This was my first interview that I've ever done face to face
I was quite nervous meeting Lenni , even though I've know
him for quite along time especially now on a personnel level.
We met up in Birmingham city centre and he took me back to
his home, this was the first time that I really got to know
the real 'Lenny'. Not 'MC Lenni', it was cool as we talked
about his musical background with his love of music.
Lenni is gifted musically as he can play the guitar very
well, Lenni is a bass player and that music runs through his
He started to play the guitar in time with some background
music, Lenni admitted he couldn't play music with a set of
notes in front of him as it was a foreign language to him
but could play just hearing the tune. He even played the bass
line from Topbuzz's Living in darkness off the guitar and
told me that Jason should of added an extra note in there.
Not only does lenni have a passion for music but he can also
play football as he showed me his football medals, trophies
as he used to play semiprofessional around the midlands.
1.MC Lenni, one of the original oldskool mc's from back in
the day, the start of the dance music revolution aka RAVE,
what inspired you to mc and get into rave music?
Good question Rappers at the time hip hop, R'n'B, I liked
the way the words blended with the music so you had two concepts
not a vocal but a speaking voice concept, a speaking beat
That's what got me started.
2.You've mc'ed at many raves including some of the classic
raves i.e. Fantazia, Quest, Pandemonium, Amnesia and of course
Flashback, but which raves have stood out for you and why?
Book of Love. Easily me and Carl (Carl Cox) played a set
there it was pretty amazing the way the stage was set out,
because we came down on this mad platform there was a lot
of people there. When you're so high up like we were, all
we could see there was a carpet of heads, you could see this
a mile back.
Also the rag market in Birmingham back in 1991 as it was the
start of things kicking off in Birmingham.
3.Who have been your influences within or outside the rave
My influences obviously Fabio Grooverider and Mickey (Mickey
Finn) without a shadow of a doubt as there people that im
close with. MC wise skibadee, dett, fearless there people
I really like mad p, man parris everson (continues to talk
about how he admires everson) to me he has been my number
one he's got everything done everything he was in Japan before
I was by a year.
4.The rave scene has brought us many classic hits and amazing
events which years have stood out for you? Be it the music
or the events.
93-95 as that was when drum and bass started as we started
to get darker and reggae influence, drum and bass started
kicking off, those two years were firin.
5.Mcing for over 10 years you've must of seen some crazy
stuff happen at raves would you care to share on what you've
Handsworth leisure centre, as I had to jump off stage and
take someone's tongue from out there neck, even I collapsed
there through exhaustion as it was so hot and I was jumping
around at the end of the gig.
are your opinions that people say that the current drum and
bass scene is becoming more mc dependant?
Yes to an extent as the mcs now have there own genre there
own little corner they get some gigs as equal billing as the
dj's. As they're a name of themselves they get to the stage,
were people copy their lyrics when they get on stage they
know what there gonna say its just a question and answers
thing were they say before you say. Its brilliant in itself
because they know what's going on and their into the mc now
they know what the mc is about. If your good at your job one
thing about Ravers their not fickle, they know if your good
or bad. They'll vote with their feet and if you play a whack
set you'll see the place empty, you can tell by the audience.
By anticipation and participation of what your doing.
7.Not only are you an MC from back in the day but you used
to own a record shop in Birmingham City Centre. Could you
delve into how you started up and what happened?
There was no one selling hardcore records at the time apart
from Lee Fisher, in 1996 they decided to go into progressive
house, which wasn't what I was into.
Obviously we came into an agreement I brought the shop off
them and started to stock it with drum and bass and hardcore
at that time the rave scene was very healthy and big. There
was a market to sell, with any business you need a market
and the market was there then, that's what got me into it
then business and music orientated.
8.You also made a track with your vocal " Who said mc's
cant make music this is lenni talking" How did that come
Who said mc's cant make music was my first tune that I put
out it was done at dept international which was owned by UB40,
Al Faultner had a subsidiary label called ruff tone he was
giving Birmingham lads a chance being a Birmingham lad himself.
We went into the studio I came up with that concept a year
before, but its something I wanted to try as I'm a musician
by nature, so it natural progression from what I was doing.
My engineer on that track was Bitty McClean, so there were
good people involved.
9.As you're an exclusive MC for the Flashback crew how did
you hook up with Mo, Jimmy and the rest of the crew? Did you
think Flashback was going to popular as it is today?
As they used to have a place in Hockley "The venue"
one day Grooverider was playing up there so I talked to him
and I met him up there. I didn't know Mo and Jimmy then as
me and Groove go back, so Groove was up there and he said
here you go Len you mc for me.
Ok you know because its groove he didn't want any unknown
mcin for him, as he's very personnel when it comes to his
Obviously me and groove have done this before, so it kicked
off Jimmy was happy Mo was happy, they introduced themselves
to me and I introduced myself to them and I come back I did
the next one.
I enjoyed it that much me and groove did the venue one time
think it was the third one I done for them and the place was
shaking the floor was shaking everything was shaking!!! Absolute
madness and bedlam I said to myself i like this, this is my
niche this is my corner.
We can kind of keep this pure keep this rolling still and
it wont get kind of distressed by many people. I was into
it from then I was exclusive to them to an extent as I did
small things other gigs and venues for promoters that I'm
still close with still. I mainly wanted to do that (Flashback)
as I could see that it had a future, I could see that it would
take off in a very big way and I knew it had longevity. I
can be proved right on that because we've done sevens years
now and were still firin.
Seven years down the line and your still firing, you must
be doing something right. The organisation as a whole not
just me or mo, jimmy or Gerald and Carl, its everybody the
full concept. It's the people inside the rave it's the bods
that come back every time it's the people that perform there
it's a family.
Its not just about the mcs or djs its about everybody, I like
that as everybody is part of it are involved its not just
about us, because when we perform as the ravers make the other
ravers work and then I get feedback I get vibes, you get vibes,
the dj gets vibes, the whole place gets vibes.
back on the past 5 years, which has been your favourite Flashback
that you've mc'ed at?
That's a hard one, me and groove the one we've been talking
about me and mickey three years when me and mickey first done
the que club along with me and Fabio it was absolute bedlam
felt like a football match.
11.With the future of the Que club very much in doubt what
do you think is the future for flashback?
Well we've used the sanctuary, flashback as an organisation
its just venues were looking at, as flashback the organisation
will just go on as we've proved, as we've used the sanctuary
twice now. There's a bit to run there's still life init its
just finding the right venue.
12.The Institute / Sanctuary, Digbeth
Que club, Corporation Street? And why???
That's personnel, Institute I owned the venue as a mc one
time and used to own the record shop next door. So it's a
personnel venue I used to go there in the sixties and seventies.
But the Que club definitely as that's my home that's my house
I know every inch of the stage the acoustics.
13.What career path do you think you would of taken had you
had not become a mc?
That's a great question
I probably would of stayed
in football obviously being semi-pro or a manger. But I would
of obviously stayed in music as my first dj set was in 86
14.What advice would you give to any of the up and coming
MC's trying to breaking through into the scene?
Be yourself always be yourself if you cant freestyle sit
there with a pen and a pad, but if you can freestyle be yourself
just be yourself people have got to like you before you cant
start relaxing. I know a lot of good mc's out there fighting
to get a little piece of the action but its still hard to
move the unmoveables, what you say to a mc that's been around
the world mcin for his bread and butter not a lot he's got
the t-shirt and you haven't.
Top ten tunes:
(In any order)
Keep the fires burning
Let me be your fantasy
(two reasons 1. I know baby 2. It brings back so many memories)
My own tune of course
(G was my bredrin and I miss him still)
Last but not least KFC or MacDonald's.
KFC, as they've just opened a nice establishment down the
road and I'm a chicken man.
Shout outs to.
Nitesh and Ed, Grooverider, Fabio my wife Jo (for putting
up with me) My kids Kai and Cody, Fearless, Man Parris, The
Prodigy, Everson, Rap, Slipmatt, Jez Bailey and of course
the Birmingham crew
I'd personally like to thank Lenni for inviting me to his
home and taking time out to carry out this interview.
© 2002-2007 www.jungletechno.co.uk
Words By Nitesh / Xtra-C Flashbackin' & Rewindin'