There isn’t a better feeling. To be able to play for six hours to the same crowd is amazing. You’re not gonna play the same tunes twice – although depending on the drink intake that could happen,” laughs Andy C, discussing why he’s chosen to once again undertake another six hour set, this time at the O2 Brixton Academy. This is Andy’s third go around for six hours. First was back in October 2012 when he took over Fabric’s main room, clocking approximately 6 hours and 47 minutes of playing time. He followed that up in April this year by rolling out once again for over six hours at The Electric in Brixton. So popular was that one, that instead of waiting nearly two years to do it, here we are again six months later. “There’s a beauty to it – that connection with you and the crowd,” he continues. “You can go through a journey, you can go through the whole scene. The way I felt after the set at The Electric; I just sat under the decks when all the lights were on, cracked a beer and began reminiscing about what had just happened.” When the opportunity arose to do it again not long after, he immediately agreed. “I was like ‘yeah, let’s do it’. The response has been to it has been crazy so I’m gonna go in all guns blazing again.”
The response has been crazy. When tickets initially went on sale over a thousand were sold within the first ten minutes and it was fully sold out with three months left to spare. As final preparations are underway for his second one of 2014, I enquire as to whether he would turn doing a six hour set into a yearly occurrence. Typically, the response is positive from The Executioner. “Yeah, I think so. Why not? You know me, I just love DJing.” Super long sets are a staple within the realms of the slower tempo world of the house and techno DJ, renowned for playing up to ten hours at a time in some case. But with his high energy style of DJing, does Andy feel he could make a hypothetical set of that length work? “Yeah, but… It might shorten my life expectancy,” he laughs. “I just go for it you know. It does test the energy levels that’s for sure – when you’re getting to the end of the night, it’s a backbreaker. It’s the concentration more than anything; three turntables on the go, tunes running. There are things going through your head constantly. So when they’re going through your head for six hours or more, you end up scrambled at the end of the night.”
Drum & Bass has always suffered from the scourge of the hour long set. Special extended sets for particular figurehead DJs and producers are becoming more commonplace: dBridge and Calibre have participated in five and six hour sets respectively, while Marcus Intalex will be going for six hours in November. “You don’t need to limit us to just 60 minutes,” says Andy. “This is a serious music with serious history and passion. Not only just the history but also with what’s going on right now. I think the DJs sometimes have a right to play for longer. I don’t know any DJ that goes in their room when they’re at home to have a mix and sets the alarm clock for an hour.” With festival stage takeovers and large scale nights around the UK and beyond, does he miss the intimacy of a club environment? “I love intimate club environments as much as I do festivals. Over the summer period the balance is so festival based that you’re hardly in the clubs at all. I do miss it when I get to the end of summer.” I briefly highlight that Ram’s residency at Fabric has taken a bit of a backseat this year but am assured moves are being made to be back there more often in 2015. “We’re making plans for that definitely. We’re on it man.”
One facet of Andy’s career that has changed is that he now finds himself signed to a major label, inking a deal with Atlantic Records with a brand new single forthcoming. Heartbeat Loud, featuring Fiora, is the first single to be spawned from his new label venture, which will see him release music via both Atlantic and Ram Records. “It’s nice to have the passion and energy of the team at Atlantic who are into the music, they get it, are into the vibe and want to help push it as far as we can take it.” Flirtations with majors is nothing new for Andy or Ram, having been instrumental in the development of Sub Focus, Chase & Status and Wilkinson becoming established label artists. This time it’s different. Andy himself is now the focus as an artist on a bigger scale. Will the possible demands of a major label take some getting used to from being predominantly independent for so long? “A label like Atlantic has an incredible musical heritage and wouldn’t get involved unless they believed in the music and the vibe we have. I’m super confident that the music is gonna be about what I wanna do and what I wanna express, which I’m really grateful for.” With his new label deal now in place I once again push Andy about the possibility of a solo LP on the horizon. Though not a definitive answer, it maybe more likely now than it ever has been previously. “I’m working relentlessly,” he states, “There’s loads of tunes, loads of things on the go. There are tunes that I’m playing in my set now that I’m testing, demos, loads of things. I’m really enjoying the studio and getting my ideas down. I’m on it and hopefully that’ll be the case.”
Andy’s new single Heatbeat Loud featuring Fiora is set to arrive November 16th via Atlantic Records. Pre-order your copy now here
Words: Wayne Mackenzie
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