Following the Transit 1 release back in 2011 reaching critical acclaim world-wide, overseer Ant TC1 proudly presented Transit 2 back on November 11th. Featuring globally successive drum & bass producers and the latest artists making an impact on Dispatch Recordings, the collaborated result is a showcase of some of today’s most growingly influential drum & bass personalities in a penetrative 16-track release.
The launch party officially began at the Wire in Leeds on September the 27th. Since then the tour has been taken from America in October to Basel, Switzerland at the end of November, back in the UK to perform at Dry Live in Manchester for one night only before taking it’s final show to Berlin on December the 20th, the last chance for UK audiences to catch this seminal world-esteemed tour always promised to put up a fight to try and live up to it’s full potential.
Picture by Gary Brown
By 11:30 Stagger back-to-back with DJ R had warmed-up the crowd with pounding basslines at a dastardly pace, cloaked in a hellish red provided by the lighting and slowly packing the dancefloor. The atmosphere was trademark underground dub in the venue’s hidden basement. Their set alone was enough evidence to confirm that Dry-Bar had once again provided the heaviest Friday night Manchester had to offer.
Label manager of Dispatch Recordings Ant TC1 was next to perform, instantly getting the speakers shaking. He slammed heavy and scattered drops aside dirty, industrial beats whilst performing in front of projected kaleidoscope patterns on the wall behind him. His experience was exercised in the lively crowd, dropping a furiously paced and sinister set that made spines shiver and pulses pound. MC JC spat a brilliantly collaborated effort vocally, verse after verse keeping the crowd raving with an overriding enthusiasm to match his own.
Possibly the most dynamic and vigorous performance of the night was from DLR, dropping slickly set layers of dark d&b in a rhythm that vigorously challenged the crowds stamina, most looking extremely weary after such intense tunes. His masterfully suspenseful cuts were for some just too much to keep up with, whereas those remaining were treated to MC PM’s maniacal vocal endurance. He quite rightly finished the set by calling loud applause for DLR’s performance, rightly stating that “he fucking smashed it”.
The London based dnb duo Amoss brought a newly inspired life to the steadily exhaustive audience. Together, supported by MC JC, they pulled out a revived effort in the more passionate dnb enthusiasts within the crowd to pull out all sorts of sweaty shapes to the ceaselessly dark set list that formidably pounded from the sound-system. Epicentre’s finale aside MC PM’s tireless spitting pumped a final adrenaline into a night, creating a vibe definitely reminiscent of that old-school boiler room standard. They collaborated well, in a final bid to mercilessly make the crowd move up until the very end to the shredding jungle-derived basslines. The crowd’s applause thrived mainly from the endorphins releasing themselves after an admirable effort to keep up to the five hour duration of ear throbbing beats and thrilling, versatile wordplay from each of the MC’s supporting.
Amidst a night that rounded off the UK legs of the tour in true style, I caught up with Dispatch Recordings boss Ant TC1 and Andy Tweedale of young duo Amoss backstage for ten questions each, summing up recent escapades that have taken them both around the world.
Ten Questions with Ant TC1Picture by Gary Brown
1) How enjoyable has the Transit 2 tour been so far?
It’s been great, but at my age (35) it can be tiring.
2) Which show has been the maddest?
It’s too hard to say. Switzerland on Saturday had the rowdiest crowd – the club was packed. We’ve had some great shows in America just a few weeks ago and which were incredible but tonight in Manchester has just been mad. We’ve been living the dream, and I love it.
3) What makes tonight’s show different from the others?
Well, Manchester was one of the first places I came out to drum n bass nights – in the mid 1990’s – and one thing I’ll always say about Manchester is that if you do drop in the some older ones you’ll always get a good reaction, and I always enjoy getting them in there. Tonight we’ve had a stomping hard northern crowd and I’ve loved it.
5) How does a British crowd compare to a European crowd?
Depends where in Europe really, but my most simplest and best observation is that an English crowd will always dance hard, get really rowdy and then flop off at 4 am (laughs). In Europe they can be a little bit more reserved. They know the tunes just as well as we do. They don’t go quite as wild but they’ll stay out until 9 am, which is bad for me because I try and stay out with them and I can’t always hack the pace. I can keep up in England but I can’t keep up with Europe (laughs).
6) The last show of the tour is only a few nights away – What has Ant TC1 got in store for 2014?
We’ve got another artist album coming, and I’m definitely going to do Transit 3 next year as well. As far as Metalheadz goes, we’ve got Lenzman’s album – Platinum Breaks 4. There’s possibly an album from Goldie, which is in the works at the moment, and DLR and Mikal are doing an album as well for Metalheadz which will keep me more then busy for certain. Me and and the studio have really taking a backseat though, as I’ve become far too busy with label work for Dispatch and Metalheadz as well as the festival work for Outlook and Dimentions, for which I’m in charge of running the whole artist infrastructure.
7) Have you spent more time in Mid-land Europe than the UK this year?
I do a lot of gigs in Europe, but the festivals work is a real full-time job year round. A lot of planning goes into getting all those thousands of people out there, and as soon as it finishes we start over to be planning for the next one.”
8) Who are your favourite drum n bass performers at the moment?
There’s far too many to mention – I think DLR’s productions are brilliant. DJ Wise, I’ve always loved Randall, and I really enjoyed some of Goldie’s sets recently – very old school and he’s been mixing them superbly. Lenzman always plays a wicked deep set, Jubei’s a great DJ… Sorry to everyone I’ve forgotten, but we are very much spoilt with great DJ’s at the moment. You’d need more tape reel to record the amount I could shout out.
9) Who do you think judging from tonight has put in the best performance so far?
Me. (ONLY JOKING). It’s too hard to say, I can’t judge myself. I really enjoyed DLR’s set and now we’ve got Amoss on who have really started off a bit deeper and play a completely different set. This really is the beauty of dnb – we’ve got a lot of artists who turning up with their own productions and their unfinished tunes and they’re going out there trying it out. We’re spoilt with a massive amount of good music at the moment and the quality bar is really high. Years ago me and JD will have a night playing on the same line-up and we’d be worried and actually need to talk about the tunes we were both going to play, and now we don’t have that problem anymore. We don’t even need to speak about what we’re going to play because the amount of vinyls and CD’s just mean you don’t have to worry about it anymore, and the crowds we’ve had out have just loved it.
10) Describe the night in a sentence?
… Rowdy, brilliant and thank-you.”
1) Do you think tonight the artists tonight have put on the livest night of the tour?
Yeah it’s been really good. It’s been great to support the whole Transit 2 LP, and we’ve done a couple of gigs with Ant TC1 and DLR and such over the past couple of months which has been a lot of fun. It’s really good to come back to Manchester, and come back to Dry-Bar to play for the Pandemik guys.
2) Who’s set have you most been looking forward to hearing for tonight’s show?
DLR’s, because I haven’t heard him play in a while and it’s nice to hear someone without an assistant. Yeah, definitely him.
3) On the Transit 2 album, which songs impressed you most?
Probably Apparatus, by Mindmapper and Fre4knc. I’ve played that in the last couple of months into every single set, and the complete vibe of it is just a real deep tune that you can mix with anything. You can go in and out of every style on it, so it’s perfect really mid-set where you can take the set anywhere after it.
4) Is this Amoss’ last gig for the remainder of 2013?
No, in fact we’re playing for Fre4knc in Holland in Groningen on the 28th of December, so that will be our last gig. We’re going to go out and spend a week with him, play for his night Break-Fast and then spend the rest of the weekend in the studio with him. We’ll maybe go to Amsterdam for a day as well which will be nice.
5) What have you got in store for 2014?
We’ve just about finished our next EP for Dispatch Recordings which is going to have five tunes – we played a couple tonight – and we’re literally in the finalization stages of that with just one more song to finish off. Once that’s done it’s out of her hands, and it goes for mastering. Hopefully it will be out by the first quarter of 2014. It all depends on how Ant TC1 fits it in, because I know Ant’s got a lot of stuff to release already, so it all depends on how quickly we can get it to him and we’re just really fighting against the clock to finish it as soon as possible. Other then that (Me and James Evans of Amoss have) got a few plans. We have a few more 12’s for Horizons, we’ve got a collaboration with Hieroglyphics, a collaboration with Motown. We’ll just see what we can try and fit in really. The album we’ve kind of discussed doing at some point, but for now we’ll see. Once this EP’s done we’ll be discussing more plans for it.
6) Which was your favourite festival to play over Summer?
We’ve played so many festivals over the years but… Me and James (Evans) come from Hereford, where we have a local festival called Nozstock Festival. We’ve played there over the last 4 years now – this summer we played there on the Friday night with Kasra and Lowkey – and it’s always really good. Having just moved to London, it really feels like coming home, and it’s always our favourite festival. You can’t beat a festival in a field in the middle of a farm, it’s always a really good vibe there and it was really busy this year and it’s really going strong. The drum n bass they play is really good.
7) Over the tour which has been your craziest night, and why was it the maddest?
I think James has a pretty mad one last weekend in Switzerland with Ant TC1 and Steve, but I went to Belgium and did a set there with Hieroglyphics and met those guys. Someone kept nicking my beers from stage but other then that it was a good one, it was Hieroglyphics first European gig and I enjoyed sort of showing them the ropes really.
8) Which drum n bass artists would you shout out for throwing the livest shows at the moment – the ones we really need to know about?
I would say DLR definitely, I think 2014’s going to be absolutely massive for J, and the same with all the Bristol guys like Mako and Ben Fields, all the Utopia music I’m really feeling. Other then that I would definitely say Fre4kncy is really the one to watch, and Hieroglyphics as well.
9) Which drum n bass artists would you shout out for throwing the livest shows at the moment – the ones we really need to know about?
I would say DLR definitely, I think 2014’s going to be absolutely massive for J, and the same with all the Bristol guys like Mako and Ben Fields, all the Utopia music I’m really feeling. Other then that I would definitely say Fre4kncy is really the one to watch, and Hieroglyphics as well. (Is there anyone else you want to shout out?) Big up to all the Dispatch guys – Ant & J – everyone that’s involved in the album, massive shout out to Ash Skeptical for doing the remix with Shapeshifter for us because he absolutely killed it on that. Neil at Horizons, Scott and Clayton at Renegade Hardware, all the different family.
10) How would you describe the your performance in 3 words, and the night in a sentence?
… Classic… New… and… Sweaty. Dry Bar’s one of the dingiest clubs I’ve ever played at (laughs), but that’s a good thing.