Former Jurassic Five turntable titan Cut Chemist joins fellow 45 fiend DJ Shadow in a monumental eight-deck throwdown dubbed The Hard Sell, which promises to make their prior summit sessions seem like practice runs. See for yourself when the travelling multimedia vinyl extravaganza hits the Phoenix Wednesday (January 30), 9 pm. $29.50. 19+. 416-870-8000.
You’re playing more than just funk 45s. What’s the concept?
Hard Sell is a salute to the wonderful world of music as played by the ultimate jukebox. It includes everything from country to jazz to psych, garage, alternative rock, new wave and doo-wop, with a little bit of funk and soul in there, too. So along with the Foo Fighters and Tuxedomoon, you might even hear a track off a Joy Division flexi. It all turns on a dime.
What makes yours and Shadow’s such a successful partnership?
We understand each other and we’re both on the same level. When you collaborate with someone in a creative context, one person will tend to overshadow the other – no pun intended – but Shadow and I are on equal footing and each have our role. Plus, we’re good friends, and that’s important.
You’ve swapped records with Shadow. Anything you regret letting go?
Nothing that’s haunting me. There was one record I wish I’d hung onto. It was a school band record, but Shadow hooked me up with eight great funk singles I was after, so it was a fair trade. The grass is always greener, right?
What’s on the agenda for Cut Chemist once The Hard Sell tour is over?
I’m just starting to figure out what my next record might sound like. It takes me a while to listen to things, absorb stuff and then regurgitate it in an interesting way. Because I went in so many different directions on The Audience’s Listening – just about everywhere I wanted to go – it’s going to be a real challenge to figure out what I’m going to do now. We’ll see what happens.
Recently there has been a rise in collectors’ interest in Colombian, Ethiopian and Turkish recordings from the 60s and 70s. What’s next, Moldavian jazz?
I don’t think Colombia has gotten a fair shake yet, and the same goes for the Turkish stuff, but I’m pretty sure the next shit is going to be Persian funk. This woman I know is working with Finders Keepers on a compilation of recordings made for radio in Iran during the 70s from cassette-only releases, and what she played for me was amazing. You can hear elements of Indian music, African and modern jazz in it. There’s one song you’d swear was an Afro-Latin joint. That blew my mind.