So, it was the first night of NASS Festival 2014. Andrew Clarke, more commonly known as Andy C, had just obliterated the mainstage with a set of double and triple drops, and even as the set was closing, all the same energy pervaded the warehouse as we caught the tail end of his inimitable remix of Major Lazer’s ‘Get Free’ to round off his slot. We hung out in the pit and backstage, hoping to grab the godfather of drum and bass for a quick interview. I probably had the look of a 14 year old girl who’d just seen Justin Bieber flicking back his comb-over in slow-mo, however, I swallowed back my fanboy-ridden heart palpitations went sprinting up to him, all the while shouting ‘ANDY, ANDY, ANDY!’ and asked for an interview.
As we started chatting, I was absolutely blown away by what an absolute gent he was. He was very patient and willing to chat with us and gave us his full attention, despite the fact he had not formally agreed to an official interview and we’d essentially ambushed him after work hours!
Daily Beat: So Andy, you’ve been around since the beginning of what we now call ‘drum and bass’ at a time when it was in its infancy, being played out almost entirely through the illegal warehouse scene. At the time you were a pretty young kid in fact!
Andy: I was, yes.
Daily Beat: Did you ever find it intimidating or scary at first, as well as thrilling I'm sure?
Andy: It was exciting man! I mean, it was a little intimidating to be around certain artists. I looked up to certain people who were DJ’ing at the time, but it was exciting; DJ’ing is exciting. Turning up, playing out and seeing the crowd is exciting.
Daily Beat: About the state of drum and bass today: back in the nineties, it was a lot more minimal, sci-fi orientated and darker. Today, without trying to sound slightly pretentious, it’s of course a lot more poppy. The production is also some of the sharpest in the electronic music sphere. What would you say about the current state of drum and bass today?
Andy: There’s drum and bass for everybody man. I mean, no matter what you want you’ve got it. At the end of the day you’re not going to go and play minimal to a few thousand people in a warehouse are you? There’s drum and bass to cover everybody and that’s the beauty of it, because the scene is over twenty years old. You’ve got small clubs, and you’ve got your headsy vibes and you’ve got your dark vibes, yet, at the same time, you get to play at beautiful festivals like this one.
Daily Beat: When you’re scouting talent for RAM, and, I say this with a slightly cheeky grin on my face, what are you primarily looking for?
Andy: I’m looking for that indefinable quality that you just know and feel when you hear it, you know? Freshness, new, a different take on things. It’s very easy to do something that sounds like the biggest thing currently out there, but I’m looking for that talent who’s going to create the next biggest thing. So when I’m listening to demos, I’m always listening for somebody who’s got a different angle, something a little bit different.
Daily Beat: Final question: who in the drum & bass scene are you currently most excited about?
Andy: I’m most excited for [grinning] all my boys on RAM obviously! Can’t say too much, but I’m very excited because we just made a new signing – a talent from Canada called Bensley.
Daily Beat: Oh yeah, I saw him on the RAM Facebook page!
Andy: He’s amazing. Absolutely amazing. We’re just holding back and collating the tunes at the moment – getting them all together – but when people hear his music it is beautiful. Stunning music. And I think everyone’s going to be blown away by it.
Daily Beat: Thank you very much for the interview mate, I’m sorry it was a bit of an ambush!
Andy: [Chuckles] Cool! No worries man, thank you for your time.
Following this, we got some pictures and shook hands. I then opportunistically handed him my demo CD, which he accepted very kindly, and the man known as ‘The Executioner’ got into his Jag and drove off.
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