Fresh off the release of his mammoth album, Energy, U.K drum and bass titan (and Titan Records head honcho) A.M.C is riding high on recent successes. In fact, A.M.C (real name Alex Mark Calvert) just took home Drum&BassArena's award for Best DJ in 2019. That's no small feat, as this honor was previously held by RAM Records boss Andy C for nine years running.
With the release of Energy and a subsequent tour, A.M.C took some time to speak with EDM.com about what's been happening with him recently, and how he got here. Read on to see what he had to say.
EDM.com: It seems that the new album is getting plays everywhere. How has the response to Energy been from your perspective?
A.M.C: I've been very pleased with the reaction to the Energy LP. It seemed to appeal to all corners of the scene, which I was most pleased about as that represents how I play in my sets. It came 3rd in the best album category at last year’s Drum&BassArena awards and has had over 600,000 plays on Spotify, so I’d say it was a success.
Your recent tour has also popped off across Europe and the States. What was the most memorable show you played on tour?
There were so many, but I'd have to say the headline show at Fabric in London was my most memorable. I used to go to that club as a raver years ago, and to then be on stage in room one with a packed house in front of me was a crazy feeling. I cannot wait for the next Energy show in London - that's going to be bigger and better, at E1 on March 20th 2020.
With the #DNB2020 and #USDNB movements, there's been some recent buzz stateside about the popularity of drum and bass spiking in North America. What do you think is the key to making the genre as popular in the United States as it is in Europe?
That's a tricky one as I don’t think there's an easy answer to a music genre's popularity in a specific territory. I guess it’s a combination of things that can cause a wave of support for DnB in the states. First, the music has to appeal to the younger generations of ravers out there. Second, there must be homegrown talent pushing the sound internally - which has been happening for years, but seems to have kicked up a gear since the arrival of people like Flite, etc.
The main thing, however, is the first point; it must appeal to a younger generation. I spoke to a friend of mine in the states who’s been running events there for over 20 years. He said DnB was very popular back in the day, but it wasn’t as inviting as other genres, so there were about two to three generations of DnB lost to other genres like dubstep. Things have changed a lot since then, and the music and scene is a lot more attractive and engaging. So, in my opinion it's only a matter of time until it really does pop stateside.
You won Best Newcomer DJ in 2011, and recently won Best DJ at the Drum&BassArena Awards. How does it feel to dethrone Andy C from his nine-year run?
Yeah, it only took me almost a decade of hard work to get from one award to the other. Honestly, though, I was more happy for the fans that have been supporting me for all these years and wanting this to happen. Without them none of what I do would be possible, so I owe them an incredible amount of gratitude.
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Do you take inspiration from anywhere outside of electronic music? What are your favorite genres to explore outside of drum and bass?
100% - I listen to all sorts of weird and crazy stuff. I listen to loads of hip-hop, especially the older stuff as it's a great source of inspiration thanks to all the samples found and used. Jazz music is also a firm favorite, along with classical music. Weird stuff I listen to are things like obscure film soundtracks - in fact, I’m really into film scores in general. Lo-fi hip-hop, chillout orchestral, '60/'70s rock, nu-metal, soul, funk, '80s electro, and some of the strangest bands who play genres I don’t even think people have names for.
You're a technical wizard on the decks. What's your favorite/most effective double drop as of recent?
You know I've never even been asked this question, ever. Blimey… there's so many! I guess it's a new tune I wrote for NYE currently called “One,” a new Teddy Killerz dub teased over the top I can’t name, and Turno’s amazing remix of my tune “Mind The Gap.”
After the success of Energy, do you have plans for another album in the future?
It’s funny, I was thinking about this the other day because there's a load that never made the cut for the first album that I’ve since fixed, and I've also had a bit of a buzz in the studio recently and have written about eight other tracks. The problem is they really don’t all go well together, so I don’t think there's another LP on the horizon. There are loads to be released from me this year anyway. A remix I’ve done of “Gunshot” by K Motionz is out at the end of January, then there's a project with me and Phantom (my MC), remixes from the Energy LP featuring Turno, Teddy Killerz, K Motionz, Drumsound & Bassline Smith, Prolix, and then some singles of things that never made the LP, too. It's going to be a busy year.
E: What's your take on albums vs. single releases in the modern world of electronic music streaming?
It depends who you are, what your style is, what label it’s released on, and what's normal for your fan base. There's a lot that can change a perspective when it comes to your question.
In my opinion, albums that are suddenly released don’t work as well as one that is dragged out with samplers. The first sampler for Energy came out in March 2019, and the full album wasn’t out until September, with four other singles in between. It allowed us a full range of marketing support and made sure the strongest tunes got the attention they each deserved. That worked for me and it might not work for others, however. Whether I’ll do that again for the next project I’m not sure, but the response from Energy was so good it's a possibility.
What comes next for drum and bass' Best DJ?
It's all about the biggest ENERGY event I've ever done in the world at E1 in London. We’ve got something real special planned for that it I can’t say yet, but I’ll be there doing a three-hour set along with Zinc, Phace, Simula, Phantom and more. After that I’ve got loads of tours planned around the world. Cheers!