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The King of Drum & Bass: An interview with Andy C

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At the age of 16, Andrew Clarke, aka Andy C, borrowed £1,000 from his uncle to start a fledgling record label, Ram Records. He used that money to press up 1,500 copies of his first release. The Sour Mash EP completely sold out within a few weeks, and Andy found himself with more than enough money to repay his uncle.

Twenty years later, a lot has changed. Andy C has gone on to become one of the biggest DJs in the drum and bass world, winning Best DJ at the past two Drum and Bass Awards. Ram Records has also been incredibly successful and is now one of the biggest labels in the game. Ram’s impressive stable of artists now includes Sub Focus, Chase & States, Delta Heavy, and DC Breaks. We had a chance to sit down with Andy C to get his views on his career, the drum and bass scene, and the state of electronic music. Click after the break for the full interview.

Andy C has had a career so filled with success that he finds it hard to single out a particular highlight. He lists his set at EDC Las Vegas this year, the founding of Ram Records, and having the opportunity to remix artists such as Busta Rhymes, Mary J Blige, and Plan B as a few achievements he is particularly proud of. A full length album is the next target in his sights. Andy has set aside a great deal of time this fall for work in the studio and says he can’t wait to get started on the album.

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When asked if he had any advice for up and coming producers who are trying to follow in his footsteps, Andy had this to say:

Keep at it and make sure you try to carve out a unique sound. People don’t want multiple copies of there favourite artist, they want different sounds. Don’t be afraid to give your music out and always take advice from people with experience. It’s all good getting a reaction from friends but they might not give you the answers you really need to hear. Persistence is key, especially nowadays with so many people trying to break through.

Besides being a fantastic producer of drum and bass music, Andy is also known for being an exceptionally talented DJ in the traditional sense. As a true master of the craft, we were curious where he came down on the “press play” issue. Somewhat surprisingly, Andy did not seem to be particularly bothered by today’s lowered standards in DJing.

I think the job of a DJ is to entertain a crowd. Different scenes have different crowds, so what may work for one might not for another — and I guess this goes the same for artists that perform DJ sets to their audience and fanbase. As long as everyone is having a good time then who am I to judge?

Drum and bass seems to be taking the place of dubstep as the electronic music sub genre most in vogue on the mainstream charts. Rudimental’s drum and bass anthem “Feel The Love” recently debuted at the number 1 spot in the British charts while Drumsound & Bassline Smith and Sub Focus have also charted top 30 tracks this year. Andy has been involved in the drum and bass scene since its very inception and has seen many cycles in the popularity of different genres. He points to the fact that drum and bass has stood the test of time as many other genres have faded into obscurity.

The music is established, people know it and they enjoy it. The tempo of it is unique and the energy is unlike any other music out there.

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Similarly we were curious as to his view on the current explosion in the popularity of electronic music within the United States. Above and Beyond were recently quoted saying that they believe it is a huge bubble that is bound to burst, but Andy took a different view:

It’s not a passing fad. House music came out of the USA over 30 years ago! But there’s no denying how popular electronic music is right now. All music goes in cycles, so of course there’ll be a time when its out of the spotlight — but there’s always the next big explosion just around the corner. At its core there is always so much going on, I can testify to that with all that I’ve seen over the years…the music, the festivals, the clubs…it’s been here a long, long time and isn’t going anywhere.

We were certainly pleased to hear that answer, and chose to end the interview on that very positive note. Stay tuned for more to come from Andy C and get excited for the album that he has in the works. We’re already looking forward to it.

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