The greatest DMC Team Champions the world has ever seen
C2C are, quite simply, DMC legends. Four times World Team Champions, unbeatable, breathtakingly genius on the wheels of steel, they made their competitors in competition look ordinary. The DMC World Finals in 2005 was one of those times when you will remember where you were at that precise moment for the rest of your life. The shooting of JFK, Maradona dribbling through England's shell shocked defenders in the World Cup, the first man on the moon, Tony Prince standing on his head on stage at DMC World Finals. Again. Well, you can add C2C's six minutes of vinyl poetry onto that list from 2005. Four young men working in stylus symmetry with the arrogance, know how and perfection which only they could do. 2012 sees the release of the quartet's debut album, DMC World Events Director Sally McLintock prepares you for their story...
"C2C. Legends from France. It's not very often musicians like C2C come along. When C2C stepped on the DMC stage in 2003 we knew these guys were very special. Incredible stage presence, working in unison, musically superb. These were not just DJs or Turntablists, DJ Pfel, DJ Atom, Greem and 20SYL were and are incredible musicians. C2C were the first team to come along and win 4 DMC World Team Championships in a row, it had never been done before. History was made. Every single rou tine you hear from these guys is audio for your ipod, something that can be rare with Scratch/Turntablist DJs. One of my DMC DJ Championship highlights from over the years has to be the UK Championship tour with C2C in 2006. We toured up and down the country – Liverpool, Leeds, London, Brighton, Bristol, Birmingham, Newcastle, Cambridge, Nottingham, Bournemouth and Reading. The UK got to witness how incredible C2C really are, they smashed it. We had so much fun on tour, if only we could do it all again! I love these guys, very witty and funny. I miss you! DMC misses you! COME BACK.."
Interview : Dan Prince
Bienvenue aux garçons du MONDE de DMC! At last, your first record in 14 years together!!! Your 'Down The Road' EP comes out on May 7th on On And On Records - talk us through this release…
"Yeah it's our first release (except the Flying Saucers' breakbeats series) since we've been working together. We started working on this in September 2010 and it tooks us nearly a year and a half to finish most of the tracks of the EP and album. We chose to put 5 tracks on the tracklisting on this EP in order to have the most representative "first" presentation of our work. There 's also one remix of 'Down The Road' produced by the French producer Irfane from the Parisian band Outlines which brings another colour in the EP."
Tell us about the plans for the album…what can we expect?
"Well, I think you can expect a few surprises! We didn't fix any limits in the production process so every track really has its very own flavor, so there are many many differents styles on this album. Most of the tracks on the EP are instrumental only but on the album there's not just that. We put together a few collaborations with many different artists, singers, musicians that we had in mind for a while. The challenge was to find the coherence between all that and we think we found the right way to have the C2C touch on every track."
When did the idea to start creating music happen?
It's hard to tell cause we already had the will of making an album while doing the DMC championships from 2003 till 2006. But it's only fthese last few years that we seriously got into it and gathered all our motivation to find the time to do this right."
Who brings what to the studio, who is good at what?
"For the creation of this album we had a very democratic way of working. The first step was a more individual step. During one month each of us did many demos, loops, short ideas so everyone could express itself without any restraints. During this period we nearly did a 100 short tracks! Then we did a selection and kept the best 15 tracks to rework it all together. With all the different projects we individually worked on, we all have the skills for music production but in order to be more efficient, we have a rotation in the studio. For instance, it can be two of us are often behind the screen while one is recording his scratch or playing the piano or really anyway we feel at the time; according the the track we're working on. On one side, 20syl who has the biggest musical experience in the studio mainly leads the work when we are doing all the edits and the arrangements on the tracks. We're working on his studio also in Nantes. On the other side, Atom who's studied a few years to be sound engineer is in charge of the mix and he's working on his own studio inParis. And of course we all scratch on every track!"
The world knows you down to your record four years winning the DMC World Team Championships. The last we saw you was at The Hammersmith Palais in 2006 - so what the hell have you all been doing since then?
"Yeah it tooks us a while to take the time to do this album. The thing is we were doing music and touring with the two others bands of the crew: Hocus- Pocus for 20syl and Greem and Beat Torrent for Atom and Pfel. Hocus - Pocus released 3 albums (73 Touches, Place 54 & 16 Pièces) and did more than five hundred gigs around the world. This project has known a real success the last few years in France, Japan etc. Beat Torrent was also very busy touring all around the world for nearly four years and did a remix album called "REWORKS" as well as their legendary 4 turntables mix "LIVE SET 2008". With all those things even if we wanted to so badly, we couldn't find the time to take a few months in studio all together. So when we had the opportunities to do it we just put all our time and strength into it. We've been working on it for one year and a half now.
You are all friends from high school in Nantes, you used to all skateboard and play basketball together until one afternoon, 20syl turned up with a turntable and the legend began. Who were the US hip hop artists you were all into back in the mid 90s?
"We were listening to DJ Premier's cuts on Gangstarr 's tracks as well as Q-Bert's cuts on Dr Octagon 's album. Also bands like ATCQ, Group Home, Jeru The Damaja ,Cypress Hill ,classic stuff like that. The thing is we bought what we could in the west of France, there were no internet at that time just a few shops!"
When did you all became aware of the DMCs?
"Well probably around 1996/1997. We had a few VHS tapes of the World finals and we watched it over and over! Atom and Greem also went to the World Finals in Paris 1998 and after that we really dug all the competitions and DJs and how they took part of it."
France has a great history in the competition, were your friends at school into turntablism back then, if not, what did they think of your new found quest for glory?
"None of our friends except us were really into it at that time. We were just a small "cell" digging that thing in Nantes. I think most of the friends we had at that time are now following our "achievements", but to be honest we don't know their feeling about that. We hope they're proud! Ask them!"
You started buying mix tapes to copy DJ scratches in the beginning, who were the DJs you were copying back then?
"Yeah we listened to a lot of mix tapes. We went into shops like Rough Trade and Mr Bongos when we used to come to London back in the days. Pfel also lived there for one year in 1999 so we came to visit him and get all the sound we could! Mix tapes from Pf Cuttin (da 4oh especially) VinRoc, Babu & J Rocc from the Beat Junkies, The Invisible Scratch Picklz, the X-Mens etc. That was one of the main source of inspiration for us at that time!"
Was the idea from the outset to become a team and enter the battles, or did any of you fancy your chances going solo?
It was in 2001, we had the opportunity to do a DJ battle but it was non affiliated to the DMC. It was Total Sessions in Grenoble. We decided to enter the competition and we created a 6min show. It was the real first C2C show. We finished second and then we decided to enter the French DMC the same year and we also finished second behind Scratch Action Heroes. It tooks us two other years to reach the world finals and win our first title. On the solo side we also all did that, many French championship together or a local battle, it was good fun. Pfel pushed up the solo thing a bit more and won a few French and European titles. He 's also Vice Champion of the DMC solo battle in 2005. Nearly did the double!!"
What was the best thing about being a foursome?
"You can really work as a real band and make something really interactive between the Djs and the turntables when you're four. It's 4 brains, 8 hands and 40 fingers so obviously it allows you to do many interesting things on the decks. There s also the showmanship side which can be much more efficient being a foursome."
What is the current top 10 you are spinning...
Blatta & Inesha -Pet message (Dodge & Fuski remix)
Flight Facilities- Crave you( Adventure Club Remix)
M.I.A -Bad Girls
F.O.O.L- Invasion (Figure remix)
Kill The Noise-She Likes to Party
FreeFire- Dataloss (Darth & Vader Remix)
C2C- Down The Road
NORE -NutCracker ( The Town Edit)
Apollo Brown - Shadows of Grief
Common - Lovin I Lost
Djunz - On connait la chanson
Grems & Noza - Toast (feat. Starlion)
The Left - The Melody
Robot Koch - Nitesky
Slugabed - Quantum Leap
Zeds Dead - In the Beginning
Atomic Drop - Night of the Living bass
Noisia - Machine Gun (16Bit RMX)
Rock The Bells - Tanya Morgan (produced by Aeon)
Santa Fe - Beirut
Courtland Urbano - Dissstance
Hudson Mohawke - Thank You
James Blake - The Wilhelm Scream
Mr J Medeiros - Pale Blue Dot
Robert Glasper - Always Shine
Azealia Banks - 212
De la Soul - Mr Big Mouph II
Samyiam - Cushion
The Roots - The OtherSide
Metronomy - Everything Goes My Way
Common - The Dreamer
Trek Life - Ready to Live (ft. Olivier Daysoul)
General Elektriks - Show Me Your Hands
Gush - Dragster Cowboy
Jai Paul - BTSTU (Edit)
Mayer Hawthorne - No Strings
Betty Wright and The Roots - Old Songs
La Fine Equipe - Papanasi (feat. Mr.Gib)
Did any of you have girlfriends whilst all the team battling was going on - was there time?
"Yeah most of us had a girlfriend at that time and it was not always easy....but still, they were very supportive."
DMC misses having you in the competition, it was like watching four musicians in unison. What was the main reason for calling it a day - was it simply going out at the top or was it getting a bit too much like hard work?
"It is true that we didn't have anything else to prove on the battle scene since we won it 4 times and it is also true that it takes a lot of time and dedication to prepare a championship. So we spent our time to do real live shows, tours and albums with our bands Hocus-Pocus and Beat Torrent. Now it's still the same story but with C2C!"
What teams since you retired have you rated that you've checked out in the DMCs?
"Well to be honest Dan, we haven't watched any DMC Finals since we retired. But of course Kireek from Japan has now a brilliant history in DMC as well."
Which out of the four titles was the most enjoyable?
"The 2005 shows was probably the best memory for us. Even if the first title was very special, we were always a bit angry amongst us the first two years because we did many mistakes in our shows on the 'D DAY'! But in 2005 everything went well from the beginning to the end and that was a big satisfaction for us. Moreover we think it's musically and technically the best 6min show we've done so far."
Which team from around the globe were you most fearsome of?
Love that answer! So, what would you say was each of your's best qualities in the comps?
"Hard to say…of course everyone has his own little speciality as we explained earlier but more than that. I think our best quality is our ability to work all together in one common direction."
And finally - what are the plans from here. More releases, maybe coming back to the DMCs for one final battle?
"For 2012, we have this EP coming up soon in the UK and then the album in September so it 's a very important year for us. Many many big gigs in France and in many others countries where we gonna perform our new live show. We are putting all our ideas and hopes into it and we are preparing something really special for the crowd. We are going to manipulate the video as well as the sound, we move with our decks on stage and we're using very, very specials turntables...plus a few others surprises. This live show is bringing turntablism to another level so don't miss it!!!!
C2C – F-U-Y-A [VIDEO]