As if frequent live shows, high energy music and podcasting wasn’t enough, Harry Shotta, Shabba D and DJ Phantasy announce Mic Masters – a new platform shining a spotlight on vocalists across the drum and bass scene. Whether they’re an MC, singer or lyricist, the boys are keeping a keen ear open as they set out to nurture the next generation of artists, starting off with the opportunity to play at London’s legendary Fabric nightclub.
Ahead of their highly anticipated event on 2nd June, Shotta and Phantasy took the time to give Love That Bass the full roundup on Mic Masters, as well as an exclusive announcement of what they’ve got in store for the future.
Thanks for taking the time to chat gents! Let’s jump straight in, firstly could you just summarise what Mic Masters is?
Shotta: No worries at all! So Mic Masters is a brand new platform to showcase vocal talent within the D&B scene, and celebrate MC culture to the fullest. Sometimes we feel that MCs can get pushed to the back, and are seen as hype men and hosts for DJs, but in reality they have always been an important part of the scene. With Mic Masters, we want to push MCs to the front and create a space within the rave environment where the MCs control the set. Whether they want to play alongside a DJ that works particularly well with them, or play out some of their own tracks, maybe even a combination of both.
Mic Masters is an opportunity for the established guys to take control, and for the new generation of artists to develop and showcase their skills. We want to keep the MC culture alive, continue to push forward the legacy and evolve rave MCs into recording artists.
Phantasy: Exactly, nurturing the next generation of artists is a big aspect of how we want to use our platform. There is so much new talent coming through, I could be here all day listing names! But we will be getting the ball rolling with our debut show at Fabric on June 2nd.
How do artists go about getting involved with Mic Masters?
Phantasy: So what we are going to do is have people enter on the website – there will be a track for them to download, and they can do either a 16 or a 32. Harry and Shabba will curate all the submissions, and then maybe eight or ten artists will get to come play at our Fabric show on April 1st. Obviously Fabric is one of the best clubs in the world, it’s part of the culture alongside the likes of Printworks, Ministry and Warehouse Project. And we want to give them an opportunity to do their thing.
And what sort of artists are you looking for?
Shotta: The type of artists we are looking for is very varied. People might see the concept and think we are only focused on the lyrical side of D&B – of course we love that element but we want to showcase all sides of vocalists
Phantasy: We don’t want a whole event of people just spitting double time lyrics, we want a bit of everything. Whether that’s the next A Little Sound, the next Katie Koven, two people killing it at the moment. We want to shine a light on these people and put them on the radar. After all, if you are in a position like ours to do something like this, why wouldn’t you?
Shotta: So you will see double time MCs, ragga and dancehall vocalists, grime artists, rappers and also singers. We are looking for people with charisma, originality, stage presence, lyrical content, style, flows and star quality!
You’ve already announced the Mic Masters show at Fabric on April 1st – what can we expect from that?
Shotta: Yes, so it will still be a party for those who just want to come down, dance and enjoy yourselves. The MCs are bringing so many sick DJs with them so there will be plenty of great sets, but the spotlight will be on the MCs and they will be curating the sets, as opposed to just spitting over what the DJ chooses to play.
There will be the likes of Azza, Grima and Devliman performing their own tunes, as well as loads of other guests and of course some high powered energy. We also have the Grime Originals in room 2, with some massive names representing the grime scene. Then in room 3 we will have the MC competition, where we are putting forward 10 MCs to compete live at the event. They will have the chance to win a spot at the next Mic Masters as well as a £100 cash prize. June 2nd will be the start of something special for sure, it’s very exciting.
This sounds like a great opportunity for any up and coming vocalists in the scene.
Phantasy: It is, and I am looking forward to seeing what comes out of it. We are massive supporters of the next generation of artists, as it is part of what we do for ‘Past, Present and Future’. This was first discussed when coming out of lockdown, we wanted to do something to honour and respect all periods of the scene. So when we have done our shows we have had the likes of Top Cat come out, who is obviously a legend from the past, and is still smashing it now. Then we’ve had ourselves and Devilman for example, part of the present scene. Then you have the future, new school artists like Yzer, Westman, Inna, Endo, Slay, Tiny to name a few.
Then moving forward, what have you got planned for the future of Mic Masters, and the next generation of MCs / vocalists?
Shotta: So the concept of Mic Masters is already evolving from an event into a free-flowing unit for the next generation of MCs and D&B vocalists. We will be releasing tracks, mixtapes, live showcases and live sets at other events. The idea of Mic Masters is so necessary and this is only the beginning.
Phantasy: We are also excited to announce plans for Mic Masters which we are revealing to the world for the first time! We will be taking two different approaches with it, where Mic Masters can be a set at a rave, or will be a full event. Similar to Crucast, we will have a full Mic Masters party put on by us, or Mic Masters will be playing a set at another rave. We have already got plans for Brimingham, Brighton, Leeds as well as Manchester or Liverpool on the cards. With our sets we will be showcasing the best vocal artists, of course Shotta and Shabba as well as younger talents. I’m excited to share two of the artists who we have already locked in – Slay and Yzer.
Obviously Slay is on Hospital Records, a great MC from Manchester who played with us at Warehouse Project recently. Then Yzer is one of the sickest young artists coming through and very pleased she has come on board with us. There’s so much in the works and like Harry said, this is only the beginning.
And Mic Masters is only one of your many projects on the go – alongside the SASASAS podcast which you are well underway with!
Phantasy: Yes so we set it up in the latter half of 2022, and I’ve been blown away by the response. I have found so many people listening who I would not have expected to tune in. So right now we are going through a bag of topics, and trying to gauge what people want to hear. We did one episode on social media and cancel culture, and wow did that create some talking points! But what we are trying to do is spark and engage conversations with people, as well as get some enjoyment hopefully!
We’ve got some exciting things planned for the podcast, including filming with a live audience. We will film it over a couple of hours, bring in some other artists to get involved, and have some ravers ask them some questions. It will be pre-recorded and edited after, in case any ravers ask any naughty questions! But I am really excited about doing the podcast with a live audience – after seeing the reaction and the engagement from what we have done so far, it will be fun to take that to the next level. We will hopefully be filming that soon, so that’s another thing to look forward to.
And alongside all of this, what else can fans expect from you all?
Phantasy: More music, more shows, lots more talking and laughing too! We are in the entertainment industry and we just want to entertain people – whether that is them coming to our live sets, or our events, or listening to our podcast. We want to be an outlet for them. But most importantly, is that this is all being done under the drum and bass banner. Anything that can help make the music bigger, better, and more known across the world can only be a good thing, so we will continue to fly that flag.
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