Turning it up a notch with RAM Records founder Andy C [Interview]

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Turning it up a notch with RAM Records founder Andy C [Interview]Andy C Press Shot

Decades ago, the electronic music scene was nigh unrecognizable from its worldwide integration and popularity today. Andrew John Clarke was younger then, attending illegal raves with his friends in the English countryside. One such party came to mind when someone sent him a photo from many years over social media, reminding him of years past.

“It was one of those parties where somebody put out a phone number to call, and you met up at a service station on the road. Then this big convoy of cars made its way through the countryside to this back garden [in Kent] and we had a rave,” he recalls. “That’s how we used to do it. But now look at the kind of stages we do at EDC Las Vegas.”

It would be years before Andrew John Clarke would become known to most as Andy C, and he never would’ve guessed he would be where he is today. But his love of music and what would become drum ‘n’ bass led him down an unexpected pathway.

He helped create what many view as one of the most influential drum ‘n’ bass tracks of the 1990s—”Valley of the Shadows” under his Origin Unknown moniker with Ant Miles—and began to make a name for himself through his energetic DJ sets. Around the same time in 1992, he created RAM Records with Ant Miles, not knowing the influence the label would have over the next 27 years.

“Things are doing awesome [at RAM],” Clarke says enthusiastically. “We have an absolute steady stream of releases coming out every week. It’s relentless, but that’s how we like it. We make up one part of this beautiful scene of ours, and we’ve been there for everything. It’s a beautiful thing to still be at the forefront, you know?”

RAM had incredibly humble beginnings, starting out with Clarke picking up records in the trunk of his dad’s car and stamping the labels in his bedroom.

“Now, we’re streaming millions of streams all over these new mediums and touring the world,” he says. “It’s unfathomable, really.”

Though things have changed drastically since 1992 for RAM Records, Clarke maintains an optimistic viewpoint.

“I always think change is for the good,” he says. “I like to look forward. I appreciate the past because it invokes so many beautiful memories for me, but I love to look to the future. That’s what keeps the excitement there for me.”

Clarke is as excited about today’s drum ‘n’ bass scene as he was years ago. He says he’s “seeing a resurgence” in the United Kingdom, where the scene has “gone up to another level” in recent years. He’s also enjoying seeing the genre’s boom in the United States, where it’s been steadily getting more recognition and gaining traction.

“We seem to be seeing a lot of social media talk from people [in the States] who play drum ‘n’ bass tunes in their sets or are wanting to make dnb,” he says. “It seems to me we’re turning it up a notch.”

But Clarke would love to see even more drum ‘n’ bass coming out of the States. In fact, he encourages it.

“I know the United States is full of sick producers and people who want to smash the sound,” he invites. “Bring it to us.”

To those pursuing production, he offers advice that rings true for many aspects of life:

“If you want longevity, you’ve got to be true to yourself. If you’re pushing a sound and you’re passionate about it and love it, then you should stick at it and somewhere, hopefully, the crowd will get on your wave.”

When it comes to the style of music, Clarke notes he’s noticed today’s drum ‘n’ bass returning to “rawer sounds,” which delights the producer since that’s background he comes from.

“It’s been great to see the younger generations sort of battling it out week in and out to see who can make the sickest drop,” he says. “That’s what I’m feeling right now.”

But trends in music are unpredictable, and many producers scramble to figure out how to ride the current wave while staying true to their own sounds. For Andy C, though, the capricious nature of electronic music is a huge part of what makes it fun.

“I have no clue what drum ‘n’ bass will sound like in five years or even six months, and that’s part of the excitement” he says. “It just takes someone to come along and do a genre-defying song or create the next big bassline or take on a beat, and then it goes off on a tangent. That’s the beauty of it. Time goes pretty fast, but I know [drum ‘n’ bass is] going to be in an even healthier position than it is now.”

Clarke’s passion for drum ‘n’ bass and the scene surrounding it is driven by “the energy, the people, and the sense of community.” He calls the genre unique and says that “when you feel it, you really get it, and it becomes a strong passion within you.”

Those who have embraced this strong passion span generations—something that’s truly special to Clarke when he performs.

“At the events I do, there can be people spanning a 25-year age gap, and everybody will be raving together. It’s all ages, but that passion is always there. There’s a real beauty to a passion that never leaves for a style of music.”

When asked if he thinks the scene has changed for the better over the past few decades, Clarke’s answer is instantaneous.

“Of course! As much as I like raging in the back garden with 12 people, I definitely love being able to play all over the world to thousands of people. I’m such a lucky guy. It’s humbling and beautiful.”


Catch Andy C at one of this remaining 2019 shows. Learn more and get tickets here.

Turning it up a notch with RAM Records founder Andy C [Interview]Andy C Tour Dates Fall 2019

Flite re-doses RL Grime’s ‘Core’ with drum ‘n’ bass magic

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Flite re-doses RL Grime’s ‘Core’ with drum ‘n’ bass magicFlite 2019

In spite of his young age, Flite has navigated the drum ‘n’ bass scene with the prowess and maturity of an experienced artist. Producing as early as 16 years old and breaking onto the scene at 19 years old in 2014 with debut single “Featherfall,” the Texas-based talent has gained rapid momentum in recent years—following through with 14 releases in 2017 and garnering support from drum n’ bass giants like Andy C, High Contrast, Netsky, and more. With diversity ingrained in his artistic pursuits, Flite and his sound fluctuate in its exploration of the drum ‘n’ bass spectrum. Now, the rising star reworks an RL Grime classic, “Core,” with his latest UKF release.

In his flip of “Core,” Flite transforms the original trap soundscape into a massive drum ‘n’ bass track. Energizing the quintessential drop with flesh-crawling synthesizers and rolling breakbeats, the remix kicks the tempo up while maintaining the dark essence of the original. Deliciously sinister with potent pace, Flite’s remix delivers the drum ‘n’ bass makeover without straying from the skeleton of the beloved RL Grime original.

Mat Zo chills with galvanizing intricacy on ‘Emotion Sickness’

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Mat Zo chills with galvanizing intricacy on ‘Emotion Sickness’Mat Zo Press Photo E1552406771509

Undeniably one of the most dynamic producers to mark his lasting influence on the scene, Mat Zo returns to his drum ‘n’ bass roots with his latest release, “Emotion Sickness.” Although the Mad Zoo label head has kept relatively quiet under his beloved drum ‘n’ bass moniker MRSA—most recently resurfacing with a VIP of 2017 single, “Bio Weapon” via Noisia‘s Invisible imprint—the newest track arrives under his main pseudonym. pointing to an expanding experimental palette. Effectively exploring diverging branches of genres and mastering the complex sound designs that accompany each, Zo links with Bassrush Records to deliver an auditory whirlwind for the senses on “Emotion Sickness”.

Perforated by relentless drum lines and texturized with shape-shifting synth pads, the track brings forth a mind-melting amalgamation in the form of warped soundscapes and synapse-firing energy. Haunting harmonic progressions ease into reverberating bass-induced layers that gradually trickle into a metronomic chaos of percussion and syncopated top lines. In the spaces left unmarked by frenzy, Zo fills the interludes with enchanting melodies of equally galvanizing energy and succeeds in proliferating the 7:23 minute-track with intoxicating momentum.

Order a copy of “Emotion Sickness” here

Hospital Records works toward gender equality with first Women in Drum & Bass London Workshop

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Hospital Records works toward gender equality with first Women in Drum & Bass London WorkshopHospitalRecordsWomeninDNB

“At Hospital Records, Med School and Hospitalitydnb we recognise the gender imbalance within drum & bass. We want to be at the forefront of pushing through a positive change for the scene and music that we all love, towards a more representative community that creates equal opportunities for everyone.”

Being the change that you want to see in the world is often easier said than done—unless you’re Hospital Records, that is. On Sept. 17, the south London drum ‘n’ bass co-op took a massive stride forward in remedying the gender inequality found both within their genre and the wider music industry by hosting their very first Women In Drum & Bass London Workshop.

The Shoreditch event featured an industry-wide panel of tastemakers that evaluated gender issues facing the underground bass scene and brought in Hospital’s Head of Business & Sync Megan Bean to host a workshop on getting demos heard and eventually signed.

The Women In Drum & Bass London Workshop follows a pledge from Hospital Records earlier this year to increase their efforts to sign more women to the label roster and host more female DJs at their flagship Hospitality events. While there is no doubt that the industry is still male-heavy, it’s ultimately refreshing to see record labels and brands alike using their amplified voice in the industry not just to sell the next release, but to bring attention to the social issues that they resonate with.

Dexter’s Beat Laboratory Vol. 100: The Ultimate Drum ‘n’ Bass Playlist

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Dexter’s Beat Laboratory Vol. 100: The Ultimate Drum ‘n’ Bass PlaylistDeters Beat Lab@0.

Dexter’s Beat Laboratory is a weekly collection of songs from DA managing editor Robyn Dexter. With a taste that can only be described as eclectic — to say nothing of a name that lends itself to punnery — DA is happy to present a selection of tracks personally curated by Dexter for your listening pleasure.


There’s just something about drum ‘n’ bass that’s always spoken to my soul. I remember hearing my first Pendulum song a decade ago and thinking “what on earth is this, and where can I get more?”

The genre began making its way into the electronic music sphere in the early 1990s, right around the time I was born. Its rapid breakbeats took over London and Bristol, ramping up the jungle and rave scene to 160-180 BPM. While still more widespread in the UK to this day, the genre has slowly trickled into the United States EDM scene. We still have a long way to go before drum ‘n’ bass artists are regularly installed as main stage performers at major US festivals, but there’s so much to discover and embrace in the US drum ‘n’ bass scene (I see you, Flite and Boxplot). There’s also an endless stream of quality dnb being churned out overseas, with imprints like RAM Records, Hospital Records, and Liquicity Records as strong as ever in their supporters and fan base.

I regularly tell people that have never really gotten into drum ‘n’ bass to just try. It’s a diverse and ever-evolving genre, full of sub-genres and offshoots. I guarantee you’ll find something you like in some format. Dig through the 100-song playlist I’ve compiled to celebrate 100 installments of this series to see if there’s something there for you!

Thank you, drum ‘n’ bass, for your tireless energy, emotive vocals, and the ability you always have to yank me out of a bad mood and reignite my love for electronic music in today’s day and age. Here’s to you, and the brilliant artists who create you.

First Listen: Culture Shock wows in fiery new single, ‘Take Control’

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First Listen: Culture Shock wows in fiery new single, ‘Take Control’Culture Shock 1 E1548363016626

London drum & bass mastermind Culture Shock is at it again.

He’s closing out the first month of 2019 with his first release of the year: “Take Control.” The single marks the fifth entry in his Sequence Series on Andy C‘s RAM Records, trademarked with colorful geometric artwork. Clocking in at just under five minutes, “Take Control” kicks off at a cautious pace, leading in with vibrant female vocals. As the song progresses, it becomes clear that it’s building into something formidable, as computerized beeps and a gnawing wobble usher in a grinding drum & bass rhythm. “Take Control” fits in snugly with the rest of Culture Shock’s discography, kicking off what can only be another successful year.

2018 proved to be massive for the UK producer. He released a slew of exceptional originals and remixes, including an acclaimed remix of Camo & Krooked in March. In May, Culture Shock celebrated the release of FABRICLIVE 98 by teaming up with Dimension, Friction, and 1991 for an insane two-hour back-to-back set. His emotive June release, “There For You,” was dubbed Annie Mac‘s hottest record on BBC Radio 1 and later went on to soundtrack the London Fireworks on New Year’s Eve.

“Take Control” is out RAM Records on Feb. 8.

Zeds Dead and Delta Heavy keep it retro and energetic in new DnB release, ‘Lift You Up’

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Zeds Dead and Delta Heavy keep it retro and energetic in new DnB release, ‘Lift You Up’Zeds Dead Delta Heavy Lift You Up

Zeds Dead and Delta Heavy have teamed up for their first and hotly anticipated collaboration, “Lift You Up.” The DnB release showcases the best from each group, and “Lift You Up” is out now simultaneously on Deadbeats and Ram Records.

The listener is transported back in time to a retro arcade with vintage electronic synths and vocal synthesizers coming together to blend in a burst of 80s video game nostalgia. The electric combination of production techniques is brought together by a throbbing DnB foundation, keeping the energy high and the song radio-ready. “Life You Up” proves that both groups are off to a big start in the new year with Zeds Dead going particularly outside the box, and this quality output will certainly be a fitting addition to their live performances as well.

 

Feint revels in lofty drum ‘n’ bass disorder with ‘Defiant’ EP

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Feint revels in lofty drum ‘n’ bass disorder with ‘Defiant’ EPFeint Defiant 1

Feint‘s lengthy love affair with ubiquitous drum ‘n’ bass domain, Liquicity, lives on. His myriad of releases with the legendary, YouTube-oriented label housing stretches into 2018 with the three-track Defiant EP, which includes an auspicious instrumental cut of his capstone Liquicity collaboration with Koven, “Take It In.”

The EP serves to satiate listeners who recognize Feint’s “Whatever I Do” remix (originally released by Cartoon) which he debuted inside his fiercely streamed, 99-track UFK Podcast circa 2016. In this rendition, Feint revs up the Amen breaks and blasts the bass line from a subdued echo to a rogue wave of euphoric urgency. Pushing the deliciously delirious tone onward, Laura Brehm’s seasoned Liquicity lungs breathe a chimerical cloud atop the EP’s title track, serving as the pinnacle of the collection’s nuanced lifeblood by offering a rushing dissonance paired with wistful guitar interludes. The work as a whole illustrates Feint’s inexorable ability to thrust listeners through a number of halcyon soundscapes in a matter of mere minutes.

Former Pendulum member Ben Verse curates DnB compilation focusing on mental health & wellbeing, ‘MIND STATE’ ft. The Prodigy, Sub Focus, & more

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Over the years, several artists have bravely spoken up over their personal struggles regarding their mental health. Alison Wonderland has been extremely vocal about her ongoing battle with depression and emotional abuse. At the risk of romanticizing depression, Getter has shared some of his personal insights regarding his experience with mental illness and how, in some instances, it can inspire emotive pieces of art. British underground house veteran Steve Lawler even addressed the stigma of artists speaking out about mental health in the music industry in DA‘s Beyond The Booth 009 feature series.

To expound on these testimonies, a recent study’s findings indicate that musicians in particular are up to 3 times more likely to suffer from depression than the public. In the wake of Avicii’s sad and untimely death, the stakes for raising mental health awareness in the music industry are at an all time high — and for good reason.

“When it comes to mental health and well being, talking really is the key.” – Ben Verse of Pendulum

Enter: former Pendulum bandmate, Ben Verse, who is spearheading a series of drum & bass compilations which foreground issues of mental health and wellbeing. The first album in the series, titled MIND STATE Vol. 1, out now via Getahead Records, features 17 prominent artists and up-and-coming new talents in the DnB scene coming together to present a sonic journey celebrating life and raising awareness for those who are struggling and in need of support.

With over twenty years in the music industry as both MC VERSE and part of the platinum selling band Pendulum, Ben Verse has witnessed first-hand what effect the highs and lows, as well as pressures and strains, a life in the music industry can have on a person.

“At it’s worst, [my mental health] left me unable to leave my room, leave my house, unable to eat. I wouldn’t be able to sit in a restaurant or anything like that. It sounds funny, but at one point I found getting my hair cut really difficult. Just sitting still in that spot became a real source of anxiety for me. It’s a day-to-day thing. A few years ago, it got extremely bad and I had a breakdown. I was at my mum’s house. I was suffering really badly. I was on the edge and thinking about suicide. I couldn’t cope with anything. I felt like I’d lost my worth. I wanted out,” Verse expressed to Dancing Astronaut.

It is with this life experience and awareness that Verse approached AEI Group and Getahead with the concept of the MIND STATE compilation.

“The music industry is not a 9 to 5 job, it can be such an incredible rollercoaster. From traveling all over the world, finding yourself in different situations, meeting all sorts of people to giving it your all, we hope people will know they can reach out to others and work out a balance in their life — especially those younger artists,” Verse explained of the project.

The project’s end goal, according to Verse, is to raise money for a 24-hour phone support line for musicians hosted by partners Music Mind Matters, and Help Musicians UK (HMUK). “The first stage of avoiding mental illness is being able to talk to someone. For musicians to be able to call a number, have a chat, and share what they’re experiencing before it gets to last resorts such as drug or alcohol dependency to hide from the problem.”

Boasting 17 tracks from the likes of The Prodigy, D Bridge & Skeptical, Chase & Status, Sub Focus, Spor, and Artificial Intelligence, the first compilation album reflects the respect and unity that characterizes the bass community in the UK and across the world. Verse expands on how the album became a reality:

“This whole album happened insanely quickly. I wrote a list of people I know who might be into the idea. I called people up, met them at studios and it happened organically. Some people wanted to be involved but couldn’t be due to release plans. But when guys like The Prodigy are up for it, it really blasts the door open and it snowballed from there. Sub Focus, Chase & Status and so many more amazing names. we’re so honoured and really happy with it.”

“When guys like The Prodigy are up for it, it really blasts the door open and it snowballed from there.” – Ben Verse on The Prodigy

Especially in the wake of the #MeToo Movement touching the music industry in unforeseen ways — with sexual assault allegations made against The Gaslamp Killer and Datsik in particular — the project couldn’t come at a more timely cultural moment.

North Base, contributors on the compilation, jumped on the cause because of the gendered aspects of mental health and how men, in particular, aren’t encouraged to openly express their mental health status.

“When we heard Verse was compelling an compilation to support men’s mental health issues we had to be involved. This is an issue we are all very passionate about and something which isn’t discussed or highlighted enough. We have all had friends who have or are currently experiencing or have experienced difficulties with their mental health and sometimes we’ve only known about it after, due to the stigma attached to mental health, especially amongst young men. Anything we can do to support this cause has our full backing and we hope one day means mental health is as understood and accepted as any physical illness,” says North Base.

“Mental health amongst musicians and producers, especially those under extra pressure associated with touring, delivery and social media presence has often been something that has been glossed over with assumptions of a glamorous lifestyle,” adds Artificial Intelligence. “We feel that it’s really important to educate and raise awareness around the topic.”


The album, including nothing but exclusives, is also linked to the first ever 24-hour musical gathering focused solely on Mental Health, Wellbeing & Music, Getahead Festival, which is set to take place in London, June 13, 2018. All profits of the unique musical project will go to charity in support of those struggling with mental health.

When asked how the Getahead Festival was a cause that was near and dear to his heart, Verse went deeper into his personal struggles to remind young artists that they are not alone:

“Yes it is. Massively. I’ve suffered anxiety and depression for longer than I ever realized. I’ve always been an anxious person, but I didn’t come to realize how much it was affecting my day-to-day life until I was 21 or 22. I was dealing with it in different ways. I was on medication for a while, which worked for a bit but it didn’t solve the issue of where the anxieties would come from.”

Getahead attempts to push the envelope on the stigma of mental health by bringing together a gamut of top-tier artists, inspiring keynote speakers, engaging panels, and relaxing activities ranging from yoga and massages to live comedy. The organization has a mission to help a billion people positively impact their lives in the next 25 years.


When it comes to mental health and well being, talking really is the key. In terms of the MIND STATE Vol. 1 compilation, Verse explains that it is “about action and raising funds.”

“This is just the start,” says Verse. “We want to develop the Mind State concept into a series and unite artists from other genres for the same or similar causes.”

The Geatahead event partners, Help Musicians UK (HMUK) and its Music Minds Matter mental health service, offers a free & confidential support line for artists and music industry professionals. If you are struggling to cope with addiction, depression, hopelessness, or just want to talk about pressures of working in the industry, dial 0808-802-8008 or e-mail musicmindmatter@helpmusicians.org.uk.

For anyone struggling with mental health issues, please visit Dancing Astronaut‘s list of resources for seeking help and assistance.

Pendulum bandmate says goodbye after 11 years

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pendulum rukes ultra korea dnb

Unquestionably one of the greatest drum n’ bass acts of all time, Pendulum changed the modern perception of DnB by pioneering the use of synths in their singles. Through their distinctive sound that mixes hard rock and electronic music, the Aussie/Brit band ushered in the second wave of drum n’ bass to the masses.

Now Pendulum has just lost a band member after 11 years of touring the world. Taking to his Instagram, Ben Mount, aka MC Verse,  the MC behind the iconic band’s live act, recently announced his official goodbye to focus on creating his own songs and running his own label.

Mount expressed sorrow and humility in his final farewell to his fellow band mates and Pendulum fans.