The word legend is one often used so flexibly these days, especially when it pertains to the explanation of a particularly famous figure within arts, entertainment or music. There a few though that can be called it so affectionately and actually be able to back it up with substance. The predominantly freestyle MC Scratchmaster Techno, is however, one of those artists that can back up such a claim, one that has earned such a title without having to utter the word legend himself.
Becoming fascinated by acid house parties after seeing media coverage of the explosion of the rave movement on television back in the day and no less having never seen lasers like that anywhere before, his obsession with both scene and sound and the discovery of rave music for himself would lead him to the Spiral Tribe raves in Deptford, where he would watch another classic rave legend MC Scallywag perform. Scallywag had, along with the general acid house and warehouse and illegal party movement of the time inspired to him want to become a master of ceremonies himself. Having already had a distinct amount of practise on his brothers reggae sound system formerly known as Playboy International; the Scratchmaster had indeed had plenty of opportunity to practise a fine balance of host and entertainer upon a microphone before reaching rave and all it’s infamy.
Up until this point, he was only known as Techno, a name he had adopted himself because of the sound at the time, the Scratchmaster would come later as a direct result of two core influences. One would be by becoming a fan of now World famous microphone controller Conrad, whom Techno would meet at the illegal parties at Old Town in Lewisham. The two became friends and Conrad would be seen as a mentor and teacher figure to Techno, who became a bigger fan still of Conrad’s famous vocal scratch. This was added to an already well established admiration for comedy actor Michael Winslow who famously played ‘Jones’ in the Police Academy films. Somehow, Techno would find a way to shape his skill on being a fan of both those artists but make a show, all of his own, making new sounds, lyrics and abilities that would make him as viable a contender as those he admired.
Barely old enough to attend a rave himself, the now newly named Scratchmaster Techno by those that had started to follow him from the few skits he would have an opportunity to put in at the raves he did have the pleasure of attending would have a fateful meet with fellow scene hero, ‘Original Detonator’ Robbie Dee. Having successfully pulled off a crowd rupturing set at Castle Morton given to him by Conrad, Rob noticed the Scratchmaster’s talents and asked Techno to join him at another rave event that itself was playing it’s part in inventing the genre, Fantazia.
It would be having a small part thanks to Robbie, at Fantazia in Bournemouth that would lead to getting the DJ Ramjack’s attention and both DJ and MC immediately struck up a friendship, one which would lead to a young and very talented Scratchmaster Techno becoming Ramjack’s MC for a number of block busting events. It would of course be the start of a much bigger journey that would rocket the Scratchmaster into the MC hall of fame in a short space of time, continuing to work with the likes of Monzaman, DIY DJ (aka Die), Roni Size, Simon Bassline Smith, Stu Allan and another ‘Scratchmaster’ of the vinyl variety, DJ Sy.
By this point, after appearing on a number of line-ups, events, flyers and performing some memorable sets that would be received with praise and talked about by many, that the Scratchmaster’s vocal style had hit the desk of Gideon, the man behind the then very famous and well attended Obsession events. Gideon was so sure he was onto the next big thing with Techno, that he signed him up as an exclusive resident for all Obsession events year in, year out from 1993 until the year it finally closed down as an operation. This of course would be where the now universally infamous DJ Sy & Scratchmaster Techno set would be recorded, which is still to this day Obsession’s most sold tape pack.
Despite being a devoted Junglist and loving performing to the jungle sound, Techno had now found himself on the peak of many a line-up of happy hardcore events. As a direct result of his work with Obsession, that particularly famous DJ Sy set and at a time when jungle, drum & bass and happy hardcore all operated under the same roof on the World stage, Techno’s reputation for original and entertaining performances was making big waves right across rave.
This did not stop him from becoming a master of ceremonies in all walks of rave though. He performed with Carl Cox, Swan E, Easygroove and a number of other noteworthy and prolific artists during his time at the crest of the rave scene’s wave as it’s attraction was not only taking over the UK, but abroad as well. Techno visited Australia, Belgium, New York, Germany and was a regular at Fantazia, Obsession, Universe, Spiral Tribe, Bedlam, The Quickening, Astoria, Movement,Rage, Bristol Academy, Raindance, Dreamscape, Helter Skelter and Vision to name a short list and was even by this point recording his own material and cutting his own dubplates with great success and reception from both peers and fans.
Techno had also at this time enjoyed working with a number of artists in the studio, recording vocal work for producers such as Roni Size, who would record Techno under his Tech 3 MC alias on two tracks ‘Keystone Cops’ and ‘Raw Shit’. Although the latter never saw a release, the former went out on a number of best selling compilations.
Tech 3 MC also became an alias that Techno would use for more jungle and drum & bass related business, so as to separate the acts and genres from that of happy hardcore. It would be under Tech 3 MC that he would also become a regular at Jungle Mania at the since dearly demolished Sanctuary club in Milton Keynes.
Another alter ego that would sideline gain the artist notoriety was the MC Curious, this in particular was an alter ego created by Techno to use purely within the garage scene after his brother put together a very popular and extremely well sold London garage event called ‘Guess Who’, for which Curious would be a permanent resident.
During his tenure as an MC and lyricist and under a variation of aliases, the Scratchmaster would also make many a radio appearance. From joining Ripps on Rinse and Pressure FM, to a then pirate Kiss FM with Ripps in 1992 and of course the still going strong and hugely support Kool London, it is a fair statement to say that Techno put his time in on the air during rave, jungle, drum & bass and happy hardcore’s 90′s hey day whether that be as Tech 3 MC, Scratchmaster Techno or Curious.
In 1995, Techno took a break from all things music to settle down, by this point his focus had become more on starting a family and becoming more settled from the whirlwind life he had experienced as a now World famous MC and also take an opportunity to get back to education.
At the time, he felt he had given all he could and was happy to close that particular chapter of his life, that is of course until just over ten years later when a chance conversation with his brother led him to jokingly Google himself and realise the legend indeed that he had left behind as a rave MC. That and a fateful trip to Full Cycle at Fabric in London would see him bump into Dynamite MC, who encouraged him along with Easygroove to dust off his microphone, resurrect his original Scratchmaster Techno persona and bring back to the World stage his now globally recognised style of freestyle MC’ing.
Since that time, Techno’s been very busy indeed. Not only has he taken to the stage again to fit the role we know him best for, he has also been as busy behind a mixing desk and set of decks as he has been in front of it. Recording tracks in the studio as part of the Southbound Hangers, their recent hit ‘Look Better’ was received with wide acclaim on Love Sick Records and the Scratchmaster is currently continuing to record a further number of tracks with both the Hangers and a selection of other producers include his own original work through the year.
Techno’s also been quite adept at playing the records he’s making, having always enjoyed the art of the mix, Techno can also be found not just performing to sold out stages as an MC UK wide, but also as a DJ, again under a variation of aliases.
One alias in particular that has garnered quite a lot of attention is his performance as an electro DJ under the name Chris ’2 Much’ Girl Problem in which he has taken on the main room at Volks, Concorde II, Oceana and all the main clubs along the strip of his now native Brighton playing upfront electro and more soulful grooves, which of course allows him to combine all three gifts of singing, MC’ing and DJ’ing. That is not to say Techno will restrict his DJ skill in just electro and house though, the artist has often been known to appear at a rave or ten playing full on, upfront, darkside and liquid drum & bass too.
Having a spent a lifetime controlling the microphone on a massive variety of genres in his time including reggae, bashment, house, acid house, trance, techno, happy hardcore, UK hardcore, drum & bass and jungle, MC’ing, despite being a very gifted fellow in all three areas, still remains his first love, something he is somewhat a perfectionist about, despite his creative skills in other areas.
Now, with many irons in the fire, Scratchmaster Techno is happier and busier than ever. As the MC Scratchmaster Techno and on occasion Tech 3 MC depending on the set at hand, this well established and well honed and exceptional freestyle artist can be found on the main stage at every major event from Raindance to Fantazia to HTID and beyond, as a vocal artist, he’s very much enjoying stretching his chords on cutting tracks with the Southbound Hangers and friends and as a DJ, his bookings continue to flourish in Brighton, London, Birmingham and further afield either in a more commercial sense as Chris ’2 Much’ Girl Problem or on a darker, faster more furious tip in the ever growing and feverishly popular realm of jungle and drum & bass.
There truly is no questioning the man’s talent as an all round entertainer and performer, from putting a track down in the studio, to playing it out live, to performing a vocal and laying down the scratch whether that be on a deck or a microphone or just simply to have an original, thought provoking, freestyle visionary as a master of ceremonies, Scratchmaster Techno carries the experience, the talent, the charisma, the tracks and the lyrics and persona do to the necessary dance floor damage.
A legend indeed.