On the release of the two C.D. Nightlife 5 mix album – the latest in the Nightlife series which showcases many unreleased tracks from the Ram stable – the main man, Andy C, answered our questions. He gave us a picture of a very healthy drum and bass scene as well as explaining why the track listing on Nightlife 5 is such value for money.
Are the Nightlife albums a little like traditional mix tapes in that you hope people will track down the as yet unreleased material for themselves, organically promoting the tracks or do you have something else in mind altogether?
Yes exactly…when I was putting it together I wanted as much as possible to capture my vibe in a club and as I’ve been doing longer sets the past couple of years, it had to be two C.D.s. I’ve put a lot of brand new tunes on there from our new signings at Ram.
Chase & Status seem to be getting a lot of mainstream exposure at the moment, along with Underworld they are featured on Nightlife 5 (and Goldie’s on the dancing show at the moment), is drum & bass threatening to go overground again?
Overground again? I think anyone that has been to a night or festival in the last couple of years drum & bass is as healthy as it's ever been. The success of artist like Chase & Status is testament to that. Last weekend I did 3 shows in the UK and played to a combined 10000 people! Not a bad turnout!
You’ve got a Ram night at Fabric this weekend too. Is Fabric a fair exchange for your residency at The End and how do the nights differ if at all?
Well everyone knows how special the End was and it was really sad when it closed but when we moved to Matter everything went crazy and we ended up selling out eight shows in a row of 3000 people! Now moving to fabric we already feel very much at home there. It's such a great club with a great crew running it. Our capacity is still 3000 but now we can spread it over three rooms.
Having worked your way up to award winning DJ status via Pirate Radio do you still see it as important in a digital age?
It's very important that people still keep that vibe alive. Nowadays you have internet radio so the reach is far wider. It’s a great way to keep in touch with a scene.
Popbitch are currently running an item seeking examples of songs that fall back on keyboard preset laziness, and I see that in the past you mentioned ‘reading manuals’ as one of your key skills. In your experience as a producer and A&R man, do you think that the user friendliness of current music production technology is leading to so-so records or is there still creativity out there?
That’s a good question. I think that as technology has made it easier there is definitely more average tunes because everything is to hand immediately: no searching for breaks, sounds or a killer sample. Producers that spend more time finding the unique sounds and trying new ideas are always gonna standout.
How much do you still love vinyl when you’re humping boxes down a twisty fire escape at 5 a.m., looking over to see someone passing you with just a CD wallet under their arm?
Ha! Its not the carrying that bothers me so much as the £250 each way the airlines try to charge excess baggage or the set ups at parties that haven’t accounted for jumping needles etc… that is the worst part for sure!
Voodoo Ray, Andy C remix, – on the cards surely or have I missed it?
Missed it I’m afraid! That was one of the first records I sampled when I was 14 and learning how to make tunes…I sampled loads of sections from a pirate radio broadcast and basically put them back together in a different arrangement over new beats. I don’t think A Guy called Gerald had anything to worry about!