TF Archives


Author: Alias
Sunday, January 1, 1995
It has been twelve years since their public debut, and Coldcut are still
innovators. Say Kids, What Time Is It-, their first sample based record
released in the UK, may differ remarkably from their last single/digital
excursion Timber, but both exploits prove that the Coldcut sound system
will forever aim to challenge, and reward those who take the time to
understand and appreciate just how much care goes into their work. In
showing total disregard for the concept of the 'trend', Coldcut have
managed to become 'trendsetters'. Their label, Ninja Tune - with its
subsidiaries Big Dada and Ntone - has emerged as one of the most
progressive dance labels in the world, and exposed people to such
artists as Kid Koala, DJ Vadim, Neotropic, Roots Manuva, Chocolate
Weasel, Amon Tobin, Funki Porcini, Up Bustle and Out, and the London
Funk All-Stars; and their sample based excursions into breakbeat madness
have served as inspiration to the modern day big beat scene, not to
mention countless other musicians, dance or otherwise.
Coldcut comprises of Matt Black and Jonathon More. They met at Reckless
records. Black was previously a computer programmer, and More was an art
teacher. The two have been a team since the mid eighties, djing on
pirate radio stations, playing such seminal clubs as Shoom, and rocking
countless legendary London parties like FlimFlam and Bazooka Joes. They
were even responsible for the term 'remix', their reworking of Eric B
and Rakim's classic hip hop jam Payed In Full helped do two things -
bring hip hop into the mainstream, and establish More and Black as the
producers to work with. Whilst it was dismissed by Eric B as "girly
disco music", many believe that without the help of two pasty white boys
hip hop would not be the major player it is today. "We got 700 quid for
doing that," comments Jonathon More. "We made a version of it where we
edited Eric B and Rakim out of it completely, and just took it back to
all of our own original work and put it out on a very obscure record
called Out To Lunch and called the remake Not Paid Enough. I think we
were very lucky in a way to even get our name on it."
Paid In Full went top ten in the UK and soon enough many record
companies wanted to use Coldcut as a means of breaking new talent
through a Coldcut collaboration. Renowned indie, Big Life records,
launched the career of its artists Yazz and Lisa Stansfield with the
Coldcut touch, spawning a worldwide number one with Yazz's The Only Way
Is Up, and three top twenty hits including the classic People Hold On
with Lisa Stansfield. Despite this success Coldcut decided to ignore the
financial temptations of becoming a hit factory, and focus on
challenging both themselves and their fans by recording and releasing
the music of the future. Their record company Big Life didn't really
understand, and whilst on a tour of Japan, More and Black found some
unlikely inspiration for the now fledgling Ninja Tune imprint. "We found
a book about cut-out-and-keep Ninjas," says More enthused. "They build
these amazing houses where they have special traps so they can disappear
down and reappear somewhere else. They were all about artifice and
hidden identity."
This provided Coldcut with the impulse to escape from the bottom line
obsessed music industry. Since 1994 Coldcut have focussed on breaking
further musical ground, and establishing the careers of their fellow
ninja's. Their commitment to creativity has ensured that their recorded
output has always been welcomed with open arms. The fact that Coldcut
don't follow trends ensures that they never become redundant. "I think
so," agrees More. "Everything comes to a (tr)end is what I said about
our club (Stealth) when it was becoming more of a social, more of a
'place to be'. So we stopped it. It is quite easy to get seduced into
trends and you have to be quite careful that you don't jump aboard,
because you can't hear the sound of the music s