DJ set for Africa Oye return after 'proud moment'

Curtis Holligan known as MC S.A.S performing at the former Masque venue in Seel Street Liverpool (Image: Amy Faith)
-Credit: (Image: Amy Faith)

A musical artist from Liverpool 8 got his MC name from a dream he had when he was a child.

Curtis Holligan has loved music since he was a toddler. He’s grown to be a DJ, MC, producer and promoter helping artists make and promote their music and develop their MC style.

The 46-year-old played for the first time at the 2023 Africa Oye Festival in Sefton Park, the country's biggest celebration of African and Caribbean music. The festival began in 1992 with small shows in the city centre and now attracts artists and attendees from around the world.

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Curtis told the ECHO: "My late mum would always take my sons or we would go as a family and, as families do at Oye; pray it doesn't rain, eat, dance and share good vibes. I’d say every year to anyone that would listen how good it would be to have drum and bass at Oye. They booked me last year, it was a proud moment.

"My stage name is MC S.A.S. It came from a dream when I was young; a cartoon, me as a soldier and a troop of soldiers running behind me.

"I don't have any connection with the military or to be a part of the machine. It's probably the opposite in terms of my views on government”.

Curtis Holligan known as MC S.A.S at his former Sleep Less studios with engineer Dan Stevens (Image: Saul Williams)
Curtis Holligan known as MC S.A.S (L) at his former Sleep Less Studios with engineer Dan Stevens (Image: Saul Williams) -Credit:Saul Williams

MC S.A.S was hugely influenced by his mum’s passion for music. She listened to anything from lovers rock to Marvin Gaye and Kate Bush. He was obsessed with synthesisers and pianos and said: "I couldn't walk past Dawsons (music shop) without wanting to go in and play on the equipment”, and now uses synthesisers in much of what he creates.

He added: "I've branched out into other things, I suppose I've been doing it that long I had to go deeper into the music. Liverpool is an amazing place to start as an artist, but for a lot of people it's easy to grow out of.

"I had to learn all aspects; production, DJing and record label management to create my own opportunities and knowledge base. If I didn't know it, I wanted to learn."

MC S.A.S began channelling his energy by sending messages about life and his experience growing up in Liverpool 8. His EP track Humanity, to be released June 7 is based around his view on the world which started from an early age watching the 1981 Toxteth Uprising from his living room window on Upper Parliament Street.

One of his first memories was seeing cars burning and police shooting rubber bullets. One came through his window “which saw glass shattering above my head.

Curtis Holligan known as MC S.A.S performing at the Mask in Seel Street Liverpool (Image: Amy Faith)
Curtis Holligan known as MC S.A.S performing at the Mask in Seel Street Liverpool (Image: Amy Faith) -Credit:Amy Faith

“I remember feeling excitement not fear, asking myself why I've become more outspoken, thoughts on the world and people's mannerisms. The deeper I looked back, the riots was a huge part of the formed outlook on life.

"I don't just write about thought-provoking, challenging issues, first and foremost drum-n-bass and jungle is very expressive music that brings all ages and races together with the shared goal of enjoying life and being grateful for being alive. Good vibes, shared experiences and being a part of that energy has shown me how beautiful humans unified can be.

“The riots unified people as one for the right causes. Some disagree the riots were a positive thing, but for the oppressed isn't uprising the only way forward?"

Reflecting on his best memories of the event, he said: "Oye 2023 was a special time, [with] so many different people loving the music. Kids doing backflips, mums and dads with kids on shoulders screaming and dancing will never be forgotten. I can't wait for this year.

MC S.A.S has performed DJ sets with artists including Goldie, Grooverider, Fabio and Randall. He recorded US rap star Ghostface Killa when he managed Sleep Less Records and worked with many Liverpool artists.

He said: "Seeing young artists with so much talent coming out of Liverpool is special; Kasst, Hazard and loads more have really done a lot for the city's music scene, putting their generation on the map. Grime and hip hop is a big export now from the city, that's sick to see.

"Workshops over the years; I'd like to think that influenced kids. The message behind what I write now helps highlight issues or provoke thoughts, which helps me navigate the world as best as I can, as I've matured and learnt the hard way".

For information visit MC S.A.S HERE

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