:
• Trojan Bass Injection (1985-1995)
• Metro Glory Musik Express (1995 – 2000)
• Quakamass Science of Sound (2000-2005)