We caught up with the Nottingham duo to talk about boy bands from the nineties and shellsuits. Oh, and we also chatted about their background, creative process and great new release.
Who are ya where you're from.
Andy: Bonjourno Matt: Hello! We're Matt Cutler and Andy Hemsley. We are from Nottingham.
How did you guys hook up and what process do you follow to create your music together?
Matt: We hooked up at school and got into skateboarding and making tunes… Eventualy the making tunes side of things kind of took over 'cause we were really happy with how they kept on turning out. When we started, the process would usualy be me writing a couple of beats, recording them to mini disc and giving them to Andy the next day at school to record scratch routines over, and we'd keep passing them backwards and fowards until we had what sounded like finished bits of music.
Eventualy we started meeting up and spending days at each others houses and working on stuff at the same time… These days we don't get to do that as often as we'd like so we find the internet's really usefull for swaping bits of tracks we've started until we have finished songs, so it's kind of gone full circle really, but whenever we get chance we'll hook up and work in the same room on stuff.
Andy: Yeh, like Matt says, we met at school, from both copying off our clever mate in geography and just generally not being interested in working. We realised we were both into the same stuff music wise from skate videos and just started recording stuff… yeh, there's still no real routine as far as making a tune goes. Might take a day to finish, might take a couple of months… We're still learning really, same as anyone. Natural progression aint it?
Who are some of your biggest influences and inspirations?
Matt: Between us there are so many. My biggest influences when starting out were people like Aphex Twin, Luke Vibert and Boards Of Canada but the biggest influence on KIT has always been Wu Tang Clan, J5, Beat Junkies, Invisibl Skratch Piklz and loads of straight up hiphop. The electronic influence is still always there though, because we're into taking hiphop and applying the sort of cut up programing found in more fucked up electronic stuff like Aphex Twin or maybe Autechre. It would probably be easier for us to show you a photo of our record collections to be honest…
Andy: Dilated People's 'The Platform', Jurassic 5's EP, Wu Tang Clan's 'Enter The Wu Tang (36 Chambers)'. We've both had those 3 on all the time since we bought them. They were real influences/inspirations both then and now still. No one can knock those records in my opinion.
What description would you give the type of hiphop music you create?
Matt: It's weird 'cause we don't really think about that. We just see everything we do as hiphop but I realise it does'nt come across like that to most people… I know people have linked us to DJ Shadow and artists like that which is really nice but that's not what we set out to sound like. If we could rap it would be a lot easier 'cause then it would probably be just straight hiphop… I guess 'instrumental hiphop' would sum it up best.
Andy: Yeahm it's a tricky question, because I class stuff like Shadow as hiphop whilst other people seem to have different labels for pretty much everything… I'm not really down with the millions of different genres stuff gets split into. If we're making dodgy names up though, i'll say we're KIT-hop!
How long have you been making music and what releases have you put out so far.
Matt: I think we've been making music for as long as we can both remember in some way, although we only started making tracks together from the end of 2002. We finally ended up putting out a limited 7'' in March this year called 'Get Your Kit On' and now we've got a mini album out called 'New Kids Rock The Block' both with Dealmaker Records from Notts.
What equipment are you most using in the studio and what's the number one piece of hardware we should all go get?
Matt: We're not big studio heads to be honest, and we tend to stick with software 'cause I think we get distracted far too quickly so we like to stick to using stuff that makes it easy enough for us to lay down our ideas before we get bored. Andy recentley bought a Kaoss pad which is loads of fun for playing live though, and they're really cheap so I'd recommend getting one for sure.
Andy: Yeah, all our stuff's made in our bedrooms. We're not exactly loaded either so there's not a deal I can recommend besides a turntable… Go buy an MPC if you can afford one though… and let us come and have a play! They look like they'd be a lot of fun for an hour or so.
How long were you working on 'New Kids Rock The Block' and what can we expect from the release?
Matt: We've been unofficialy working on it for about 2 years without realising any of it would one day get released, but I suppose we started putting it together properly about 5 months ago with the intention of it being a mini album. You can expect a mixed bag of stuff I'd say. There are different styles which are all over the place but I think there's a raw hiphop feel to everything we do and that links it together as a complete piece of work. We are definatley proud of it.
Andy: Yeah, none of them were made with the intention of being released. They're just 8 tracks of ours that go together nicely. There's something for everyone there I'd say… Rowdy stuff, more mellow stuff, simple stuff, complex stuff… Like Matt says, a mixed bag.
Like the title suggests, have you ever been fans of US boybands?
Matt: Nah, we just couldn't resist calling the EP that. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Made us laugh anyway.
Andy: 'Haaaaaaaaang tough…' Haha, no I'd never really heard any NKOTB stuff before we came up with the CD title. Check 'em out though. Piss funny stuff it is. Their songs are just as funny as their name.
What's the most shameful record in each of your music collections?
Matt: Nothing too shamefull in our collections I'm affraid. The first records I bought we're hardcore and jungle tunes and from that I got into hiphop, where as Andy was into hiphop straight away so we we're Wu Tang all the way from a pretty early age.
Andy: Boomfunk MC's 'Freestyler'! or whatever that tune's called. I was a sucker for anything remotely to do with breakdancing/scratching.
Who do you consider to be the king of what you do, that you look up to as the person you want to top?
Matt: I don't think we're into topping anyone because we just want to get on with our own shit, and the people who we consider to be on top of their game just influence us to do something different. I'd say Madlib is the 'king' in my opinion though. His take on hiphop totally changed everything for me.
Andy: Yeah, I imagine it'd get ropey if you tried to top people. I don't like anything being competitive, especially music. To give you an idea though… a few of the many people I consider to be the cream of the crop are Shadow, Madlib, MF Doom, Ugly Duckling, A Tribe Called Quest, Mr Lif, Wu, Cut Chemist, Kool Keith, Pb Wolf, Vadim, Edan, Z-Trip, Lord Finesse, Kool G Rap, Percee P, DJ Kentaro, Kid Koala, Coldcut… That kinda thing.
Who are some of your favourite artists and producers from Nottingham? Seems like the local scene is very big.
Matt: Yeah, the scene in Notts is all good. We're well into Lost Project, Cappo, Blu Monkey and Karizma. Everyone is really hungry within the hiphop scene here, and are totaly dedicated to making music and pushing things foward. I think it's an exciting time for sure.
Andy: There's loads of people in town doin' well good stuff… I'd say go check the Dealmaker site and see for yourself.
Are you out performing much and what goes down at a Kids In Tracksuits gig?
Matt: We've been playing loads of gigs this year, going all over the place, getting the name about and stuff. It's all about music at our gigs. We're not performers at all. We just like to hit people with our stuff and let them make their minds up. It's kind of like an anti-performance to be honest. We just go on and bash out our tunes. It's never about us as people. We just want to push the music and hopefully get people away from standing around thinking, 'what the fuck?' and into dancing and enjoying themselves. We're well into getting emcees involved though, 'cause I think at some point it totally helps to bring a voice to the stage. Get people into it as much as we are.
Andy: Yeah, we've been doin' hell of a lot of gigs all round the UK and Europe now. We've jus started doin' our shows with an emcee too, MC Killa from Notts. He's a legend. Really talented. Like Matt says, the shows are all about the music, a loud, live, rough as fuck version of what we do and with Killa there too, we want to get the crowd into the whole thing a lot more for more of a party kind of feeling.
How many tracksuits do you each own and what's your favourite ones?
Matt: No full tracksuits. We both own a few tops though. Adidas and Nike all the way.
Andy: Windbreakers and the such is where it;s at… No, no full tracksuit sets or anything though. Not a fan of trackie bottoms really.
Would you ever consider rediscovering shell suits?
Matt: I think shellsuits are best left in 1990. I can remember rocking a shellsuit back in primary school from time to time but I'd have been about 5 and not known any better. It'd be funny if people came to our gigs in trackies and shellsuits though. I'd love that but I don't think your gonna catch us all shelled up anytime soon i'm affraid…
Andy: Haha, as much I love people talking about shellsuits, I don't think you're gonna see me rocking one. Definatly come to the gigs suited up if you feel the need to look like a tit for a night though.
What websites should people be hitting up to keep on the ball with you guys?
Andy: …and Rapnews.co.uk of course!
Have you got any hello's, goodbyes or thank you's you'd like to throw out there to round this up on?
Matt: Big ups all round to Sean West, all Dealmaker Ninjas, Naomi, all our mates, families and anyone else into what we're doing. These people's support is much appreciated. Peace.
Andy: Yeah, props to everyone really. Everyone at the gigs, all the promoters who look after us, everyone buying the records… Especially big thanks to Sean and the Dealmaker family though. Cheers to you too dude. Nice one.