Sunday School #21: Andy C

By: Forward Musiq
This week as part of our Daisy coverage, we give you the grand master of Drum & Bass, Andy C.

A legend in the Drum & Bass Scene, Andrew John Clarke Aka, “The Executioner”, more famously known as Andy C, has been around the block for quite the years, perfecting the art of being a DJ. His influences came very early in his life, having acquired a taste for big beats and breaks when he was a child playing on a drum set. Later on, at the age of 13 in 1989, he attended his first rave, an illegal party where he was brought in by his sister. The rave impacted the young man to a point he started searching for more and more, eventually finding pirate radio stations such as Centre Force’ and ‘Sunrise’. This all foreshadowed Andrew’s future in music, and paved the way for his upcoming formation and introduction into the EDM scene.

At the age of 15 Andrew’s dad (who as a worthy note was Mick Clarke, bass player and founder member of the Rubettes) bought him a sampler to make his own sounds. Though he was at first playing around with sounds and songs, a friend of the family, Ant Miles brought him into a studio and Andrew right away started making tunes. His confidence with his abilities making music turned him to leaving school at the age of 16 and starting his own record label, Ram Records in 1992. Though before he had created Ram, Adnrew had already other songs on other labels. He soon launched his first debut on the label, entitled RAMM001- Sour Mash E.P.

The four track debut EP is regarded as one of the breakthrough’s of Drum & Bass, presenting itself in its most unadulterated and complete form. The track-list is composed of Vision’s and Mind Rise and on the other side, Outer Limits and Never Felt This Way. A series of more EP where released, and, at the age of 20 collaborating with Ant Miles under the alias Origin Unkown, Valley of Shadows was born.

Regarded as one of the best songs the genre has, a groundbreaking and absolute hit at it’s time, Valley of Shadows after it’s release went on to win Best Hardcore Tune at the 1993 Hardcore Dance Awards, and at the same event Andy C won the prize for Best Newcomer. Both Origin Unknown and Andy C continued to progress artistically at an amazing rate, though Andy C began honing his skills as a DJ towards the point of obtaining incredible international recognition. In 1997, Origin Unknown returned with a full album titled, Origin Unknown Presents…Speed Of Sound.

The album, a collaboration between Andy C and Ant Miles, managed to win the award for Best Dance Album at the Kiss FM Dance Awards and the Best Album at the Hardcore Dance Awards, same places where Andy C also won Best Producer. The following year, the follow-up album, Origin Unknown Presents…Sound in Motion was also released, marking the birth of the RAM Trilogy by including Shimon in the album. Through a plethora of awards during the years, Andy C continued on to perfect and push forward his skills as a DJ all while at the same time releasing original tracks under collaborations and through remixes as well.

RAM Trilogy soon surfaced as an all star trio between Andy C, Ant Miles and Shimon, producing major hits in the Drum & Bass scene such as Titan, No Reality, The aforementioned Valley Of Shadows and a fairly bulky list of remixes. Although it is common for the three to participate in either remixes or collaborations without one of the members, the end results are almost always tied back to RAM Trilogy, such is the case of Body Rock done by Andy c and Shimon, which in a curious fact, managed to enter the position 28 in the UK Singles Top 40 Chart on 2002, mainly because the charts where dominated by UK pop.

Another recurring and important contribution Andy C has done to the EDM scene are his popular Nightlife Drum & Bass compilations in which he personally mixes the very best the genre has to offer into an album. This is a very common thing with Andy, since no actual original material album under his own name  has been released. His discography mainly consists of his early EP’s and Mix CD’s, letting the album wise work fall under Origin Unknown and RAM Trilogy, among other collaborations. But where  many, fallaciously, would say Andy C lacks in original material, he strongly makes up for it in his own DJ skills, and more recently, Live performances.

It’s really no surprise at all that Andy C can be considered today, one of the last few DJ’s who actually DJ. This mean’s the man actually still rocks the turntables, more so to a degree that he has pushed himself to play 3 turntables at the same time. All the while mashing up tracks together to deliver a full thrilling sub-sonic experience to his audience. This comes from the man that has been practicing the art since he was 15 years old, and true pioneer of Drum & Bass, and EDM all the same.  Recently though, Andy C has thrown in an astounding element to his live shows. A full size stage, entitled: Alive.

A behemoth stage wise, the Daft Punk reminiscent structure vividly adds more allure to Andy C’s already stunning performance. Captivating the attention of great part of the EDM community, upon it’s release to the world, Andy C won 2011 and 2012′ Best DJ title on the Drum and Bass Arena Awards.

Andy C without a doubt can be considered, in this author’s opinion, the grand master of Drum & Bass. His knowledge and deliver of the genre has inspired hundreds of other artists to take up the turntables the same way he did when he was a lad. His contribution to music is quite really indisputable, and to be frank, his live show is a sight to behold. even so without the stage and the lights, his skills at the decks have earned him well the title of, The Executioner. Be sure to catch Andy C this Saturday here in Puerto Rico at the Electric Daisy Carnival, this is a show you cannot miss!

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