Cut Chemist (Jurassic 5, Ozomatli)
Autor: Richard Constantinidi
Etichete: A Stable Sound, Chali 2nas, Cut Chemist, Dj Nu-mark, Dj Shadow, Funk Off, Jurassic 5, Lucas Macfadden, Ozomatli, Pillage Roadshow Productions, Ratrace, The Audiences Listening, Vox Populi!, Vox Populi! Pacific 231
Lucas MacFadden (b. Oct. 4, 1972) better known as Cut Chemist, is a member of the Funk Latin band Ozomatli and hip hop group Jurassic 5.
A Stable Sound is an imprint founded by the artist for the release of sampled base mixes and compositions; Pillage Roadshow Productions was launched with DJ Shadow for the same reason.
He’s one of a dying breed of sample-based hip-hop producers, the kind who scour record stores for obscure beats and sounds on 45s to blend into funky collages. Cut Chemist left Jurassic 5 (at least for awhile) in 2004 and spent time in the lab to concoct his first solo opus.
In 2004 while on tour/record digging in Milan, Italy, Jurassic 5 founder and DJ Cut Chemist picked up a compilation featuring a group named Vox Populi!, whose track “Megamix” caught his attention. As familiar as he was with early hip-hop releases that pioneered the megamix (The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash, Double Dee & Steinski’s Lessons series, for example), this was clearly coming from a different set of cultural reference points.
Finding this record ultimately led to Cut Chemist tracking down the group, bonding over shared aesthetics and getting their blessing for this collection, which includes unreleased tracks, photographs and little-seen flyers and art from the group.
ClickZoomBytes got the chance to interview the artist, who is currently promoting the Funk Off remix album, through email.
RiCo (pentru CZB.ro): How do you feel about Marijuana being legalized Stateside?
Cut Chemist: I think it's a good thing. Cannabis is very potent resource for many things.
RiCo (pentru CZB.ro): What were you doing and what feelings did you have the moment you found out about 9/11?
Cut Chemist: I had just flew home from New York in the morning on an American Airlines flight the day before with Jurassic 5. We were there for the MTV Video Music Awards. My mom told me to turn on the TV. I was confused as to what was going on.
CZB: Who came up with the nickname Cut Chemist?
Cut Chemist: A jazz musician named Steven Fowler. He is no longer with us. His last job was playing with the Brian Setzer Orchestra. He was the father to Mumbles, a friend that I co produced some Aceyalone songs with.
CZB: How did you and Mark Potsic (DJ Nu-Mark) meet and what do you have in common?
Cut Chemist: We met at a rehearsal for a live band hip hop show called Ratrace back in '93. He was DJing with a wah wah pedal and I knew right away we would hit it off. We have a lot in common for the fact that we like to experiment with new ideas and weird gear.
CZB: Four rappers, two DJs …how did you come up with the name Jurassic 5?
Cut Chemist: As one might guess its a reference to the Fantastic 5 from the early rap years. Chali 2nas' wife came up with the name as a joke but the guys liked it.
(Chali 2nas is Charles Stewart of Jurassic 5 and Ozomatli)
CZB: How much do you enjoy traveling and how did you discover French outfit Vox Populi! digging for vinyls in Milano?
Cut Chemist: I love to travel once I get to where I'm going. The headache of actually traveling, not so much. I was at a record dealers house in Milan and that one just stuck out like a sore thumb. I listened and had to buy it.
CZB: Why did you consider it important for you to promote the French post-punk, industrial material. What is the statement you are trying to make regarding experimenting with different music genres and seeking international talent that has been overlooked?
Cut Chemist: This music, although a different direction than I'm used to, is still connected to psychedelic and electro which I think if you listen to my album The Audiences Listening (2006), you will understand this direction. Once I learned how consistent their sound was, I found it necessary to share with the world.
CZB: Most bands out of the US-UK sphere are influenced by US-UK beats and most try to imitate and copy the Top40 bands they are fed by the majors internationally. Getting a deep vibe from listening to all kinds of music from all over the world, how important do you feel it would be for bands from countries other than US-UK to delve into their traditional music roots for inspiration in creating something unique for the international music scene?
Cut Chemist: I think it's very important for different regions to exploit their own history of music in contemporary compositions. I believe that this happens more now than it did 10, 20... years ago, The evolution of people digging for music and putting out compilations of ethnic funk, jazz, rock etc helps make it popular, hence restoring faith in peoples music from their own region.
CZB: What is it like working with a major (Mercury/Universal), considering you continue to promote Indie music through your Indie label (Stable Sounds)? How are you making the two worlds come together?
Cut Chemist: Jurassic 5 nor I belong to a major label any more. We are all completely independent artists. When we were on major labels, I created my own imprint called A Stable Sound to release sampled base mixes and compositions. I also created Pillage Roadshow Productions with DJ Shadow for the same reason.
CZB: How did you get the offer to open for Shakira (for her 2007 European Tour) and why did you accept the offer - as others may have considered it a compromise for their underground image?
Cut Chemist: I think I was offered that tour because of some sort of bidding war between my manager and two competing booking agents. I'm not so concerned with image. I care more about showing people what is available and sharing. The Shakira tour was the most challenging experience to date for me. Those fans have never heard of me and I did my best to entertain them and teach them about an alternative to popular music. It was successful all around. I reached new fans that I would never have had the chance if it wasn't for accepting to be on that tour.
CZB: How will you be promoting the VOX POPULI! / PACIFIC 231 album? Will there be some kind of live concert collaboration with VOX POPULI! or band reunion in France linked to the release?
Cut Chemist: I'm doing a cassette based performance with tape delays and loop pedals. Im not sure if it will hit France but it would be nice to collaborate with Vox and Pacific on stage one day.
CZB: There was a Jurassic 5 reunion and tour in 2013… are there plans for a live album next year and what stage is this project currently in?
Cut Chemist: We are still active doing shows. This year marks our 20 year anniversary so we are touring the globe to celebrate. We will be releasing new music and a documentary about the reunion some time within the next year.
Interview conceived by RiCo for CZB.ro
1980’s French post punk, industrial, minimal movement collective Vox Populi!, known for circulating cassette-only releases, gets the reissue treatment lovingly curated by turntablist/producer/DJ Cut Chemist (Jurassic 5).
Limited run of CD and LP include extensive insert liner notes, first pressing of LP comes with 7” containing previously unreleased tracks by Vox Populi! and Pacific 231.
Many thanks to Cut Chemist for his time and to
MiKe LeWiS @ rapandsoulpromotion without which this interview may not have been possible.
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