Ant TC1 interview
I caught up with Dispatch Recordings supremo Ant TC1 about a busy life as DJ, label boss and promoter and asked him what sort of year he’d had in this, the second year of the Decade With No Name: 2012.
Ant TC1: It’s been good mate, extremely busy. Octane & DLR‘s debut album went down even better than I could have predicted or expected and I think it’s a testament to their talents.
DB: So speaking of this debut, what other good things have been happening on the Dispatch front?
A: It goes without saying Survival and Silent Witness’s album is just amazing. I think as solo artists in their own right or as a duo or however you wanna look at it this is their finest work, I’m extremely pleased to release two artist albums in the space of a year from guys I honestly feel are writing some of the best D&B I’ve heard in years. But hey that’s just my opinion.
DB: What sort of outlook do you guys have at the label?
A: Definitely a close and friendly one for the artists involved, we all get along real well bar a few ups and downs and smacks in the faces here and there but hey that’s nothing.
DB: Ha ha, cool.
A: The guys all seem happy to work together and yeah there’s definitely a real family unit… we all seem to have a similar taste in music and moan about other music we don’t like, of course we all still love Gangnam style though! Sick tune.
DB: I’ve seen the Zero T video online (‘Roxy MUsic’), are there others for artists on the label? We’re in an age where digital is cheap media. That’s all it is across the cultural spectrum, it’s not deep. So can anyone make a video?
A: I found the hardest bit was actually pinning good guys down – not literally – to get the video done and done by a deadline, with the ‘Roxy Music’ vid the guys approached us to do it, we checked some of their work and set the ball rolling. Complete hats off to Andrew Clunie and Drew Tate as they did a great job it was all down to them.
Overall though videos aren’t cheap to do and you could say some of the budgets I’ve seen in the past can throw the chances of your artists making a sum of profit from their releases completely out the window, for smaller labels at least. I think a lot of the videos I’ve seen D&B labels do generally have been really good so far overall, I’d love to get some more done.
DB: Apart from running the label, you are a formidable DJ, so what makes a great night for you?
A: Great crowd, great sound throughout the club, great monitors: I’m a stickler for them I’m afraid!. Me not getting too drunk after my set and then suffering for the next 3 days! I’m definitely not someone who is too bothered about it being rammed, I’d rather half a club half full with a really on it, tuned in crowd but not complaining either way. I’m grateful to anyone who turns up and pays money into a club to see me play, I still feel extremely lucky to be doing this.
DB: And where could such a night be?
A: I’ve found some of the most memorable ones have been in really unique locations. Playing on an old docked warship in Rostock, Germany in 2006 is definitely still high up the list for me. Also it goes without saying for may of us involved with the label that playing on a boat at Outlook Festival or in the Moat arena is another tough one to beat.
DB: I love recollections like this, so as we go back thru D&B history is it as much fun out there on the circuit as it always was, from your personal experience?
A: It’s always fun, it never tires for me.
I was just a kid from a council estate in a not so nice area of Huddersfield who caught the music bug from a young age and funded my hobby until only recently by working full times jobs from the age of 16 as a binman, call centre jobs, retail, warehouse work the lot so to be where I am now just by following my hobby is still an amazing feeling and I feel this the most when I’m playing at a festival somewhere in the summer and just looking around I get this self reflective feeling of being very lucky indeed to be doing what I’m doing.
Some highlights would be playing at a festival in Romania around 2005 to around 5000 people on a stage with the sun coming up to the sounds of dBridge’s ‘The Simplest thing’. I’d gotten one hours sleep the night before as the travel was long but was probably the most adrenaline fuelled I think I’d ever felt, certainly woke me up playing to such a big crowd.
Another highlight was back in 1999 winning Ny-Sushi’s DJ competition and getting to play after Andy C to a rammed out club, it was nice to see someone with the monitor as loud as me too, I think to date me and Andy must stand out as 2 people who have not done their ears the biggest favours!
There’s another from 2003 when I got asked to play in Tel-Aviv, Israel, again not somewhere I thought I’d ever get to go. I ended up face down in the club toilets at 6am after having a shot-downing competition with the promoter Ophir, never been demolished so quickly in my life and it was a stark reminder that shots in the UK are very under-generous! I think the gig was really good before all this happened though…
I have too many more I swear but it’s definitely been great casting my mind back to such great times!
DB: Tell us how you fit in your work as promoter and organiser, you must simply never sleep.
A: I’m now writing at 5:12am and I’m not up early so you make a good point ha ha. I don’t sleep much no. It’s extremely time consuming, I miss seeing people close to me that I really should see more often than I do. I guess I’m married to the hobby!
DB: You work as Worldwide Events Manager with Headz, you work with Outlook, so what is the difference between organising a regular club thing and organising a festival? Is the latter a bit intimidating if dealing with locals or strangers, at least the first time?
A: It’s not intimidating when you’ve projected ahead for potential issues & cultural differences etc and looked at what you need to do to tackle them and tested these actions out. Although I’m not saying this will always help it’s just advantageous. A lack of organisation and pre-planning and often being brutal when you really need to be in your choice-making overall on either a club event or especially more so on a festival and you can definitely make yourself your own worst enemy, so to speak, and really suffer and make the event suffer too. So prepare for every eventuality you can forsee is my advice.
DB: For someone new to organising an event – and let’s face it: demand is CRAZY regardless of what amateur economists speculate about – what are some simple tips to make it great all the way until the bitter end when the sun is up and the normal people are going to work?
A: I can only speak from my own experience of course but I guess I’ve racked up a fair few years so I hope some of this helps:
– Be nice to everyone, manners and respect is a huge thing down the line.
– Avoid going with trends and be someone who gets the recognition straight off the bat for doing something different and interesting and still very appealing towards the type of crowd and numbers you want.
– DEFINITELY don’t start out with a goal of ‘I want to make this much £ in the first year’, be prepared to lose some – or even a lot – above anything else: I never started events to make money, I’ve lost more than I’ve made on any financial front but in hindsight I did used to be a pretty crap promoter, I think I’ve definitely got more on the ball the more older and mature I’ve become over the many long years of doing this since way back being a teenager: I was 16 when I did my first event.
– Get some real good friends involved and look at what added tools you have to get peoples attention, you’ll work with lots of people as you continue to do events so keep those contacts and keep them linked in to what you are doing. I’ve found if they support what you are doing they will help you where they can, they just might not always directly offer it and need a gentle nudge on it. I know this myself as I’m the often the same on the other side of it too!
DB: Name 5 D&B tunes you love.
A: Survival ‘Dub Soldier’ Dispatch
Dabs & Safire ‘Back & Forth’ (Mako, DLR & Ant TC1 rmx) – Dispatch
Sabre & Cern ‘Pinch Me’ Dispatch
Hybris ‘Understand now’ Dispatch
Spectrasoul ‘Sometimes We Lie’ (Octane & DLR rmx) – Shogun Audio
DB: And finally, some release info for the 2013?
A: Survival & Silent Witness ‘In from the Wild’ LP sampler
Survival & Silent Witness LP (plates 1, 2 & 3)
Survival & Silent Witness full LP (Digital)
Cern & Sabre / Cern 12″
Cern & Verb / DBR UK & Mtwn on Dispatch LTD
M-Zine & Scepticz ‘Point of No Return’ on Dispatch LTD
Survival & Silent Witness (untitled) on Dispatch LTD
Hybris ‘Gravitron EP’ (5 track, 4 on vinyl)
Transit 2 LP