MC DRS first got into MCing when he rocked up to a rave where Marcus Intalex was playing near Manchester, and asked for a go on the mic. He quickly became a regular at raves in the north, and when jungle/drum & bass events were outlawed from Manchester city centre he started MCing all over the country.
He fell in with LTJ Bukem and MC Conrad for a while, featuring on some 'Progression Sessions' comps and Essential Mixes, and in 2012 he became one of only a handful of d&b MCs to release a full artist album — 'I Don't Usually Like MCs But...'
Now he's about to drop his second artist album 'Mid Mic Crisis' on Soul:R — Marcus Intalex's label. DRS fronts tracks produced by the likes of old Manchester buddies Calibre and Marcus Intalex, plus cats such as Drumsound & Bassline Smith, Dub Phizix, DJ Die and so on. It hangs together really well, and anyone who claims not to like MCs should stop what they're doing and tune in right here...
DJ Mag grabbed DRS for some words, just as the 'Mid Mic Crisis' album has dropped...
There's hardly been any albums released by drum & bass MCs – why do you think that is?
“I don't know, the talent's out there but it's not an easy thing to do. It sounds easy but it's a lot of work. Mentally and physically, but I love the whole process. Apart from waiting for the release — ha ha!
And yet this is your second...
“Yizzzuuur! I just felt like I had a little more to say. I also like to let people know how I got from album one to album two. Sometimes artists leave it too long between albums, so that they've changed so much by the second release. I want the listeners to grow with me.”
How did you first hook up with Marcus Intalex?
“I met him in a club — Angels in Burnley. It was the first rave I ever went to. I asked him for a go on the mic, and he said yes. I'd never MC'd live before, I bet it was shocking — ha ha. But we kept in touch and began to work together here and there.”
It's not spoken about so much apart from the Hacienda, but the Manchester hardcore (and then drum & bass) scene was off the hook, wasn't it?
“Yeah, it was a crazy lawless time in Manchester, it was at the height of the '90s where gang-land met club land. And unfortunately jungle/hardcore was the 'gangsters' music of choice — ooof!
“So the raves were crazy places filled with energy — good and bad. It was exciting, and every night out was an adventure. Dimly-lit clubs, big sound systems and crazy people! But the trouble got too much, so the council banned jungle raves in the [Manchester] city centre for years. That's when we started travelling.”
Did you have to supplement your MC work with a 'normal job' at all over the years?
“Yeah, man, I've been a labourer, I worked at Pizza Express, a couple of butty shops, factories etc. When my children arrived, I did all them things to bring in money. And I would again tomorrow if I needed to. It's holding down the job that's my problem — ha ha.
Calibre, Marcus Intalex, Drumsound & Bassline Smith, Dub Phizix, DJ Die... you've got pretty much the cream of producers on board. How did you decide who to work with on this album?
“I just let all my friends in the scene know I'm working on an album and asked if they wanna be involved. I write to everything, even things I'm not sure about. Then I start picking out the best or most emotive. I like the listener to feel that we are the same, I'm no better or greater than anyone, so I just find the best vehicle (beat) to get that sentiment to the listener.”
And how did you make sure it still all fitted together as an album?
“The thing that glues my albums together is me. That gives it an all-over sound. It's more picking the actual tracklist than making tracks sit together. I record so much that it becomes a massive problem — ha ha.”
What's your funniest experience as an MC over the years?
“I've had too many to mention. They usually involve Skittles, Dub Phizix, Chimpo, Strats, Fox, Rolla and Banner. And usually things I could never share! Ha ha!”
And your proudest moment?
“My proudest moment in life was becoming a father to two amazing children — Kaya and shiloh. Then it's both my albums. I feel like they are my greatest accomplishments.
“I'm working on a hip hop project. Got loads of collabs on the way, and I have a very unexpected album project that we completed yesterday in Amsterdam — been working on it for a year. Loads of touring with my band 8 Gold Rings for 'Mid Mic Crisis', and just generally having fun with people I love!”
Get your copy of DRS's album here
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