A long time stalwart of the microphone at d&b raves the world over, Stamina has not only created a successful career from MCing d&b nights but also laid vocals on two top 20 tracks. Perhaps most well known for the 2002 DJ Marky produced summer anthem ‘LK’, a track that rarely leaves my bag even to this day, he’s at home both on light, upbeat tracks such as that and over darker sets. I remember, having mainly heard him at Hospitality nights where’s his styles understandably melodic with more elements of singing and less of rap, being blown away by him switching it up completely over a deep and dirty Zero T set at Beach Break Festival a few years back. He’s frankly a versatile MC of the highest calibre, something I don’t think you’ll find anyone worth their salt in d&b disagreeing with. He’s even laced a hip hop beat, something I’ve always wanted to hear and which you can check out here. Monika had a quick catch up with him for an insight into his roots, opinions on the current state of d&b and more.
Hi Stamina. Can you name a few tunes that have changed your life and tell us why and how they have influenced you?
Okay, this is a good question. First I’d pick “Charade” (Grooverider RMX) by Rashid for being the best male vocal D&B tune
ever made in my opinion.. Then maybe “Everywhere I Go RMX” by Sci-Clone for being one of those rare tunes that I feel are detailed enough in their musicality as to be able to play to my Dad, who really doesn’t understand my fascination with D&B. There are a whole bunch, but I’d struggle to think of any that have any sort of influence on what I do as an MC…
Why has drum and bass music in particular become your weapon of choice?
D&B was special to me even just as a listener for being able to fuse/incorporate/steal elements from pretty much any/every other music style there is/was, and still make some new and interesting hybrid of all its component parts. So even for being jazzy, funky, soulful or whatever, it was still its own thing.
You started Stamina TV project some time ago, there has been only 4 episodes so far, are you planning to go on with it?
I’d like to carry on with Stamina TV, yes – it was something I felt would be quite insightful to people. I’m someone who is very far from ‘famous’ in the typical sense, but I’m kept pretty well occupied by music, so wanted to show a little of the ups and downs of life on the road. There’s only so much I can try to explain, or show photos of, before a person needs to come with me and just see what I see. And for those that can’t do that, STV was the next best thing. It only stopped due to financial constraints – basically the money I needed to pay to get the episodes filmed and edited etc was a little too much to simply take from my performance fees, seeing as I was never EVER gonna make that money back. I didn’t mind losing money as I believed the project was a good idea, but eventually the losses became too great.
Having performed all over the world, could you tell us where was your favourite gig and why?
There’s no one place I could pick over all others. Places are good or not so good for a variety of different reasons. I’ve had awesome and awful nights in the exact same club/city/country.
Who are you feeling at the minute musically, both in d&b and outside of the genre?
I very much respect cats like Rockwell, Fracture, and LSB right now. Outside of D&B, Eric Roberson, Frank Ocean, Isaac Aesili and Sian Sanderson.
You’ve been in the business for many years now, what’s changed in drum and bass for better and for worse in your opinion?
For better? People’s actual awareness of business itself. Everything was all very informal and slapdash ‘back in the day’ – actually even more so before my time, from what I can gather; these days there are more contracts, better organisation, greater understanding of marketing and promotion etc. For worse, I think this very same heightened business sense has perhaps made things a little more sterile and unadventurous, that impulse decisions or ‘risks’ are not taken nearly as much.
Where do you think drum and bass music is headed?
Good question. I think anyone who believes they know where D&B is headed is a little too self-confident haha. It feels quite uncertain to me, but then I’d say that music overall has a feeling of uncertainty to it right now. What ‘worked’ in the past for the most part no longer ‘works’, and working out ‘what to do next’ is not easy for the creatures of habit that still have a place in the scene… it’s an interesting time.
What can we expect from you in the near future?
I did a track with LSB for an EP that was released on Spearhead recently. As for the future, you’ll just have to wait and see.
Any tips for young aspiring MCs?
Be inspired by artists without emulating; uniquity counts for a lot. An understanding of the music will make you better at your job. Space/silence is just as important as words are. If you’re going to say something, make it count.
Cheers Stamina! Any shouts?
I’ll shout out anyone that is a good person or is doing good things.
Check Stamina over on Facebook.