MC Bassman Interview: "it's history, archived in the rave vaults for eternity"

One of the most iconic MCs to walk the planet, MC Bassman, is celebrating 35 years behind the mic this weekend. We caught up with the legend to chat about the Brum bass scene, his illustrious career, and the LAB11 bash!

Skiddle Staff

Last updated: 12th Jul 2023

For any true fan of the UK bass scene, MC Bassman, aka the Shadow Demon, should be a name you are very familiar with. From his early days MCing to Acid House alongside icons like Carl Cox and Micky Finn, to becoming a seminal figure in the Drum and Bass scene that proceeded Grime, burgeoning in Birmingham's bubbling bass scene in the 90s.

Now, with 35 years in the game, MC Bassman is coming home and is set to bring a swathe of middle fingers, sweaty pits, and pure fire on stage to LAB11, to celebrate the huge milestone this weekend. 

In preparation for this weekend's hedonism, we caught up with the Shadow Demon himself, to talk about his career, the 80s/90s scene he was a part of, and what the lucky punters at the LAB11 gig can expect. Check it out below!

 

 

So, let's get the main reason we’re chatting out of the way. 35 years in the game, it’s an impressive stretch, full of incredible, scene-defining moments. How does it feel to have hit this landmark, and what can the people present at LAB11 for the celebration expect?

"It's a great achievement to still be here doing what I love after three-plus decades, the love people have for me is crazy and very much heartfelt. I have concrete respect for all the fans worldwide who have shown me, MC Bassman, huge love; it means a lot.

"On the night the ravers will expect the biggest vibes of energy and happiness everyone having a great time and celebrating my career.

"The crowd know they will get, all the classic lyrics they have come to expect from me, and the middle fingers will fill the air trust me. I love LAB11 as well, so to do my event there for the first time is a big thing and if all goes well I will go back there next year and hopefully take the experience outside under the arches."

 

During the huge span of your career, the industry, and particularly the corner of it you operate in, has changed massively. What part of it do you feel has changed the most during your career?

"Time changes everything in life and this scene is no different. The music has changed massively with the new generation of kids coming through with their sound, and also the rest of us getting old lol.

"The vibe and energy are great as ever, it's a very youthful market and the youth bring the fire to the scene which is so important.

"Yet, the scene has changed in other ways too. Agents rule the roost and the price game has changed. Some of the fees many of these young DJs and MCs are getting are crazy; especially the producers. Agents are coming in like football agents with footballer-like money, Which has not been great for the scene in my opinion."

 

Have you changed the way you approach your music over the years, and if so when do you think was the point you made the most conscious shift in your sound?

"I have just moved with the times myself, but honestly in terms of my style that has never changed, I guess it's what makes me who I am. I'm quite unique and there are not many people like me out here so I don't come under scrutiny."

 

Image: MC Bassman on Facebook

Could you tell me a bit about what it was like behind the curtain during those early years of the bass scene in the midlands? As it seems to not only have massively influenced you but also played a huge role in the wider scene too.

"The scene in the early years was a new phenomenon. The freedom, the unity, the drug culture. But there were also dark times; times where gangs infiltrated the scene, especially the Jungle market, and violence was a regular occurrence.

"Many artists would not want to play at certain events, and at one stage none of the London artists wanted to come to Birmingham, I came from the ghetto so this landscape was something I was used to, however, I'm so glad that those times have passed and long gone."

 

During those early years, you and Micky Finn created something of a drum and bass dynasty together. How did that relationship start? and what is it about the two of you that works so well?

"Micky has been coming to Birmingham since the late 80s and became a legend here; even moving to the city for a few years.

"In terms of our relationship, his style just worked for me. The music he played, the way he performed the tunes he made, it just all worked for me.

"Our partnership over the years has transcended across the globe. Historical. Cemented forever."

 

Another slice of your career in that era comes from your involvement in the Shadow Demon Collective which represented 'The darkest side of Drum and Bass music.’ Could you tell those who aren’t initiated what it's all about, how it all first started, and the ethos behind it?

"The Shadow Demon was derived from myself and my family, the character of the night, and I would drop the name in my lyrics. Through it, a collective was formed and we had great success with the concept. I have been the Shadow Demon for decades and will always be known as that character.

"Again it's history right there forever archived in the rave vaults for eternity."

 

Image: MC Bassman on Facebook (MC Bassman and Micky Finn)

Now, to finish off, I’d like to do a bit of a quickfire round here to give the uninitiated some insights into you, some of your favourite things you've done, and what the 35-year anniversary truly means: 

 

Your favourite track you have MC’d on?

"Easily 'Da Bass II Dark' with Asylum."

 

Favourite MC to work with?

"So many... I had a long partnership with Trigga, which again has created some serious history that will never be erased.

"But, I have worked with loads of MCs and many of them all love MCing with me, especially the new kids and I ride it still alongside them with no problem at all."

 

Your favourite live show:

"So many gigs to pick one out. A memorable one was the 'Raveology Bassman Bday Bash in 2006. The council, local police, and authorities were all worried about this event, they thought it was going to be full of gangs and that there was a threat of violence breaking out.

"But it was far from that one of the best raves in the city only due to what was going on around it."

 

Your favourite venue to play in?

"It has to be the Que Club; one of the most iconic and treasured venues in Rave History."

 

The track that has inspired you and your music?

"Alex Reece's 'Pulp Fiction' has to be the tune. It's the soundtrack to Bassman. The 10 commandment lyrics it did over that track are some of my most famous bars. Amongst the 1000s of mix tapes that is the one; memories forever."

 

 


 

There are still tickets available for MC Bassman's 35-year celebratory bash at LAB11 this weekend. So, if you want to get involved, and stick your middle fingers high, then you will be able to find tickets to the event at the bottom of this page!

 


 

Check out our What's On Guide to discover even more rowdy raves and sweaty gigs taking place over the coming weeks and months. For festivals, lifestyle events and more, head on over to our Things To Do page or be inspired by the event selections on our Inspire Me page.

 

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Header image credit: MC Bassman on Facebook

 

 

Tickets for 35 Years of Bassman at LAB11

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