Richard West aka Mr.C was born in London in the late 60’s. He started MCing in London clubs aged only 16 & soon earned a reputation as a fast talking vivacious rapper working with LWR radio’s Ron Tom, Jasper the Vinyl Junkie & Jazzy M.
Mr.C then hooked up with Colin Faver & Evil Eddie Richards to became resident rapper at the legendary Camden Palace in London, going on to MC for Colin Faver on the then illegal pirate radio station Kiss FM. Mr.C went into the studio to record his 1st house track with Eddie Richards as Myster-E which was released in August 1987. This inspired Mr.C to become a DJ to learn more about his beloved House & Techno music so in late ’87 Richard took to the decks. Mr.C has since organized, promoted & been resident DJ at: Fantasy (’88), Base (Dungeons ’89), Release (91), Harmony (92), Drop (93), Cyclone (94), Vapourspace (94 & 95), Flavour (The End 95 & 96), Subterrain (The End 95 – 2002), Superfreq (Worldwide 2002 – Present), and Super Disco Freq (LA 2010 – present).
In the summer of 2016. Mr. C will be part of a new Wednesday evening residency at Sankeys Ibiza – Dance 88/89, which aims to bring back the magical feelings of that summer of love. Alongside the likes of Bushwacka!, Danny Rampling, and Ibiza legend DJ Alfredo, Dance 88/89 will surely bring back all those Converse, bandanas, dungarees & smiley faces that just scream ACID!
“I had a huge urge to take people on a magical journey through DJ sets, which was both inspired by my knowledge of meditation with dancing being a form of mindfulness”
I’ve read that you had it pretty rough in your younger years, what was it like growing up in a single flat with two families? How did that influence your desire to get into creative fields?
Like many working class families in the 70s things were tough but they were good as children had the freedom to play back then. When my parents split when I was 5 years old we lived for a couple of years with my mum’s friends, which was cramped but as a 5 year old kid you don’t really think about the hardships of life as you enjoy living in the moment. I enjoyed those couple of years as I enjoyed much of my childhood before my sexual abuse, which started when I was only 10 & lasted for 3 years. That was then things got really tough but I’ve finished my thinking on that now & wouldn’t change it as its part of what makes me who I am today, which is extremely happy. I’m one of the lucky ones. Growing up with very little was a huge influence on my desire to be a success for which in retrospect I am extremely grateful.
In the early years of your career, you started off rapping to hip-house, electro, acid house type tracks that revolved around the idea of ‘jacking your body’ and positive thinking. What motivated you to choose this as a theme?
I started rapping on disco; electro & old school hip hop in 1982 & took that into the clubs in 1984 but in early 1986 switched my style to house music. My subject matters after the switch were about house music, jacking your body, having fun & also positivity & positive thinking as this is what I believe house music is all about. I chose these themes as my step father turned my on to meditation & creative visualisation when I was 17 in 1983 & I also became aware that percussive sound & dance alters our brainwaves from the Beta state into the Alpha & Theta states thus connecting us to the domain of creative ideas. This is why I rapped on house music. My first record release in August 1987 was a deep house track with a spoken word about the benefits of meditation & positive thinking called Page 67 under the name Myster-E on Baad Records that I made with Eddie Richards & was mixed down by Kid Batchelor. Had I chosen to do a rap instead of a spoken word the track would’ve been the first hip house record ever released. However the track was very deep so I thought it more important & relevant to spread the word instead of rap.
What was it that transitioned you into DJing?
After the release of Page 67 I wanted to get more involved in music making & also I had a huge urge to take people on a magical journey through DJ sets, which was both inspired by my knowledge of meditation with dancing being a form of mindfulness meditation & also being inspired by my mentors Eddie Richards & the late Colin Faver. So in autumn 1987 I took to the decks to learn more about the music dear to my heart, house & techno.
Can you tell us about how you built a character for yourself, in the sense of how you built your image as an artist?
Becoming Mr.C the performer was a very natural process. I’ve always been a bit of a lad & love to have fun. With rap I’d simply enjoy firing up the party & getting people screaming. As a DJ I simply wanted to have fun sharing innovative music that I love with people who may just love it too as a celebration of life. Three decades later I still have that same passion & attitude.
What in your eyes is the current dilemma amongst the current young generation of DJs and producers?
In my not so humble opinion I think many or even most young DJs & producers simply copy their heroes both in production & DJing, as they want to be rich & famous. It’s all ego. This takes away from the art of spinning & making music, which makes it a real struggle for all of the real talent, young & old who want to move things forward & in some way be artistic & innovative. I so wish all the hype & pomp in our industry didn’t exist but it is what it is & we just have to get on with it & continue with integrity making & playing the music that we love that comes from our hearts. Thankfully it’s not all doom & glom as there’s a lot of amazing artistic talent out there & coming through. It’s just up to the general public to not be fooled by the hype, to scratch below the surface to find the good stuff & not be sheeple.