Veteran of North West D'n'B scene, Curtis Holligan (MC SAS) spoke to [Ex]: about the launch of his new label SLEEP LESS Records
What first got you involved with this wonderful beastie called DnB?
I used to listen to old radio shows of people like Stu Allen, acid house tapes & recordings of raves from about age 11
A school mate used to come in with a massive walkman & loads of tapes. We would sit on a field listening to them, so I suppose it started then & progressed into jungle then DnB as music changed
Can you remember the 1st track that grabbed you? Or the 1st one you bought?
Now that’s hard. First tune that really got to me was ‘Charly' (the Prodigy –Ed.) That lead synth-noise they used had my mind working overtime. How they made it, where it came from
It seemed so different to every other tune. Plus the drums were more rolling breaks than 4-to-the-floor. The sample was from an old advert from the 80's (-ahem-! 70’s); I liked the advert as a kid so the two combined had me hooked!
Where did you start out?
In Liverpool at a night called Blade Runners in 96-97. I'd wanted to MC for ages and had been writing for a while, they were some funny bars when I think back! Kemistry & Storm were playing there. I’d been going down to the Metalheads nights so I wasn’t gonna miss one in my home town
None of my mates would come with me ‘cause they were all skint. So I was stressing out in the house and my mum pulled me over and said “They won’t be on stage with you on the mic so if you want to do it, do it on your own.” Wise words
(Good ol' Mum! -Ed.)
I went down to ask the promoter if he needed an MC and he said Yes. I was in shock ‘cause I couldn’t believe I would be MCing with Kemistry & Storm!
So I went on, they liked what I was doing, gave me their numbers and things carried on from there. More Liverpool nights then all over Europe started popping and booking me. The rest is history. Now here we are 2012, time flies!
What changes have you witnessed in the scene since you became involved? Better now or then do you think?
Liverpool has gone from a city that would only pull in around 300 people at each night (if you’re lucky) to over a thousand at some of the bigger line-ups like Chase and Status and Andy C, so it’s been amazing to see it grow and to have been a major a part of it
On the whole our scene has changed with the rise of dubstep, our so-called bad economy, and of course it has evolved a lot.
DJ Fresh hitting Number#1 will have a huge, lasting effect on DnB. I think that can only be a good thing for DnB no matter what style you play, make or spit over
You’ve hosted so many nights in Liverpool & across the North-West, what are your personal highlights?
I love getting over to do any shows but ones that have been really good have probably been that Spellbound BBC 1-Xtra live show in Sankeys; Metropolis NYE at Sheridan Suite 2004; Sophonic Sessions back in Liverpool; Creamfields, Chibuku, our SLRUK label launch & more - Viper Recordings a few months back in the Magnet with Futurebound and Camo + Krooked...
There’s so many more in Austria like Morphed, Wicked, then there’s Mainframe with Bad Company; that was a huge night!
Tell us about Sleep Less Records, how it came to be
Sleep Less Records was inspired by late nights in the studio and the planning for Sleep Less Studios which I set up last year. I won a slot at the 2011 BBC Introduces at Abbey Road & Maida Vale, and the name came about in the realisation of how lazy I’d been as an artist, so I gave myself a kick up the arse, slept less at night and got to work on it
You’ve got new international artists signed up you’ve never met? Tell us about these guys
We hooked up on Facebook! Sikdope had a track he wanted me to lay lyrics over, I heard the tune and I was in!
Never done much studio recording before, just live shows, I recorded it, we put it on YouTube channel called Underground Dubstep and it did OK; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYoxazwiD9I&feature=plcp Got about 20,000 views 1st week or 2 so we kept in touch. I thought they would be good to have on board, on the label. After hearing their new stuff, I was right. We’re just working on a new one at the min that’s sounding tight called ‘Pyscho’
You’ve also got fellow veterans Mark XTC & Sappo on board?
I’ve worked with Sappo and XTC for a few years now, on big shows like 1-Xtra & gigs in France and I’ve always loved what they’d put out, so we are really looking forward to working with them again on SLRUK
Other label artists smashing it at the min are Kumarachi, Dan Danko, KSO, EKTO 1, NorthBase. All with totally different styles so there will be a wide range of dnb & dubstep coming out
(FB Page search for: Sikdope: EKTOL1: KSO-Dubstep: Dan Danko: kurmarachi: NORTHBASEUK)
Launch Night: Who What Where When?
We had our packed label launch with Bass Knowledge on April 20th and that’s with another 3 events on within 5 min walking distance. Futurebound , Kumarachi, Dan Danko, Erbman, Daddy Krunk, Skelator with me, MC Fearless, Miss Stylie, Nicky Talent. Big success. Looking forward to the next we plan with them
We always up for doing SLR nights for promoters & events so get in touch if you’re looking for something fresh to put in your line-up
Sleep Less Records available where? Upcoming releases to look for?
First two releases we are going through our Soundcloud as they’re free downloads. After that you will find us on i-Tunes, Beatport, Juno
My Editor also needs to know what your favourite dinosaur might be?
"If I had to be one? Pterradactyl so I can look at the world from the sky in all its glory"
Both SAS (ft. Alison Roberts) 'Sold Your Soul' and Sikdope 'Dub Step Haters’ are available for free download http://soundcloud.com/sleep-less-records-uk from today, Mon 30 April 2012