The Idle Man head on tour with the drum & bass Godfather, Andy C, ahead of his show at Snowbombing 2016.
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If you're looking for an introduction to the many realms of drum & bass, your first stop should really be Andy C and his now-major record label, RAM Records. Having started the pioneering imprint over 20 years ago, Andy C has been leading the way in drum & bass for longer than some of you have probably been alive. Considered the Godfather of the scene, Andy is the reason many people first got into the sound with tracks like 'Valley of the Shadows' and 'Body Rock' still getting consistent plays at raves 23 years after the former's release.
His label has been responsible for some of the biggest names in the drum & bass movement, including Chase & Status, Sub Focus and Wilkinson but has always remained loyal to its routes, bridging the gap between the underground and the mainstream. Now, with a set at Snowbombing confirmed and the biggest All Night set to date, at Alexandra Palace, and the aptly named 'New Era' single released, Andy has pushed the label forward even further with the announcement of its partnership with BMG.
Andy C is the sole reason I got into drum & bass so it's with great pleasure I can bring you this exclusive interview that gives an insight into his life when on tour. Oh, he's also a fellow West Ham fan - Up the Hammers Andy!
What can be found in your DJ bag?
A multitude of cables, headphones, my passport (pretty essential when you're playing overseas), I use Traktor a lot of the time so I've got that with me. Then eye patches and ear plugs to help me sleep!
What can't you be without on tour?
My laptop and Traktor, I once checked in for a flight to L.A where I was playing a set and when I was making sure I had everything, I realised I'd left my laptop at home, nightmare. I quickly jumped in a taxi told the driver to drive as quick as he could (within the law, of course), still made the flight somehow!
What music do you listen to?
It depends really, I tend to listen to quite a lot of demos to see if there's anything I wanna test out on the crowd. I'm really into movie soundtracks as well, that tends to be really inspiring music most of the time. Sci-fi soundtracks are probalby my favourite at the moment films like Terminator and Interstellar. I recon Audio could make a banging sci-fi soundtrack.
Best in-flight snack?
It's a real struggle to eat healthily when you're on the road and taking flights. The one thing you can't escape are ham and cheese sandwiches at airports, they are literally everywhere. I usually try and find something like a salad or some fruit, not very rock 'n' roll but you need something to balance out the late nights and alcohol!
Any touring nightmares over the years?
One that really sticks out in my mind is when I played the EDC mainstage in America. It was roasting hot and I was the only DJ playing vinyl and the set up was directly in the sunlight. It was so hot the vinyl were literally buckling in front of my eyes from the heat. So I told the production crew we needed to sort it out somehow (I was due to play in like five minutes at this point) who went away and came back with a kind of tent structure to block the sunlight. All this was going on whilst someone else was playing their set as well.
Five minutes into my set and the vinyl were still going out of shape so they went away again and came back with an industrial air conditioner which they had taken the back panels off so the fan was directly on the decks. So there I am, in front of thousands of people, with a make-shift tent that was starting to fall down, I couldn't even see the crowd, a bloody huge air conditioner pumping out air at me and trying to mix a normal set. It must have been aboout 20 minutes into the set before I could actually mix properly, absolute disaster! Guess that's what I get for sticking to vinyl! Full respect to the EDC production crew though, they did everything they possibly could to sort it out.
What's a typical day like when you're touring?
It's not as glamorous as people tend to think if I'm honest, it's usually a mad rush. I get to the airport, jump on the flight, land, get picked up, go to the hotel, quick sound check, grab some food then party. The actual playing of the set is usually the shortest part of the day but it's also when the most crazy and unforgettable moments happen and when you really feel blessed for what you do for a living!