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MC Sharkey Interview / Profile 1994

Over the past year or so the one MC who has shone through to become one of the contenders for the Number One spot is MC Sharkey. In the running for the ‘The Scene Magazine Best MC’, and with ‘Best Fusion MC’ of 1995 already in the bag. Sharkey is set for the big time, where the Slipmatt’s and Dougal’s are sitting comfortably.

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Sharkey started his MC’ing career in 1992:

“I blagged it in the South West working with a DJ called Worm, I didn’t have any experience, but convinced the promoter that I could MC. I had never really done it professionally until about two years ago. That is when I started working with DJ Druid (Old Man!), everything started to kick off from there really. I began to develop my own style which always gets the ravers going”.

Sharkey’s first event occurred at the Plymouth Warehouse in 1992:

“I can’t remember what the event was to be honest. I disregard the early part of my career, my life was just a blur back then. Seriously, I didn’t really start looking at what I was doing properly until I asked Druid if I could be his MC at a Euology event at Hastings Pier. My career kicked off mainly in the South Coast area in Aldershot at the Rhythm Station with promoters Fusion and Origin. Things didn’t start really kicking off until I helped John at Hardcore Heaven get started with his events. I remember doing the flyer with him in my bedsit room in Haywards Heath”.

Now a firm favourite at Hardcore Heaven, Dance Paradise, United Dance and Fusion, Sharkey had an uncanny knack of getting the ravers right at it. If I was to be honest Sharkey is the original nuttah:

“I get my MC’ing style from my personality. I lost the plot completely and become a raver myself on stage. I express the way I am feeling at that time through my lyrics which are usually controversial and off the wall”.

Before embarking on his career in the rave scene Sharkey, real name John Kneath, “didn’t have any purpose in his life”, as he put it. He was wandering around the UK working in dead end jobs, mainly in the hotel industry:

“I used to listen to MC’s such as Ribbz who is my idol in life. I really rate him highly, Robbie D was another. Nowadays I rate MC MC for Jungle and Fearless, along with GQ. On the Happy and Techno tip, Ribbz obviously followed by Marley, Knight, Peta Pan and MC Jack Horner. They all have their own unique style which is something I think is important”.

Working alongside DJ’s such as Druid, who Sharkey believes is one of the most underrated DJ’s on the scene. Hixxy, Clark-E, Brisk, Seduction and so on….

“I like working with DJ’s with different styles. If I am really up for it I might be teamed up with Clarke-E (Wot No Poppers!), who I feel can really terrorise peoples brains with thumpin’, pumpin’ Techno. If I am in a laid back sort of mood I might prefer to be teamed up with Sy who’s style is slower and less hard. On the Happy tip it would have to be Druid, Hixxy and Brisk. Other DJ’s I like working with are Slippery Matt or Beermatt, the reader might know him as Slipmatt, The Producer and finally Scorpio”.

He was really catapulted to fame after his collaboration with Hixxy on the ‘Toy Town’ project. ‘Toy Town’, probably the best selling tune of 1995 was played out everywhere, up and down the country and is a firm favourite on most Happy compilations. What effect did this have on his career?:

“It was unbelievable. That is the only word I can use to describe it. The impact it had on the amount of bookings I got was immense. Toy Town just happened one afternoon, when we were trying to come up with an idea that was a bit different. For a Hardcored 12” to sell 4,000 copies is pretty good and I must say we were surprised. We didn’t know if it would work, or whether or not it would have such an effect on the scene. We found ourselves PA’ing all over the country, but the best night was at United Dance when we performed live in front of 4,000 nutty ravers al havin’ it to our tune. I can’t describe that feeling. Nothing can replace it”.

Sharkey strongly believes that the scene now is as big as ever, his experiences at raves recently have simply re-inforced that fact:

“I feel that there are too many people out to make money from the scene. It needs more people like Helter Skelter, United Dance, Dreamscape, Dance Paradise, Fusion and so on. These organisations put on large parties with top production giving the ravers value for money. In my opinion the mixing of all styles of music at an event is important, giving everybody rave music, whether it be Jungle, Happy, Techno or whatever. A DJ should be booked for his style of music and not for his name. It is these reasons alone why the rave scene is getting bigger all the time. The music production is reaching higher standards, it’s not just sped up vocals anymore, the music content is getting more original also. With people like Billy Bunter, D-Zyne, Ramos, Supreme, Midas, Seduction and Eruption. Force and Evolution, Brisk, Scott Brown, Hixxy, Dougal and so forth, all making top quality tunes. The only way is forward”.

Sharkey himself has just began to start working on some “FIERCE” projects. (FIERCE IS COPYRIGHTED BY SHARKEY 1996). After the success of ‘Toy Town’, and the general success of Happy Hardcore in the last eighteen months, larger well known labels in particular have begun to notice Happy Hardcore as a marketable dance music style. React Music, based in Putney, South London are commissioning Sharkey, together with Hixxy, to compile a Happy Hardcore CD which is being distributed all over the world:

“It’s really exciting, and good the for the scene for larger labels to get involved. React approached me and Hixxy and asked us to compile a new album they are planning on releasing. House Music and Jungle, in particular have had all the press for the past few years, and now it’s time for the Happy Hardcore scene to have a slice of the cake. I just hope that the larger companies involved are involved for the right reasons and that the people who work within the scene, those who have worked in it from day one are not disregarded. Labels such as United Dance Recordings, Impact, Universal, GBT, Platinum, Hectic and RSR Recordings have brought the scene this far and should carry on taking the scene for the future. It would be sad if the big companies just came in and took over, forgetting about where it all started. These labels make the music; the music makes the scene. React are a very reputable company in the Nu-NRG, House and commercial dance scene. They have an eye for quality, and want to promote young artists, such as myself and Hixxy. It was for this reason that we decided to start work on the album with React, who we believe are doing this for the right reasons. Promoting the scene worldwide which is what it deserves. They are bringing in all the top British and European artists such as Bass-D and King Matthew, Scott Brown, Seduction and so on”.

The new album as yet untitled (at time of press), will contain tracks such as Force and Evolutions ‘Fluffy, Fluffy’ which is billed as the new ‘Toy Town’. ‘Let The Music’ by Eruption, ‘Love of My Life’ by Dougal, and an exclusive ‘Toy Town’ remixes. The ‘Vampire’ which is the Technostorm remix courtesy of Sharkey. All this will be packaged React style, mixed on to two CD’s by Sharkey and Hixxy and hitting the streets soon. Other projects lined up for the future include some more ‘Toy Town’ remixes, the ‘Vampire’ remix which is on Quosh which will be released soon. ‘Revolution’ which is an innovation in sound, breaking barriers, and giving the raver new music to sample for their ever demanding tastes.

In recent months, Sharkey has been seen slightly less on the mic in clubs and raves, due to health reasons. He is trying to work for only a few organisations, and at the same time concentrating on DJ’ing. At Fusion on New Year’s Eve, due to the late arrival of Vibes, Sharkey had to take to the decks at the midnight hour where our Dream reporter told us he played the best set:

“I have always enjoyed mixing and mixing out at an event is a buzz which nobody can take away. When I went up on New Year’s Eve, the adrenaline was flowing, and I just did what came natural. I then went to United Dance where once again a DJ was late and one deck was not working, which was not the promoters fault, but due to the sound engineers at Rollerbury’s. Here I had to DJ and MC at the same time, which was a horrible experience and bad for the scene. I feel for the promoter who had spent a lot of time, effort and money in preparing a top quality event and due to circumstances beyond his control – we endured a lot of problems”.

Sharkey is very well known in the Happy scene but can we expect him to do any other styles of music production, MC’ing or even DJ’ing? Unlike other well known names in the scene Sharkey is very musically talented instrumentally. In school he used to get up in front of everybody and play Jean Michel Jarre, one of his earliest influences musically speaking:

“I have started a track with Seb, who is a massive artist on React. He does a lot of NU-NRG and European dance music. I am doing vocals now with React which is opening loads of doors al over Europe and Australia. I have always been interested in other styles of music, especially Techno, all forms of it. I have an open mind for music which enables me to do various styles. I strive for originality in all areas of my music. If people just copy, it takes the music back and not forward. Music, especially in this scene needs to go forward. That was the secret of ‘Toy Town’s’ success. Originality!”

Sharkey’s success has coincided with the explosion of the Happy Hardcore scene. Whilst the press try to bring the scene down it just grows stronger from within. There are good and bad things about the scene that Sharkey wants to share, starting with the good things:

“The rave scene is like a community, without it I would be lost. I started off in the scene as a kid, reckless, without direction. Now I have matured, grown up with goals and a purpose, the scene has also developed in the same way, and can only get better. I think that the scene has come together more, from all aspects, Jungle, Techno, Happy etc.

Because at the end of the day it’s supposed to be united thing”.

And the bad points?

“Everybody is really quick to publicly slag everybody off in interviews. It makes our scene look really unprofessional! What are we? Amateurs? If we spent as much time on the good points in the scene as we did criticising others then this scene would be enormous, ten fold what it is today. Most of the comments are due to personal taste or differences and not down to professional ability. If a DJ or MC is good enough to play at all the events, it is because he is wanted at the events. Like his style or hate it it is there. People slag off cheesy music, but ask me this ‘Why does it do so well?”

How does it feel to be in demand?

“It feels really good, I’ve always had lots of self belief which is sometimes the only thing which carries you through the hard times. Right now, I am on a roll, and hopefully keep it up! It has taken me three years to reach where I am now and to all up and coming DJ’s and MC’s, perseverance is the key. If you are really good at what you do, then talent will prevail. Nuff said!”

With United Dance, Helter Skelter, Dreamscape, Fusion, Dance Paradise, Vibealite and many more already in his book of ‘Been There and Done That” where is next for Sharkey?

“I am looking forward to doing Rezerection on the 6th April. Scotland really excites me, their scene is really separate from ours, and getting the chance to work with DJ’s such as Marc Smith, DJ Ten and M-Zone is a real boost for me. I have projects starting in Canada and Australia and would like to take Europe by storm! I would like to concentrate on my work in the studio and keep pushing out quality releases, and carry on being the nutty raver that I always have been. I live for my music and for the people that are in the scene keeping it alive and taking it forward into the next century”.


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