Interview with Ant TC1: from his first DJ show at 14, to managing Metalheadz

Manager of Metalheadz, co-founder of Dispatch Recordings and well known for his high energy DJ sets and dark productions, Ant TC1 is no stranger to the Drum ‘n’ Bass scene. This year Nozstock will be playing host to one of the most innovative and respected labels in the dance music scene, none of other of course than Metalheadz. Fresh back from living in Thailand, we caught up with Ant TC1 who will be representing for the Headz alongside Dillinja, S.P.Y, Randall, Amoss, Octo Pi  and Scope on Friday night at #Nozstock2018

So, what have you been up to recently?

I’ve pretty much only just moved back to the country, just getting used to being back here most of all and climatising. I’ve got 2 shows this weekend coming up and need to get some practice in and shake the rust off beforehand, can feel the nerves creeping in!

So, let’s start from the beginning. I’ve heard you’ve been DJing on pirate radios and in clubs since a very young age?

Yeah I turned 40 in Feb and I started falling in love with rave, jungle and as it’s now more commonly termed Drum & Bass at the age of 13 so back in 1991. Hearing Grooverider mix records together from a Fantazia live event mixtape in 1992 was what cemented my passion for only thinking about music 24-7 and wanting to learn to DJ and anything else I’m now doing today in relation to the music I still love a lot. I handed a demo in to a pirate radio station owner via a friend to get my first ever DJ show on pirate radio aged 14. I passed it over via a friend as I didn’t want the radio station owner / manager to know my age, I remember him laughing when I first showed up with a bag of vinyl ready for my first ever slot on the station but he let go at it, he was just shocked at my age really.

Since then you’ve made quite the name for yourself in the scene over the years and that all started off with yourself and Hidden Agenda launching Dispatch Recordings, right? Tell us a bit about that.

Yeah it was mostly Jason from Hidden Agenda, he’d moved to Leeds and I already had a residency at D.O.P.E (a weekly D&B night in the city that ran from I think 1994 onward), we met there, struck up a friendship and realised we were both into real similar music (swerving towards the deeper stuff at the time). I was already a massive fan of him and his brother Mark (who is now sadly no longer with us) as the Hidden Agenda duo, I just tried to not let on too much and be all fanboy about it. He asked for my help in setting up his own imprint and the label just grew into it’s own thing really over time, eventually Jason decided on a relocation back up north and wanted to take day job stuff / career more seriously as he’d recently had his first child, so rather than close the label I decided to carry it on with Jason’s full blessing.

What then got you into producing?

I’m not gonna lie, I had what I felt were strong ideas towards making music but was always petrified of approaching making music, it all looked so daunting and too complicated, I lacked confidence, just like I did in my DJ’ing for the first 2 years even though I can now look back and see technically I was OK at least (at a young age really I guess) for way longer than I felt I was personally. Eventually I met an old friend Graham (AKA Stress Level) who was starting out on musical production at the time, he had way more technical know how than me and taught me the basics, I always felt our first collabs were way more me simply adding to his own productions and I felt some unease at even having my name next to his on a finished track but through experience and his teaching I got a lot more involved. Next thing, after dedicated weekends working on our sound we sent out demos and got stuff signed pretty quickly, next thing we were having music played on radio 1 and both DJ’ing all over Europe and the rest of the world (which was something neither of us had really had the opportunity of doing much of previously other than the odd local shows at the odd night).

How did all of this then lead onto you managing Metalheadz?

Long story short, I started working on Headz events for Goldie. One day he called me and asked me to run the label, he liked what I’d done with Dispatch and said he liked working with me all round. He told me that he felt I genuinely loved the music, understood it and put it first above anything else so I was the person he felt comfortable offering the role to. I accepted, crazy feeling at the time and now, I had 2nd copies of the first Headz singles on my wall as a teenager, never would have imagined one day managing the label.

So you’re booked for The Cubicles at Nozstock this year alongside Dillinja, Randall, S.P.Y, Amoss & more…how do you think that’s going to go down?

You’ve got some real varied artists on, it’s a great line up, everyone is gonna offer something different and all of those artists are strong faves of mine, I think people are gonna have a blast start to finish, I hope so anyway!

What three things can’t you live without at a festival?

Jaffa Cakes, a spare back up tent and of course, the music.

What can we expect from Metalheadz in the rest of 2018?

We’ve got heaps of events worldwide, the label is showing no signs of slowing down, singles and EPs most weeks and albums from Blocks & Escher, OneMind, Goldie, Agzilla, we’ve got Lenzman, Jubei and Commix well into progress on their 2nd / follow up albums also.

Tell us about one of your favourite festival sets?

I’ve been lucky to play many over the years now, Outlook festival is always a good one, good memories of playing in the ‘Moat Arena’ to an almost ‘bumper sized long corridor’ arena full of people down the side wall of an abandoned fort. There’s something really unique about looking out at the crowd from the performance area.

Thanks to Ant Tc1 for taking time out of what sounds like a very busy schedule! We look forward to seeing him in July.

Delta Heavy, Critical Music, DJ Mag + more to takeover The Cubicles

“Nozstock just happens to be in my favourite part of the world and happens to be one of my favourite festivals in the world, which is run by the nicest people. Unpretentious, full of love and with the best stages ever. I love playing The Cubicles, from the outside it’s a massive cow shed, inside it’s a massive cow shed jam packed with carefree ravers going totally bonkers. It’s one of those gigs where you take one look at the decks and one at the crowd and you simply can’t wait to get started. Then Noz himself wanders up with a bottle of bubbly, you know this is a real family occasion. Long may nozstock rule.” – Tony Colman, London Elektricity.

It’s no secret that over the past few years our converted cowsheds have been rammed to the rafters full of you Nozzers, rattling the walls to their very core. The Cubicles have been run by our own avid drum ‘n’ bass residents, Dex, Octo-pi and Koncept ever since the festival got a license, and it’s due to their love for the music that this, one of our most popular dance arenas, was born.

Each year our music moguls carefully craft and finetune you a line-up guaranteed to send bass into your soul and shivers up your spine. This year The Cubicles boasts a billing chocful with cream of the crop artists from the international d’n’b circuit alongside local and emerging talent. Our boys have done good and we’re sure you’ll think so too. Over the weekend we have some select bookings from RAM Records a takeover from 15 years of Critical, plus a DJ Mag presents ‘The Bunker’ takeover in the form of an Uncle Dugs + Billy Daniel Bunter showcase.


First up to grace the decks are Delta Heavy, described as “forward-thinking, impact-based electronic music with a twist to the next level.” In 2010 the duo joined Andy C’s leading drum ‘n’ bass label, ‘RAM’, and although they might be relative newbies, Delta Heavy have definitely proved their salt. Recently nominated for ‘Best Producer’ and ‘Best Newcomer DJ’ at the Drum and Bass Awards, Simon and Ben have come along way since meeting at University in 2003. Their latest release, ‘Kaleidoscope’, was eagerly anticipated by fans and it’s welcomed reception proves the musical production of this duo holds no bounds.

Next up on the 1s and 2s  is Loadstar. Hailing from Bristol, Gavin and Nick really are at the helm of the drum ‘n’ bass world – just take a look at their calendar! With their second studio album, ‘I Need The Night’, due for imminent release, this pair continue to delve deeper into the dance, and plan to take you with them. Trust us, few things say ‘next level’ like a live show of Loadstar proportions…

Three is the magic number, which meant it was only fair to squeeze in one more RAM duo for ya! *drumroll please* Mind Vortex started out, in 2003, after six years of honing their trade, Laurie and Stefan began to ring through their wish list of labels. RAM was top of the list, so they picked up the phone. The rest is drum ‘n’ bass history…. Their debut single ‘Hotbox’ followed, and with fans including Mistajam, Grooverider and DJ Hype, the duo have quickly cemented themselves as hot property. Completing the RAM billing we have Frankee. Like a younger brother to our duos but equally talented, he recently won ‘Best Newcomer and Producer’ at the Drum & Bass Awards 2014 and is an artist that continues to smash up dancefloors and charts worldwide.


With the focus on organic growth and culture at Nozstock, we thought it was about time we asked our friends at Critical Music to pay us a visit. They’re a label close to our hearts who have laid some of the later foundations of the drum ‘n’ bass scene and given a platform to the industry’s most prolific artists. Now with 15 years in the game the crew are coming down to celebrate Nozstock style with a takeover headlined by Break, pioneer of Symmetry Recordings, and a firm favourite amongst the industry. In 2014 and 2016, Break topped Beatport’s Drum & Bass download chart, and later that year released his truly iconic LP,  “10 years of of Symmetry.” Next in line are Ivy Lab, so dust off your raving shoes and be upstanding. His trio continue to push the boundaries of drum ‘n’ bass after being voted one of the ‘Top 10 DJ’s of 2015’ by MixMag and after their recent E.P.  “Peninsula” gaining over 300K plays in 14 days.

Keep um coming you say? Bristol based producer, Foreign Concept took to the turntables in 2004 and will be bringing his truly signature blends to The Cubicles this year. He has firmly established himself on the DJ map with a worldwide DJ schedule and residencies in many popular night spots. (We’re almost done, promise.) It wouldn’t be fair to invite Critical Music down and leave Kasra behind. Curator, DJ, head honcho, top-cat, bossman, Kasra, founded Critical Music back in 2003. His vision and determination is second-to-none and he’s played a vital role in the drum ‘n’ bass movement over the past 15 years. In 2012 Kasra was asked to mix the latest Fabric Live album which resulted in FabricLive 62 being one of the most successful drum ‘n’ bass mix albums of the year. The Critical Music flag will no doubt be flying high for many more years, so come and celebrate with them at Nozstock 2017.

But that’s not all we’ve got for you…

We told you it was a corker! DJ Mag’s ‘The Bunker’ will oversee a showcase brought by Uncle Dugs and Billy ‘Daniel’ Bunter, old skool veterans of d’n’b, who’ve seen all the genre’s many mutations. They come at their sets with all the knowledge and skill required from years on the scene, so expect a rousing mix of anthems, and proper knees-up party-level d’n’b activity.

One of our favourite residents Octo-Pi, a true trojan among the turntablists will be weaving a journey through jump up, deep and dark, and dropping some of his own fresh bangers in there too.
We advise you grab yourself a disco nap, cover yourself in glitter and douse yourself in deodorant because things are gonna get dirty!

To see the full Cubicles line up in all it’s glory click here.