Beaming with excitement as he talks about his undying passion for drum & bass, it is clear to see that Bristol based producer ACP is as authentic as it comes.
His energetic sounds – which you may have heard being rinsed by the likes of Hedex, Turno and Amplify – reflect his vibrant personality, but there’s so much more to Archie than his horrendously dirty beats. Born with mild Cerebral Palsy in his left leg, ACP – which stands for Archie Cerebral Palsy – is determined to inspire others with disabilities to pursue their dreams.
With his recent release on Souped Up ‘Jumpscare’ vigorously circling the dance, it was time for a chin wag with the man himself.
ACP! How has your day been?
Yeah good! I woke up at 3pm after staying up until 1am last night. I had my mum over which was nice but I ended up sleeping in which is rare. Other than that, I haven’t done much apart from clean and mooch about! I’m going to Jenk’s house later…
Cool! You and Jenks are a great combo – is this visit for music making?
He’s my childhood friend so we’ve known each other a long time!
Ah nice. Did you guys start your musical journey together?
I started when I was 12 on my mum’s friend’s computer on Logic, then I wanted my own set up so in Year 8, I got my MacBook and bought Logic. Jenks would come to mine and we’d make tunes. Usually it would be house music or rap beats. During lockdown, that was when Josh got Ableton and we started working on drum & bass, uploading bits to Soundcloud. It was all just fun up until this year when we sat down and we were like ‘Yeah, let’s turn this into a career.’ It’s been pretty cool to do as friends. We sit in the car going to sets just in disbelief with everything! Driving here, there, everywhere. We’re best mates and we’re both killing it. So long as we’re having fun whilst making a career out of this, that’s all that matters to us.
It’s important to have fun – especially in music. How would you define your sound and what influences come into play when you’re producing?
A lot of my music is inspired by Riddim dubstep. Before I got into drum & bass, I was a proper dubstep head. I was in year 7 with little earphones in just walking around listening to really loud dubstep. So my music is super dubstep inspired. In terms of the vibe, I can make a really Belgium sounding tune, or a really minimal tune, but it’s all dubstep inspired originally.
You’ve just had your Jumpscare EP out on Souped Up. Talk to me about working with d&b dad and the Souped Up team!
I’ve actually loved their efficiency. Everything has been calm, everyone is so polite. Serum is great too. Before the release, he always said he loves my work. When he was playing a set in Belgium, I sent him a few tunes, Jumpscare included, and said ‘These are a bit weird, you might like them’. Then, when he came back, he asked if I wanted to put the track towards a Souped Up release. I was like yes! Also, I love that I have my own cartoon artwork now. In my dad’s house, there’s Souped Up artwork on the wall that I’ve had up there since I was a child. Artists like Window Kid, Bru-C, Darkzy all up there. It’s really nice to have my own one to add to that collection.
The artwork is definitely an amazing aspect of releasing on Souped Up. What do you think the most integral things were that you did when starting out that got you to where you are now?
It’s so generic but be yourself. Be an individual. ‘Dreaming’ has done me wonders this year and that’s a tune that I made at 3am by myself. I had no feedback or influences. I remember Hedex putting on his story to send him tunes so I sent it to him and a few days later he played it New Years Eve. You just need to push yourself out there. I like to have an image too. Be unique. Take inspiration but make it your own. Take your time. I haven’t been in the scene for too long so that’s all I can say really.
I’d say that’s pretty good advice! Plus, it’s good to hear how new artists navigated their way in.
Yeah true. You know what, I’ve just been having fun making tunes. I never thought I’d get anything out of it. I’m having fun and I’ve pushed myself. With production at least. I’m still working on my DJing. I didn’t know much about DJing until I got more into my production.
How are you finding the mix of having to be a producer and DJ? They are completely different skills, afterall!
Over the past year since I’ve been to Bristol uni, I’ve been around a lot more people with decks and I’ve learnt how to beatmatch. I’m a lot more confident now but the more social aspect and being in the rave sometimes can be quite overwhelming for me. In my contract, I have put that I need to be in a greenroom because sometimes I haven’t had a quiet space and I’ve just been outdoors in the smoking area, I find it a bit overwhelming. People will ask if I’m ok and I am, but I just want to be mentally prepared to do my set. I don’t want to overwhelm myself. Saying that, everytime I’m on, I love it. I love being able to play my friends’ music too, my housemates make great music so I like to showcase them when I DJ.
Is there anything else that you do or boundaries you have in place to protect your mental health?
Not really, no. I’m 19!
Ha! That’s true. Boundaries aren’t really a thing at 19.
Exactly. I’m trying to though because I think the boundaries do help. I have mild Cerebral Palsy which is where ACP comes from. Archie Cerebral Palsy. So yeah, I can get quite tired. It’s so mild that I have, over the years, just pushed it to the side but since coming into the music scene and having all those late nights, you start to realise you need to pay attention to your body. I always try and consider what I can do to make sure I’m calm and rested for my one hour set because I’ll be very tired afterwards.
Gotcha! It’s good to future-proof yourself in that sense so you’re not fatigued. You obviously implement your own things to ensure you can play your set but from your overall experiences, do you think that drum & bass raves are accessible for people with disabilities? Do you feel that’s something we do well here in the UK?
Definitely. I’ve never had an issue as an artist or a raver. I state in my new contract that I have Cerebral Palsy so that promoters know what’s going on if I need something or support, and also just so that people are aware. My Cerebral Palsy is just in my left leg, so my balance is affected. As I said, it’s mild, everything else is fine after from my balance, coordination and energy levels, so when you’ve got all of that going on at a rave, you’ve had a few drinks, it’s good for people to know. I actually want people to know. I’m able, but it’s classed as a disability, so it’s nice to be able to push my artist name with a disability in it. It’s great.
I love that.
It’s great. It’s just something I can prove to myself – you know? Back in primary school and high school I was bullied a lot about it and it’s just nice to be able to take that name – Cerebral Palsy – and turn it into a positive.
It’s super inspiring for others with disabilities too!
That’s what I want. Josh and I talk about it a lot, we got bullied because we were a duo called AJ Beats. It never took off, but we got bullied for doing it. Now I just think *middle finger* up to those people.
Brilliant. Fair play to you, Archie. Is there any advice you’d like to share with people who have disabilities that may want to venture down a similar path to you?
Yeah, just that they can do it! You can get support. You can also get technology now that can help with your disability. This woman that used to be in my primary school would control a computer with her eye gaze, it’s incredible what technology is out there. For anyone reading with a disability, you can do it. You just have to put in the time, really focus on what you want, what you want your sound to be, and then go for it.