My sister, Sarah, took me out to my first rave when I was 13, she snuck me in. It was an illegal party round near my way, blagged as an engagement party. She took me and my best mate out and it was unreal. Imagine that at 13! I went into school the Monday as was like, I know something you lot dont know… Ive seen the world, and it was all good! The party was in a barn in 89; I remember hearing Voodoo Ray, Young MC Know How It was amazing and it definitely changed absolutely everything for me. From that moment I was waking up for the music. We had the old pirate stations Centre Force and Sunrise that we could pick up down here, so every morning before school Ive got my alarm going off and turning onto their sounds. Thats just what I was into, full stop.
I was bought a small drum kit when I was 5 that I used to bash the hell out of. Ive always been rhythmically more into the funky side of stuff; the breaks and the big beats. I guess that comes from whacking on the drums when I was younger. I didnt really get into listening to music until then, when I was a teenager. But its only in my later years that Ive really been listening to all kinds of different music. Ive been buying classic albums and getting into all the other side of music.
I was always into computers, and my dad bought me a little sampler thing when I was about 15. I was always into Commodore 64, Spectrum and all that nerdy stuff back in the day, in the 80s. Ant Miles is a friend of the family, and he come round visiting one day and I had these breaks on the go. Hes older than me and had studio experience, with his own set-up. Hes such a nice geezer, and would take anybody in, good karma like that, he likes teaching people. He invited me round to his, came round in his van to take me and my computer to the studio. Thats where the producing started. We combined my computer and sampler with his computer, sampler and mixing desk, and started making tunes I left school when I was 16, and it aint the summer holidays is it! Youve left school so youve gotta do something now. My mum was hassling me and I thought, I know, Ill start a record label. So I started my own company, I had this tune that Id been working on for ages and I really wanted to put it out as a white label. I found out how to cut a record and press it, and what not. Then I was like, well, whats the concept to get a label put on a record? When you dont know what it is, you think its really complicated to get stuff like that done, but its not actually. My sisters really good at art, so she sat down and drew the first logo for Ram Records in felt tip pen. We sent it down to the pressing plant and they printed it onto the records. That was literally two weeks after I left school, I was going to be a printer and had an apprenticeship sorted out. But I thought Id see what happened and borrowed a grand to do it from my uncle, I doubled the money and thats how Ram started.
The same year, I met Red One at work experience (Scott who now manages Ram on a day to day basis). He was putting on parties already, but he wasnt from the local area and I was, so they asked me to show Scott round. I went out with him, we chatted and it turned out that I make music that he was into and hes putting on parties for the music that Im into. He had a party on that Saturday, the rave was called Imagination and I went down to that. Just seeing the guys play, controlling the crowd, smashing the big tunes, seeing the atmosphere when it went off n all that really inspired me. I come from all that and rung Scott up on the Monday saying I just gotta get some record decks, I want to be a DJ. I scrimped and saved, bought a couple of Soundlabs. They did their job, I abused them! From the first night I got them home, that was it, I was on them all day and all night. I was going to bed 6 oclock in the morning and getting up for school 7.30, things like that Scott gave me my first play out at a club called The Prison in Stoke Newington, when I was 15. I was doing Syndicate FM our local pirate station before that it was a buzz, being up there when the mobile phones ringing, its not just your bedroom its being broadcast! I was doing mixtapes and handing them out at school, Scott sent them out to some promoters. He got a phone call from Elevation who used to put on the big raves at Roller Express, and club Dada in Shaftsbury Ave. They said to come down and theyd give me a go. That was my first real play out, with a proper MC, and I think it was after Rat Pack. Proper nerve wracking and that was the start of that all . We actually broke down on the way down there, left Scotts car on the side of the road, lugged the records and got a cab to Shaftsbury Ave. We ended up getting the night bus home, after my first gig with all the records, all the way back to Romford. Classic buzz! We walked all the way home then, its a good 3 mile walk at 6 oclock in the morning.
LABELS & PRODUCTION
Id had tunes out on other labels before Ram, but that was a really cool thing starting my own label. It was a really proud moment, I remember coming back from holiday and getting pick up at the airport and my record was in the car. My record, on my label. We carried on making tunes and putting them out, and the third release on Ram was Valley of the Shadows. That was what kinda upped it all a gear and brought attention to the label. All that time Id worked at a distribution company, which put out my first record bizarrely, going round on the vans with Ant driving and me selling them into the shops, Blackmarket, Unity Through playing with Elevation, me and Scott had jobs handing out flyers at the nights and driving round the big raves doing the promotion. Through that I met Sting who runs Telepathy, who was just starting a new club night, I told him I was a DJ and he said to come down with my records to hang around and see if I could get a play. After a couple of weeks he made me one of the residents down there. When Valley Of the Shadows came out a couple of months later in 1993 it was really the time when jungle was really starting to take off in London. The likes of Cool FM, Weekend Rush, the Roast Parties, Thunder and Joy, Junglefever it all came out of a little square mile in North and East London. It was being there, at the right time in the right place really. From when I left school, I dont think theres been any weekend when I havent been in clubs, or involved in raves. Except when Im holiday or Christmas. Rams been going 12 years now; its totally grown out of all recognition. From the way it started, sitting around the dinner table, thinking I wonder how I press records, to where it is now and what weve all done. The really cool thing is that its all my mates that Ive grown up with, theyre all part of the label and weve done it together. Its wicked man, it doesnt feel like 12 years.
It wasnt long after the opening in 99 that I started playing at FABRICLIVE. I felt like it was exactly what was needed; it came at the right time for everything. A club like Fabric, thats some major, major shit. The layout, the soundsystem, the philosophy, the line-ups… I mean it just all came at the right time for London. Then to then have a club like that putting on jungle every week, I think that was really very important, and it captured peoples imaginations. That was a really cool move, the media had started to ignore it but the powers that be at FABRICLIVE thought well give it a go, stick by it and see what happens. The rest is history; FABRICLIVEs been going so long now its an institution. Rammed every week.
Ive got a compilation out on Ram soon called Nightlife which is a big project for the label. Its a whole different entity to just releasing records. Theres a whole load of 12s coming on Ram for the rest of the year. Hopefully one day Ill get round to doing an album or an album proper, as they say. I did a joint project with Ram Trilogy Molten Beats which did incredibly well, it was all dancefloor stuff. DJings taken over my life completely, so Ive really only had time to do a couple of singles a year, or been part of a couple of singles. Even to be part of something, to explore myself musically and see what we can come up with would be great. Some surprises hopefully. Its crazy, Im somewhere new every week, but thats just drum n bass, its massive!
Were gonna have fun with the mix. We did a back to back at a big rave a couple of weeks ago, it was actually billed as b2b. It was unbelievable, the atmosphere was incredible.