Every music scene owes debts to its founding members and perhaps none more so than Drum & Bass to pioneering DJ and producer Roni Size. For a long time a marquee name in the music industry fresh material has been scarce from Roni in recent years with his last album arriving a decade ago way back in 2004. Thus you can imagine out excitement when Roni announced that the drought would coming to an end with the release of a new LP this summer as he and his Reprazent band embark upon an extensive tour of Europe’s hottest festivals, touching down at the likes of Exit and Dour before heading back to the UK for London’s very own SW4 Festival.
But how did this all come to be? What were the moments that mattered most in Roni’s journey to the top? Well, we reckon there’s nobody who could tell the tale better than Mr. Size himself. So without further ado, may we present to you 5 steps with Roni Size!
This was the beginning of my career. I remember waking up one Thursday and running to the dole office and signing off… you should of seen the smile on my face… I was now a free man. Up until this point I was broke and had little direction and had tried so hard to get some qualifications or some kind of job. After working for a small music workshop called the Basement Project with my close and trusted guardian Gill Sargent, I then had a youth working job for a company called BREAD, a company educating young people around the awareness of HIV And AIDS. Kez Margrie and Jocylen Tag saved me from going down the path of destruction. This was a temporary job funded for only six weeks and the only real job I ever had. Once the job had ended I then found myself pretty much on the road to nowhere. Fortunately that road was where I made some like-minded friends who had the same musical aspirations. We later became The Full Cycle Kru.
I had two friends who lived in bath who worked for a label called Rhythm king, I used to give them my tapes to listen to. These two guys (Paul and Andy ) were later responsible for breaking one of the most successful acts to come out of the UK… THE SPiCE GIRLS! Any way, their production name was Absolute and working for them at was Bryan Gee on the A&R team. When Bryan left Rhythm King he took the tapes with him. I then remember receiving a phone call from Bryan, and him coming to Bristol for a face to face meeting and how he spoke about starting a label with another DJ called Jumping Jack Frost. Myself and Krust then went to London to meet JJ Frost and Bryan at Frost’s house… trust me this was gangster but so exciting. I will always remember going on long road trips with Bryan and Frost to clubs like The Edge in Coventry and Ministry of Sound, and then onto some big rave in the middle of London. All in one night and Frost dropping our tunes so we could hear how the mo downs sounded. These were such great times and I guess this was the beginning of my love affair with the now critically acclaimed and hugely influential record label, V-Records.
We travelled to London in a banged up mini van one morning after returning from a show at the Montreux Jazz Festival. It’s well documented that we were nominated alongside some very good company, and not knowing much about the award ceremony we really just turned up just to make up the numbers. It wasn’t until comedian Eddie Izzard came up to me and told me “Hey i think you’ve got this” that I thought we had a chance, but, by this time I was way to drunk to give a shit! Minutes later as we all sat around the table waiting for the announcement to be made I remember looking over to my girlfriend at the time Kate and her squeezing my hand with nervousness. Then as the result was disclosed all these cameras surrounded the table and starting papping everything and anything. People always ask me what it was like being the underdog and winning in such good company. To be completely honest it was a shock to the system but I knew at that point the eyes of the world were watching my every step. The best part for me was being surrounded by so many good people and watching Bryan Gee and Jumping Jack Frost with that massive fur coat and his gigantic cigar… You just couldn’t write that shit. It was by far the best moment of my life. The rest is history as they say…
The first time we toured the U.S.A it was incredible. The sound was new and Jumpin Jack Frost, Bryan Gee and M.C Moose came along. It was the stuff dreams are made of. Touring on brand new buses all over America, great crowds and taking the sound to a brand new audience was a very special time for me. I guess the highlights were being part of Def Jam Records and meeting rap artists like Run DMC, Busta Rhymes, Jay Z and Redman. This was a great time for Hip Hop. Lyor Cohen had championed me in America and it was a stand out moment to be recognised so far away from home by such an influential character within the music industry.
Reprazent are back working on new material for our third album and we’ve been playing lots of gigs, getting tighter as band and testing out some new material too. We are really humbled by the crowd’s reactions and we know people love our old material. We’re all looking forward to SW4 and we have also just announced a performance on the world famous Arcadia in the centre of Bristol… hometown vibes so that is definitely going to be special!
I guess what I’m really trying to say is that my number 5 top moment as that’s still to come… I still don’t feel like this is over and there is plenty more to explore for myself as a solo artist and as a group with Reprazent. The industry has changed so much over the last few years but it seems that after a few dark years things are improving for the better. Lets see what happens…
Get all the latest from Roni via his Facebook, Twitter and Soundcloud pages, listen to a classic mix from him below, and catch him alongside Andy C and the Ram Records crew at London’s SW4 Festival Sunday August 30th, get tickets below.
To buy tickets for this event please visit the events page: SW4 – South West Four 2015 tickets from Skiddle.
Ticket sales and event registration Skiddle Promotion Centre