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Police Escorts And Festival Vibes: Stereoboard Catches Up With Andy C

Friday, 21 June 2013 Written by Elliott Batte

If you know your drum and bass then you’ll know the mighty Andy C, the three-deck maestro and head of RAM Records. An unbeatable force in a club, he’s also proved himself to be the number one name for festival drum and bass too.

One of those is Global Gathering, the annual dance music festival that has locations in Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, South Korea, Russia, and, of course, England. Taking place on July 26 and 27, over 50,000 ravers will descend on Long Marston Airfield near Stratford-upon-Avon to sample the best in house, garage, drum and bass, dubstep, and anything else you can groove to.

Ahead of the festival, we caught up with Andy to talk everything from police escorts, pulling a ‘Guetta’, and seeing how many times he could say ‘vibes’ in 20 minutes. And some serious stuff too.

Let's get down to business and talk festivals! As a legend in the club and in the studio, how does playing at festivals compare?

Ah, I love festivals. Obviously I do a lot of nightclubs and nights but I love the hype of a festival. Loads of people, getting smashed for days. Even if the weather's shit you can still have fun. But the main thing is being able to play to such huge crowds, you can kinda play a little bit of everything. There's such a diverse crowd and they love different genres. They react to the music you play. I just I love going in there and smashing out new mixes and vibing what people want. Playing to thousands and thousands of people, there's nothing like it.

You're playing a lot of big festivals at the moment, but how does drum and bass these days compare to what we heard at older festivals like One Nation?

As the music's steadily grown and matured, and it's reached a wider audience, the crowd's obviously gotten bigger. Back in the day it wasn't exactly small – I mean it was big scale for us – but it was on a smaller scale in comparison. But it's hard to compare, there are massive festivals like Global and festivals in America with like 20,000 people, it's just gone crazy. And the good thing is that the production's getting better and better. At Global last year it was the best sound I'd played there for a few years, and generally people were appreciative of that. So how does it compare? It's just as vibing, just on a much bigger scale.

So have you got any favourite festivals in particular?

(Laughs) Will they pay me to say Global? Obviously I love it and I love the others just as much. Have I got a particular favourite? I don't know. It's the start of festival season, I've already done EDC (Electric Daisy Carnival) in Chicago, I've got EDC in Las Vegas, and Parklife in Manchester was amazing, Exit Festival, Outlook. They're all great.

Festivals in other countries have got a quite unique vibe actually. I played at a festival in France and the strange thing they do there is they shut down a tent. If an act is playing in one tent, they stop the music in the other tent, so everybody goes to see that act. So you'll walk in there and everyone is sitting down, chilling out, and have a chat, but when the other act finishes, everyone comes rushing back into that tent where you're gonna play. It's quite unnerving seeing everyone just sitting down having a chat, and then five-10 minutes later everyone's in there and going crazy. I also did festival a few weeks ago out on the Great Wall of China, that was pretty, pretty mind-blowing.

So as a master of performing, what do you think of those artists that are choosing to mime these days?

If that's how they get off then that's their thing, man. On a personal level, I love turning up to festivals – or clubs – and getting a sweat on, working hard, raving, with the crowd and like the crowd, you know what I mean? At the end of the day, I love DJing, it's what I do. And fortunately I've been able to do it over the years. I like the live aspect of it. You can go anywhere and you might play a patchy set depending on the crowd in front of you, you might make some slip-ups here and there but that's what makes it a unique type of performance. I think it brings it closer to the crowd when everything's happening on the moment and in the moment. You share it together. 

You've got loads of festival slots lined-up throughout the summer, what else is in your tour plans for 2013?

Well, obviously we've got festival season and when that runs through I'm getting on with my own tour, there'll be some long, extended sets at the end of the year. I'm touring America again, and going to Australia later in the year as well, so a lot between Christmas and now. And I want to be in the studio as well. I'm working on a lot of new solo material so hopefully, by the end of the summer, I'll be able to sort of present some of that. We shall see.

We saw you had a police escort in Jakarta the other day – how the heck did that come about?

That was just...that whole tour was a beautiful, beautiful thing. The vibe of the people over there, and the way the music has been embraced and accepted over there was amazing. I really was surprised by the feeling that engaged me. I’ve come back with a complete feeling of happiness, it changes your life over there. But that police convoy, I dunno who the guy paid off or whatever, or who they thought was in the car, it was pretty surreal. The whole journey was about half an hour, 40 minutes. Imagine sitting in a car and them treating you like some kind of politician or something. I'm sure they had the wrong guy – maybe they thought it was Guetta or something! But yeah, it was an experience, that's for sure, and I'm not sure it'll happen again, that's why I took a video of it (check that out here).

You say you're back in the studio. Is there going to be be a Nightlife 6 any time soon?

Watch this space! I mean hopefully, there's so much good music out there at the moment, and I'm really, really loving the vibe at the moment – this year's been so positive, and I'm feeling the vibe, so yeah. I'm not saying anything because the mix CDs are an incredible pressure, because you just don't know where to start. I wanna make it like three or four or five CDs, I wanna put like three million tunes on there. It's crazy, like really intense. So, you never know. Maybe if I go into the studio and have a mix in the next couple of weeks, press record and see what happens, I'll let the guys in the office sort out the nuts and bolts.

We usually ask a DJ whether they prefer a double drop or a quick switch, but we're pretty confident you're going to say double drop. What's your favourite double drop right now, if you could pick one?

There's too many man. Like we said, it depends on the party. The most beautiful thing is going on a vibe with a huge crowd, getting on that vibe. For example, I turned up for Parklife on Sunday and I'd been travelling nearly 11 hours from [Festival] Aucard by car and by train, and I turn up at 8:34 while A-Trak was playing, and my set started at 8:35. You've just gotta go head first, and because you do that, it takes you like five-10 minutes to get the vibe. But when you start feeling the crowd you think, 'I've only got an hour, do this and do that'. Before you know it, it just all starts happening, and that is the beautiful part of DJing.

When it starts telling you what to do, you just get on this level where double drops just start happening out of the blue, and you're like 'fucking hell that sounds wicked, might have to do that again', you know what I mean? So in that respect, I haven't got a favourite, but it's definitely got to be the double drop, there's just something about them. You can't explain it, there's just something beautiful about two tunes working in harmony, it's sort of a feeling they create – even if the crowd don't sort of realise there's two tunes.

RAM has reached a new level of diversity in recent years, and you've got ProgRAM going too, which is wicked. Were you planning to get this diverse? Or has it simply evolved?

I wasn't really planning for RAM to extend further than the second, third, fourth, release and then as the years go by, it's turned into something you can't even begin to comprehend, you know, from where it started out. It's taken on a life of it's own, and you've gotta go with it. I think everyone who knows drum and bass and has followed the scene over the years knows we have shown nothing but love for this scene and all its styles. There's a lot of people putting in a lot of hard work and the artists are doing an amazing job, and to be able to use it as platform to get a new venture like ProgRAM off the ground so quick shows how much vibes there are in the scene.

We did ProgGRAM essentially because for one, I'm being sent so many tunes every week you can't put them all out on RAM, but a lot of them do deserve to come out. And talking to the guys in the office, it's the perfect thing for us. It's not a feeder label, we want it to be a label in its own right and I'm really proud of what it's achieved so far. So with the two labels together, we've got a really cool vibe musically and label-wise to move forward.

You've obviously got a shit ton of dubs and tracks sent from everyone in drum and bass – but what have been your stay-in-the-bag tunes of 2013?

I would say that DC Breaks – 'Swag' has been a pretty smashing stand-out tune this year.

What's next for Andy C? Is there anything left to do?

Of course there is! I guess an album. But that would be a long way away. If you asked me if I was doing one, I'd say 'no'. But yeah more production, I might do another compilation, I'd basically just like to do more music and stuff. That's kind of what drives me, you have to set yourself goals every year – I love going out and DJing every weekend but I also love the the other stuff that is possible, that this career has let me do. The label's going really well, I'm really proud of it. So yeah, it's time to push forward and do more of my own music.

So, as you can see, festival drum and bass is in full swing, and Andy C is as ready as we are to get sweaty this summer. If you fancy rocking up to Global Gathering too, check the dates and links below to find tickets through Stereoboard - and for everything else Global, check out their website here!

Global Gathering dates are as follows:

Fri 26/Sat 27 July 2013 - Long Marston Airfield, near Stratford on Avon, Warwickshire

​Click Here to Compare and Buy Global Gathering Tickets at Stereoboard!

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