After Dark: Eezz a goode thing

Click to follow
Indy Lifestyle Online
Mr C is an evangelist, his message is music. Whether he's creating with The Shamen, or DJing at his club The End, his mission is to challenge and educate his audience

One half of pop group Shamen, or leading clubland innovator and DJ? Old-skool hardcore rapper or co-owner of London's freshest venue, The End? Will the real Mr C (aka Richard West) please stand up?

He's all these things, but forget the musical styles, Mr C is a man on a mission. "It's all the same thing to me," he says. "The only difference is that the Shamen perform my own music and lyrics, while DJing means playing someone else's.

"I play [DJ] cutting-edge electronic music; it took me years to break through to the point where I am now. In an unexpected way, The Shamen helped me to experiment at an underground level. People would say `That's Mr C from the Shamen, he's allowed to experiment.' So on one side, I'm this cheesy big-mouthed pop star, and on the other a cutting-edge DJ who's not afraid to explore.

"Whatever I'm performing, I'm taking the audience on a journey. In doing so I hope to make them think about life."

His club, The End is now almost two years old. Attention to detail is in evidence everywhere; from staff kitted out in exclusive Daniel Poole uniforms, to the soft wood and pastel aesthetic downstairs. The DJ booth stands boldly in the middle of the main dance floor extolling The End's maxim - music is the focal point. The formula has punters queuing down to Covent Garden.

"In the beginning there was a temptation to slit my wrists, but we kept faith with the music," he says. "I'd rather die than get the cheese-mongers in here. We've stuck to our experimental policy and now we're reaping the rewards.

"Everyone's talking about clubs having really hard times across the country but we haven't experienced any sort of recession."

The End plays cutting-edge music in various forms, from funky techno to progressive drum 'n' bass. Previous gigs with LTJ Bukem and the Bristol outfit, Reprazent, are now the stuff of clubbing legend.

"We're labelled a techno club but we've tried to go across the spectrum. We've had trouble getting people to understand what we're trying to do here.

"It was always our intention to play all kinds of music; techno, break- beat and house music - we're into all music that's deep and funky."

Mr C enthuses about music as a "weapon". "We do try to educate," he says. "Our music makes some people moan because they're being challenged. They don't like to be challenged; they go out to have fun, get pissed and pull, but we challenge them musically and visually.

"I take the audience on a journey. At the end of my set I need to sit down to recover because I feel the music just like the crowd do.

"Afterwards, I've altered my state of consciousness and I hope that I've altered their state of mind too. Music alters alpha, theta and beta waves and releases serotonin neurones into the brain."

On reading the above, your parents would probably advise you to avoid The End and instead choose to stay home watching Cilla Black at weekends - but what would they know about it?

On the other hand, this man did pen the infamous "Eezz-a-goode, Eezz- a-goode" lyrics - should he be taken seriously?

Mr C doesn't doubt music's universal power. "It unites people from different classes, races and cultures. Dance music is a universal language that is spoken and understood by all. That's the prime reason for music."

Comments