2019 is a very special year for Cause4Concern as the label and DJ / producer project celebrates their 20th year in drum and bass. Because of reaching this awesome milestone, Optiv & CZA are doing a tour celebrating with ravers all across Europe. And Saturday the 17th of May they are coming over to our small country and rock the stage at the Planet Jungle XL event in Tilburg.
We were lucky enough to be able to ask Mark Clements, better known as DJ, producer and label owner CZA, some questions about their journey so far, the European tour and the upcoming event in Tilburg next week. So let’s go!
First of all, thank you for making some time to do this Q&A, I really love that. So, this year Cause4Concern was born 20 years ago, that’s an awesome achievement, congrats! Please tell us a bit how it all started back in the day.
Hello, it’s a pleasure for us as well! 20 years is a big achievement for us and our label, and we are more than happy to be involved in all of this for so many years. Still, the best is yet to come!
So, let’s take a step back into time for this one. Myself (CZA) and Edd (Optiv) met in the rave scene back in 1996, we were both working in record shops and both had separate studios. Our love for the music and our friendship got us wanting to do something original and creative together, and voila – a few months later we had joined forces, combining ourselves into the outfit you all know by now.
Actually, I’m wondering, where does the name “Cause4Concern” come from exactly?
At first, we were producing under the names of Troubled Mindz, and nCode, but whilst in the studio one day, we were sampling an old BBC record, and one of the tracks was titled “Cause for Concern”. We thought this was a great name, and we used it in our advantage, we changed it a little bit, so it suited our collective.
The label started out mainly as a place to release your own music, right? But around 2010 you also decided to start releasing music from other artists, if I’m correct. Why did you decide to change things around after those 11 years?
That’s correct. The original idea for the label was just to release our own music, but after being in the scene for so many years, building up contacts, and being around some great artists, we suddenly found ourselves in the ideal position for releasing music by other producers which we also loved and respected. It was a great honour for us, and we are very fortunate to still be in that place.
Music wise, what’s the most important thing that you’ve learned in the last 20 years?
To be open-minded and never give up.
Please share some of your personal highlights being involved in the drum and bass scene and with the C4C label.
I think being involved in the scene for such a long period of time is a highlight by itself. We are very blessed to still be doing what we love, after 20 + years in the game.
Since then you’ve been releasing loads of tunes from different artists, with the most recent release being the Bring Back the Funk Part 2 EP of Estonian producers Mean Teeth. What projects can we expect to be dropped in the near future?
Working with the Mean Teeth guys has been an amazing experience and we also have a lot more surprises planned for 2019, some of which include a brand-new LP from us (Optiv & CZA) as-well-as a forthcoming L.P. from the Spanish based producer Impak. If I was in your place, I would stay tuned for more exciting updates.
Which upcoming producer(s) do you think we really should keep an eye on?
So many great new artists are coming through the ranks at the moments, some of the highlights for us have been JayVee, ChaseR and KarmasynK, they definitely make the list for sure! And as a sneak peek, you can expect fresh new E.P’s from all of them on C4C soon!
You and Optiv started touring the EU together recently, how’s that going?
It’s going great, the responses have been overwhelming so far, with lots more shows planned through 2019 and 2020. We look forward to showing you something memorable and unique!
Where can your fans see you on stage in the next few weeks?
Amsterdam, Berlin and the Czech Republic are some of the upcoming ones, with yet more to be announced, so keep locked for more updates on that!
Is it possible we’ll see a new piece of Cause4Concern music one day?
We are still here, and we are still making music as Optiv & CZA, so … you never know!
Obviously, the technological evolvement that we’ve seen over the last 2 decades has been huge, and I think that’s going to continue for a while. What do you feel is the one thing that had the most impact on how producing and releasing music has changed over the years?
Erm … the Internet ?
What is the best way for upcoming artists to reach out and get the attention of the label?
It can be very hard to be noticed these days just because of the vast amount of digital content that is available to us. Still, if there’s a quality in the new music that’s written, I believe it will find its way to the right people’s ears.
If you had to leave three valuable tips for those starting producers amongst our followers, what would you say?
So, number one would be – know your history, and understand the roots of the music you’re involved with, really important. Next, be original and spend time learning your craft – don’t get caught up in following the crowd, it’s boring, leave that to other people. Lastly, invest as much time and effort into becoming the master of your machines, no matter what’s available to you.
How do you feel about the imbalance of the attention for female DJ’s & producers we see in the scene?
I can’t exactly say it’s like it has been before, I see more and more female producers being recognized by their peers. So, the imbalance is becoming more balanced with the times.
May 17th you guys are playing the Planet Jungle event in The Hall of Fame venue in Tilburg. I’m sure that’s going to be a really good night. What do you have in store for the visiting ravers that night?
Is a C4C 20 years celebration, where we will be playing a retrospective set, spanning the label’s identity and influences through the years. Will be great fun!
Any last words?
Stay tuned, stay humble, nourish your love for our favourite scene and I can’t wait to see you all this month!
More info on the Planet Jungle XL event can be found here