Mr C: interview

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Milkman-turned-DJ Mr C tells Time Out about The Shamen, his advice to The Prodigy and why The End is still the best club in town…

  • Mr C: interview

    Mr C celebrates two decades behind the turntables...

  • Mr C celebrates 20 years of DJing with an all-star DJ line-up at The End, the club he and Layo Paskin founded, on Saturday. The party showcases his past, present and future, so his mentor, ‘Evil’ Eddie Richards, Richard Grey and Femi B will play acid anthems to funky house in AKA, the main room will jump to the stripped-down techno-house that currently fires up his Superfreq night on most Sundays at The End, while the Lounge will feature DJs Mr C regards as the stars of the future.

    We couldn’t resist having a chinwag about those 20 years of DJing and mad adventures with The Shamen, at Clink Street, in Ibiza (where Superfreq should kick off a weekly party at DC10 from July 7) and much more besides. Mr C, who could talk for England, certainly rose to the challenge. His commentary on The Shamen’s ‘Ebeneezer Goode’ alone would more than fill this column, so here are the edited highlights.


    Mr C on combining MCing and being a milkman.

    I was a milkman for more than a year, in ’86 and ’87. I used to get into the yard about five or six in the morning and I could be all done by 10.30 or 11am. I’d go home, sleep all day, get up, have dinner and then go out clubbing all night, seven nights a week. It was brilliant.

    On the Clink Street parties, 1988.

    That club was my apprenticeship, working with Eddie Richards, Colin Favor, Kid Bachelor and the Shock Sound System. It was absolutely mental, all of the stuff that went on there, it was ridiculous. but it was very acid house. You had so many people from different walks of life, all ages and classes, all experimenting with Es (and acid probably) for the first time and taking drugs in that sort of warehouse environment, and it did make it very edgy.

    On advising The Prodigy.

    In 1989 had a residency at the Braintree Barn in Essex which is where The Prodigy first got a first taste of dance music. Liam Howlett, Leeroy and the boys were always asking about the records. One week Liam gave me a cassette and it had ‘Charlie Says’ on it, their first single, and he said “What do you think of this Rich?” I said “Drop the breakbeats, drop the cheesy pianos and you’ll go a long way.” It was the worst advice I could have given (laughs). Thank God they completely ignored me.’

    On The Shamen.

    It was a great few years, doing ‘Top of the Pops’ and videos and world tours. I really enjoyed it and I’m very proud of The Shamen, and proud to work with Colin Angus because he’s a songwriting genius. It gave me such a fantastic opportunity to put solid house and techno rhythms – and basslines and attitude – into pop music.

    On enjoying DJing.

    I always had an ego the size of a bus, which has been great for my DJing and my pop-star career, but my DJing is actually better now because, through learning to act, I’ve learned to control my ego. Now my sole reason for DJing is to have fun and to give people as much fun as possible. The pleasure I’m getting from seeing the smiles on the dancefloor far outweighs anything else.

    On The End.

    On a couple of occasions we nearly went bankrupt sticking with the underground thing, but it pulled through, and that’s because of the wide-ranging programming and the brilliant management and team we have there. After a year of doing Superfreq in the AKA I wanted to move it down to The End. I love AKA but The End is louder and darker and more me, you know?

    On his partner, Xotchil, one of the Dollz At Play DJ duo.

    ‘We celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary last week on the most beautiful beach at Tulum in Mexico [his wife is half Mexican, half Swiss]. It was amazing, but our partnership doesn’t extend to DJing. When she started I said to her: “You ain’t using my tunes, you’ll have to get your own.” Our music is completely different. When I listen to her set I don’t know any of the tunes.’

    On the The End being involved in a festival again.

    The Time Out Lovebox Weekender will be our first festival since Homelands years ago and I’m really excited by it. In The End Arena on the Sunday [July 22] we’ll have Felix da Housecat, Layo & Bushwacka, a Digitalism Dex ’n’ FX set, Will Saul, Andy Cato of Groove Armada, myself and Paul Arnold of Chew The Fat.
    Click here for the full interview with Mr. C

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