The Sun's Clubz interview with Andy C
Yo, I was asked to do some interview questions for none other than 'The Executioner' in the run up to his All Night at Brixton Academy last year and ended up doing the interview myself randomly. Below is the written version which ended up in The Sun's Clubz section and a much smaller version went in the paper itself.
Haven't posted much on here of late but thought I'd get back on it and this might be of interest to some of you (or not!). I've done some others since with the like of Randall, 2Shy and others if anyone is interested, let me know :-)
The Sun interview with Andy C
We are joined by the multi award winning and world renowned, Superstar DJ and Drum ‘N’ Bass Legend, Andy C.
Founder and frontman of the almighty Ram Records, his lightning paced mixing and flawless ability has dominated the underground dance music scene, establishing him as one of the most influential DJs of our generation and gaining him recognition as a global icon.
Responsible for devastating arenas across the planet, he unleashes insane levels of bass and unrelenting energy, which can be matched only by his ridiculous work ethic and enthusiasm for pioneering the sounds of Drum ‘N’ Bass on the biggest stages all over the world.
He has kindly taken a few moments away from an incredibly busy tour schedule to talk to us…..
Hi Andy, they call you ‘The Executioner’…. Should we be scared?
Laughs..... It's been a bit rowdy at the festivals this year but I can't take all the responsibility for that! We've had an incredible summer, Drum 'N' Bass is on fire right now and it’s creating mad vibes everywhere we go. All I’m saying is don’t be scared of the music - it’s all about the good times!
In a nutshell, where did Ram Records come from, and where is it going?
Ram came from dreaming to have a record label which we started by pressing our own records with labels on and selling them from the boot of a car. Where is it going? There is no end in sight, we have 15 incredibly talented artists on board with loads of great releases coming up, and massive events all over the world, Drum 'N' Bass has never been so popular!
"Valley of the Shadows" by Origin Unknown aka Andy and his long time comrade, veteran producer - Ant Miles, is a highly influential, seminal jungle track released on Ram in 1993, placing the label firmly under the spot light and ultimately, establishing Andy as the heavyweight champion that he is today...
I had no idea where I'd end up, I just spent hours mixing in my bedroom, dreaming of playing out live, and began producing music for fun, to think that it's become this mad career where I play at these amazing events around the world is mind blowing - I don’t think anybody who starts out as we did, kind of making it up as we went along ever imagined ending up where we have, being able to dream and fulfilling those dreams, it’s incredible.
Upcoming is your Andy C – All Night spectacular, can you run us through this?
Have you got 6 hours haha? The third All Night event is on 31st October at the O2 Academy, Brixton, and the response has been insane, the first thousand tickets sold in 6 minutes, and is now completely sold out!
When I mix at home, I lock myself away for hours so the best thing about doing All Night is I don't have to watch the clock, I can just go with the vibe of the people wherever the music takes us. At the end of the night, when the lights come up, it’s such an incredible feeling knowing you've been on that journey together!
And what happens when you need the toilet.....?
Haha, you know what, we have a route planned out on the stage, and it’s all about picking your moments, thus far, I’ve only needed the odd one or two but it’s all about pacing your liquid intake shall we say!
Apart from being a world famous DJ, global ambassador for Drum and Bass, pioneering producer and record label boss, what else are you really good at?
To be honest, there’s been no time to stop and do anything else but I’m going to go mad in the studio when I do! Its music at the end of the day and that’s what I love. I might even spend a bit of time with my drum kit too!
What are you no good at?
As a producer - knowing when a tune is finished... they get to the point where they are drifting away from the original idea, so trying to stick to it!
Favourite thing about your job?
That feeling when you’re into a set and you get on to a vibe with the crowd and you’re having it, and DJ'ing just becomes easy, the tune selection sorts itself, your just in the vibe with the crowd and all get carried away on a wave. I'm not just saying it, it’s what keeps you coming back for more, I can’t explain the natural high you get from that, it’s the best thing ever.
If you weren’t a superstar DJ… what do you think you would be doing instead?
I have no idea... erm... wanting to be a DJ! I left school at 16 and started Ram four weeks afterwards and here we are now, I’ve been so blessed with being able to do something I love.
I imagine you have had your fair share of ups and downs and put plenty of hard graft in along the way....
Absolutely man, you make your own luck, its hard work, its passion, what I mean is, its graft but its having the passion for it, success isn't going to come looking for you, you have to find it.
You can't ever think to yourself, "I've made it" - you've got to keep it moving. It’s just passion and i just had to be part of it, this whole beautiful culture and scene.
Who’s hot right now?
Well we are blessed with an incredible array of artists, Mind Vortex are coming with incredible stuff, DC Breaks' new album is phenomenal and will blow people away, likewise Rene La Vice, another really special talent.
At the other end of the scale, someone who is going to blow up is Bensley from Toronto, Canada, no-one has heard of any of his stuff but he is genuinely next level and we can’t wait for people to hear him.
The tune you are kaning more than anything else right now?
You can’t say one tune!!! My one! No I can’t say that haha, I dunno there’s too many to narrow down
If there’s one person on the planet right now qualified to say so, it’s you...
Ok, Frankee - Drop It Low never fails to go off!
Favourite non Drum 'N' Bass Artist?
Radiohead, I’m just a huge, huge fan, of everything they've done, they always break the mould and definitely keep reinventing their sound, you can tell they are passionate for their music, the way express it, I just love their whole vibe!
What other kinds of dance music do you enjoy and have you ever been tempted to stray?
My first ever tune was at 128bpm and had a 4/4 kick drum and of course Jungle and DnB didn’t exist then, so my mind is open to all the genres, I love House and Techno, really vibe off it.
Many times this year, I've played on stages where I'm the only DnB act, so the acts on before and after me aren’t my genre and there’s such a variety of great music out there, I just love watching the crowd go nuts regardless.
Having played on the Great Wall of China, travelling between gigs in a helicopter, receiving police escorts from the airport and being asked to speak at Oxford University - at what point did you realise your dreams were becoming reality?
There’s been so many of those moments!, like when Valley of the Shadows was released, I'd be in a record shop as a young kid with long hair standing in the corner watching all the copies flying off the shelves and people asking for it and not knowing I had made it.
Playing Glastonbury with 70 thousand people in the crowd, and I'm like "Well this is a bit special".
I have to ask myself "Is this actually happening?"
What advice would you give to your never ending number of fans and those who wish to follow in your footsteps?
It’s all about passion, follow your dreams but know that if you want to be part of something you've really got to throw your nuts and bolts at it.
A career highlight that you will never forget?
Glastonbury was mind blowing! Red Rocks in Denver, USA, absolutely stunning amphitheatre with 20 thousand people was epic! Those two off the top of my head and maybe getting to the end of my first 6 hours haha!
A tune that never leaves your box?
Here’s 3; Foul play - Renegade Snares, Splash - Babylon and R - Type by Joe, essential selection.
What do you prefer to do, Dj or Produce?
I went through a period where I preferred DJ'ing and producing took a back seat, but I started out producing so I've recently come back to it big time, there’s nothing like writing a tune and playing it out and seeing the response and people vibing.
The best thing is when you turn up somewhere and you hear the muffled bass and think, I recognise that, hold up, and realise "That’s my tune" it’s a great buzz when you hear other people playing your music!
If you could write a tune with any performing artist dead or alive, who would you choose?
Purely to sit and watch in awe of an amazing artist at work, Stevie Wonder would be up there, and on the other end of the scale, I wouldn't mind being a fly on the wall when Nigel Godrich is producing the Radiohead stuff.
If you could go for a pint with anyone you like?
Noel Gallagher, I reckon he would be good value down the pub for a few stories and having a laugh.
What’s on the horizon for Andy C and Ram Records?
Well, I'm just putting the finishing touches to my next single which is going to be coming out in a couple of months’ time which I'm excited about, it’s an uplifting, piano based track, I was just playing it on the piano and everyone was feeling it so I got in the studio and got it down and its almost ready, it’s been tweaked over the summer and tried and tested at many festivals etc. and gone off so yeah, looking good!
We have the Ram Life compilation mixed by Loadstar, which is the 1st in a new series, there's EP's coming from June Miller, Audio, and showcasing some incredible music from them all, and then we have the Ram events and tours throughout the autumn; we are literally flat out right now.
The best piece of advice you have been given?
Go with your gut feeling, I know it’s a cliché, but it’s so true, there nothing worse than going against your instincts, and finding out you were right all along!
Do what you believe, you can see through something if it’s not real and when it's done for the wrong reasons.
What equipment are you using to DJ now?
I use Traktor and Technics turntables, I have digitised my whole collection, I couldn’t give it up using them, I still love the process of DJ'ing, 3 decks, beat matching, I love it, especially for the All Night sets, I used to turn up with crates and crates of tunes, which is great, but there is nothing better than thinking of a tune in your head and within 30 seconds of thinking of it - you’re playing it so the new technology has taken it to another level. It’s great for playing abroad too, so much easier.
People are like - "Your still using Technics?", it’s like I've come all this way, I wanna do my job and do it properly, if it’s a case of flying in to push a couple of buttons each week, would I remain motivated? I’m not so sure.
How many baseball caps do you own?
There’s a limitless supply, I have a well at the bottom of the garden that never runs out, although it seems that in every photograph I've got one on, I’m not always wearing them.
Do you do requests?
Haha, I was in Ireland once and someone asked me for some Puff Daddy and of course i couldn’t really help out, however if I'm in a small club and it’s an intimate setting and someone makes a suggestion on their phone or whatever, as long as I like it and feel its relevant I'm happy to do that, I'm like "Yeah man I'll play that" you've totally gone ad-hoc, their buzzing I played it, being spontaneous and it could completely change the direction and just create a new vibe.
Do you ever sleep?
From time to time I have been known to sleep, I'm just one of those people who can operate on zero sleep and just keep on going.
Are your records in alphabetical order?
Definitely not and they definitely should be!, every time I look at the debacle that is my record collection, I say to myself I am going to sort this and one day I will!
Name someone who has or does inspire you?
My Dad always inspires me, he took me to get my first set of decks, even when other people were like "What do you want to do that for?" He was like if that’s what you want, let’s raid the piggy bank, and let’s do it! That’s the inspiration, his confidence, his belief in me.
Do you do well at school?
Debateable, I was just wanted to be a DJ and focused everything on it, I enjoyed school but was already doing mix tapes for friends and playing on the radio, Ram was already up and running before I got my exam results!. Going to my first rave changed my life forever and right there and then I decided what I wanted to do and have never stopped working towards it, I love it!
I think that’s a great place to end there, thank you for taking the time to chat, and sharing your passion for Drum 'N' Bass with us all, respect!