mc bassman

Warming the Jungle Techno hot seat is Birmingham’s very own Award winning MC Bassman.

Bassman is a legend in his own right with his own unique style of mcin' that has gained him fans from accross the globe
He is regarded as -'The teacher'- and an inspiration to those in and out of the drum and bass circuit.

Bassman reminisces with JungleTechno the early days of his career, the memories and the partnerships that he has forged over the past 20 years.

1. Where did you get the tag ‘Bassman’ from?

I named myself because I like Bass, I had a loud stereo in my car so it stuck from there from the music.

2. With a career that dates back to the early acid house days of ‘88 how did you get involved with the whole mcing thing?

I was going to Coast to Coast by ATV studios and the Dome in Birmingham and seeing the other MC’s when Acid House came. I saw some guys there and they weren’t all that good, I said to myself that I could do that, so I contacted Lenni and all from Coast to Coast and started chatting my thing.

3. Where was it that you received your first paid booking?

It would have been in Wolverhampton at JJ’s night club and then MR B’s in Willenhall at the early Quest parties.

4. In the early days you had residencies inside the Midlands at events such as Quest, Coast to Coast, Pandemonium, Starlight, Amnesia to name a few.
How did it feel to play in front of thousands back then as the rave phenomenon was still in its early stages?

I was a bit nervous at first but you get over that after a while, its not the nervousness that your scared of but its to chat, the outcome of how its gonna be. I still get butterflies now.

5. How much of a factor did the midlands play in the early stages of the drum and bass movement?

It played a big factor to me having started off in the midlands along with the other artists and all the big parties being held here in Birmingham. We all worked as a unit to take the midlands to the next level of drum and bass.

6. 20 years on and were still raving was there a point when you thought it was going to end?

After Acid house to the other styles it was gonna change but it’s the music, it’s not the same as the old days those days are set in concrete that where it all started from, those are the foundations!

7. Has there been a particular year that has really stood out for you? Be it the music or events

Would have been ’92 doing Fantazia at Castle Donnington, in the summer. That sticks in memory a couple of months go by and still think jeeze. The set up the line-up, the date the stage everything!

8. During the mid nighties when jungle went quite rather dark there was quite a moody element and you had quite a bit of rude boy following. How did it feel as an artist knowing that this type of crowd was in attendance yet there was not much you could do about it?

I used to worry about it but then other times I’m not causing anything they would just be coming. But at the time I think it was important for what I was chatting, it was that dark era to blend in. So I dunno if I had a cause or influence of all of this it was just that time.

I go to the raves on my own I don’t really go with 50 mans following me, I just go on me own. They just follow me because my name is on the flyer just fans.

9. In 1995 Asylum aka L Double released ‘The bass 2 dark’ which features you’re vocal a massive drum and bass anthem.
How did that come about?

We met up at Amazon, Wolverhampton he check me we had a chat. It’s just the one liner –‘the bass 2 dark’- he done the rest with the beats, he made it complete with my voice that the bass is too dark that launched it. It’s still played now, in a German magazine it was reported that it was the most played and sold record in drum and bass.

10. You and Mickey Finn have built a fantastic reputation as one of the all time DJ and MC partnerships which goes back to ‘92.
How did you guys hook up and which other dj’s do you enjoy mcing for?

He used to come down to Birmingham for Coast to Coast he got on well with my brother, Mickey finn is god father to my brothers daughter. Mickey used to stay at my house if he was down here for the weekend so we just got on from day one.

I enjoy most I enjoy those who the heavy stuff I’m not into the technoish type thing, dark drum and bass I like Hazard, Jumping Jack Frost, Nicky Blackmarket, Randall they know to play that tune that makes me accelerate more. If the DJ play crap I don’t wanna mc for it, I just go in and out and my hearts not init.

To be fair there’s not many who I haven’t worked for I’ve even done Sasha at Amnesia house. There’s not many dj I haven’t worked unless thier up coming. I like all, not just big names I’ve work with up and coming if they got talent. I used to play for guy in Brighton he’s only 17 years old. He’s a good little dj, his tunes are precise his mixing was right gets his element from me. Me just being there for him having me chatting.

11. You are an integral part of the SDC (shadow demon coalition) which includes yourself alongside DJ Sly Trigga, Spyda, Shaydee, Juiceman to name a few.
Where did the name Shadow Demon come from?

Shadow is me, it’s my old reputation from when I was growing up, living through that name I can say that the shadow demon is me. When we are all together they are the coalition and I am the shadow so together we are the shadow demon coalition.

12. Apart from the SDC crew which other MC’s do you enjoy working with?

GQ, Fearless, Ragga twins, Eksman I can bounce off anyone really I enjoy working them people and I vibe off them too.

13. You occasionally turn up for events and mc free of charge, is it important to you to give something back to the people, and still be involved socially as part of the scene?

That’s why I do it, it’s not about the money at the end of the day you know what I mean ? If I’m there and I’m bored I’ll do it. It’s not a problem oh god I’ve done that before. It’s just a bonus for them you’ve been there when I’m not on the bill and I’ll come and chat, it’s a special treat.

14. With your unique style of mcing how does it feel to be an inspiration to many of today’s mc’s?

It feels good man, that’s what keep your head above float and keep on doing it, the love that people show that vibe keeps me going.
I’ve been called the Teacher and its an honour that they’ve learn from me they’d gone and got big from the Heartless crew, Eksman and Dizze Rascal they all grew up hearing me.

15. What are your opinions that people say that the current drum and bass scene is becoming more and more mc dependant? Considering in the early days the MC would be there to host the whole night ie GQ at AWOL.

I dunno but the DJ gets more credit than the mc, the dj can just spin his record where chatting for a living. So I don’t think a dj should get more recognition than the mc if he’s really been on the bill and proved himself over the years. It’s only in the last 4-5 years that the mc’s has status gone up and get their money. If you change it and get rid of the mc’s you watch how boring it is. The mc’s make the dj physically more known that he’s on the deck. All in all fairness I don’t think one should get the credit without the other one.

16. With so many people trying to become an MC today there are many that try to impersonate your style.
What advice would you give to those trying to be a mc today?

Just follow your own style, you can feed off someone else to learn. When it comes to lyrics it’s gotta come from your heart, if it don’t come from your heart and you’ve gone and pirated from everybody your false straight away. Your not real and it strips you there’s nothing to identify you from the next man.
So it’s good to learn but follow your own style of chatting.

17. In 2007 you picked up the best oldskool mc at the national drum and bass, how did it feel to win such an accolade?

It feels funny really because as I say I’ve been init for no awards its come round in the last couple of years, so it was a great honour to step up there and win something. To win it in Birmingham was something as they showed me true love my following is really true Birmingham, where I live. It was a great honour for me

18. Currently you hold residency at Raveology one of the biggest drum and bass events in the midlands how did you hook up with Magika and the crew?

He hold me down!

Magika I’ve known him for years I used to watch him for years we all from the same boat. He approached me 5-6 years ago, he approached me in a sensible way really. I told him don’t watch that or what’s been following me, I’m not a gangster I’m an individual good partnership were tight.

19. Your birthday bash is now an annual event in the drum and bass calendar.
How much are you looking forward to this year event?

This one I got more butterflies this time for the whole shebang. From the flyer I’m a superhero now! The flyer is from another world, this is one of the best flyers in the drum and bass for a long time. It’s a flyer you can have on your world and say this is the one, it’s really impressive. To the kid’s I’m a superhero!

20. General Levy headlines at this years Birthday bash performing a PA of the massive jungle hit ‘Incredible’.
Where did you find him after all these years??

You have to take your hat off to Magika for that one, as the last time I saw General Levy was at Handsworth park carnival where I first met him. His style was different back then, he had the whole party in a frenzy with that vocal thing after he got big with the music I never seen him again! Think Magika dug him out of the X-files or something!

21. In the Past you have been known to make an effort and dress up at events such as Darth Vader, A Ninja, Mr Black etc.. Will you be donning on the cape this year?

I think ravers will have to wait and see if mans gonna tread where the cape is taken. They have to wait and see it’s gonna be a good show and a good surprise, your not gonna be disappointed!

22. Any messages for the Party People ahead of your Birthday bash?

Just come with warm heart and to party. No trouble tread on anyone toes say sorry nothing else.

23. Had you not got involved with mcing which career path do you think you would have taken?

I’ve always wanted to be a criminal…... Nah take that back, I was really into my sports when I was at school. I was an all rounder like Daley Thompson, doing my running, shot pot etc.. I would have loved to have gone into that, also loved my table tennis it would have been sports or worked in a gym.

24. On the Muppet show there is a small performance with a song entitled Mr Bassman. Which character from the muppets would you be and why?

Gonzo the guy with the long nose! That’ll be me he’s just a funny character, his nose is just big, a long hook nose. I’ve always liked him that’ll be me!

Concrete respect to all my family, friends and of course all the ravers that ahve supported me over the years.

I'd like to personally thank Bassman for taking his time out to carry out this interview.

june 2008

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Words By Nitesh / Xtra-C Flashbackin' & Rewindin'