Stepping into the JungleTechno hot seat for 2009 is veteran MC from Birmingham MC Ranski.

For those who don't know Ranski has been involved within the Midlands rave scene from its humble beginnings, working alongside MC Lenni at Pure Records whilst being resident MC at Pandemonium.

Ranski talks to Jungletechno as we welcome back pandemonium in 2009, ranski also reminisces back to his early raving days and talks about his involvement with the J-Tek movement fronted by Randall, Modular, Ratty & Tango to name a few.

1. Where does the name 'Ranski' originate from? What made you to pick up the mic and who has been your inspiration, in and out of the scene?

Well it came from my tagging days, I used to do the graffiti when I was about 14 and made it up. Someone called me 'Ski' I put 'Ran' on the front, now everybody calls me 'Ski'.

When I was 15 I used to hang around outside 'Hudson bay' which was where -Coast to Coast- used to be. I heard this music and went in there and saw Lenni Bassman and a couple of other mc's mcin in there. I used to go there every week try and sneak in, I went there for a couple of years and one day I asked Lenni for the mic and he gave it to me and well the rest is history.

I'd have to say Lenni is a big influence obviously as I used to run Pure Records with him. Bassman is always gonna be a massive influence for me as I used to do Pandemonium with him and Stevie Hyper D all day long. A couple others would be Skibadee, Fearless, Spyda, Man Parris, Moose and Five-0. I also used to listen to a lot of hip hop that was also a big influence to my style.

2. Do you remember your first booking and what it felt like to get on the mic for the first time?

My first booking would of have been at Wobble working for the Robinson brothers. It was a wicked rush, your up there and your in control of all these people and you say do something the next thing you know your talking to them and there doing what you told them, it was a wicked rush.

3. Having been part of the integral Birmingham oldskool clique, when and how did acid house and the Rave Scene take hold of you?

My older brother Gary he was always into that type of music he used to always listen to Pete Tong on the radio I used to follow him. I'd used to follow my brother in everything he does. But it was the late eighties 86 around that time.

4. The 91 Hardcore scene took the clubs and country by storm. It was music and a movement that helped everyone forget about their day to day lives, how did it feel to be a big part of that?

It was massive to be part of that, everything before was about football violence the stupidness and going mad. All of a sudden all the drugs came around and people were going out chilling and relaxing. You'd have the hooligans from different set of supporters side by side, everyone was equal, and it was a good thing everyone getting together, uniting under one roof.

5. Do you think the recession back in 92 was similar to the one were going through now ? Where people were going out to enjoy themselves again and bond with others rather than image being better than the next man.

This recession is slightly worse than what it was then as back then as you had the miners strike etc. In this day and age with the rich and poor the divide is a massive difference to back then. Whether there is a recession or not people will go out, they will always go out to go out and forget about everything, no matter what. People will find the money from somewhere to just go out to chill and relax.


6. Pandemonium was a huge part of the midlands rave scene, how did you become a resident there and what was so special about Pandemonium?

I was working in Pure Records with MC Lenni, one day Archer and Dawkes came in one week and I kept bugging them for a booking and they eventually caved in. I never had an agent, they heard me and said yep you got a good thing going on there and booked me as resident.

It is always going to have a special place for me and that's why I'll always be resident there as they looked after me back in the day. I can remember some fantastic events there 'Andromeda VIII The Eighth Wonder' the first time DJ Hype came down that was a wicked rush.

7. Pandemonium had been putting on events around the West Midlands since 1989, originally many of which were illegal parties. Back then the police and councils stopped one of the organisers putting events on. From your memory how difficult was it to just put a party on back then? Do you miss the "free" parties and what came with them?

It was very difficult to put on a party back then, you had undisclosed locations you'd drive to them and the police would be waiting ready to send you away. On the other hand, you go somewhere the rave would start up and a couple of hours later the police would turn up and shut you down and take your equipment.

What I miss the most is you had people from all walks of life that use to come from all over. Wasn't just Birmingham people but you had Manchester and even people from as far as Devon that used to come to places I used to go to and they still do. It was the feeling of doing something illegal and anti-establish, two fingers up to the government and all that.

8. Pandemonium built up his following laying on a number of legal events between '91 and '94. What are your memories of these events, and the promoters?

Telford ice rink they were very good events I still have tapes and videos from those events they were the good times everything was on a bigger scale. In the context to today's stuff it's a bit more polished today compared to back then as it's a bit more clean and organised now. But sometimes that's not always a good thing sometimes you want that being in a warehouse, that grime and that's why we are taking Pandemonium to the Rainbow Warehouse in March as we are trying to bring back that element.

9. Having been part of the midlands rave scene since the Acid House days how did Rave evolve for you over the years? Was there a particular era that stood out for you, be it the music / events etc and why?

The transformation was good, Acid house was good but there was so many bleeps you could listen to and so many psychedelic clothes you could wear. Everything has to evolve and then it moved into the hardcore I love my oldskool and love the hardcore sounds and everything like that.

But when it evolved from the hardcore to the jungle phase that was the best for me. The reason I say that is when I became more prominent in my mcing and getting more noticed.

10. Do you prefer the huge Raves or the more intimate parties?

I prefer intimate parties I do like the big raves don't get me wrong I like going Global Gathering and also performing at big raves. But really I like that intimate cosy little thing, like Cloud 9 which I'm doing in Wolverhampton. That's nice and intimate, it has its own little family going in there where everyone knows everyone.

11. There was quite a big scene to come from the West Midlands unlike now a collective that went out and made a name for themselves ie (Ratty & Tango, Bassman, Pilgrim, Lenni, Magika etc..) Is it harder to break though now, or where you all doing something different?

Back in our day it was a lot harder, there was a selected few we were all doing something different, but there was a pecking order if you didn't know someone you wouldn't get through. But I would say it was a lot harder back in our day.

12. J-Tek is the big new thing for old skool fans, can you tell us a little more about it? How did it originate, what's the formula, who is involved?

I'm loving the J-Tek thing at the moment, people think it's all about the Jungle Techno sound which it isn't entirely as what we are doing is taking elements of that sound and modernising it. The main key players are Randall, Modular, Ratty and Tango and Pilgrim who are all following the movement.

I'll be on the agency soon and represent that sound and style, ok it might be a bit slower but sometimes you have to take steps back to go forward.

13. Away from the stage you are also not involved with only Pandemonium but also Cloud 9 and Starlight. How do you find time to juggle between promoting and mcing?

Basically anything I like to work on I like to be involved in, I like to take a hands on approach with it. It's quite easy to juggle your time as long as you got good people around you. For Pandemonium you got Dawkes and Archer, they are good people and good at their jobs and when you split the work between us you get the job done.

With Starlight you have Lenni and Walton they've been doing it for years, and I'm happy to help out there. Same goes with Cloud 9 as well Skitty and Spencer.

Just managing your time and I've got good time management. You'll find time for your friends and when you're working with them you want them to do well.

14. Who are your favourite Artists from the scene, and if you could see one artist that you never have who would that be?

DJ Marky from Brazil and my favourites would be the usual suspects ie , Randall Fabio, Micky Finn, Grooverider, Carl Cox is always big. If I go to Ibiza or somewhere like that I have got to catch Coxy.

15. There is a huge resurgence of Rave and Old Skool (Starlight, Pandemonium, Fantazia) across Birmingham at the moment, why do you think this has happened?

To keep the scene alive certain times you have to take a step back because what I think it is there is a lot of grown up people out there with money. They have their kids all grown up and want to go out and reminiscence. So they go to an oldskool night where it's not all young people and no trouble just go out and relax.


16. What can we expect from Pandemonium on March 21st?

Massive! Expect big things and expect more big things, big production nice sound system and basically everyone coming and having a good night.

17. Where else can we see you in action?

Next few bookings well obviously I'll be at Pandemonium, I have residencies at Cloud 9 and Starlight, also whatever with J-Tek as I'll be on tour and also I'll be doing the Drum and Bass Awards on the 28th Feb.

18. Which Birmingham party stands out in your memory?

There's a couple but mainly Andromeda VIII The Eighth Wonder on April Bank Holiday in 1994. Also Starlight the last one just gone in Xmas that stood out for me that was massive night and you got to big up Walton and Lenni for that one.

19. What 5 Tunes would you save from a fire ?

I've got a eclectic taste of music, what people don't understand is, I'm not your typical drum and bass fan that's what I do for a job. When I'm away from music I listen to all kinds of music I listen to linkin park, bloc party, coldplay and a lot of indie stuff and take all elements of music and put them together.

Urban Shakedown - Arsonist
Baby D - Let me be your fantasy
Urban Shakedown - Some Justice
Goldie - Angel
LTJ Bukem the whole Good Lookin' back catalogue ( Horizons - Enchanted - Rainfall)

20. Any messages for the Birmingham Party People ahead of Pandemonium.

Come, enjoy relax and expect good things.

Shout outs to Lenni, Walton, Skitty, Spencer, Hodson and all the Cloud 9 crew, The Pandemonium crew, Bagpuss, My kids and to the Bass 25 kids in Wolverhampton.

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

MC Ranski has kindly given JungleTechno 2 pairs of tickets for the forthcoming PANDROMEDA "THROUGH THE YEARS" on Saturday 21ST MARCH at the Rainbow Warehouse B'HAM.

Click HERE for your chance to win a Pair of Tickets !

March 2009

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