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Andy C: The Story Behind Nightlife 6

Andy C: The Story Behind Nightlife 6

The beast has landed!

nightlife 6

Nightlife 6 sees Andy C’s 10 year old series continue to set the benchmark for D&B DJ mixes. Boasting over 100 tracks (80 of which are downloadable as singles), it’s Andy’s most ambitious project to date. And it’s the first in the series to be delivered over three CDs – Red, Green & Blue.

Galvanised in VIPs and featuring two of Andy’s very own productions (his first full solo productions since Finders Keepers in 2006), it’s another Ram Records success story… But it’s not without some serious blood and sweat behind it.

We called up Andy to find out the whole process from start to finish. This is the real Nightlife story…

It all started this April…
“It wasn’t consciously on my radar to do it this year, but it was around April or May when I looked at all the amazing music I’ve got when the seeds were sewn. Then I had a string of killer festival gigs all around the world and thought ‘right, I’m going to do this! How hard can it be?’ That’s the worst thing you can possibly think… Especially when it’s three CDs!”

A wishlist develops…
“This is the first stage. And it constantly changes and develops right until the very last minute. I got to the point where I had so many tracks listed I thought there was no way it could be two CDs. I suggested this to the main man Scott (Red One) who threatened to throw me out of the window! The logistics behind this are so intense. To do three mixes is a big challenge for everybody. It had to be three from this moment on though. It couldn’t be less. If anything I was considering four! I play these four hour sets and still have tunes left over that I want to play; that was my inspiration.”

The paperwork starts here…
“From a DJing perspective I’d be knocking mixes out all day long but you have to have a plan. You have to know your limits. You have to have some rules and cap it somewhere because budgets need to be planned for each mix – for licencing fees and marketing budgets and royalties – you have to factor in mechanical royalties and percentages. We have to settle at something. The wishlist could go on forever; I had to shut down to new music for a while because we just couldn’t licence any more tracks. I was still putting in requests at the very last minute and Jim and the office crew have gone mad on it. They’ve been more stressed on it than me! Luckily their hard work has paid off and the scene’s been very good to us.”

Sometimes you just can’t get some tunes…
“Everyone’s been really cool. There are always one or two tracks you can’t get. Autumn and winter has always been a key time for labels releasing big albums and projects. So a lot of the tunes I couldn’t get were ones that are being used on other album projects. We totally get that. There are a lot of contractual conditions people don’t consider and you have to abide by the rules. Some rules are very strong. Like ‘if you don’t use the complete track then you can’t feature it’. Well that won’t work on a Nightlife mix so we can’t use those tunes. They’re the rules!”

Other tunes are so upfront they’re not even finished yet…
“A couple of tunes on the album are currently a 48 bar long track! They’re so new, they’re just ideas at this stage… But they’re such good ideas that I have to have them on the mix. Just because I want to make a Nightlife mix, artists might not have their tracks ready. It’s not their fault! But I’ve managed to peel the unfinished tracks off them anyway and squeeze them in the mix. They’re from Ram artists, of course. I don’t have any other label sending me one minute long tracks!”

The planning before I press record…
“The tracklisting is crucial. It’s one thing going into the studio and pressing record but getting to that stage is really tricky. It has to run in an order that works. Everything has to work with each other, just like it would for a live DJ set. So that takes up a huge amount of time and practice, making sure I know exactly how those mixes go and hoping the licence wouldn’t fall through at the last minute. There’s one mix I had planned with three songs that all had lyrics which corresponded with each other. Then at the last minute one of the tunes fell through and the journey wouldn’t work so we had to change it all around. Massively gutted, but that’s the way it goes.”

andy c17-web

Then I press record…
“Then I go deep into the studio and focus on each mix individually. I mix it on three turntables, Traktor and an Allen & Heath mixer. It’s a nightmare; I lock myself away, I ignore the outside world, I age about 50 years and have a few nervous breakdowns!”

The pressure is next level…
“It’s so much easier stepping up in front of a crowd of 10,000 people than recording these mixes! You’ve got the vibe that you can feel off the crowd, there’s the butterflies and the buzz and it’s special. But there’s added pressure on a project like this because it’s there for time. People buy it and they want value for money. You’ve got to put it on the line and do the best I can to make a product people want to enjoy. There’s a passion behind both types of processes; I live for the club or live set buzz. And, I can tell you, it’s such a nice feeling once it’s done though! Sitting back and listening to them is a big accomplishment. As always, there were tunes that came through the minute I finished it. I asked Scott if I could change the mixes and include them but was told where to go!”

It all ended this October…
“The mixes were finished at the start of October. Five weeks before it came out. It was cutting it super fine. It had to be mastered, the CDs needed manufacturing and processing and shipping out to distributors. It was close to the wire but that’s the nature of D&B, you know?”

Andy C: Nightlife 6 is out now. Listen and download.

nightlife 6

 

 

 

 

Drum&BassArena Editor: Dave Jenkins has documented beats for over 15 years. His work has taken him around the world and has been featured and favoured by Mixmag, UKF, Radio 1Xtra, Ministry Of Sound, iDJ Magazine and many more...

Andy C

With 40+ awards to date, DJ sets that see him play main stages from EDC to Global Gathering, and a reputation as the go-to remixer for the likes ...

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