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.
does the name 'Ranski' originate from? What made you to pick
up the mic and who has been your inspiration, in and out of
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
Click HERE for your chance
to win a Pair of Tickets !
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Words By Nitesh / Xtra-C Flashbackin' & Rewindin'