Mr.C on his early years, family and the future

I have very distinct memories of being an 11-year-old, watching The Shamen’s video for Ebeneezer Goode and being completely hooked by the vocals of the group’s rapper, Mr.C. I remember my uncle cracking me up by repeating the infamous line, ‘Naughty, naughty veeerrrry naughty’, this was a very early introduction to rave culture (that and a copy of a compilation called Rave 92, which came out on Cookie Jar Records the same year). At the time I was, obviously, completely unaware of the euphemisms ‘hidden’ in the song’s lyrics – years later I found it amusing that the song had made it to number one with such naughty (veeerrry naughty) lyrical content. I was a big fan of The Shamen, but what I didn’t know was that Mr.C had already been around as a DJ and MC for a good few years before the group hit the charts. Fast forward 21 years and he’s still involved in rave/underground culture – travelling the world as a DJ, hosting his Superfreq parties, running a label of the same name (which he recently relaunched) and maintaining a lifestyle based around meditation, creative visualisation and positive thinking. Here’s the outcome of a recent chat we had…

First of all I wanted to ask you about where you grew up and what your childhood was like, because I read that you come from quite an impoverished, one-parent family?

I was born in Mile End, in Whitechapel Hospital – so within the sound of the Bow Bells. At the time my mother lived in Clissold Park in Stoke Newington, so the first six months of my life I was there. We moved to Holloway when I was six months old, my mum and dad split up when I was five – we then moved into my mum’s friend’s place, so it was two families in one flat.

How many people were living there?

Well, there was me, my twin sister, my brother and my mum and then there was my mum’s friends and their three kids, so it was two full-on families in a three-bedroom flat – which was quite hard work for a year. After that, my mum managed to get on the Circle 33 Housing Trust, which was basically for problem families, so you’d get in ahead of people on the council list because it’s an issue. We moved into this rundown old house in Camden Road, it was almost derelict so it was pretty hardcore – we were a one-parent family for a couple of years until my mum met my stepfather, he immediately went to work to support us, but it was really hard work, we’re from a very very poor family, always on the welfare.

What was he doing for work?

Roofing. But he never interfered in any way with the bringing up of us lot, he left it to my mum to do – he never reprimanded us or anything. Amazing man, he fathered me in a way, even though my real father was an East End publican from a line of East End publicans, proper bad boys.

Was your actual father involved in your life as well as your stepdad?

Not really, my mum would always make us go and see him, every month or so we’d go and spend the day at his pub in Bethnal Green, just off Shoreditch actually.

How was that?

It was great, he used to have a DJ in there, who played disco and soul and funk… and there were strippers. So, as a kid, at 10, 11, 12, that was always good. So I always had music around me, my mum was into music.

What were you like as a kid?

I was a naughty kid, very intelligent, which I think was a lot of the problem. When I was in Primary School – I went to Hungerford School, which was off York Way (Camden, Brecknock that area) – I was top of the class in everything, Maths, English, Arts… everything.

I had a similar thing when I was a kid – you get bored and start acting up..

That was the thing and I was a naughty kid anyway, I was very easily led. If anyone said, ‘Let’s do this’, I’d be the first one in. I’d even plant seeds so that other people would suggest it and then I’d be egging everyone on. When I was in the fourth year of Primary School I won an art competition for the whole of Islington, I had my poster up all over Islington – it was a ‘Keep Britain Tidy’ poster. I got presented with a gift at Islington Town Hall! I was very gifted in every way and was doing music in Primary School when no one else was, playing the piano…

Did you have someone teaching you?

It was self-taught, I started off with one of those Rolf Harris Stylophones, they were brilliant! Then I went to Holloway Boys – thirteen-hundred Arsenal fans – so that was a challenge being a Chelsea supporter. Straight away, in the first year, I was way ahead of everyone, academically – even when you go back to my first year at Primary School, at six years old I was reading The Times, when other kids were reading Peter & Jane books, I was that far ahead. So, when I went to Holloway I was immediately mixed up with the wrong kids. 11 years old; playing truant, sniffing glue, robbing the milk float – a proper urban tyke. By the end of the first year my mum was being called up to the school about my truancy, called to the school about my behaviour – we set fire to the Science lab, we set fire to the maths room, we set a fire waiting in line to get BCG injections, which I ran away from and wouldn’t do. I didn’t want to be immunised, so I was the only one in my school that didn’t get it… thankfully, that’s why I look so young! All that forced immunisation to give us cancer, not that I knew it then. In the second year my mum was like, ‘Can’t you put him up a year or two but it was a comprehensive school so they were like, ‘No, we can’t do that kind of thing’. This led to more truancy, more getting in trouble. By the time I got to the third year I was 50% truant, it was in the third year we moved from Brecknock Road down to the other end to Tufnell Park, still Circle 33 Housing Trust, still always on the ‘Never Never’. In the fourth year I picked my options but I was 90% truant, I think I went to six Maths lessons in the whole year and the last one was the end-of-term mock exam – I got a 92% CSE pass and they put me into the O Level group. I went to the Deputy Head and said, ‘Look, don’t put me in this group, you’re depriving another child of an O-level place’. One of my mates didn’t get in the group and I was depriving him of a place, so I told the Deputy Head, ‘I’m not gonna go, put my mate in, he’s gonna work and get O Levels’. But he was like, ‘Oh no, you’ve got to go in the group’, I didn’t go once. I was completely absent and that was it, the end of my schooling at the age of fifteen, done!

So no qualifications at all?

I didn’t get any qualifications and I was still always in trouble. I started going out to pubs; my first proper pub experience was when I was 13. By the age of 14 I was going to disco pubs on Hackney Road, hanging out in Hoxton. By the time I was 15 I was going to Busby’s and The Lyceum, getting in trouble outside those places – at 16 I was going to the Hippodrome & Xenon’s, hanging out with rich Jewish kids in Golders Green and Edgware. By the time I was 17 I was going to the Titanic in Mayfair, hanging out with debutantes. I did everything early, but it was a tough upbringing, I was a street kid. My mum was a very strong, very beautiful woman – she was the community mum, not just my mum, she helped everyone, always had a house full of kids all the way up until she died seven years ago, community mum, house always full. Always helped everyone, never had anything, gave away what she didn’t have… she even sold a bit of weed because me and my mates puffed it. At 17 years of age, my mum found out I was puffing and got a bit concerned, so I went out and got a book on marijuana and said, ‘Read that’. After she read it, she was like, ‘Ok, I’d rather have you upstairs with your mates having a puff and listening to music, than going out to pubs, drinking alcohol and fighting’.

That’s a fair point.

Yeah, she was a brilliant mum, absolutely brilliant, an angel, I’m getting watery thinking about her. Amazing, amazing upbringing.. I started rapping when I was 16.

Yeah, where did the inspiration come from to get into that?

When I was 14 years old I was listening to a lot of early rap, 1979 Sugar Hill Gang, that kind of thing. I started doing Robot Dancing then Jeffery Daniels from Shalamar started doing Body Poppin’ moves, so we started to imitate that. I was a pretty good popper, then breakdancing started coming through – by the time I was 15/16 there were 11 year olds coming through who were amazing breakdancers, that was a no no for me. I was never really that supple and my hair’s a bit thin, so spinning on my head was out! So I thought, ‘How can I stay a step ahead?’, so I started rapping and writing my own lyrics with a friend, Robert Brown his name was. We’d rap together and play records at his place in Archway and he called himself Buster Rhymes and I called myself Mr.C – there was already a Mr.C in New York but I wasn’t aware of him. I was writing all my own lyrics, but my mate was using all of Buster Rhymes’ lyrics! He was getting all these tapes from New York and learning the lyrics, and I was keeping up with him with my own lyrics! Because of that I was getting really good and it kept me ahead of the game, so while the other kids were breaking to Planet Rock, I was on the mic. That was how the whole street rap thing started for me, and I took it into the clubs when I was 16/17 – that was the first time I rapped in Camden Palace.

How did you get yourself into a position where you could rap at places like that?

The first time I ever rapped in a club, I was 16 and I was on my first ever holiday in Tenerife with my girlfriend at the time, her name was Marcella, a girl from Ladbroke Grove – I had girlfriends all over the place, I was fond of the girls. I think it was probably to prove to myself that I wasn’t gay – I was sexually abused from the age of 10 to 13 by a guy – so I was always keen on girls, which I think was a subconscious thing…

Yeah, to reaffirm your sexuality.

Yeah yeah, it was a psychotic problem that I had – it was something that helped me confirm to myself that I wasn’t gay, so I was always around a lot of girls, spent a lot of time with girls. My twin sister and I were partners in everything, partners in crime, literally… we got in a lot of trouble my sister and I.

So, anyway, when I was with my girlfriend in Tenerife I went to this nightclub right in the middle of the Veronicas, I can’t remember the name of it now but it was the biggest club there. There was a guy playing music, he spoke on the mic and got everyone gee’d up, playing disco songs. I went to him and said, ‘Can I rap?’ and he said, ‘What do you wanna rap along to?’. I told him I had all my own lyrics and I started rapping in his ear, ‘I’m slick, bad, check me out. I’ve come to show you what rappin’ is all about…‘, very old school style: ‘Rockin’ on the mic seven days a week, to let the people know that I reached my peak. You see London is my place of birth, where the people are rockin’ all down to earth‘ – that kind of groove. He loved it and said get on the mic, ‘What do you wanna rap to?’, he asked. One of my favourite songs to rap to was Heavy Vibes by Montana Sextet, classic disco song but it was an instrumental and it had this big breakdown… so he’s introduced me and put the song on from the beginning – but when I was practicing, I’d wait for the breakdown which came after a couple of minutes, then after that I’d kick in. So, I’m standing with the mic in my hand for two minutes! By the time the breakdown comes, people are shouting, booing and I’m standing there with a smile on my face knowing what’s about to happen. The DJ’s panicking, I’m telling him not to worry – then it kicks in and I’ve started; ‘Well I’m slick, bad, check me out…’ and the place has gone OFF! I was just giving it for five minutes, continuous rap – everyone was going mad, so I was in there every night for the week, free booze, me and my girlfriend treated like royalty. That was my first actual experience as a club rapper.

What happened after that?

I got back from there, went up to Camden Palace – Chris Forbes was playing, he was a Capital Radio DJ at the time – I managed to blag on the mic with him, he was playing with Colin Faver. Then I was carrying on at breakers clubs, street stuff… then I got in a bit of trouble, I ended up spending my 19th year in jail.

Really? How long were you in for?

Seven months, I did a lot of lyric writing and meditation while I was inside. I started meditating when I was only 17.

How did you get introduced to that?

My stepfather went inside and, when he came out, he was meditating and smoking weed. He started skinning up next to me, I was like, ‘What are you doing?!’ and he goes, ‘Skinning up!’. So I went up to my bedroom, got my hashish and my Rizla and started skinning up next to him, he goes, ‘What do you think you’re doing?!’ and I said, ‘Same as you!’. My mum walked in and that was when I went and got the book.

So I was in trouble a little bit, a naughty boy – I spent most of my 19th year inside. The thing is, when I was 18, I was meditating and using the power of positive thought but to do bad things and Karma came back and kicked me in the arse and taught me a lesson and put me in jail. I was already mentally quite powerful by that time, I was making things happen by thinking about them and knowing they would come to pass, very very powerful – the sort of power people don’t have until their fifties, I had at 18 years of age. I was meditating every day and it was working – creative visualisation, going into the Quantum Field and I was making it work. So, when it kicked me in the arse, I turned my life around, I was like, ‘I’m never going to do anything wrong ever again’. I was always a worker, I was a motorcycle courier, despatch riding, I had no qualifications but I did roofing for my stepfather, then I’d get bored of that and go back and forth between the biking and roofing.

How did your rap career progress?

When I came out, I came out with a vengeance – I started rapping with the LWR Soul Syndicate, I sent jingles into Jasper The Vinyl Junkie, I was rapping with Ron Tom on LWR and Tosca on the then illegal Kiss FM events at the New Ambassador’s Club down in Holborn. It was hard work when rapping with the LWR Sound Syndicate, being the only white kid in there, but I always stood my ground. I was a hooligan anyway, I didn’t give a fuck, I’d always stand up for myself. Ron Tom, who I rapped for, was a big cunt as well, and we were buddies so people would back off.

I went back to the Camden Palace as well, around mid ‘86, Eddie Richards was playing there with Colin Faver – they were playing house music, the early ‘Jack Your Body’ stuff, Nitro Deluxe along with a bit of electro, first wave New Wave. I went and reminded Colin who I was and he said, ‘If you wanna get on the mic I can pick out something slow for you’, and I went, ‘Nah, I’ve changed my style, I don’t rap on hip hop anymore I rap on house music’. This was like ’86 and he was like, ‘Really?! People don’t even know what house music is.’ So I was like, ‘Yeah, all my raps are about jackin’ your body’, so I rapped in his ear and he was blown away. I asked him to play Nitro Deluxe – This Brutal House, he put it on, I rapped and the place went off – they were well impressed and I ended up being the rapper on Colin Faver’s Kiss FM show, rapping with Eddie Richards at his parties and, before you know it, I was in the studio with Eddie.

Yeah, you made Page 67 with him right?

We made that in late 1986, it came out in ’87 – I was originally supposed to go into his studio and do a rap. If I’d have done that, it would’ve been the first hip-house tune ever released. Instead, I thought it was more important to talk about the power of positive thinking, creative visualisation and meditation because nobody knew about that back then – all my mates thought I was mad. I’d talk about it and they’d think I was a lunatic, even now people think I’m a bit mad and it’s thirty years on. But Human consciousness is changing, it’s shifting now – everyone wants to know now whereas, in the mid-eighties.. forget about it! I really thought it was important to help people, and that was my first song. It came out in August 1987 and I’m very very proud of that song – I’ve actually done a song on my new album called Synchronicity, that’s an updated version of Page 67.

I really enjoyed the album actually. What’s the aim with the rebirth of your label Superfreq’s?

All the artists on there are crew and I’ve created a very solid platform for a lot of new talent, mostly Americans.

There’s only a few Europeans on the label, there’s me, Affie Yusuf, Bea (one half of Dollz At Play with Xo Chic), Luke Vb. It’s very America-centric, I live in America, the label’s American, I want to do it for it American music. I want to represent America as well as Britain, I’m proud to be living in Los Angeles – everybody’s talking about Europe, but so much music in my box is American. When you think about a lot of the good artists that are in Berlin, they’re American; Magda, Troy Pierce, Richie Hawtin – north American. I prefer American music over a lot of the German stuff because it’s got more black influences in it, it’s got soul, it’s got funk, it’s got disco and that’s what I grew up on. That is where my roots are, not Eurobeat. I thought Kraftwerk were alright, but I much preferred Afrika Bambaataa, Newkleus, Captain Rock, Egyptian Lover and Cybertron – that was my game, and that’s what I’ve always represented as a DJ from back in the late eighties when we first started rave culture – and rave culture comes from north London, make no mistake, that’s where it was born. When it kicked off in London, we were doing it with Detroit techno, Chicago house and acid and New York house and garage – that was where the music came from, it was American and black American. Us Londoners embraced that and took it and run with it, and that’s what I’m still representing in a modern, innovative, forward-thinking way. That’s what Superfreq is all about, it’s a hybrid; London and America.

You mentioned that Francis Harris gave you the idea to re-launch the label and called you one the ‘grandfathers’ of the scene, but how do you see yourself within this culture?

I’m an elder, I’m one of the community elders and I take my position of responsibility seriously, I have a duty to the youngsters, especially in the Superfreq community. They look up to me for advice, I’m very much a father figure and I look after my boys – I feel that I’ve got a lot to give. That’s why the album is called Smell The Coffee, there’s a lot of spiritual, political, sociological and human evolution issues in the album because it’s my duty as an artist and an elder to share the information and the love and to stand up as an example. I’m one of the people that helped make this thing happen, I’m one of the founding members of the rave community and I don’t take that lightly. Because of that I’m very excited, I’m just as excited now as I was 25 years ago, I’m excited about the label, I’m excited about my friends doing their labels, I want to help everyone, I’m excited about doing Superfreq internationally, I’m excited about using local talent, I’m excited about pushing the new kids. I’m buzzing on it! Thriving on it! Because I’m so turned on by everything right now.

I can tell! And did you ever have a point where you weren’t excited anymore?

Never. I’ve always been really excited about everything I do! I’ve always been passionate. My passion has often been mistaken for arrogance, which is very understandable. Many people hate me because they think I’m an arrogant cunt, a lot of trolls out there that don’t like me and wanna stick the boot in but I don’t care, what they think is up to them – it’s not my business what anyone thinks of me, it’s my business what I think of myself and I understand. I understand dislike for me, I understand jealousy of me and if there is a little bit of arrogance there, then so what?

True, what are you going to do? Walk around looking at the floor all the time?

Exactly, I look up at the sky. I walk with my head high, I do it because I know the importance of what I’m doing and the effort, dedication and passion I put into this. I don’t care if some people don’t like me because there’s many that love me and actually understand what I’m about.

You’ve come from a tough background and you’re succeeding, which is something to be proud of.

Indeed, it’s a proper success story. Even with the whole Shamen thing, I was like, ‘I’m not into pop music and, if I make it as a pop star, every penny I earn I’m going to put back into the underground’, and that’s what I did. I didn’t buy a house, I didn’t buy a car, I didn’t buy anything. What I did was set up a record label for £200,000, I set up a recording studio to the tune of £150,000, the label employed and opened up the doors for people. I’ve opened up doors for so many DJs in this town, lots of DJs will stand up and say, ‘Yeah Mr.C brought me in, Mr.C helped me out’. I’m still doing that today. Every penny I earned from The Shamen I put back into the underground.

The last of my money I put into The End and, because I was the first one to put my money where my mouth was, that got the ball rolling and got other people to invest their money – the bank said, if we got to a certain amount, they’d match it. It was me putting my money in that got it all started. Now how many people did The End develop? What kind of a legacy has The End got? The End changed the blueprint of clubbing the world over and the amount of talent that came out of that club… because I put my money where my mouth was, that was Shamen money that got the ball rolling and I was still driving around in a fucking Nissan Sunny, still living in rented accommodation, struggling. I never had no money. Everyone thought, when The End was going, I was rolling in dosh. I wasn’t! It took us nine years to break even on that project – I was living off my DJ money. I was broke, I was always broke. The only time I wasn’t broke was when we sold The End, and I was delighted because I gave my poor family; my brothers, my sister, my mum (who passed it on to my aunty and cousins) 30% of the money and it sorted them all out. That’s why I was delighted to close The End, because my poor-as-fuck family got some money and were able to pay their debts and get back onto a level pegging. That filled my heart with so much joy. The rest of what I had I used to put down a 50% deposit on my house in LA, the first house I’ve ever owned, and furnish it – now I’m back to square one and living off my DJ money! Wicked. I’m not a gatherer, I’m a spender, I know you can’t take anything with you and, as long as I earn, it will be as much as I spend and help others – that’s a life-long dedication until the day I die. I’ve got dreams that will blow your mind, I’ve got dreams that I’m not gonna discuss now but, when they come to fruition in a few years time, people will be like, ‘What?!’. Their jaws will drop. It’s about helping the Third World, the poor countries – I’ve got things that I’m going to do, not dreams, facts. That have already happened. It’s down to this time-space continuum dissolving for it to work, I am going to help the world’s poor to create a world of leisure.

You will do it as well, won’t you.

I will, I will continue to be a conduit for universal love. I knew I would be a big rapper, I knew I would be a big DJ, I knew I would be a pop star. When I was in jail, I was telling the COs [Custody Officers] that I was going to be on Top Of The Pops and they were laughing at me, I was like, ‘I’m gonna be on Top Of The Pops and you’re still gonna be here swinging your chain, mate!’. I did Top Of The Pops eight or ten times, I can’t even remember how many times. All those screws would’ve been watching me, going, ‘The fucking cunt done it, he said he was going to!’. It’s the same with everything, I knew I would own the best club in the world, I said I would have record labels and it’s all happened, with extremely hard work and a certain knowing… I’ve said I would be an actor and I would be A-list. It’s when I become A-list that I will really have the power to help change the world. That’s all in the future and that future is now.

How are all your family?

My family are amazing. Sadly I lost my mum, to cancer… My family’s great, we’re really tight, my cousins, my twin sister, my two brothers, my stepfather.

Is your sister still in London?

Yeah, still in Holloway, they’re all still there! My brother’s daughter comes out to party at Superfreq. I love my family. I’ve got my wife’s family in Mexico, I love all of them dearly. I’m a very family-orientated guy.

I can see that, it’s been with you since you were a kid. Do you still get to go on tear-ups with your sister?

She’s at every party, she’s one of the inner-circle of Superfreq. She was organising warehouse parties in back in ’91, she’s also a bit magical – she has a white witch thing going on. Her first parties were called Abracadabra and then she held parties called Bewitched; they were like deep house, New York garage parties, that was her bag. My mum organised a few parties because she used to sell 40% of my tickets from her house! She thought, ‘Fuck it, I’m gonna do it myself’. She did three parties called Transcendance. It’s all the same thing as well, Transcendance, Bewitched, Abracadabra…

Have you ever looked into your family history and worked out if there’s been anything related to that magic in the past?

There hasn’t been – my mum came from a family of two boys and two girls from Brecknock, York Way, so we’re an Islington/Camden family through and through. My dad came from the Westies, publicans, I lost him 12 years ago through a heart attack. I’m still in touch with that side of my family, especially more recently we’re really bonding – my nephew Timmy is like a brother, we’re really tight. He’s a proper east end boy, proper proper – Poplar, Bow, West Ham – staunch. He’s just like my dad, lairy cunt, flash Harry… hard-as-nails though! My family are still there, we’re tightening it all up with the Westies again and it’s good.

Nice one. Going back to music, how did you make the transition from rapping to DJing?

In my teenage years I always said I didn’t want to be a DJ, even though people tried to encourage me because I had such vast musical knowledge. I thought, ‘Why do I need to spend all my hard-earned money from work on records when I can spend it taking girls out?! All my mates are buying records so I can listen to theirs!’.

So, at the time, you weren’t a record digger?

I would just buy two or three records a week, which wasn’t much, and they were the records I really loved. I had a decent disco collection, a bit of reggae, soul, funk – I had a collection like everyone did, all my manor, all my mates mixed, they all had records. It wasn’t until I made my first record that I thought, ‘I want to do more than just rap now, I want to make records’. I wanted to DJ as well, I knew what this magical journey is all about and thought I might be the only person in the world who understands the power of rhythm and what that does to the brain waves and with the information I had about meditation, positive thinking, changing the world – I might be the only person in the dance music world with this information, it’s very important for me to transmit that. I can take people on a magical journey knowing what I’m doing, where I’m taking them.

I guess if you have that knowledge it gives you more power when DJing.

That’s it. So I was already working with Eddie Richards, Colin Faver, Ron Tom, all those guys – I threw my own party in the autumn of ’87, proper shebeen, house party style. I got all my mates to play and I played myself.

Did you find it easy learning how to DJ?

I could mix immediately. I knew all the breaks, I was a rapper, I knew where to come in, where to stop. I was learning to mix records on a player that had no pitch control before I was a DJ, so when I got on a pair of Technics it was easy. I started promoting my own real club party in February 1988, it was called Fantasy, that was a bi-weekly at HQ in Camden Lock – I got Eddie Richards and Kid Batchelor to come and play with me, Colin Faver, Ian B.. by the summer I was massive all around England. I was a huge DJ within six months of starting. I started at top level because I created that for myself, I threw my own parties, I got my own crew involved.. I didn’t wait for anyone to help me out, I stuck my neck out and went for it. I’m still doing that today.

That’s what you have to do. I’m the same, I’ve never wanted other people to do things for me and to be carried by other people – if you really want to be a success, and a success with substance, fucking do it yourself.

There are too many people who think the world owes them a living.

Exactly.

I’ve got mates that I’ve grown up with that have got this sense of entitlement and I should be booking them, why don’t they go and do their own parties? I’ve got mates that want to be booked and they don’t even go out and get involved! How can you want to be booked if you don’t even go out? What value is it if you don’t bring anything? Even though they’re amazing, that don’t mean jack shit. You’ve got to be out there doing it, like I still am. I never rested for a second, a lot of people do. A lot of people have a sense of entitlement, there’s a lot of bitter twisted cunts out there. But fuck ‘em!

My mum was on the dole all my life, but I’ve always worked as hard as I could to get somewhere and never sat on my arse expecting the world to owe me a living.

I remember having a barney with my mum. I earned some money and went out and bought some records, she said, ‘We can’t fucking eat records!’. But I went out and earned some money from DJing and, in her death, she was well proud of me – and my dad, well proud. My parents are looking down on me now saying, ‘That’s my boy!’.

Yeah, you can walk around with a swagger in your step.

And I do!

It’s funny talking about positive thinking – I never knew anything about it when I was a kid, but I can remember being about 11 or maybe younger and thinking to myself, ‘I know I will do well if I’m a good person, I do right by people and I work hard to achieve what my mind is focused on’. And now, I’m doing exactly what I want to be doing...

The definition of doing well is being happy, it doesn’t matter what you accumulate. It’s not about hunting and gathering, it’s about happiness – the purpose of every human is to be happy, and if you’re happy you’re doing well. That’s it, there’s no more than that. Status is nothing. There are people that are loaded and they’re the most miserable cunts on the planet. That’s not doing well, doing well is being happy, pure happiness. Letting go of your attachments, doing things because they need to be done not because of what you can gain, that brings happiness. Helping others, that brings happiness. Doing what’s true to your heart, that brings happiness and happiness is why we’re here. We’re all here to bathe in bliss, that’s the purpose of mankind, and that means divine happiness. Ultimate supreme happiness and that’s what I have. I’m so happy, I couldn’t be happier and I’m still struggling. I’m struggling to pay my property tax next week because I’ve been spending money on the label. But I’m happy, I don’t care – I don’t need anything more than what I’ve got; I’ve got a beautiful family, a loving wife, a lovely house, a nice car, nice clothes, I travel the world, I play music, I’ve got loving friends everywhere I go – that’s happiness. That right there is happiness.

How would you say Richard West now differs from Richard West aged 16?

Obviously I’m a lot older and wiser but, as a 16-year-old, I was all about me – it was arrogance, ego. How many birds I had wrapped round me, how good looking I was, what clobber I was wearing, it was all to be at the centre of attention. Now, whereas it seems like I’m an attention-seeker, I really don’t care. I’m good at marketing, that’s why it seems like I’m an attention-seeker. I’m good at putting myself out there, I’m good at promotion, I know what I’m doing. I’ve worked on my ego, I don’t want anything for myself, I’m not interested – I have it all. I have the connection to the universe, something very special I didn’t have when I was 16, it’s like a different life. I look back to myself at 16, it’s a different entity, it’s like a previous life. Now my ego is dissolved, everything I’m doing is not about me, it’s about my loved ones, my family, my friends, art, human evolution and the world’s poor. That’s what my life is dedicated to and I don’t care about myself at all, I’ll always put everyone else before me – my mates are always like, ‘Why did you bring on that person when they’re not contributing enough? You should put that energy into yourself’. I’m like, ‘They’re not contributing enough now, because they don’t know how to. They will learn’. I don’t need anything for myself, I have it all.

Nice one. And lastly, speaking of perceived arrogance and trolls, I’ve been talking with a few people recently about how sterile the music industry is, and how there aren’t many people who are willing to put themselves out there and, not necessarily be controversial for the sake of it, but they’re just not being themselves. Even in so-called ‘underground music’, everyone’s so safe and image-conscious…

That’s because of their ego and their fear. That’s why I have an advantage and that’s why I relaunched Superfreq. I saw a lot of my peers being safe and obvious – in both house and techno – I saw this huge wide space opening up in the middle for some real content, for someone who’s not scared to put their neck on the line and that someone is me. I’ve never been scared to tell is as it is and I’m putting my neck on the line with Superfreq and filling that space. I’m not alone, there are loads of good new labels and kids who are filling it with me, that’s the music I’m going to go and buy now in Phonica. New music on new labels from new kids, that are amazing, that’s what I’m supporting. They’re the kids that have got balls and haven’t got to be careful and sit on the fence, fuck the fence! I’m gonna jump off the left hand side of that fence and I’m gonna dig my trenches. I’m going into battle and I don’t care what anyone thinks.

Mr.C’s album Smell The Coffee is out now and his Smell The Coffee Tour kicks off this weekend – for more information, visit his Facebook page HERE.

Copyright © Marcus Barnes 2012
Website by Jason Cianfrone