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 Garden Stage 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.

Interview: Macka B on how it all began, his new EP and more…

We caught up with British reggae artist, performer and activist Christopher McFarlane aka Macka B to discuss the beginning of his career and what he just can’t do without at a festival.

How did your career start? 

My career started on Sound Systems in Wolverhampton playing in Youth Clubs. At first, just going to the record shop at weekends and bringing home music to play on the sound was enough for me. Carrying boxes and being part of the sound system was great. At home I  used to practice on the microphone but I wasn’t confident enough to do it in public. One day we set up the sound at a local youth club and I was left to watch the sound while the others got something to eat. Thinking everyone had gone, I picked up the microphone and tried it out. They hadn’t gone yet and they ran back saying ‘we didn’t know you could chat on the mic’. So from then I had to keep chatting on the sound.

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

Music, water and vibes.

Who are you most looking forward to seeing at Nozstock? 

Smiling faces.

What music are you working on right now? 

Working on a new EP vintage style riddims.

We’re a big fan of your health is wealth video series…whats your favourite vegetable? 

Callaloo.

What is your favourite memory from performing? 

Performing at Jamaica’s Reggae Sunsplash for the first time and getting a great reception.


Macka B will be performing on the Orchard Stage, click here to find out who else is on the line up.

Ferocious Dog Q&A

Ferocious Dog are a full-on six-piece band that encompass folk infused with rock, reggae and Celtic vibrations. The combination of instruments creates a palette of sound that offers infinite variations: going in hard to get the audience up and moving, or slipping into melodic passages and dub-like fusions.

From playing Glastonbury in front of a massive crowd, to sharing the stage with The Levellers on their European tour, Ferocious Dog left the audience under no doubt that they had witnessed a band that has the talent and passion to go on and dominate the folk/punk music scene.

With European tours booked for 2017 and slots at some of the UK’s favourite festivals, we can’t wait to welcome them down on the farm and ahead of their performance we asked them a few questions….

If you ran your own festival, who would you pick to headline and why?

Ken Bonsall said Friday night House of Pain, Saturday night Rancid, Sunday night Levellers because these are 3 of my favourite bands

What are your 3 most essential items for a festival?

Beer. Beer carrier. Cheese and hp brown sauce cob

Do you have any embarrassing festival stories?

Trying to stop Les carter aka Fruitbat from drunkenly gatecrashing the Avalon cafe stage while a band was playing. But it turned out in the end that he knew the band who were Flipron

What is your best memory from a festival?

Seeing Dans face at Glastonbury ’92 coming out of the Carter USM mosh pit at 12 years old.

It was a picture

What was the first festival you went to? Tell us about it.

Glastonbury 92. Main reason we went is so Dan could see the Levellers for the first time and so we could all see Carter USM

Highlight of your career so far?

Selling out Rock City on our first attempt and making history as the first unsigned band to do so in its 35 year history. And it’s our home town of Nottingham which made it extra special

Hazard Q&A

Originally hailing from Birmingham, and responsible for the most intense tracks the drum and bass world has even heard, we are so excited to have DJ Hazard tearing it up at this year’s festival!

With releases dating back from 2001, which include anthems such as: ‘Time Tripping’; ‘Bricks Don’t Roll’; and ‘Mr. Happy’, to name just a few. No party is complete without these dark, chaotic and pure genius tracks.

As well as being a producing mastermind, DJ Hazard’s DJ sets display what a highly seasoned and creative DJ Hazard really is. Prior to his highly anticipated performance at this year’s festival, Hazard has taken part in a Q&A with us, so we can get to know the Jump Up phenomenon a little better.

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

My car, an escape plan and a bottle of water!

What is your most embarrassing festival memory

There was one festival where I was playing an outdoor stage and it was chucking it down. I was really worried about getting electrocuted so was standing as far away from the decks as possible, trying not to touch too much – it definitely looked a bit embarrassing I’m sure.

What is your most memorable performance to date?

Definitely Boomtown with Hype last summer. It was unreal.

If you had your own festival what three headliners would you pick?

Bryan G, Randall and Brockie.

What is your favourite song at the minute?

Any Taxman tune, he’s on fire right now.

When you’re not DJing what are you doing?

As little as possible. I’m very good at watching TV.

If you could collaborate with anyone who would it be?

To be honest, nobody – I hate working with other people in the studio!

Your tunes have become recognised all over the world, how does it feel seeing and hearing other DJ’s playing them to 1000’s of people?

At first it was really good, but now they’re just playing old tunes because I haven’t released anything for a while so the novelty has worn off a bit. Perhaps that’s the kick up the arse I need to get some new music out?

Kasra – Q&A

Ahead of this years festival we caught up with Kasra, the founder of Critical Music, for a chat about the history of his label. Founded 15 years ago in London the label is widely regarded as being at the forefront of the modern underground drum and bass scene.

“Kasra is a gatekeeper to what is under the surface in drum & bass. He does what he does with passion and care. He is a kindred spirit.”
Goldie, Metalheadz

How did Critical Music come about?

I had been a long time fan of the genre and was hearing more and more music by unsigned/new producers. I wanted to get involved in the scene so decided to try my hand at running a label.

When did you know or feel that your label had become a staple in the Drum & Bass scene?

I wouldnt like to say, i suppose thats for others to acknowledge. We’ve been doing this quite a while now and i think its something we are good at, we just keep on doing our thing.

What is your most memorable performance to date?

Probably our MainStage takeover at Boomtown last year or my first set at Glastonbury.

When you’re not making music or DJing, what are you doing?

Overseeing the running of the label, spending time with my girlfriend and friends or thinking about music!

Which artists do you look up to and why?

Anyone who sticks to what they believe in.

What is your favorite tune atm, apart from your own?

Probably a forthcoming Critical tune called “Blej’ by Halogenix.

What are your future plans for Critical Music?

This year is a big one so focusing on the releases in the forthcoming months including our 15 special anniversary album.

What can we expect for ’20 years of Critical’?

Ask me in 4 years when i start thinking about it !

What three things can you not live without at a music festival?

Sun Block (even in the UK) , inlfatable mattress (if camping), the missus

Uncle Dugs Q&A

The ever popular Jungle guru, Uncle Dugs, returns to Nozstock to grace The Cubicles for the fourth time, so we thought it was time for a little chat…

Uncle Dugs is the award winning best Jungle DJ of 2013 who also presents the only legal daytime Oldskool / Jungle radio show in the whole world known as #RCFF (Run Come Follow Friday) on Rinse FM. Expect ‘vibes 4 miles’ from the UK’s newest old skool legend.

If you ran your own festival, who would you pick to headline and why?

Thats a really tough question,,,, errrrrrrrm,,,, I guess if it was only allowed to be one person then I’d have to go with Dr Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem and that Tupac hologram (and a Biggie Smalls one as well) or Stevie Wonder or ACDC or an Oasis reunion. Ask me again in 10 minutes and i’ll probably give you another bunch of names lol

What are your 3 most essential items for a festival?

For me personally its my music, my mates and a smile

Do you have any embarrassing festival stories?

Nothing that jumps out although saying that has probably just jinxed me for this years festival season.

What is your best memory from a festival?

Ahhh man there is so many, Last years Hidden Woods set at Boomtown was amazing, playing the Rinse stage for Bestival in 2011 which was my first big festival stage booking, getting everyone to give Noz a massive cheer when we got him out the front of the stage in the Cubicles a couple of years back, to be fair every festival has a golden memory attached to it, something funny / special happens at every single one.

I must admit though one of my favourite non music memories was a couple of years ago when I played at Camp Bestival, me and a couple of friends ended up at the top of Ludworth castle overlooking the whole festival. We werent meant to be up there (cos the roof was literally packed out with fireworks and pyrotechnics for the closing display) but with some very good blagging skills we managed to get to the very top and grab a few selfies.

What was the first festival you went to? Tell us about it.

Its funny because many of the raves we used to go to are the equivalent of the 1 day festivals now, although back then we would never have labelled them festivals they were just normal raves at that time. Parties like Universe / Raindance / World Dance / Perception etc etc the list goes on,, some of the best days of my life (what I can remember anyway).

How did you get into music?

I have loved music from a kid, my Dad was a singer so I was surrounded by it from as far back as I can remember. My older brother Ricky took me to see a few bands as a 15/16 year old then my cousins Jamie and Daniel took me to my first rave when I’d just turned 16 and that was it, I wanted to be a DJ. Now nearly 30 years later I love playing music more than ever.!

What can we expect from your performance / set?

always play with as much energy and passion as I got in me. I like to play fast and for the crowd, especially at festivals. There is always a few curveballs chucked in along the way so even though its mostly Jungle and DnB you never know what might pop up when the time feels right.

Can you sum up your music in 3 words?

Vibes For Miles

Any musical heroes?

I was brought up on some of the real oldskool legends, if I had to pick 3 I’d say John Lennon / Elvis / Freddie Mercury.

Highlight of your career so far?

Probably releasing my autobiography last December (Rave Diaries And Tower Block Tales). I have had some amazing highs from music but to release your life story as a hard back book and to be able to give it to your proud parents and say thank you for everything is way beyond anything I ever dared dream about as a teenager playing records 24/7 in his little tiny bedroom in Dagenham..

CREW Q&A Roisin – Ella’s Assistant

If theres one thing that makes Nozstock the best festival then it has to be our crew. We caught up with Roisin, everybody’s favourite Geordie lass, to get the inside scoop on her 8 years with us at the farm.

What is your role at Nozstock?

My role at Nozstock is… well I’m Ella’s (festival director) assistant but that essentially means keeping her sane, doing french plaits, being a welcoming face and knowing who is who on the crew so I can point people in the right direction/get the best gossip.

What is your most embarassing Nozstock Memory?

Christ. I mean, after working on the farm with the same wrong’uns for eight years there’s basically no shame left. Being woken up on the sofa of the womans toilets by the general public coming into them was pretty bad. Best two hours sleep I had that whole weekend though.

What three things can’t you do Nozstock without

The rest of the crew (literally and emotionally), giant vats of iced coffee and dry shampoo!

When you are not at Nozstock what are you doing?

I make theatre, so I perform and write and direct and work with children and young people alot! They’re my favourite to work with because they’ll tell you if they think somethings rubbish even though I’m in charge.

Favourite Food

Honestly, I love a good side salad.

What is funniest problem you have had to deal with at Nozstock?

A good few years back, I generously offered to help clean out the dressing rooms as it was super late in the game and they needed all the help they could get. However, I left the office and soon realised it was too hot for sweeping and hauling in those little sweat box caravans, so I did what every grown woman in a professional environment does, went to mama noz (Julie) and she said “well you’ve got irish blood in you babe, we’re not built for the heat! Sit yourself down at once sweetie, if anyone asks I’ll say you’re not leaving the office under my orders.”
If in doubt, get a Noz to sort it out.

If you could choose three headliners who would you pick?

Chance The Rapper, Beyonce, Dolly Parton.

If you were a cocktail what would you be and why?

I’d just be a vodka, lime and soda.
Sweet, straight to the point and will get you messy!

Tell us a joke…

This works best in a geordie accent…
I was speaking to this bit of pasta the other day, it was a tube and all covered cheese and spinach. Anyways, I said to him “how are you feeling?” And he says back “eeh, not great. The wife left us the other day and now I’m cannelloni.” CANNELLONI. CANNY LONELY.