If you’re talking Drum n Bass and Jungle music theres not many people who have not heard of the man and DJ we call Nicky Blackmarket and big in the game MC Fatman D. How many realise just how much work and how many hours these two men spend bringing music from the small corners of England to a large international audience.
Fresh before hitting the stage at their second collaboration birthday bash at the CORONET THEATRE, LONDON we are lucky enough to get a few exclusive words with the artists and find out what they have has been up to more recently, before enjoying the feast of DJ-ing and vocal talent the night has to offer.
After Locating Nicky B first of all, I’m greeted with that familiar grin, telling me that hes been up for x amount of days doing what he does best. Leading me up the narrow stairway, he suggests what still looks like a theatre dressing room as a quieter location for our interview. Hearing that Nicky has once again been on the Drum n Bass trail abroad, this time to Austria, i feel this will be a good place to start our conversation. Well, I haven’t played there for a few years, this guy NDL DJ does things in Lincs…. really good party. Referring to the event he has attended, which is now ongoing in Austria, he continues; They call it ‘Older than old skool’, they don’t just play old skool, they play the whole thing, but yea really good party.
I raise the point that while Nicky and Fatman are international artists, household names within the scene across the UK, they also seems to reach the smaller towns and venues as well of the superclubs of say London, Birmingham and Bristol; Nicky explains; For me they are all as important as each other. You have these little places which are like grass routes to the scene. Fatman has now joined us along with DJ Heist who seem intrigued as to what is going down and more than happy to listen in. Fatman adds; In the end we are in a scene now which is called the underground, Drum n Bass is underground music. We need to get the smaller venues , because at the end of the day not everyone has the money to get the big parties, so majority of the time they are done in small clubs. In the end i think it can be more intimate in a small club.
So what keeps these two going, over all these miles during all these sets, Surely there must have been days where the interest has wavered. Nicky tells me; I love it! It’s what I do. Why would I ever think of quitting when I’m not doing anything wrong. There’s always obstacles that you have to overcome… Fatman here busts in into the conversation, talking differently about his thoughts and motivations; Theres a few mcs on the road who do a million and one bars and what swagger is and being dressed up to impress …I’m more of an entertainer, this is my role in life, i’m here to help people and entertain people. Obviously I have Bio Beats, them men keep me on my feet too. Bio Beats is Fatmans own label, he takes it very seriously as it is quickly growing and producing top talent and giving up and coming artists a chance to break into the scene. There have now been successful Young Guns /Bio Beats events and 2am here at the birthday bash sees a two such Djs Jayline and Lady V Dubz from his label playing back to back, a set which i am at this point in the evening still eagerly anticipating. Fatman continues; Young Guns is the first up and coming event to put on the map the new coming DJs and MCs and producers, just giving them a platform. Bio Beats has consisted of loads of members and again with Biological Beats it’s another platform for new talent…I think that will be the future of drum n bass.
I probe a little harder asking as an organiser if there are pressures or maybe other things which make him lose his temper, secretly hoping he doesn’t say interviews. He assures me to my relief it isn’t, He asks himself the question mulling on it, before continuing with a simple answer; What makes me lose my temper? When things aren’t done right. Especially with Bio Beats, i’m a bit of a … He pauses and thinks hard… A bit of a master about it. I want things done a certain way, I want to tell them straight, because if you don’t have things done in the way, you’ll have a bag of crap, so i’m a bit of perfectionist yea.
As for Nicky and what drives him and makes him tick personally; Just making people dance! And it’s nice from where I started, there have been a few generations of people that have past… Quite a few generations since I started..” he jokes, with the same distinct grin we have seen so many times from behind the turntables emerging once again. He continues, “so you have got to be, especially in this scene, you have got to be fresh, you have to be playing new music all the time. I mean obviously I play old skool too, but it’s good where you’re playing new stuff, fresh stuff and you have to be creative as well, you have to be on the ball.”
In a career that has seen so many different clubs and festivals, sets played for so many different people come rain, come storm, we simply have to ask NICKY to share a story from on the road. One of the first times I spoke with Nicky properly he was on the second of four sets in a night (not Uncharacteristically) after he had to get ravers and promoters to push his car out of the mud after a set up North before making his way to Whitney and then London-wards! Even fellow Djs and MCs have highlighted this is a good question to ask as NICKY B has plenty of interesting and funny stories to tell. Fatman D who has been patiently listening, here prompts him with a smile to take us back to Global Gathering; What about when you ran into the post.
Nicky pulls a half serious expression; Oh fuck, well it wern’t really funny! Yea, I remember Global Gathering, playing early, was going to go to Germany straight afterwards. I was playing records back then, I had my two bags in my hands and I’ve come out running… running, there’s this piece of metal on the floor, I’ve basically, if you imagine someone has done a kung -fu chop, like that to your legs… He energetically signals with his hands, signifying his body being smashed to the floor, I’ve gone boom, and it’s gone right through, and I mean right through, it’s got a hole here. He continues to show us where the metal has gone straight through his upper lip, leaving a scar, still highly noticeable all these years later.
It’s pouring with blood, because you know the area right there…I’m like; for fucks sake!! I’m going to be fucking late!! I thought I’m going to be late and I’m going to miss the gig in Germany, that’s all that was on my mind. So i’m there raging with fucking adrenaline right, ive got up, Dave Platley and Mark lambert are standing by the gate, Dave who use to run ‘Helter Skelter’ and Mark ‘Sidewinder’ who went on to do ‘Random Concept’, they did the Global Gathering Drum n Bass thing, thats who started that…. There at the door and are like; ‘What’s happened to you, who done that, who done that!!’ Next minute 20 security are there asking ‘who done that!’ …there in seconds, I’m like ‘Nah, nah I just fell down!’ They’re like ‘are you alright’, I’m there covered in claret, covered! I’m like; ‘I’m gonna be late, i’m gonna be late’. I ran up to the decks, I played , a paramedic had to come and everyone in the crowd thought I had nose bleed. It’s bleeding bleeding and they kept dabbing me while i was on the decks. I’m thinking, look at the fucking time i’ve got to go to fuckin’ Germany in a minute. I’ve come off the decks… Nicky adopts a solemn tone to relay his instructions ‘You’ve got to go to the paramedics tent before you go anywhere you can’t go like that on a plane’’. So ive gone and they have had a look at it and it’s bubbling… when i’ve shut my mouth my lips going …’He comically shows is as if imitating a fish blowing bubbles, his hanging cleaved lip. They go ‘I’m really sorry about this, you aint going to Germany, your going to Warwick hospital! After a few of nickys friends, myself, Fatman and DJ Heist cease to laugh at Nickys misfortune he continues; Then it sunk in, back to planet earth. I went down the hospital , they put this blue thing on there, this new stitching thing like glue. All night i’m getting ‘What happened? what happened!’ They all thought someone had hit me or attacked me. The madness about it, the guy in Germany he didn’t believe me. Nicky Imitates a stereotypical german accent ‘ I see you playing!’He has seen me playing on fuckin Helter Skelter! He didn’t understand and I had to show him the whole thing, show him pictures, pictures of the certificate of me going into hospital. Fatman quickly jokes; It was on the tape pack…Nicky B fell over!! As laughing subsides nicky continues; The German guy just didn’t believe me Tracy Kenney’s x mrs was the agent at the time, Chrissy Chris Mum, and she was like, ‘ You’re going to have to get proof’, for what happened to me. So i had to get the certificate from the hospital, show pictures of my thing… He signals to his lip before once again turning German to represent the angry promoter running the gig; ‘I see you playing Helter Skelter, you never coming’, and this is Tracy speaking to him!
Considering Nickys monumental contribution and willingness to talk more openly for this part of my interview I wonder if Fatman wants to tell us a story about his time on the road. Straight away he informs me that he remembers loads, and I Immediately am left thinking we gonna need more paper. He starts; I remember one time when I was in Canada , it was me and foxy, we were in this big, like mansion/house where the promoter owned it, he was like ‘Come back to this house’… he had his own restaurant down stairs in his basement, own disco in the place, so it was a nice house. There was this flying yellow thing, I thought it was just a wasp so i backed it away and then it actually stung me…and it was a hornet. Foxy was like, ‘LOOK AT THE FUCKIN’ SIZE OF YA NECK BRUV’ … I was like, awww, ohhh… and i had to MC that night too so i was fucked, but it was a crazy ass story definately.
Having known Nicky longer I enquire how it is being a married family man, i’m interested how he juggles this with a career in underground rave music. Nicky briefly laughs hard as we ask him this and replies simply suggesting with a rye smile that while its not always easy he doesn’t want to go to into depth on the matter. You just do it dont ya. You just do it, you have too! Fatman agrees; I’m a family man and I juggle my family life … very hectic. Thats like Nick said before, it has to be done, Kids don’t feed themselves, I have to feed them.
I’m Interested in how the working partnership formed between the two artists, Fatman signals me with a hand so say he will take this one; I was going around with Stevie Hyper D. I had met Nicky a few times and so forth. It was just natural progression at the end of the day, Steves my mentor. ‘95 -’96 I met Nicky. I knew Foxy for years. Foxy had been going around with Nicky and I was going around with Steve and obviously me and Foxy linked up and did our thing and had to carry on the torch and that’s how it run.
When we ask about the Coronet for a second year running as their chosen venue, Nick at first gives the quick answer simply stating; Why not? Everyone laughs and Nick adds almost wistfully; Its a great venue, it’s an old cinema, a great venue, especially for a drum n bass.
I think about the ridiculous amount of top Talent on show across three rooms, an astounding amount for one day event. When I raise this point with Fatman he is quick to refer to his event organisers and fellow artists; If we didn’t have Bridge and Inter… He pauses and thinks…Its because we trust them. Numerous other people were saying to us, because we were doing it with Profile in Herbal years ago, and I did one in Birmingham, one with Jay Cutter as well, so the natural thing was Breaking Science/Definition. I had known Bridge for a while, worked with him, and I could trust him, so we gave them the brand, I thought, allow, just do it! The lineup and that it has to be that way, because we set trends…We don’t follow trends we set them! Looking back I suggest to him that the 2013 bash was perhaps one of the raving highlights of the year, he quickly jokes back with little modesty; It’s the top event of the fuckin’ calendar full stop! Soon there will be Nicky Blackmarket and Fatman D Festival… 3 or 4 days straight.
Well with a showcase event like this who would bet against them. Who would want to!
DJ Heist has been patiently waiting by for us to finish talking to our hosts for the evening. So we take the opportunity to ask him a few quick questions about what his thoughts on tonight’s proceedings; They are my mates, good friends of mine, both of them, it’s a pleasure just to play for them and the Coronet is an amazing venue just as Nick said. It’s the whole package, the line up is one of the best i’ve seen this year and celebrating two birthdays.
When i ask him if he has a message for the birthday boys, it’s still or jokes around the dressing room; Nicky when are you going to remix my tune Flannel Chat, and Fatman, He pauses for effect then with extreme melancholy … I’m sorry I didn’t book ya for boxing day… I love ya…. and big up, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
Highly interested of course in his movements in the DnB game more generally i quickly enquire as to what’s up next; I’m making some new music, I’m running my events Sumo Beats, monthly thing i do in Colchester and just finishing my EP for Goldie for Metalheadz.
By the time i get back out into the club the night has once again gone off again successfully as it heads into the early hours and towards the showcase birthday set from Fatman and Nicky B! There is an excited, vibrant buzz of an atmosphere at the front of stage, packed with sweaty but happy ravers dancing hard, to the backstage where the feeling is relaxed and friendly, with artists chatting and smoking with each other and happy to spare some words for Dnbmuzik.com.
We managed to catch long time legend in the DnB DJing game Micky ‘Pussycat’ Finn, who stepping back just for the evening from organising successful Ibiza rave holiday ‘Sunbeatz’ with Darren Jay, has tonight performed along side Jumpin’ Jack Frost and Brockie. He takes no time to make quick fun of my wavering voice which has dropped to new gravelly levels during the course of talking over rumbling bass music. Firstly, why aren’t you doing voice overs with that voice! Once back on track I ask about his set with not just one but two other top DJs; I really enjoyed it, if memory serves me well, and it doesnt, ive never done one with Brockie and Jack, it was good, great party in there. He of course means all three artists together, but coming from Micky whos been around in the music game for some time this takes me by surprise. He continues; Great party in there, well done to the boys, the que was around the block when I turned up, it’s a full house in there, great vibe, great production, great monitor system with the DJs, I enjoyed it. I ask what he plans next, Micky keeps it to the here and the now, tracks he’s been making, rather than revealing future plans; I’m off to Nottingham next week…i’ve actually been in the studio with Serial Killaz, we’ve made one and were going to get a few more finished. I’ve got the bug again, now it’s gone a bit ‘Jungly’ I feel like I can contribute. I don’t DJ as much, but i like that. I’ve been doing it a long time! I like my walks in the country with the dog, i’m getting old. I mean i still love it. I ask why he raises the subject of age somthing some artists choose to avoid, but he clearly and quite rightly has no shame; I mean I don’t give a monkeys, i’ve been DJ-ing 30 years, so how old am i?! New people come along, I enjoy it, but I dont want to be going out 6 times a week to be honest. I nearly leave Micky without getting a birthday message for our hosts but he quickly pulls me up on the fact that that is the whole point,having a final laugh he says; Nick, Happy 50th birthday mate and Fatman, I don’t know how old you are but I know your a pensioner.
Venturing back to the club madness, even room three is going off big time by the time, DJ profile keeping a low profile, hitting the crowed with a well mixed varied set before his main stage appearance, dnbmuzik.com doing a duble take checking it the man himself coming from arena 3 heading to arena 1. Once again there’s an after party been provided for the stamina party crew, the toughest, all be it the drunkest of the raving army out there, and once again the both Nicky B and Fatman are headlining. At a cheap price of only 5 pounds a head, I’ve seen more people head to club N.65 for ‘Last Man Standing’, but needless to say the good vibes carried over from the coronet into the freezing morning air and into the low lit Vauxhall based club.
Good news as expected for Bio Beats due Jayline and Lady V Dubz, as their well received jump up set was one of the room two highlights at the coronet earlier, and once again received great reception here in the morning for their second collaboration of the night. These two DJS, quite new to the big time, are always smiling and laughing with each other as they select tracks during their frequent back to back sets, and as good friends create a vibe that reflects positively on their audience, literally bouncing around behind the CDJs. Jayline reveals how although he has only been at the mainstage now, his love and work with the drums goes way further back; I’ve been DJing 20 years, producing nearly 11, I love playing with V Dubz, we met through Lady Blazer, shes a MC, we started linking up 9-10 years ago, we always smash every set together. We have a good connection as we are such close friends as well as colleagues.
DJ Friller and Ruffstuff organised this, and while the bouncers didn’t seem filled with the good raving spirit unlike the excellent staff at the Coronet, everyone else certainly was. A comic award for the last man standing is meant to be handed out and dnbmuzik.com has every intention of getting the prize. Sad to say no trophy was forthcoming as too many heads were still bopping, feet still stomping, with top tunes and friendly vibes these ravers were going nowhere.
words by Michael Eedle