Photo by Indigenous Fly Girl
WAY back when we were just getting our sea legs, Kid Cut Up did me a favor and let me post his first Club Soda, No Ice mix for download. Here we are, barely six months later, and the two-disc (!) volume 2 is ready to be uncaged. Which is what Cut Up’s planning to do this Saturday at Mad Planet (533 E. Center St.)
Don’t worry. I got all the details.
Fan-belt Milan: First, why a double album?
Kid Cut Up: Its a double album because the cd is a concept that I’ve been developing and putting into practice for quite a while and I didn’t want people to feel like “oh, its just like one or two remixes along these commercial / underground lines…”. I wanted people to realize that there is a lot of good music out there that can work in a club context but isn’t traditionally marketed along those lines. And I also went the double disc route because I didn’t want to have to cut out all the fun parts in the transitions and such to make it fit.
Plus I’ve never done a double cd…. so why not?
The way it worked out was great too, because the first disc is more traditional Hiphop-based, and the second disc is more party/hipster based in a way. I anticipate people liking one disc over the other, because they have a different feel, but they work very well as companion pieces and they show the range that the No Request Sound parties have become known for. Its kind of like the way cassette tapes worked back in the day… there was an a-side and a b-side to work with and do different, but related things.
FBM: I think you proved your point, too. Listening to the both of these, it’s hard to differentiate between the underground and commercial. Was it hard to figure out which acapellas would be added to which instrumentals? Or do you just hear stuff and think, “You know what? That’d sound dope over this other song’s beat?”
KCU: I generally sit with instrumentals and acapella ideas for a long time… kind of just waiting for the right combination to make itself evident. Every remix tends to have its own story and way it comes about. Some of them start with really big ideas that get simplified, and others are just simple ideas that become really complex in the making. A lot of these stories are actually included on the CDs as bonus media if you put them in your computer actually. Thats strictly for the music nerds like me out there though.
FBM: In the time it took you make this, did you find yourself constantly wanting to add new songs that were coming out? Was it hard to give yourself a stopping point?
KCU: I really try and make my mixes have a sense of timelessness to them. I stay away from songs that are only hot for the moment, or at least if I am going to use them, I try to impart something more timeless on them. There is nothing on the mix that I am embarrassed to still have included after the couple of months it took me to get it released. But of course there are songs coming out everyday that I feel like could have been included. Thats what my live shows are for I guess… THAT’S the up-to-the-minute report!!
I also did pretty much have a point where I had planned the mix, recorded all of it and except for fixing problems, didn’t go back to change things. Thats what the next installment is for! I’ve already started getting ideas for the next one… its all the stuff that didn’t make this one.
FBM: Your mix CDs, and pretty much any good DJ’s mix CDs, are nice little time capsules, capturing where music is at, at that particular point in time. Do you think about that as you’re putting your mixes together? That you’re a music historian?
KCU: Well, I really do try to impart that timeless feel on it in a way. But of course there isn’t going to be any song on the mix that comes out next year… so in a way they are all time stamped. However, I think most of the topics that I tackle thematically in the course of the mix are issues that have been a part of Hiphop, or our society for a long time.
The commercial vs. underground debate in Hiphop has been going on since three guys no one had ever seen as rappers before had the biggest selling record. That was in 1979 and they were the Sugarhill Gang… and I’m presenting music that deals with that… While taking the party people to task on the dance floor of course. And that is certainly a timeless battle. Matter of fact… after I’m done with this interview… I’m gonna go fight that fight all over again tonight!!
FBM: Along those same lines, your mix CDs are also going to expose people to local artists. Some of whom are playing with you at your release party. Can you run through the list for my readers, and maybe why you chose who you chose?
KCU: The release party will feature short sets from J Todd, Oneself, Count Classic, Sose, and DNA. Some of these people had their music remixed for my project, and others had their original songs included. I love supporting local artists, however, I really try not to look at their music as a “local thing”. I think thats a great disservice to their music and art, as they are really just as legitimate as any other artist. I mean, EVERYONE is local to somewhere, so its just a matter of perception.
All the tracks included are songs that I play out in my live sets and were songs that I felt were strong enough and fit in the right places on the mix, just like any other song. Of special note is the Sose and DNA song, a version of the song “Independent” by Webbie. This was a concept that I came up with and then had the two emcees write to. I tried to pick two people that would be unlikely to work on a track together and I think that it was a real success because of that. I plan on doing more songs like this in the future.
FBM: Last time we talked, you were still DJing for a living. Is it hard to maintain that at all? And looking back, is there anything you would have done differently that could have made it happen sooner?
KCU: DJing for a living is really a privilege that I take very seriously. I work every day from the moment I wake up until I go to sleep on music. I’ve become quite the workaholic actually. But I really love what I do, and I feel lucky that it works out for me. Looking back there are things I would do differently, but I wouldn’t want it to have happened sooner. I grew into it very gradually, and I think that helped me be in a position where I can choose what I work on and where I work. Many times people decide that they don’t wanna work a job anymore and just put themselves out there. Then they HAVE to take things they don’t wanna do and it becomes just another job. I actually quit my job to finish school and have just managed to put off the day job ever since. So I make a point to stay moving so that it can’t catch up with me.
FBM: I know you’ve performed outside of Milwaukee quite a bit. How often do you get to, and how important is it for you to do so?
KCU: I have played out of Milwaukee 2-3 times a month this year, mostly out of state. Ive been to Kansas City, Witchita, St Louis, Minneapolis, Madison, Carbondale, Chicago and a bunch of other places, mostly in the Midwest, which has been my focus this year. I was a part of the huge Soundset ’08 event in Minneapolis, which was incredible. I plan on hitting up a bunch of cities once this mix is officially out. Up-to-date info on stuff like that is always on our email list. You can sign up for that on the myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/kidcutup
FBM: You recently started co-hosting a radio show with DJ Madhatter, in the old Late Night Hype slot on WMSE. Tell me more about that, and how different it is from the other DJ gigs you’re used to.
KCU: Doing the radio show is great. Its a new challenge for me, as well as a new and unique outlet for me to do different things. Plus i get to hang out with a good friend every week and act foolish and play great music. Radio is very different from the club, no dancefloor to worry about, no worrying about if the bar is making enough money or any of that. And all the staff at WMSE has been so helpful and welcoming that its really feels like home, even after such a short while. Im looking forward to doing more unique features and such on the radio show, too. Madhatter and I are just taking things slow and one step at a time. With the long lived run of the Late Night Hype Show (10 YEARS!!), we have big shoes to fill, but also feel like we have to time to grow into them.
FBM: Where can people get the CD?
KCU: Obviously the CD will be available at the release party and at any Kid Cut Up events in the future. I’ll also have older CDs and T Shirts on sale as well at the release party. Within the next week they will also be available at Moda3 in Milwaukee. Moda3 is a great street wear and snowboarding shop that has been very supportive of No Requests and they carry our gear as well. Moda3.com will have them available for order online as well for all the out-of-towners.
FBM: Finally, give me a run down of all your regular gigs, and any bigger, random shit you have coming up.
KCU: Okay… ready?
• Monday – Edelwiess Boat cruise, 8pm SHARP! After party at Jackelope Lounj with DJ Erich. Starts at 10pm.
• Tuesday – Mad Kids radio show on 91.7WMSE, 9pm. After party at The Uptowner with DJ Musko and DJ Tyme. Starts at 10pm.
• Wednesday – Every first Wednesday at Funky Buddha Lounge in Chicago. Every last Wednesday at Texture with DJ Nu Stylez.
• Thursday – Hi Hat Garage with Steve Marxx. Starts at 10pm.
• Friday – Tutto. Starts at 10pm.
It’s important to note that each night is different as far as music and environment, so give a few different onces a chance and you’ll probably find one that fits your steez. Also, on any other night you can find out if I’m playing anywhere by checking out my myspace page or signing up for the NRS email list. The No Request Sound email list also contains the latest info on the whereabouts of DJ DWood, Swan… John Swan, Steve Marxx, and DJ Why B.
Also. Hiphop is not a crime.
For more information on Kid Cut Up, including sound samples and gig dates, visit his MySpace page here.