Legends In The Dance: Ragga Twins Interview

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The Bass Music Awards are taking place at Ministry of Sound, in London on the 12th November. There will be a start studded cast of Bass Music’s best, both established and new. Playing on the night are the legendary Ragga Twins who are also nominated for the ‘Lifetime Achievement’ award. We thought this was the perfect opportunity to catch up with them to discuss their history, legacy and future plans.

Can you guys tell us what made you want to be vocalists? What was the music that inspired you in the very early days?

Flinty: Listening to reggae records that Mum and Dad would play when we were growing up. Artist like Big Youth, U Roy, I Roy, Dillinger, Trinity, these guys would just compliment riddims with reggae phrases along side various singers or on their own. They were the first vocal artists that inspired us. Many more came after like … Johnny Ringo, Welton Irie, Squiddly Rankin, Papa Toyan and Yellow man.
Deman: It was listening to toasters from the early 70’s like U-Roy, Big Youth (my personal Favorite) Prince Jazzbo, I-Roy and Prince Fari. The way they complimented the tune and combined with the singer. That was the start for me and I just knew that one day I would make vocal records.

When was your first ever show you performed at, and what do you remember about it?

Flinty: I built my own sound system with a few friends. It was a small sound but on that sound I had my first experience of MC’ing to a crowd. It was mostly friends at the party but they liked what I was doing
Deman: The first time I performed live in front of a audience was on a sound called ‘Jah Marcus Sound’ it was first time I got the crowd going. It was an experience I will never forget.

You guys came from a sound-system background, but your work with Shut up & Dance is legendary. When was the first time you heard Dance music and thought you would be able to vocal it?

Flinty: We MC’d on various sound systems but it was Unity Sound where we came to prominence. Deman was on the sound about a year before I joined. We worked on the sound for 6/7 years straight. It was nearing the end of that we heard about dance music but we heard more about the ecstasy then the music.

You are regarded as pioneers in Jungle, were you aware in the early days of the scene that the music you and others were making would effect the world is such a profound and lasting way?

Flinty: We just wanted to get into a different type of music and the opportunity to work wit shut up and dance just came along at the right time. We never knew what we was doing back then would turn into jungle and all the other genres that we have today, so yeah we’ll take that pioneer status lool

What would you say the highlight of your careers has been so far?

Flinty: The highlight of our career so far would be supporting the legend that is James Brown at a concert in Norway

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You have collaborated with a lot of artists in your career, most notably Shut Up & Dance, Skrillex and Aquasky. How did the Skrillex collaboration come about?

Deman: The collab with Skrillex came about through us putting out a sample pack CD, where he heard a bit of our vocal and put it together with his track. He then got in touch with Shut Up And Dance and asked if we could do the track in the studio, we said yes and the rest is history as they say.

You guys are constantly on the cutting edge of new music. Would you say that collaborating with new producers is an essential part of staying fresh in the ever changing music scene?

Deman: Yes staying fresh and working with different producers helps to keep our music and career going. We like to make all genre of music because we see ourselves as all rounders in the music industry, plus working with different producers gets you heard by different people all over the world.

How does it feel to be recognised and nominated for a Lifetime Achievement award at the Bass Music Awards?

Deman: It’s really humbling, and a honor to be nominated and recognised by our peers for a lifetime achievement, because there are some amazing artist out there that deserve it as well. So I feel blessed to be considered.

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If there was one piece of advise you could give to any new musicians or vocalists who are coming into the game now, what would it be?

Deman: I have two sons coming through, ones been doing his thing for a while the other is just starting to do his thing. The advice I gave them is to have a passion for music, work hard at your technique, eat and sleep music, to be heard by as many people, producers and promoters as possible. Write music at any given time, be patient be positive and give it your all.

Finally what are your plans for 2016?

Deman: Our plans for 2016 is to keep making music & keep performing live. We have three albums that are due for release in 2016. We are working with a band that has been put together by a Wrong Tom that we will be doing festivals with, plus getting our crew (RTC) stuff going, just going in harder than 2015.

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