One of the all-time greats of the breakbeat/Jungle/Drum and Bass scene – Andy C is a total legend. He has been an integral part of the UK breakbeat scene since the early 90s and has seen it transform from the underground British roots, right through to worldwide domination over a span of around 25 years.

Although born in the Birmingham area of the UK, he grew up in the outer suburbs of London (Hornchurch, Essex). He got into DJing at a very early age and while still only 15, set up his own record label, named RAM.

Valley of the Shadows (31 Seconds)


After releasing a couple of EP’s his ‘big break’ came. Not that he was a ‘nobody’ before then, he was already playing sets with the likes of Sasha and Carl Cox before then. Along with Ant Miles he produced Valley of the Shadows, which was also known as 31 seconds (with samples of ’31 Seconds’ – hence the alternative name, and ‘Felt like I was in the long dark tunnel’).

Everyone within the DnB scene knows 31 Seconds. It very quickly became a dancefloor smash and was considerd by many to be way ahead of its time.

Late 90s Onwards

From this point on, nothing could stop him. Before long, he was playing out at the big Jungle raves like Telepathy, Roast and Innovation. Producing big tunes always help to propel DJs to the next level and to play out at the bigger events, and this was definitely the case with Andy.

However, not only was he producing quality tracks on his own (Cool Down, Roll On etc) and with others (Sound Control with DJ Randall, Quest with Shimon for example), he was also a quite brilliant DJ. His mixing skills were impeccable and arguably the best among the top Jungle/DnB DJs. The ravers also loved him for his tune selection. He very quickly became a firm favorite with many.

D’n’B Worldwide

In the years following he kept growing his reputation, as the scene moved from ‘mainly UK only’ to worldwide. He was soon playing out in Canada, Japan and Australia as the scenes there started to grow.

Albums and EPs followed. The highly regarded Speed of Sound and Sound in Motion from his collective Origin Unknown sold lots. He also put his name onto Drum and Bass Arena releases and of course there are the Nightlife albums, which are still popular today (we are up to #6 now). The original Nightlife came out in 2002.

Award Winner

Andy has won numerous awards through the years. From the Best HardcoreTune at the Hardcore Dance Awards of 1993 right through to winning the Drum and Bass Arena ‘Best DJ’ every year from 2009 (when the awards started).

You can read more about Andy C at his official website

Ragga (full name Raggamuffin) came from the Reggae scene way back in the 1980’s.

 

Where Reggae defines dancehall music with singing over the top of it, Ragga is when the MC ‘chats’ over the music to help pump the crowd up.
Ragga is also based on electronic music. With the falling cost of electronic music making equipment, ragga became a very popular music to start producing for Jamaica’s youth. With this new-found technology, producers were able to more easily stretch their creative limits as time went on.

 

The seminal Ragga track is Wayne Smith’s Under Me Sleng Teng, which was produced by King Jammy back in 1985. Interestingly, the main rhythm came from a pre-programmed Casio keyboard. You know, the kind that were incredibly popular in the 80’s and early 90’s.
From the mid-80’s right through to the 90’s ragga was very strong within the dancehalls. In fact it was partially responsible for fueling the Jungle music revolution within the UK during the early to mid-90’s

 

Some Big Ragga Tunes

Some of the bigger tunes to hit the dancehalls back in the day…

Admiral Bailey
Punaany

Big tune from 1986, this was banned from the radio, yet was still a huge hit in Jamaica

Flourgon & Ninja Man
Zig It Up

Late 80’s dancehall right here. Looping riddim with flowing vocals.

Terror Fabulous & Daddy Screw
Bruk Wine Butterfly

A popular dance craze to sweep the scene in the early 90’s was the ‘Butterfly’. DJ’s Fabulous & Screw give us it all…hi-hat’s & snares over a driving bass to help you…do the Butterfly…

Shabba Ranks
Tingaling

Shabba Ranks must be one of the most famous ragga artists to cross-over. He had numerous worldwide hits, most famously ‘Mr. Loverman’.
Shabba was born in Sturgetown, St Ann, Jamaica, but now lives in New York.
This Bogle riddim was made to whine your waist.

Buju Banton
Big it Up

This track is pure bass and vocals with a little percussion added in. If you’re a fan of those drums, you’ll be disappointed. But fear not, the vocals and bass more than carry this through.

Super Cat
Ghetto Red Hot

Up there with Buju & Shabba, Supercat was huge in the early 90’s. Sounding a lot like Sean Paul (and well before his time) Supercat produced Ghetto Red Hot and released it on his own label, before it was picked up by Columbia and given a video.

1994 was the year the Jungle music swept the UK, morphing from Hardcore (now referred to as Old Skool Hardcore).

Influences

Jungle music was influenced from all sources. Ragga, Soul, Funk, RnB, Techno and Hip-Hop among others. A culmination of sounds from all different backgrounds, cultures and histories. Jungle was a truly multi-cultural music, and because of this, it helped bring people of different backgrounds together.

Jungle was most popular and arguably sourced in London, although cities like Bristol, Manchester, Leicester and Birmingham will argue against that!

In 1992, the Hardcore sound had become so big, and ultimately commercial, that it kind of capitulated on itself and drove back underground through ’93. After acts appeared in the charts and Top Of The Pops (a once popular pop music show) the scene had been arguably sold out and lost the essence of what it stood for. Not that there wasn’t an underground scene in 92/93 of course –there certainly was.

Reborn

There was a danger that Hardcore could fall apart and be nothing but a distant memory. But through Pirate radio (the likes of Kool FM, Pulse FM, Don & Rush FM), and record stores (Black Market, Lucky Spin etc), the scene kept going and reinvented itself.
Throughout 1993, Hardcore spilt 2 ways – Happy Hardcore one way, and Jungle the other. As the months rolled by, DJ’s were more likely to play out a set that was one way or the other.
By late ’93, seminal tracks had been produced and had defined the Jungle sound.

  • ‘Renegade Snares’
  • ‘Valley of the Shadows (31 Seconds)’
  • ‘Helicopter Tune’
  • ‘Demon’s Theme’ (ok, this was ’92)
  • ‘Dark Stranger’
  • ‘Mindwarp’

These are just a tiny handful of tunes that would help build the Jungle sound.

Popular London events around the time were Roast, Thunder and Joy, Jungle Splash to name but a few. A place to get together and rave all night to those tearing breaks and heavyweight basslines…

Some good regular spots included the Paradise Club, Labrynth and the Lazerdrome.