DJ Lipmaster Mark and MC Evenson Allen (aka RatPack) are the original DJ/MC team to be born from the UK rave scene.
Alongside dropping seminal anthems like 'Searchin' for my Rizla' and 'Captain of the Ship', the duo were at the epicentre of the Acid House scene throughout its golden years, playing at Elevation, Vision, Fantasia, among others. From Holland to Ibiza, RatPack have graced stages all over the world, and on 4th March, they're back to grace our very own stage, so if you like your beats hard and your bass sharp, be sure not to miss this.
Hello! How’re you both doing?
Hello!! In the words of Robert de Niro (or was it Joey Pesci?) "We're doing great, in fact, we feel better every fucking day"! Haha.
When you guys started out, you were playing gigs in and around London - did you both grow up in the capital?
Yes, we're both from Islington, North London.
What kind of music did you grow up listening to?
We both grew up listening to a mixture of Reggae, Soul, Rare Groove and Hip Hop when it was in its earliest form.
And do you think it’s influenced your style today?
Most definitely, MCing (or Toasting as it was called back then), soulful vocals, breakbeats and scratching are all ingredients we still use today in our music.
Now you guys have been called out as the UK rave scene’s first DJ/MC team – how did it all start?
It was because back in the days of the warehouse and Acid House parties it was kind of taboo for someone to "talk" over the music, BUT, at our parties, Evenson would sing and hype the crowd, which would get a reaction from the crowd. And they would also participate too, joining in on shouts such as, "When I say RAT you say PACK". Anyway, to cut a long story short, one day we had a spare set to fill at our party "Trip City" so I jumped on the decks and Evenson took the mic and the rest is... Ourstory (see what I did there).
So you’re known for your warehouse parties, Trip City in particular. Tell me, what was so special about these parties?
It was special because it was in the basement of and old office block, which a few friends of ours had squatted. It was also around 1988 when the early Acid House movement was emerging from the underground. We had Us (RatPack), Frankie Valentine, Steve Jackson and Matthew B aka Bushwacka! playing there.
What will ALWAYS stay in my memory is, there was a elevator which would take you from the entrance down to the action in the basement and when you reached the basement, the door would open and you would hear the bass THUMPING HARD and see just a strobe light and smoke machine filling the room, and best of all EVERYONE whether they were black, white, rich or poor would be smiling and dancing together as one. Priceless!!
If you could throw one party again, which would it be?
Probably Trip City for me, I'm sure Evenson would say so too. It's either that or the one we threw in the empty public swimming pool at Merlin Street Swimming Baths, now that is another great story altogether Haha.
You have three invitations only, who’s coming along?
Someone beautiful, someone happy and someone who KNOWS how to party!! (Wait... that's me... OK maybe not!! Hahaha)
And you can only bring three items, what would they be?
Easy! Big tunes, Headphones and Happy Vibes
Now you’re going to be heading up our jungle stage as we turn 16 on the 4th March, what’s the one track you’re definitely going to drop?
I suppose Conquering Lion ‘Code Red’ is definitely in that bag.
And to wrap things up, what can we look forward to from you in 2017?
Haha!! (Rubs hands together) We will finally, finally, finally see the long anticipated, long awaited release of our new album The (co)LabRats which has collaborations with heavyweights such as: Shut Up And Dance, Ragga Twins, Wideboys, Freestylers, Baby D, Slipmatt, King Yoof, Billy Daniel Bunter, Stephanie Smart and will also include
digitally mastered reworks of our classics, Searching For My Rizla, The Clipper and Captain Of The Ship. The album is due to be released in the springtime.
Just wanna say Big up to ALL the Backto95 Crew. It's an honour and a pleasure to be playing for you guys again, it's ALWAYS a great night and we're looking forward to this one a little more than others. Peace. DJ Lipmaster Mark & MC Evenson Allen – RatPack.