The dubstep O.G. will be joined by an incredible support cast...

This Friday (May 14th) Hatcha is joined by a plethora of UK bass music DJs and MCs for a 50+ hour-long journey through the history of UK garage, dubstep, grime, and drum 'n' bass.

The event is being presented by Phase Transition, a new media platform that aims to champion the past, present, and future of UK sound system culture through their interviews and live streams. The event is free is to tune in to, but watchers are encouraged to donate to the stream, or through a JustGiving page, with proceeds being donated to Mind, the mental health charity.

The live stream will kick off on Friday at 6pm with a marathon 24 hour dubplate session from Hatcha, which will see the original dubstep DJ dive deep into dubstep’s foundational sounds. The following 26+ hours will feature stalwarts of the scene playing alongside newer talent. The bill includes the likes of Benny Ill, El-B, Juiceman, Skream, Flowdan, DJ Hype, Benton, Grooverider, and Haze, to name just a few.

Clash speaks to Hatcha about the behind-the-scenes of the upcoming live stream, the shape of streaming post-pandemic, as well what his experience during the pandemic was like, and his plans for the near future.

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The lineup for this live-stream is especially insane, it’s not so often that you see this many legends of the scene on the same bill, did anything specific prompt the Hatcha & Friends livestream?

We wanted to do something ambitious. To raise the levels and show the world what this culture is all about. The stream started off at 36-hours, but when people heard what we were doing they wanted to be involved and it grew from there.

What you have here is a bunch of old friends getting together to celebrate something they love doing and that gives people a lot of joy. Also, after the past 18 months, it’s important for us to give something back. Raising money for Mind during Mental Health Awareness Week is a perfect way to do that.

Some of the names announced might not have been seen in a while - what was the main idea behind this list of names? Was it difficult to get them all onboard?

We’re here to represent the culture in all its different forms and show the next generation where this music came from and what it’s all about. Bringing through some foundational names is a big part of that.

I’ve been blessed to work with some of the best in the game over the past 25 years and it was really just a question of reaching out and putting the dates and times together.

Have you ever done something like this before? Are you making any preparations to help you get through the 36+hrs?

As far as we know, this is the first time someone’s played a 24-hour set purely off vinyl and dubplate. So it’s a first for me and everyone else! I’ve been going through my records for a few months now and mixing a few hours every day to make sure I’m on point. A lot of this is about preparation and knowing your records inside out beforehand so it’s easier to navigate your way through the set on the day.

Has digging through your old dubplates brought back to the surface anything you weren’t expecting?

It’s been a real treat actually. The tracks that always stand out for me are the early Skream, Benga and Digital Mysticz plates that really shaped the dubstep sound. That was a golden era for music and it always brings back so many good memories.

We’ve relied on live-streams a lot more than usual this past year, and I get the feeling that DJs and fans have enjoyed the dynamic that it’s offered - do you reckon live-streaming will keep some of its newly gained popularity as we ease back into some kind of normality?

Streaming is definitely here to stay. The big question is how is it paid for. We’re doing this one for charity, but in the long run we need a sustainable model for streaming that puts money in the pockets of artists, not digital platforms and corporate advertisers. That’s one of the reasons I’m so excited to be working with Phase Transition, who are establishing a new model for live streaming focused on the needs of artists and fans.

As clubs and festivals open back up and the country looks towards unrestricted events, is there anything at all you’ll miss from lockdown life? Or are you looking forward to forgetting this ever happened as quickly as possible?

The main thing for me over the past 12 months has been the renewed sense of community. The fact that we’re all here to support each other, come what may. That’s one of the reasons we’re raising money for Mind - to give something back.

It’s become quite apparent that the pandemic has taken its toll on almost everybody’s mental health, but at the same time presented opportunities for many others, how have you found the last year and a bit?

It’s been a rollercoaster, let’s put it like that. Having our livelihood stripped away with no notice was a serious wake up call for many artists. It really hit home how precarious a lot of our situations have become. I’m blessed to have my family around me to help me through the worst times.

After this, for the rest of 2021 and beyond, what do you look forward to, what's next for Hatcha?

I’ve been working on my album for the past 18 months which is nearly ready to go. In some ways it’s been a blessing in disguise to have so much free time during lockdown. I’ve been able to really focus on my production in a way that was difficult when I was touring constantly. And everyone else has been in the same boat so collaborating on tracks has been easier than ever - kind of like the old days again.

I’m also looking forward to launching Heritage London later in the year - watch this space.

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Hatcha & Friends kicks off this Friday (May 14th) - support the event via JustGiving HERE.

Words: Gabriel Hynes

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