Despite having firmly planted his feet in L.A. Kid Cut Up has been making waves across the Midwest for quite some time. On any given weekend you might find him playing Commonwealth in Vegas, or holding it down at The Dime. He’s carrying the torch when it comes to open-format DJ’ing right now.
Kid Cut Up! Tell us a little it about yourself?
Im living in LA, but I’m from Milwaukee, WI.
You’ve done a lot of dope, highly publicized work with GOOD music – how did that come about?
I’ve always appreciated the way GOOD music balances art and commerce in their work. In a lot of ways they are the best fed Artists out here… So I’ve spent a lot of time with their catalog as a fan and as a DJ. It’s something I connect with and my familiarity helps me incorporate it into my work as well. Specifically I was asked by 247HH.com to do a mix celebrating Common’s music in anticipation of his Universal Mind Control album. It was also being used to promote an album release deal that was happening with Zune. Remember those?! The process went really fast and was exciting. I recently ran across it somewhere on the internet and it was actually cool to listen to it now that I’m more removed from the project. Also… what happened to Zune?!
As a turntablist and party-rocker, you’ve come to be known as a staple of LA club culture. What was that journey like?
I’m steadily worming my way into the establishment out here. The LA club scene is really fast paced and the players in it are very territorial. I knew that coming out to LA wasn’t gonna immediately shake the world up… After all really good DJing is generally less noticeable than bad DJing. Ha. But I’ve been putting out a lot of remixes and blends with my particular style and its spreading my name to a lot of new parties and scenes. As the opportunity to play these spots myself have been coming in, I’ve been able to give them the first hand taste of how I approach DJing differently. There are LOTS of ways to rock a party… and the rise of DJ culture in general has really homogenized a lot of expectations and performances. So I show them that there are still other ways to reach the people as well.
Coming out of a more traditional hip-hop DJ turntablist background, ow do you feel about the EDM festival scene? Where do you see this craft and profession headed in 5-10 years?
I like the EDM scene. It’s fun. Its youthful. Its energetic. and it doesn’t know any better…. so a lot of its mistakes end up being cool breakthroughs. It changed up the game for sure. As far as relating it to Hiphop and the Hiphop style of DJing I’d say that the best part of being a Hiphop DJ is that often its not what you play, but how you play it. So we are able to cherry pick the best parts of EDM and incorporate it. I’ll put almost any headlining Hiphop DJ against the big EDM names. Hiphop will win.
Its funny to me now that EDM isn’t so new anymore and people are either abandoning it or trying to keep it fresh and relevant… They are all going to Hiphop for that relevance. Except Avicii. He went country instead. But its funny that all these blogs and media outlets are like “Diplo does a Hiphop mix!?!?!!! OH MY GOD!!!” Diplo has been Hiphop since way before EDM existed. Same with A-Trak. He’s got records with Little Brother out… He’s always been DJing in a Hiphop style. So much of EDM was in the marketing of it… It’s just 808 and 909 drums at different tempos. We all just wanna dance and join the party.
Last records or albums you bought? Who are you feeling right now?
The only physical music I buy anymore are CD singles. If anyone reading this has a stash and needs them to disappear… hit me up! As far as music that I’ve been really into lately I’ve really enjoyed the last P.O.S. album, the stuff I’ve heard from Elliphant, Run The Jewels, DJ Mustard beats, and Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk”. If a whole new genre or trend popped off on that style I wouldn’t be mad.
What does “open-format” mean to you? Who, in your opinion, is killing the game right now?
Killing it as in a good way? Or in a bad way?? I’ll do both… In a bad way are DJs who don’t learn the craft of DJing and don’t practice their DJing. In a good way are DJs who still take chances with the dancefloor… not recklessly or selfishly. But in an attempt to expand and challenge and surprise the audience. They breath new life into the game. Oh yeah… In a bad way are also club owners who expect you to market and promote yourself as a DJ and then expect you to sound and fit the format of whatever DJ they really wish they could afford to book. Our sound is our calling card… if we are going to distinguish ourselves from the pack and be a draw then we have to be unique.
As far as open format… The way most industry people mean it is that Pop music comes in two tempos now… and an Open Format DJ is supposed to be playing both. That’s right… music at both 128 AND 70bpm. At some point it became the new way to say Top 40 music.
But for me… and most true Hiphop DJs… We’ve always been open format. Funk, Rock, Jazz, Soul, Hiphop, Reggae and everything else that is fresh and sets the party off. AND NOT ONLY NEW HITS OR PREVIOUS HITS EITHER. That’s to me what Open Format means… It’s hard to have an open format with a closed mind.
2000Down is support by working DJs all over the world. Any last words?
2000Down is a rad site because it mostly features DJs being DJs… and doing the creative things that DJs do to stand out and make their sets and musical experiences custom and memorable. There are a ton of sites out there for producers now… but a lot less for people who make playing other people’s music an art. I make music too. I love that producers make music… But as a DJ I love making art out of the composition and juxtaposition of other people’s music as well. So those my last words to DJs: Make art.
I wanna give a shout to DJCity.com for having me on their team. A really great site over there for working DJs who need to stay up to date and relevant. I have a lot of work up on there that is exclusive to that site so check it out!
Also shouts out to the LA scene for being so supportive of the new guy out here and to Milwaukee for always having my back and the support when I head back home.
And to every club, promoter, DJ, bartender or party person… Hit me up!! Let’s party.
Also thanks to 2000down for reaching out to me and featuring me on your site… i appreciate it!
See you on the dancefloor…
DOWNLOAD: KID CUT UP x 2000Down Edit Pack
[mixcloud http://www.mixcloud.com/KidCutUp/kid-cut-up-live-at-the-dime-oct-2014/ width=660 height=208 hide_cover=1 hide_tracklist=1]