Tag Archives: Blue Note

‘Godfather of breakbeat’ Randall headlines Disorder

29 March 2024 -

‘Godfather of breakbeat’ Randall headlines Disorder this Easter Friday.  A massively influential figure in jungle and drum n bass circles, Randall started out on the east London rave scene in the late Eighties and cemented his reputation at clubs such as The Rocket, Paradise, AWOL and the Blue Note in the Nineties.

In Fabio‘s words (from the interview below), “he absolutely ruled, I’ve never seen a DJ take over a club and rule.  They had six other DJs playing in there and no one really gave a shit because they were just waiting for Randall to come on and play.  He was doing this mixing thing and i’ve never seen anything like it and he used to have people come from all over England to watch him play… He used to make two tunes sound like one tune.”

This is a rare chance to catch this “DJ’s DJ” in Scotland.

As well as the above, the following conversation with Fabio at Outlook Festival 2017 is full of anecdotes from the halcyon era of clubbing in the Eighties & Nineties and some of the tunes which have left an indelible mark from that era.  Well worth the time.

This interview is reproduced from the Drum And Bass Arena website.

‘I’m just trying to spread a vibe’

Randall saying that is a like Usain Bolt saying he “likes a cheeky little run” or pies saying they’re “kinda tasty.” For many, Randall is a vibe.

We’ll spare you the Mac 2 founder’s history. You already know it. The most recent entrant into our Hall Of Fame at the Drum&BassArena Awards and frequently cited by Andy C, Friction, Mampi and any artist who graduated from AWOL or Blue Note universities as one of their most critical influences, we are all aware of Randall’s position and influence.

But here are some things you may not know… Like which DJ inspired him, who he wants to see in the Hall Of Fame, when his next Pieces album project is coming and why he kissed Calibre when he first met him.

You may also want to know he’s hosting tonight’s D&BTV session. It’s happening from 6pm – midnight BST at the Work Bar, London and it’s free entry if can make it down IRL – just register for guestlist here.

If not, join us online on Facebook or our own site and as Randall launches his Pieces Part 2 album with a truly killer cast: Digital, Serum, Shimon, Benny L, Cool Hand Flex, Trex and MCs Tonn Piper, AD and Inja.

Get up to speed then join us from 6pm-midnight…

Calibre told me in a recent interview that the first time he came to Music House you came up, kissed him and told him he was blessed.

It’s true. Total Science Smithy gave me a DAT of Fire & Water. It blew me away. Before we knew it everyone was playing his tunes. About a month later I eventually meet him in Music House and I did kiss him. He is blessed, he’s got some mad mad skills. I got a lot of time for Dominick.

A lot of people got a lot of time for you to be frank. We haven’t spoken since the awards… How’s life in the Hall Of Fame?

Yeah that was a bit mad. It’s very nice to be acknowledged but to be honest it shocked me. I’m just a DJ who’s trying to spread a vibe and stay true to the craft, I’m not an awards type of guy. But yeah, any love and respect that comes back is very nice and appreciated. But never forget; the next day it’s back to the grind – you can’t let awards or anything like that take you off your mission. That’s what it’s all about!

Who would you put in the Hall Of Fame?

Kenny Ken needs to be in there. Total Science, too. They’ve been putting out forward-thinking music for years mate. Every time I get tunes from them in I’m fucked… I get 10 tunes, I fall in love with at least six of them and then I have to work out which ones I’m actually going to play because otherwise I’m just playing a bloody Total Science set. Same with Dillinja! I had to restrain myself whenever he sent me things. How about Brockie? Where’s he in the Hall Of Fame? That’s what I want to see in that list. More DJs! They’re a very different role to the producers my friend. It’s all about selection, crowd reading and keeping people dancing.

Two entirely different arts…

Entirely. It’s where I come from. I was a fanboy of this DJ called Rhythm Doctor. The way he’d play and select blew my mind. He’d switched over the bottom ends and blend them so well I couldn’t tell the difference. I clocked that when I was 17/18 in The Dungeons on Lea Bridge Road. Hypnosis would hold raves there and guys like Ellis Dee would be playing. I was blessed to play there along with Fabio, Groove, Rap, Kenny… I was a young buck back then!

This is pre-Rage then?

Oh yes. Maybe 87 or 88. We all signed on to the craft of acid house and I learnt the format. It all became numbers, just counting bars, matching them perfectly and finding the drop. It’s exactly the same style I took into drum & bass. Of course it was all trial and error back then, doing tapes and listening to them over and over, learning from mistakes and waiting for my chance to play out. Then when you do… it’s a whole other game! Playing to a crowd made me realise it was more about just knowing the music and when the drops are. It’s about making people dance. I had to play to a few empty dancefloors to get that right.

Didn’t you have a breakthrough at a rave when someone didn’t turn up?

Yeah that was Living Dream by the same guys who did Hypnosis actually. It was 10,000 and I was supposed to go on after Seduction and before Colin Faver but he never turned up so I had two and a half hours to play. These days that’s a bless but back then I was like ‘fuck!’ I’d already played all my a-sides so had to draw the b-sides. But when you’re put in a situation like that, you end up playing better. You have to really think about it. That was my signing on date as a DJ people wanted to hear play. I got a residency straight after at Rocket Club with Fabs, Groove, Rap, Hype, Gachet. That ran for a few years and it was like a testing ground for new material, I’ve got really fond memories of that place. Then as that closed, AWOL started. The minute I walked into the Paradise Club I knew it was going to be hot. So that was the next testing ground. Then when Paradise Club closed Goldie gave us Blue Note. Basically for the whole of the 90s we’d always have this one place that was critical for breaking and testing new music.

And not be scared to clear the floor or shock people with the music…

Totally. Sometimes it would take weeks for people to get their heads around some of the tunes. It was fresh out of the box. It wasn’t even quantized right at the start. It was raw and loose and no one was scared to play dirty fresh tunes. I think people are too scared to take those type of risks now – you should never be scared to play any music. And ravers shouldn’t expect to be hit with the big stuff straight away. You won’t see me going for the big euphoria moments, I want to build up to that slowly and progressively. At least 30 minutes before the big euphoria or breakdowns. It’s about the journey.

Always. So… Pieces.

It’s been a few years since the first Pieces session so I’ve started up the second sessions and have been blessed with some incredible new music. I’ve also jumped in the studio myself with Shimon for some vibes and there’s some great bits from Trex, Cool Hand Flex, Benny Ill, Jaybee, T>I, DLR, Zere, Dave Owen and loads more. We’re building things up a bit, getting our artists together and looking to set up more parties for us all to have that testing ground vibe back again.

You’ve got a testing ground at The Nest too, right?

Yeah, the 21st. We got Diemantle playing who are killing it and Die’s always been blessed and good to me.

They’re risk takers like we were talking about…

Definitely! I’ve lived around the corner from Die since 2004 and he’s always been on that vibe. But what did you expect from a skater? He’s always got the vibes. The Nest is vibes too. You wouldn’t even know it’s there if you walked past it, I love that. It’s just a door on the street! I love the venue, too. Can’t beat intimate dances – you can see every face in the room and really get a proper buzz off people. As long as they don’t touch the decks, mind!

That ties in nicely with our show tonight at the bunker!

Yeah that’s a very cool little spot. When I was invited to do this it was a no brainer. I got my crew together, a few old mates and mates from the label with Tonn Piper and AD hosting. We’ll get a vibe on. I know they’re in the studio right now so who knows? You might get a little testing ground tonight…

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