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The Ragga Twins
The Ragga Twins aka "RTC" are an entity upon their own. They are real brothers and grew up in Hackney London. I've had the pleasure of working, travelling and producing with them, and hand on my heart they are not only professional, amazing at what they do, but they are honest, real, and super kind-hearted artists as well.
Hailed as "The Kings Of The Dancehall" by some of the top Jamaican artists, they have worked with some truely notable names.
This is why they won "Best Jungle MC's" at the "We Love Jungle" awards in 2015. The public adore them, the public adores their music and the public thrives off the vibes they bring to a dance. I probably am a super-fan girl deep down but one thing you can't ignore is the impact they have had on the jungle scene since the start and what they bring to the table. Hundreds of tracks have been vocaled by them and I expect hundreds more.
I've stopped them for a moment to get an exclusive interview on how 2015 and 2016 has been, and what's about to pop off in 2017!
Q.First off, thank you so much for your time out. I know you have been extremely busy recently, and then you had flu, I hope you are fully recovered now, and how was Christmas and New Year?
A. Christmas and New Year was good, busy as usual!
Q.Can you go back to when it all started for you, what year it was, and how you got into the jungle scene?
A. We got in to acid hardcore in 1990 when we hooked up with Shut Up and Dance, so we pioneered the jungle sound by fuseing reggae music with hardcore which eventually turned into jungle.
Q. Now reggae has always been your love from day one. Is this due to growing up with it, being part of the culture in your family or is it something else?
A. Reggae music is in our blood from a baby I suppose, growing up around reggae was the music of the home.
Q. Reggae is stamped into the sound of a lot of jungle tracks. Is this why you find the music so flexable to work with?
A. Yeah, reggae being a big influence in jungle music, is part of why it's so flexible to us.
Q. Do you think being brothers has helped you get through any tough times and how do you resolve any debates?
A. It does help being brothers as things will never go to the extreme because of the way we was brought up , we argue then agree.
Q.How has the last 12 months been since you won the award? Did you have a busy summer?
A. The last 12 months have been awesome. We have played loads of gigs, had some big releases with some USA Edm producers, played at festivals al over the UK and abroad.
Q. You reached number 26 in the album charts and number 1 itself with the "Ragga Owes Me Money" album in 1991, which in those days was extremely difficult to even reach a top 100 position. How important was "Shut Up And Dance" recordings back then to the newbies who may not have even heard of the label?
A. Shut Up and Dance is very important in the building of jungle music. They were selling loads of records before we joined them, it was their idea to fuse reggae with acid because they from a reggae background too. They are very talented producers and artists, they knew exactly what the people wanted to hear ... amazing.
Q. You have worked with Shabba Ranks which is huge... can you tell us about that?
A. We done a UK tour with Shabba Ranks in 1992 and we did between 12-15 shows up and down the country, it was awesome as Shabba Ranks is a reggae artist that had inspired us and we were very proud to be sharing the same stage with him.
Q. You have also supported Salt and Pepper at Brixton academy! How many were there? (Maybe also expand on the night, how different arena things are to clubs?
A. Yeah we supported Salt and Pepper at Brixton Academy. It was a massive night which sold out... 1000's of people. Concert halls are totally different vibes from clubs. I suppose it's just the arena size and the sound that makes the difference.
Q. You went to Norway in your career and supported James Brown which was huge...... was that set up different to a club?
A. We done a jazz album with a group called US3. It was a colab project and we never in our wildest dreams thought that we would support the mighty James Brown in Norway! It was at a ice hockey arena with about 10,000 people there. We worked with a live band at the time and we had done a normal sound check.. but the James Brown sound check was intriguing. I'm sure he performed the whole show in sound check.
A. Now, not many know this but you have topped over 1 million youtube views on a track you did with Skrillex "Ragga Bomb." What was he like to work with and did you ever expect so much commercial success?
A. Doing 'Ragga Bomb' with Skrillex is another chapter in our career, it took us up another level and brought us to another audience. Skrillex is great at what he does, he came over to play at Glastonbury and he had made this track and used our vocals off a sample pack. He wanted the real thing so he contacted us and we went in the studio together while he was here. The studio session was very different and very inspiring, as before we had worked with him he got the decks out and started having a mix and just built up the vibes in the studio. We already knew what he wanted but we gave him loads more which eventually ended up making another track for his album called "All Is Love In Brostep" and he also remixed one of our tracks "Badman" so we have to big him up. Getting over 100 million YouTube hits is crazy ....
Q. Do you know how many single releases or tracks have been released with your names or vocals on?
A. We've lost count really on how many releases we've had & tracks that use our vocals!
Q. Let's talk about RTC.... when was that initially set up and who else is part of your crew?
A. RTC is us, Dj Krucial, Dj Blazemoore, Co-Gee, Mtek and Pedro Slimer. It was set up in 2007 as we had these mans around us all the time so we decided to just make a new crew. We've performed as a crew at Glastonbury, Shambala, Boomtown, clubs in UK and abroad and we're in the process of releasing a EP as a crew and working on a album.
Q.You have experienced small clubs, big clubs, festivals, arenas. How important is actually doing a sound check to you?
A. Depends on the size of venue and what performance your gonna do. A sound check is important, but being in this game so long, sometimes you do a sound check and when you perform it sounds nothing like the check when the venue fills up with people. We always do a check if we are with a live band but club nights we don't bother.
Q. Working with you, I have experienced how quickly, effortlessly and fluidly you work in the studio by doing ad libs, vocal recording and even writing bars off the top of your head. Do you actually realise how good you are or are you guys that humble?!! Has it always been easy and effortless or have years of experience helped?
A. Was good working with you in the studio Miss Rep, just years of experience makes it easy, being humble will take you places.
Q. You have quite a few royality free sample packs out too... do you ever hear a tune with your vocals on and get pleasantly surprised?
A. Yes we have a few royalty free sample packs out there, some tunes we hear are total crap and some are decent, but we just happy young upcoming producers can learn the skills with decent vocals to use and it keeps our name relevant.
Q. I've seen a room go from swaying to off the hook stampeding when you guys step up. What would you like to say to all the ravers out there that support you continually?
A. Our slogan is "For The People." We got nuff love for the ravers. Without the ravers we're performing to a empty club. The ravers make us, bless them all.
Q. You have played all over the world. Which country has been your favourite for the culture?
A. New Zealand would be our favourite place but Japan, Bali, Oz, Germany, Spain are all good, we love travelling. When we came into this no one was traveling. We thought something is wrong here we gotta spread this music worldwide. When we first got booked for Germany in 1990 someone was saying they would never go there, we thought why not let's go.
Q.And which country for the food?
A. For food its Bulgaria!
Q. Now I know you have quite strict diets.... do you want to divulge into that for us?
A. Who said we got a strict diet loool, we just don't eat pork or rare meat and some seafood.
Q.Haha, awesome I was wondering why you wouldn't eat my pizza ;) So do either of you have any funny habits?
A. Nah don't have no funny habits. Only habit we have is smashing up dances!
Q.If you had to use 3 words to descrive each other what would they be?
A. Deman - my best friend. Flinty - my best friend.
Q. Who do you think out of the up and coming MCs this past year are really shining through?
A. I wouldn't call them up and coming but I would call it getting their well deserved break and that's Junior Dangerous and Cowboy Ras Ranger.
Q. Talking about the awards.... what positive outcomes have you noticed from jungle having it's own awards in the last year?
A. We've noticed that there is more jungle music being produced, more jungle events it's just putting jungle in a good place right now.
Q. What advice can you give to any upcoming Mcs?
A. Advice to upcoming Mc's is to be original and different from the rest, so when you've heard they can say that's blah blah cause they know your sound and they don't have to think is that him or her, and if you ever get a opportunity to get on the mic grab it and don't MC in established Mc's ears we really don't like that loool!!
Q. I hear that all the time... do not spit in peoples ears!! So, the awards this year, what are you most looking forward to with it?
A. We just look forward to it being a good night and a good turn out for jungle and the deserved award winners get the awards.
Q. If I gave you £10,000 to spend, what would you buy and why?
A. We would put the money together and buy a studio.
Q. And when I see you out, what are you drinking from the bar?
A. Brandy and Lemonade for Flinty, Deman don't fuck wid de liquor!!!
Q. What tracks are forthcoming that we can look out for 2017?
A. We have a reggae album coming out with Wrong Tom, it's 80's style riddim's. The 1st single with video will be in April 2017.
Q. Can't wait.. And what else is planned?
A. We got loads planned, keep your eyes open peeps.
Q. Any shouts and thanks?
A. Shouts out to Aman from Jungle Jam, shouts to Eastman Kool London, scoundrel from Rough Tempo, Ritchie and Antonio from Pyro radio. Big up RTC the whole squad, and a special shout to our mum and RIP Dad, and love to all our children, grandchildre , nieces & nephews and big up yourself Aliina xx
So much love. All the best for 2017 guys and keep smashing it!
Interview by Aliina Atkinson (Missrepresent) Jan 2017