Last year saw Andy C reign supreme once more as he was crowned Best DJ for the 10th successive year; a record for the drum and bass industry. He was the highest drum and bass representative at DJs top 100 DJs Poll at number 28, and started the year getting the ultimate accolade from the bible of dance music Mixmag listing him in the top 10 of their Club lands Ultimate Power List. While running his label, signing new talents, producing and traveling across the globe to play some of the biggest clubs, Andy C is a busy man, and one of dance musics best ambassadors.
Andys musical background started with nothing more than a drum kit which he was bought by his parents when he was five years old. Like most things Andy tries, it quickly became an obsession practicing at any given opportunity. Andys fascination with dance music and its culture came about largely thanks to his older sister who was at the heart of its emergence in and around 86/87. One of the first tunes he heard was the legendary Voodoo Ray by A Guy Called Gerald. When I heard that something clicked and that was the start of everything. Andy recalls.
Andy considers himself lucky growing up in Essex, as there were a few good pirate radio stations to choose from including Centre Force and Sunrise, broadcasting 24/7 and playing the latest dance music on offer. It became an obsession. To Andys sheer delight it wasnt long before his sister took him to his first rave when he was only 13!
However, it wasnt until 1991 that Andy decided he wanted to become And DJ and create the kind of vibe that was making dancefloors erupt. He became obsessive and quickly managed to get a slot with the late shift on his local pirate station Cyndicate FM. Andy would play almost every night of the week, which was usually followed by him falling asleep in the studio, before he would walk home around the same time that the majority would be getting up and going to work.
His first club slot was for a club night on Shaftsbury Avenue. On the night his car broke down on the way in to town, and he had to hail a cab and get a night bus back! Soon Andy was opening at Telepathy, where he stayed from 10pm-6am for every event, so that if someone didnt turn up hed fill in. This loyalty paid off, and Andy rightfully earned his residency at Telepathy.
It was in 1993 that the scene started to explode; jungle club nights and raves were packed out every week and Andy saw his bookings soar, and he became part of the drum&bass family; every Thursday he would meet up with Hype and Brockie. They would go to Section 5, Black Market, Unity Records and end up down at the legendary Music House cutting dubs. In parallel to his thriving DJ career, Andy was becoming an excellent producer, teaching himself the basics of computer programming and experimenting with beats. Friend of the family Ant Miles a talented sound engineer heard one of Andys rearrangement of Voodoo Ray and offered help. They quickly became a team: from his relentless Djing Andy knew what music to do, and Ant knew how to make it.
Their first release together was as Desired State. Soon Andy was confident enough to produce on his own and, at 16, his first solo effort the Sour Mash EP became the first release on his label Ram Records, created thanks to a £1,000 loan from his uncle. Ant and Andy went around the shops selling the EP themselves and to their delight, it sold a promising 2,500 copies.
However, nothing could have prepared them for the consequences of their first track as Origin Unknown, a piece of drum & bass history. Valley Of The Shadows released in 1993 - became an absolute all-time classic. The track was so popular that Andy was even being booked to perform live P.As of the track which he confesses involved nothing more than playing a DAT whilst standing next to unplugged keyboard!
The unstoppable rise of Andy C as a DJ, producer, A&R and label boss kept on through the nineties. The Origin Unknown remix of Busta Rhymes Woo Haa in 1996 added another skill to the 20-year-old producer, and was followed by many more, for Reprazent and Adam F amongst others. Enrolling new members, including old friend Shimon, Ram compiled their first album Origin Unknown presents The Speed Of Sound, in 1996. Another showcase of the Ram stable, Sound In Motion, was released in 1998 with No Reality, another landmark 12, produced by Andy, Ant and Shimon as Ram Trilogy. It was followed by an album Molten Beats a year later.
2001 was another stepping stone for Andy C as a track he recorded with Shimon, an insanely catchy instrumental called Bodyrock, crashed into the national charts at 28. The same year, Andy started to capture the energy of his DJ sets through a powerful mix of Ram singles and EP called Ram Raiders, and some stunning remixes such as Adam Fs Stand Clear (featuring MOP) as Origin Unknown.
It was followed by a Drum & Bass Arena and a Fabric Live Mix CDs. The concept stepped up with the release of the hugely successful Nightlife mixed compilation in 2003, followed by Nightlife 2 A Drum And Bass Odyssey a year later, getting the Mixmag LP of the month accolade. The 2003 Knowledge Magazine Awards were a consecration of Andy, winning Best DJ for an unprecedented third time in a row, while Ram were nominated for Best Single and Best label.
Since then, Andy has been in the studio, producing as part of Origin Unknown (including Dynamite MCs Hotness in 2004) and Ram Trilogy. He has traveled around the world a few times, and spends a lot of energy looking after the Ram stable, signing new artists including the likes of Subfocus to the ever-expanding roster. 2006 sees the release of another installment of the classic Nightlife series, packed with exclusive gems by the whos who of drum and bass worldwide.
When looking over Andy Cs career to date it quickly becomes clear that he has worked extremely hard to get where he is today. Now known as drum&bass superstar DJ who spends most his time touring the world playing the music that he loves, it is important to note that he has done every menial job there is in this scene just to be part of it. Handing out flyers, selling records, reading instruction manuals, doing night shifts, opening and graveyard slots, Andy has done it Thats why, even widely acknowledged as the ambassador of drum&bass worldwide, Andy is still working hard for the love of the music and the respect of his massive audience all across the globe.