Sunday, 26 December 2010

LSD Magazine Interviews Drum'n'Bass Supremo Andy C (Issue 6)

Slamming deep into the LSD mix rides the one, the only, Executioner, Mr Andy C. From his early years carving old skool hardcore classics out of a tape machine and an electric current of lifelong inspiration, Andy has systematically revolutionised drum n bass again and again, keeping it rushing forward on the front foot, tearing down the barriers in its path and hurling its pulsating energy at ever wider audiences. RAM Records, the label that he started with his old family friend Ant Miles has grown into an institutional powerhouse of next level creativity, rampaging basslines and an artist roster that virtually defines drum n bass itself, shaping the movement and guaranteeing its permanency in the hearts of millions...

How did you first hit the scene, start getting on a set of decks and thinking about production?

To be honest, the production came before the DJing. When I was still a pretty young lad, a family friend of ours, Ant Miles had a setup and I would go round his house after school to try my hand, and with his support and encouragement, I began learning how to make music. As I was starting to really get the hang of it, by complete chance, I met Red One at a work experience placement who aside from holding down a job, was also putting on raves in London. He invited us down to this party called Imagination in Bishopsgate, and on the first night we piled up there, I just found myself gravitating towards the decks. There was this DJ called Just Jones playing and watching him, seeing how the tunes dropped and the relationship with the crowd as they reacted to his mixing was my first real interaction and my first real glimmer of understanding of the possibilities of DJing and I knew from that point onwards what I wanted to be doing with my life.

Your first release, the Sour Mash EP was bursting with instant classics. Did you have any idea of just how successful it was going to be and just how quickly you’d be breaking the scene?

Well the first release was actually Desired State – an old hardcore record, though Sour Mash was the first EP that went out on RAM, and as far as how it went down, unexpected doesn’t even begin to cover it! That EP took me forever to write, not least because it was all done on old equipment that you had to record down to a sixteen track tape machine, and the whole process was just so long winded. I guess that the integration from that record summed up what I was feeling at the end of my school days – I mean I was 15 or 16 when I was writing it and all the samples were from old TDK 90 tapes that I’d recorded off the original pirates like Sunrise and Centreforce, so they all sound gritty and seriously low quality, especially to today’s ear, but as the first RAM release, it really did set the ball rolling and absolutely bolstered my dedication and my confidence to pursue what was both a hobby and a career at the time. That was the thing, it wasn’t that serious when those tunes came out, but the success of the EP galvanised me into moving out of the hobby zone and into the realisation that I really could make music my life.

So you’re still really young, but how aware were you of being swept up in something far bigger than just the music?

Luckily, I had an older sister who had been going out for quite a while already, and she had been to all the original raves at the end of the 80’s – Sunrise, Fantazia – the real genesis of the rave scene that had been springing up in the UK. I began grasping the extent of the movement through her, and apart from turning me onto pirate radio, she took me to my first rave – an illegal party in Essex when I was 13 – bit naughty really, but it was an all nighter and I’m stood there in the thick of it all with my sister and my mate just having my mind blown. It was without a shadow of a doubt, the most amazing night out ever, and that was it for me – all I wanted was to get carried away by it all. The record shops were also a major focus of the scene back then, the epicentre of the community, and they’re sorely missed today in my mind. We’d all meet up at Boogie Times in Romford at weekends, and I’d be shooting down there after school, waiting on the latest white label to come in, while people flooded in and out buying their rave tickets, grabbing up flyers, buying t shirts and record bags – you name it. There were literally hundreds of people through the doors at the weekend, and when that is happening around you and there is that atmosphere of pure excitement, it does give you that spine tingling feeling of something major dropping, a real sense of an underground. And then when midnight hits and you’re out at a rave surrounded by thousands upon thousands of people, not only are you spectacularly aware of something epic going down, but you’re there and part of it.

Did you feel that social barriers were being broken down?

Social barriers have always been broken down by music and our scene was definitely a massive catalyst for tearing down our generation’s social and cultural differences and building a wider unity. On a personal level, I’ve met, and become friends with so many people that ordinarily I probably wouldn’t have just by having that common ground of music of raving and of a shared ethos , so without a doubt – they truly were.


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Ananda nahu, The Correspondents, Solo One, Soulflux, The Orb + Youth, Jerm IX, 69 DB, Raymond Salvatore Harmon, Rennie Pilgrem, The Yes Men, Resto, Chaz, Neurodriver, Lokey, Elate, Dhear One, Page 51, Umek, Karma, Andrew Tiernan, K-Guy, Richard A Webster, William Parry, Andy C, Jesus Greus, Push Pony, James Lightning Wilks, Dominic Spreadlove, AK - 47, Mr Sofalumpkins, Mat Banbury, MikkiM, David Corden, Ian Milne, Punch Music, Hudson Zuma, Wayne Anthony, Sirius23

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