TF Archives

Cut Chemist - Soul Chemistry

Author: Nina Bertok
Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Joining De La Soul on their Australian tour is Cut Chemist, one-time Jurassic 5 member, tour buddy of DJ Shadow, and the person at the other end of the phone line for 3D’s Nina Bertok.

Despite a 20-year-long career as an underground hip hop legend, chances are you’d probably walk past Cut Chemist (Lucas McFadden) in the street and wouldn’t even know it. And that’s exactly the way he likes it.

“DJs are supposed to be about the music and not about being a frontperson,” he protests. “It’s stupid. There are two types of people in this world – the rappers and the DJs. If you want to be a rapper, which means you want attention and you want to be seen, then that’s one thing. But if you want to be a DJ, then you’re a craftsman and they’re usually found in the background concentrating on the music instead of whether people are looking at them. These days it’s like DJs and rappers have become the same thing. People recognise DJs as personalities or something. I hate seeing people being DJs when they really shouldn’t be. Some of them aren’t doing it for the music, which is sacrilege.”

Rather than having his face plastered all over magazines and television, McFadden has always preferred anonymity, claiming that being in the background is where he’s felt most comfortable all of his professional life.

“Leaving Jurassic 5 was very tough at first,” he recalls, of his decision to part ways in 2005. “I mean, I hadn’t known anything but Jurassic 5 since 1987. I had to grow some balls to leave those guys. In the beginning it was like coming home to work and finding yourself in an environment that’s gone from six people to none, it’s just yourself. The hardest thing about leaving and doing a solo project was having some faith in yourself and learning to bounce ideas off just yourself.”

It took some time for McFadden to finally trust his own output – without any outside opinion or assistance Cut Chemist had the sole responsibility of quality control.

“You don’t have anybody telling you, ‘this is shit, how about this instead-’ and sometimes you need that. I had to become that second voice in my head. How do you keep that quality control, you know- I approached the selection process kind of like a parent. I guess you always have a favourite child. The songs that I didn’t like all that much were kind of like the kids that I wanted to play ball with every day but it’s like, ‘but do I want to kiss them goodnight every night or should I take them back to the orphanage-’”

WHO: Cut Chemist
WHAT: Plays Metro Theatre with De La Soul
WHEN: Tuesday 5 May