DJ Luck and MC Neat are two names that are synonymous with UK Garage music. A movement that was borne from the UK Jungle scene and US Garage music, it rose up through the underground before bursting into mainstream and taking over the charts with a string of hits from the likes of Mis-Teeq, So Solid Crew, DJ Pied Piper, Artful Dodger and obviously, DJ Luck and MC Neat.
This Bank Holiday Sunday sees the twosome celebrate 20 years in the game with a massive party at Electric Brixton and not only did we catch up with Mr Luck himself, but we’re giving you the chance WIN all this!
- Signed copies of all their Kiss 100 CDs + other Luck & Neat CD’s since 1999 – the total collection!
- Free VIP Guestlist (4 people) for one month to every Luck & Neat event in the UK
- Two tickets to Garage Nation Festival in Streatham (1 x 2 tickets on the Saturday/1 x 2 tickets on the Sunday)
Just comment below with what the little bit of you’d need to make it through the night would be! Can’t wait to win? You can grab tickets HERE. Now, without further ado… DJ Luck!
Twenty years in a very long time to be going – congratulations on making it! What would you say was your favourite moment over the history of your career?
Probably the one that stands out the most is Party In The Park – there were 150,000 people there! You know what though, even on a daily or weekly basis, there’s a lot that stands out, a lot that surprises me. It’s not even just about the big raves, you can go to these smaller raves, the 100 capacity ones that are intimate and they’ll be great too.
The 20 Year Anniversary line-up features some of the heavyweights of the original scene – people like Majestic and Hatcha who perhaps didn’t achieve commercial success but were hugely important to shaping what was to come – how important was it to get the balance of big names, originators and new innovators? What can we expect on the night?
All these people are friends and family to us; it wasn’t like we sat there with a list and was like “oh, we NEED them”. We asked them all “do you want to be on at our night?” and y’know, if they were busy, if they had a gig on, that’s fine. We’ve got things planned for the night, we don’t want this to be like a standard rave – we’ve got visuals, we want all the MCs to be able to just jump up and grab the mic – we want a total party vibe.
US Garage obviously began in the late 80s and took off in the early 90s, just as UK garage started to make waves, before becoming massive and infiltrating the mainstream towards the end of the 90s and early 00s. How does it feel to have been part of one of the defining sounds of UK club culture? Does that feeling ever wear off?
We’re definitely still aware that we were part of it. You know, you talk about the other side of it (US Garage) but this was definitely ‘ours’, you know? We had jungle, hardcore and then UK garage, and that was all ours. There’s not so much of that now in the scene, but you see a lot of young kids out, people on their skateboards who come out to see us and whatever, and they’ve made it theirs too.
Was there ever any point before things really took off that you realised you were on to something?
No, not really. We were in it for the music. I just liked DJing. My dad bought me decks when I was 15 and I was really into jungle and ragga. My mates would ring me up and say “come to this garage rave!” and I’d be like “nah, I don’t like garage, that’s girly music”. Then jungle moved into more drum and bass and I went to the garage raves. With A Little Bit Of Luck, I decided to take garage and try to make something a bit ragga-ey, a bit darker, and it was never meant to be a commercial success, it was literally just an intro tune. Then it picked up and promoters were booking us to play that one track and asking us to do live PAs, and I was saying to Neat “how do we do a live PA for this track?” It’s weird because at the start I’d be out and about, walking around and I’d hear people playing A Little Bit Of Luck out of their cars and I’d be like ‘I made that!’ – not so much now, obviously.
What do you think is the key to garage music’s longevity and transcendence?
Recently I’d say I’ve been listening to a lot of older stuff, stuff I haven’t heard for ages, stuff I wouldn’t play anymore unless it was an older crowd, or at Twice As Nice or something, and there’s so much stuff that if I played it now, you’d never have heard them. We went to Amsterdam recently and the DJs were playing all these tracks that I’d never play because they were too old or that I hadn’t heard, and people were going mad for it. There were so many new garage tunes coming out every week, and they were all good – everyone was making so many good tunes, and people are still making good tunes.
Has the resurgence of the garage sound surprised you? How do you feel about the new wave of artists embracing the sound?
It’s good! If they’ve got something to offer then I think it’s brilliant. If they’re actually giving it a go – I get a lot of people asking me for advice, you know, asking how they can break through in the industry and I just think ‘if someone can take five minutes out of their day to tweet me or message me, then I will help’ and it might make their day – then I think it’s great.
With that in mind, how strange does it feel to you now that a lot of your crowds must be younger kids who either remember the more mainstream stuff or who have discovered garage over the years? Some scenes tend to focus on the ‘purity’ of their crowds – ‘back in the day/the kids just don’t get it’ kind of stuff. Do you feel that?
I think it’s brilliant and it’s weird that you look out at the crowd and they’re singing along to all the words and you’re like ‘you’re seventeen/eighteen, how do you know the words?’ Garage has always been there, just people haven’t been paying attention. Garage has always been there and always will be there, you know, this has always been our job, we’ve never done anything else. You always hear people say they got into it through their mums or their brothers, they come up to you and say “we used to listen to your mixtapes back in the day” – that’s cool!
Do you think there will be a 40th anniversary in twenty years’ time? What could we expect from that?
I’d like to think this will only happen once. I’ve been saying this – there will be no 21st/22nd/23rd or whatever, this is the ONE, this is the rave, you need to be here! There will never be another one.
What does a DJ Luck and MC Neat rider look like circa 2000 and how different is it today?
There was no rider then! The only reason we have one now is because we saw that other DJs had them. We’d get to the places and they’d say “do you want anything?” and we’d be like, “water and a JD & coke please” and they’d say, “bottle?” and we’d be like, “nah!”. We rarely stay out. A lot of DJs want to stay out and carry on, but we are in nightclubs 5/6/7 times a week. We go in, do our set and go – we probably had to drive three hours all the way there and then travel three hours all the way back, or drive for another hour to another club and then go home from there. People always say I’m the miserable one but I swear I’m the funniest! People always say things like “smile” and I get it, Neat is the face of the group but I’m not unhappy, I’m just concentrating. I’m watching the crowd and if it’s like ‘oh, they don’t like that one’ then I’m searching for the next CD, mixing in the track…
Are there any plans for new DJ Luck and MC Neat material or has that ship definitely sailed?
We make music all the time, I just did a track with Sweetie Irie who’s done work with Gorillaz and Neat’s just done a track with Mike Delinquent. We’ve always been making music and it’s always out of love rather than feeling like we need to make music, it doesn’t need to be a big track. It’s never been about commercial success. When we did the first record, it was a red vinyl and there were three tracks on that vinyl – all three of them went top ten and it was such a big achievement – that would never happen now.
Are you anything like your namesakes? Is MC Neat actually really messy?
I don’t think I’m lucky, I just think whatever happens, happens, it’s your time and that’s it. Same as when we done the track, it was just right time, right scene – if we did it now, there’s no way it would be that successful. MC Neat isn’t messy, I have OCD so I’m always clean but Neat’s not untidy, obviously we are traveling a lot so it’s always packing, folding, ironing…
What do you think is the future for UKG?
The way it’s going now – you know, it’s funny, because up until a few years ago I thought, ‘maybe it’ll be going for another couple of years’, but the way it’s going now, I can’t see an end. It’s been picked up again and the thing with garage is, it’s all catchy and singy. It’s the same with mums who listen to their old soul records or whatever, there’s so many amazing tracks, so much amazing stuff in the garage catalogue. Bassline came and went, (UK) Funky came and went, garage always stays.
Who are your personal favourite garage DJs?
EZ for mixing abilities. Music wise – there’s too many. Each brings something to the table, there’s nothing that stands out for me really but they are all great. Obviously the promoters book the line-ups and they know what they’re doing. No one can do what EZ can do though, technically.
What’s your favourite track of all time, irrespective of genre?
You know what? A Little Bit of Luck, just because of what it’s done for us and how many people it’s touched. I might be sick of hearing it now but it’s done so much for us – I’ve got to give it some props!
Say the crowd just isn’t getting into it – apart from your own tunes, what is your go-to track to get everyone hyped?
Pow –Lethal Bizzle
Who would you most like to go back to back with?
Anyone? Jazzy Jeff. Our manager books shows with him so maybe – who knows!
Are you looking forward to the 20 Year Anniversary show this Sunday?
YES! The anticipation, excitement and HYPE for this event is massive for us and we’re really looking forward to it. Obviously, as I said before, there will be visuals and a really good, party vibe. Electric Brixton is the perfect place to host our anniversary – be ready for the ultimate journey through the UK Garage scene. We have a huge garage set prepared so we’re we are calling ALL garage lovers, past and present, this is gonna be huge!
Thanks DJ Luck! We absolutely cannot wait to see it in action this weekend!
So, if it wasn’t clear enough, this is set to be a road block! Like we even need to say it, but if you call yourself a garage fan, make sure you do not miss this! This is the only chance you’ll get to celebrate the history of garage with some of the biggest UKG artists around, so what’s stopping you? Snap up your tickets HERE.
Competition closes Friday 22nd May @ 12PM – you will be notified by email.