Final Chapter: The Official Renegade Hardware Interview
June 22, 2015
Since 1995 Renegade Hardware has been a staple in drum & bass music bringing forth the techstep sub-genre and giving birth to artists such as Future Forces, Loxy, Keaton, Usual Suspects and Ink. For 20 years the Trouble On Vinyl sister label was the forefront of record sales and threw some of the biggest and most legendary events in the UK drum & bass scene. Now, as they celebrate over two decades of greatness, Renegade Hardware announces they will be closing down and the clock begins to tick until Feb 2016 when the label will end for good with one last final and epic party. We spoke with Clayton Hines, owner of Renegade Hardware and the Trouble On Vinyl music group, about his decisions to close Hardware for good, the history behind the label and its success and what’s to come next for the man behind the biggest label in drum & bass history.
Renegade Hardware started in 1995, did you ever think it would become the huge success that it is all these years later?
No, never in a million years did I think I would still be doing drum & bass after 20 years. We started the labels as a way to keep out of trouble and to gain knowledge of the music scene. The plan was to go to New York after a few years to get into hip-hop which was, and always has been, my first love.
What sparked you to create Renegade Hardware? How was it different than TOV?
Renegade Hardware was created as an avenue for us to release and push the darker side of drum & bass. I have to give credit to Nico (No U Turn) as he was a major influence in starting that whole techstep genre. TOV was always the label which had the hip-hop samples and was more street and urban. At the time we saw a niche being created for the harder and more forward thinking DNB and always wanted to have an imprint to push that sound.
Over the years you’ve thrown some massive events. Which ones stand out to you and why?
Woo… Where do I begin? I would say the three events that stick out are:
The last End event; A lot of people don’t realize we were the longest running night which had a residency. We started in July of 2007 and ended in January of 2008. The last party we had people lined up from 6pm and coming from as far as South America to attend. It was very emotional after being at a venue for so long.
Renegade Hardware vs Valve at the Coronet; We actually won the Knowledge award that year for best event. We had 3000 people, literally hanging from the rafters. I remember thinking, “This is insane!”
The 20th birthday last February
You have some huge shows that are coming up, mainly Starwarz in Belgium. Can you tell us more about that?
Starwarz is the premier drum & bass event in Belgium. I have known the promoter, Jurgen for a long time, so it’s only right that Renegade Hardware goes there one final time and smashes up the dance floor. The vibes in Europe are always on point. They come out to party hard.
I’ve also heard Renegade Hardware will be at a few festivals this year. Boomtown, Outlook, will you guys be at either of these?
We are doing Outlook, Boomtown, Symmetry and hopefully Sun & Bass this year. The idea is to go out with a bang. At Outlook we are doing a boat party at the legendary Moat. We cant wait for that. We threw a show at the Moat a few years ago and there is no venue like that. Being there is surreal.
You recently announced that Renegade Hardware will stop throwing events on February 6th which is the date of your show called “The Final Chapter”. Is this the end of Renegade Hardware completely?
Unfortunately, Renegade Hardware the label and the events are closing. We think 20 years is a good time to stop. I have lost the passion and desire for drum & bass and want to explore other things. I have been doing DNB all my adult life and now its time for a new chapter. Our legacy is intact, just look at our back catalogue, and the artists who be brought through. When it’s all said and done, Renegade Hardware left a definitive mark on drum & bass.
With 20 years of Renegade Hardware going strong, what are some of your favorite memories or milestones?
The milestones are knowing that for 20 years we were forward thinking and helped shaped drum & bass to be taken seriously. Apart from punk rock which didn’t last long, drum & bass was the only musical art form to originate from these shores. To know we helped shape the scene and seeing after all these years that it’s stronger than ever is a good feeling.
Do you have any final words to the DNB Vault readers and Hardware fans out there in the world?
Thank you for supporting Renegade Hardware for the last 20 years. Whether you came to our events or bought our records, it’s all appreciated. When we put up the post last week to say we were ending, and I saw the out pouring of emotion from people, I was genuinely moved and shed a few tears as it wasn’t easy decision to close Renegade Hardware. However, we still think the best time to leave is on a high and people wanting more. All I can say is our last event will be our biggest and best ever. Watch this space for more news on that.
Mike is the Editor-In-Chief and co-founder of the DNB Vault who, notably, was a long time writer for the now defunct KMAG while covering music and events from Warp Tour, NOFX, Dirtyphonics and Benny Page.