Break-Beat lessons with Krafty Kuts

When you enter a DJ'ing competition, having never DJ'd before, and get to the finals, you know you must have chosen the right career path - Krafty Kuts was born.

Having been responsible for the massively successful Finger Lickin' Funk EP, remixes of Flint and 2InDaBush as well as DJ'ing regularly under the Finger Lickin' banner, Martin is now firmly part of the Finger Lickin' family.

His plaudits and pursuits roll off the fingers like a never-ending list of praise. His countless successful releases on labels including Finger Lickin' Records, Southern Fried Records (Fat Boy Slim's label), FSUK, his two co-owned stables Super Charged and Against The Grain, the latter imprint hosting his most recent LP, 'Freakshow,' featuring the likes of Dynamite MC, The Scratch Perverts and A Skillz, just lay the groundwork for his seminal live sets.

Follow that with his remix production of some of the biggest names in the game, including Jurassic 5, Utah Saints, Arthur Baker, Eric B & Rakim and Afrika Bambaata, and you see where each step-up is heading. This is a man who can waltz into any already blazing dancefloor, in any club, in any town, in any country and take it up a few degrees.

Beat Factor recently chated with Martin Reeves aka Krafty Kuts by phone. Read in this interview about his upcoming mix CD for the prestigious Fabriclive compilation series, his latest LP and other musical projects he did during the years.

wining more and more awards makes people to put more pressure on you, they have more expectations of you.
Beat Factor: How are things going?

Krafty Kuts: Things are very good, thank you very much. Too many late nights, too many materials I have been working, I'm touring, doing my DJ work and stuff like that. So I'm keeping myself constantly busy.

Beat Factor: Let's start with your alias, Kratfy Kuts. Where does it come from? What's the story behind it?

Krafty Kuts: Basically, a few years ago I had a break dance club called that way. I used to teach young people how to break dance. Afterwards, I learnt how to play music for the break dancers, and then I just picked up the name, one day when I was being a bit crafty and I felt that DJ-ing was more fun than brake dancing and also a little bit safer.

Beat Factor: For some years now, you have been part of the Finger Liking family. How did you meet the guys from the record label?

Krafty Kuts: Basically, they got in contact with me and asked me to do a remix for one of their really early releases. I did the remix and then they found out I had some tracks available to be released and this was how it all started. We haven't looked back ever since.

Beat Factor: So how do you feel like when being part of the Liking Finger brand?

Krafty Kuts: It's a really good brand. It's known worldwide, they have lots of club DJs, and there is a very good combination of different styles. It's good for me to be a part of this team because people worldwide have heard of it and consider it as one of the best labels of breaks in the world.

Beat Factor: There are many people who see you as a part of the break beat elite. When exactly did you discover the breaks music?

Krafty Kuts: Probably about ten years ago. When I made my first record it was hip – hop and I felt that it was too much gangsta' in it. It just didn't meet the criteria of what I wanted to play in the clubs and also it wasn't fast enough. I just wanted to move up in tempo and I found breaks and I thought that it fitted me perfectly.

Beat Factor: How was the break beat community at the time you started mixing break beat?

Krafty Kuts: It was quite funky around that period and then the whole bass line sort of thing came in. it wasn't as great as it is now because now we have a lot of new technology that helps. At that time, there were a lot of genres that I was mixing up from hip-hop to drum and bass. Nowadays there are DJs sets very consistent in breaks music.

Beat Factor: Why do you think that now break beat isn't so famous as it was before?

Krafty Kuts: What happened is that the new big beat with Fat Boy Slim trend came some years ago. They made it very commercial and very popular in a short period of time. And many people listened to it in the clubs. It was known form Canada to Australia. But now people are more into house and techno.

Beat Factor: You have recently compiled the Fabric Live compilation. You said that it took you almost two years to finish it. Why that long?

Krafty Kuts: Well, it has a lot to do with timing. They wanted something, I wanted something else. And I didn't feel quite prepared to do this compilation and I thought that now was the perfect time. I mean, my repertoire is now perfect for people to listen to it.

Beat Factor: What does this mix CD mean to you?

Krafty Kuts: I love mixing CDs. I think that it's quite fun and I also have something to learn from it. You push the boundaries, there's a lot of independence, a lot of scratching. It's a lot of fun, but it's not something that you can rush. It's something you have to reflect upon and spend a lot of time doing it.

Beat Factor: So actually, it took you two years to complete the track list for this compilation?

Krafty Kuts: It took me about three months, but convincing me to do a Fabric CD lasted a little bit longer. And now we finally had time to get together and start working.

Beat Factor: Last year in October you released an LP called Freak Show. How big a deal was for you to release this album?

Krafty Kuts: That was a difficult challenge to follow. I wanted to do something that would last over the time that you could listen in the club or in a pub, or on your iPod. Again it took me about two years to finish it. It was an eclectic style and very melodic, with lots of hip-hop. funk or Latino influences. And I think that it was a perfect representation of Krafty Kuts as an artist.

Features Archive

[2008]

Break-Beat lessons with Krafty Kuts
PUBLISHED

June 10, 2007 at 8:50 PM CEST

WORDS

Dragos Rusu

Beat Factor: What does the title, Freak Show, mean?

Krafty Kuts: Basically it's the name of a club where it all began for me. It's more about getting down, getting freaky, not caring about what people think about your style. I like people to simply forget about themselves and go crazy. So I felt that Welcome to the Freak show is a perfect title.

Beat Factor: You said that if people don't dance on your music you switch it up and give them good energy. For you, electronic music is just for dancing?

Krafty Kuts: Yes, definitely. The sound is great. I produce music for people to dance and really have a good time. And if you get the ladies to dance then the guys will follow them. My sound is very optimistic, a lot of scratching and accapelas. It's also very important to read the crowd and see if they like the music. If they don't feel the sound or the vibe I like to change it and be sure that at some point everyone in the crowd has enjoyed my music. I always try to please everyone, which can sometimes be very difficult, because you can't always please everyone.

Beat Factor: What kind of music did you listen to lately?

Krafty Kuts: I was listening to a lot of new break beat, because with making this album, there were a lot of tracks that I had to listen to. Also, I have been listening to a lot of funk, because I'm preparing for a new album and I need a lot of inspiration.

Beat Factor: Talking about inspiration when producing, is there something particular that inspires you?

Krafty Kuts: I like to listen to other DJs play. I always check them out to see what the quality of their sound is. I try to find inspiration from where my head is at musically, rather than going somewhere I have never been before. There are also so many new artists with great sound, which can inspire you anytime. Sometimes my feelings get me inspired. Many times I produced great music when I felt down or sad.

Beat Factor: You have won many awards in the last years. Which are you the most proud of? Does this have any influences on your production?

Krafty Kuts: It does have a big influence on me. You feel good when people get to know you. If you win awards, you have a good image and so people get to appreciate your music more. On the other side, wining more and more awards makes people to put more pressure on you, they have more expectations of you. This is also a good thing because it makes me see that my productions have to be at their highest quality. Actually, wining awards has inspired me to write better and better music.

Beat Factor:You know that nowadays one of the biggest problems of DJs is piracy. Do you have a solution to fight piracy?

Krafty Kuts: I have always thought that music should be made cheaper so that everybody affords to buy it. That way, the sales level will increase and people will buy the albums, rather than download it and burn it on a CD. I think that with piracy a lot of many are lost. The record labels lose lots and lots of many. This money could be invested in promotion campaigns for an artist. But unfortunately, no record label has enough money to promote their artists and so there are many good artists, but they don't get to be known worldwide. So piracy has a long term effect.

Beat Factor: What else do you do besides music?

Krafty Kuts: I'm trying to learn to cook, but I'm not so successful at that. I'm also trying to learn to play golf, which is good fun. I love watching soccer, I'm a big Liverpool fan and I'm waiting forward for the championship. I like eating out, I love going to really nice restaurants with Chinese and Indian food. I also try to keep myself healthy, going to the gym and doing lots of physical exercises. I love traveling, but in this case DJ-ing really helps me a lot, because I travel almost every weekend. All in all, I like a lot of boys' things, all that normal man like.

Beat Factor: What future releases do you have planned?

Krafty Kuts: I have done a track with DJ Icey from America called Through the Door which is coming out on Super Charged, my label. Then there is a remix of Free Chain and a combination of three instruments and then I go accapela. Then there will be a new track called Beer Trucker. And also I'm starting to work on my next album.

Beat Factor: Do you have anything clear yet, for your next album?

Krafty Kuts: I have about five ideas that I'm working on, but there is nothing finished yet. I will have a lot of guests on this album; they are artists that I have worked with over the years and I trust a lot that we will do a great work together.

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