Lifetime Achievement Award Winner : Nicky Blackmarket

Lifetime Achievement Award Winner : Nicky Blackmarket

Lifetime Achievement Award Winner Nicky Blackmarket shares his memories of Blackmarket Records, events that still give him goosebumps and exclusive news from his Kartoons label.

Few DJs have achieved the consistency as Nicolas Andersson-Gylden aka Nicky Blackmarket. In many ways he is the number one ambassador for jungle and drum and bass, with 24 years of his professional career spent at the helm of Blackmarket Records, a true musical mecca in it’s humble setting on D’Arblay Street in London’s Soho district.

Although he has had forays into the production world over the years this has not been the springboard for his DJ career. It’s a testament to his quality as a performer and the high regard from industry and ravers alike that he did need to appear on plastic to cement his appearance at every crucial event since records began.

Winning the ‘We Love Jungle’ Life-time achievement award was an accolade that no-one can quibble with, he was there right from the start, watching the birth of the scene and embracing the twists and turns of the following 2 decades.

We caught up with Nicky to talk about his new award, career highlights, favourite tape packs, working with Stevie Hyper D and even a few thoughts about QPR (mostly off the record!)

How does it feel to win a lifetime achievement award?

I’m chuffed to win something like that. Even just to be in the running was an honour and to actually win, it’s really nice! I haven’t been doing this thing for 5 minutes so it’s just nice to be appreciated for the hard work you put in there.

What’s kept you going all these years?

Just the love of the music! There’re swings and roundabouts but you just change with it. You go along with it and create your own identity within it.

As someone who was in the scene pre-jungle (in the very early 90s) did it feel like something special was happening at the time when jungle arose?

Without a doubt. We creatred our identity with our own British music.

Tell us a bit about Blackmarket Records

Mate, I was in there for 24 years. It’s just nice to have been a part of that whole record thing. It’s a real big shame that the youngsters are not gonna really see that.

Tell us a bit about what would happen in a typical day.

You’d go in in the morning. Make sure everything was spic and span and that your records are sorted. Your restocks are properly ship shape and you have enough stock for the day. You’d find out what’s new, what’s coming in. You’d hit up all the labels, you’d hit up all the artists and receive all the new white-labels. You had to be on the ball, 24/7. But that’s what kept us going. Being on the ball all the time.

We could sell hundred and hundreds in one day, at one point I reckon we could have sold thousands (laughs gleefully) it’s just crazy. Just out of our little basement.

Tell us about the early days

It was 92 when we decided to have our own department for the music. The hip-hop weren’t really carrying the sales and I had 100% faith in our new music. We got Ray Keith over from City Sounds., we had Clarkee, (Goldie’s resident), Crazy Legs, Profile and Ash-Attack. That’s when we really started to build our own identity. We decided we’re going that way and it was fun times. It was DIY, It was doing it all for ourselves. It was very exciting. You couldn’t wait to go to work!

People would come in every day to pitch new releases to you. At the end of the day people would come in and leave promos for all the DJs. We’d do the mail-outs. Real fun times. Those were the days, that was the beginning of what’s going on now. If it weren’t for that, there wouldn’t be no scene.

Lot’s of people met in our shop. It was the internet of its time. Lots of people met there. We put people in contact with certain people and they went on to do big things. It was the flagship for the scene and that’s how it was.

As a DJ who became known to a lot of people (including myself) through tape packs what do you feel about there role in the scene?

A lot of people would have listened to me on tape packs. That’s how it was. What’s funny is, you’ve got Canada for example, in Toronto. The first time I went over there they were selling loads of tape packs and singular tapes in this one shop, a famous record shop. I thought about it and although some peeps were moaning about it, at the end of the day, through people listening to those tapes, that’s how people got big.

Some artists would moan and go over there and say ‘give me the money for selling the tapes, don’t ever do that again!’ and they were never on them anymore. As a DJ, you don’t make no money on it but doesn’t matter, you’re building a big name out there which was crazy. You became big because people were listening to you, the other side of the world, you know. Remember there was no internet.

In the rave tape industry, the promoters of the event might get some money from the sales but the DJ who had been recorded and in turn the producers who’s tracks featured in the mix would not receive any more.

That’s how it was, exactly that.

Are there any recordings that made it onto cassette of yourself that you’re particularly proud of? What are your favourites?

There’s loads but one of them that me and Stevie (Stevie Hyper D) did the week before he passed away really stands out. We went to Canada, to Toronto and we did this gig called Liquid Adrenaline. When I listen to it, I still get goosebumps.

Me and Stevie were laughing and smiling to each other the whole set, it was nuts. That was in the time, especially in Canada, when they used to do massive warehouses. It was different back then because later they locked it all down and it went into the club scene over in Canada, like what happened here in the late 80s, early 90s when it all went from warehouse to club scene. This Liquid Adrenaline warehouse event was fucking mental,. There weren’t no aircon, it was really hot, unbelievably sweating in there. The vibe was fucking mental. We just kept laughing. (Nicky then imitates a horn going off) there was this horn going off every time we rewound the record. One of them just mad gigs. I’d look at Stevie, he’s look at me and we’d just burst out laughing.


Any others?

World Dance at NYE in the Millenium Dome, that was so many people. It was just a sea, you couldn’t see the end. All the Helter Skelters at Milton Keynes (The Sanctuary), they were fucking special.

Some of my favourites that we used to buzz off as kids were, Pure-X 97 and Hysteria 13

Oh yeah, those were great.

How do you see Jungle/DnB fitting into the global music scene?

It’s everywhere globally! It’s absolutely everywhere. It’s not always commercial but there’s little pockets all over the world.

Is that still growing?

I suppose it is, not massively but nicely. Slowly but surely it’s growing in different parts of the world. I wouldn’t say it’s gonna blow up again, it has survived because it has stayed underground

Blowing up can be a dangerous thing for a genre

Yeah, it doesn’t need to actually blow up, it’s just nice what it’s doing. It’s a very stable industry now, well established and it knows how to work.

Do you still see the same excitement in the people for the music?

Without a doubt. The scene is getting younger, in fact were getting older! It’s a new generation of people. No doubt I still have the passion and excitement. Obviously you get tired. If you’re on road for 3 or 4 days in a row and you only get 3 hours of sleep a night then of course it’s going to affect you but that’s how it goes. At then end of the day, you’re doing something you absolutely love with a passion. You can’t get any better than that!

How does jungle fit in with other UK genres?

The way I see it, it’s likes branches from a tree. The dubstep thing (for example) is just another branch from the tree of jungle. It’s got its own vibe, it’s own thing. It appeals to certain people.

What do you think of the new crop of contemporary jungle producers?

To be honest it’s all really healthy. You have to have new blood coming in otherwise it remains stagnant. It’s great now that there’s people coming through in all different aspects of the scene. Liquid, jungle, drum and bass, jump-up, whatever it’s very, very, very healthy, it’s vey good for the scene.

I was in the studio with Aries today and in the studio yesterday with Voltage. Doing different flexes. It’s great to have the scope to do different projects. That’s what it’s all about. Doing different gear.

What are you pushing at the moment?

I have started up my Kartoons Label digitally again. We’re on release number 2. Me and Voltage was the first one, then Leaf an artist from the Isle of Wight is number 2 and then we’ve got Profile for number 3 and then we’ve got me an Voltage again and then me and Aries. The one with me and Aries is going to

include the vocalist Cheshire Cat. No boundaries!

Are you looking forward to the next We Love Jungle event?

It’s great that the award ceremony is going up North, it will be a different flex from last year. ‘We Love Jungle’ has a good momentum behind it. There’s so much currently going on in the world of jungle, it’s great to see it celebrated, I’m looking forward to the event already.

And lastly, who’s the next QPR manager?

It looks like it could be Tim Sherwood!



By Alex Deadman