5 Minutes With – Johnny Kash
A typical middle aged man’s country pub isn’t the type of location you would expect 2 junglists to meet for a cheeky mid week pint but that’s the exact location of the meeting as Jamie talks to Johnny Kash about his life in the scene to date. From illegal raves in the depths of the woods to tearing up main stage at the UK’s biggest club nights, this is the life and times of one of East Anglia’s biggest MCs. Take us back to where it all began “Probably my first memories of the scene were from various tapes that went around at school and others passed on from my older brother. The Edge and Pure X events really stick in my mind, the likes of Carl Cox smashing the old hardcore, not forgetting everyones favourite Jungle Mania CD, plus the likes of Bassman, MC MC, Blackmarket, Ray Keith and Randall. What really made me want to be a part of the scene though was when I got my first job at 16 and grafted hard for my first set of turntables. Like most teenagers growing up in the scene, we all wanted to have our own little parties and after a while I seemed to have been given the title of ‘the guy that would pick the mic up’. This carried on for a while and before long I started to get into the whole mc side of things, writing lyrics rather than just chatting a few words and sipping my beer – this was when I decided to take things seriously.” What next? “I got the hunger for it, it was all I could think about and by that time I was going raving each and every weekend. The Sanctuary, Rex, all kinds of venues and the ethos of being part of a huge scene really stuck with me. This was also when I started to go to Warning around ‘99 and pretty much made this my home and I never missed a single one again. Event wise I wanted to branch out, do our own nights with local artists and this was when I really found confidence, both in my ability as an artist and as a promoter. Some of these events were held in forests, others in community centres, that kind of thing – anyone serious about the scene has been down this route no doubt!” TC Islam in a forest? “We did this night way deep in a forest till 6 in the morning, it was nuts, especially when TC Islam (son of Afrika Bambaataa) turned up alongside DJ Randall dressed head to toe in full camo gear and big black sunglasses – it was like a scene from Predator, especially with the morning sun coming up and the mist in the background. What really made that night was hearing TC Islam try and persuade the authorities to let the party continue in his thick American accent, I don’t think they really knew what to think! I started getting booked for the second room at Warning around this time, this was when I started getting crowd responses I wouldn’t have ever imagined, especially when ravers would recognise me and madder still… know my lyrics. That to me was madness, other people actually knowing what bars were up next and made me even more determined to write new material.” The original social network “Before Facebook and inviting 25,000 people to an event online it was all about dedication, hard work and getting to know people face to face. That’s one thing people have forgotten, the long hard slog of flyering, postering and generally putting the work in rather than expecting 1,000’s of people at your event from a single online event invite and getting 5. I firmly believe that some of the earlier bookings I was lucky enough to obtain was due to the fact that people knew me from flyering raves, I could interact with the promoters on a level where they got to know me and that was half of the battle won.” So you want to be an mc? Advice for the new generation “While up and coming mc’s in drum & bass concentrate on bars, bars and more bars, it’s also important to understand that an mc is a personality, someone that connects with the crowd on a level. Getting your name on a flyer is a great feat in itself but someone recognising you for not only your talent but for you as a person is something that shouldn’t be forgotten. Content, originality and certainly not concentrating on guns and violence are massively important on the journey as an drum & bass mc. Talking of guns and violence.. “People like to gass it up man, it’s all hype and nonsense half the time although in my opinion, it’s certainly not needed in the scene. I’m not naming names here but certain artists like to talk up the violence in their lyrics only to retract in further down the line with wishes of taking it ‘back to how things used to be’. It’s fine to battle mc’s on the mic as long as that’s all it is, a battle of talent – when followers start to confuse that with real aggression that’s when it causes issues. Like I said though, most of it is gass.” Taking it a step further “The progression with Warning took me to main stage along with trips overseas to Bulgaria and Venice alongside Jimmy Danger supporting Switch! I’m still grafting daily, still writing bars, still loving drum & bass and certainly not distracted by negativity. My original passion for being part of the scene remains intact and I’m looking forward to another year on the mic”. Shouts to Pete Edwards, Rossco Cynthetic, Jimmy Danger, Billy Smith.