Back to School with Blackmarket – Prisoners of Technology
Jamie S23 kicks off the Nicky Blackmarket history series with iconic jump up label ‘Fresh Kutt Records’. TMS 1, K Dub and DJ Magic (otherwise known as The Prisoners of Technology) created an onslaught of dancefloor mayhem between 1996 and 1998 and with massive DJ support, it was pretty much a buy-on-sight label.
Check out some of Blackmarket’s thoughts on the label and what he expects from any official re-lick of a classic.
1) Fresh Kutt was a driving force in jump up during the mid to late 90s and certainly created its own identity within the scene. How do you think they managed this?
“The Fresh Kutt guys always supplied either DATs or dubplates to me so it was a case of going to Music House on a Friday afternoon to cut their latest tracks or they would provide them on fresh acetate. What was different about this label was, right from the start the tunes sounded so fresh and unique – probably the name ‘Fresh Kutt’ is a bit of a giveaway!
TMS 1, K Dub and Magic were all personal friends of mine and had supported me as a DJ way before they got into producing so it was a natural process for me to support their tunes, that and the fact that anything they made really fitted with my style.
Every release was always buy on sight for the customers at Blackmarket Records, I remember getting maybe 5 or 10 test presses which always went to the regular DJs then the promo run and finally the full artwork release – regardless of release, if it had Fresh Kutt or Prisoners of Technology on the label you knew it was going to be wicked and that it would sell out quick sharp.
It helped Blackmarket Records too because the shop was always one of the first to get their releases. This was probably down to all the Fresh Kutt guys being regular customers who would always be hanging out with us if they weren’t making tunes. This kind of situation along with the cutting house and pirate radio was our internet of the 90s.”
2) ‘The Trick of Technology’ was featured in many of your sets over the years and many connect this with memories of Stevie Hyper D. In numerous sets it always got pulled up instantly, what made this track so special?
“I remember getting the original version of ‘The Trick of Technology’, I swear it was on a red label although the original listed version has a yellow one but regardless of that, this was the tune that really set the ball rolling for these guys. When it landed it was a revolutionary and an instant jump up anthem.
As soon as the dubplate dropped I played it on Kool FM and the next day everyone who had tuned into the show came into Blackmarket Records asking for a release date. People then would ring up daily waiting for it to come out on promo and when the day came a queue of people waited outside in anticipation before we had even opened. It was like a scene from the launch of a new Call of Duty in todays terms!
People will probably tie up memories with Stevie and ‘The Trick of Technology’ from various sets at Helter Skelter, it was always a signature track for me and especially one I would drop at this wicked, wicked rave!”
3) Volume 8 from Prisoners of Technology really challenged the style of jump up in 1998 with both ‘The Flavour 98’ and ‘Mother Fu@’in Real’ both doing the damage. Do you think this was a turning point in the scene in terms of the harder edge style of dancefloor beats?
“It was, in a way, a natural progression for them in terms of their sound moving forwards. Nothing could stay the same in the world of Drum & Bass and evolving the Fresh Kutt sound was really just a way of life for them.
For the people constantly working within the scene or the die hard weekend raver, we didn’t really notice a huge change as music production was always moving but for those that were in and out of the scene it was a totally different story..”
4) Sub Zero remixed ‘The Trick of Technology’ in 2010 to mixed responses, do you think at the time jump up was in a good place to be remixing classics?
“I used to love that version and played it to death for ages. For those that didn’t enjoy it I can only assume they were the type of enthusiast that was in the scene as a die hard fan in the 90’s then probably dropped in and out from time to time going forward. Like I was saying previously, we didn’t see the massive change in direction because it was always a progressive situation.
It’s like seeing a child one year, being away for a few years then being in shock at how tall that person has become!”
5) Talking of remixes, Dance Concept have potentially pushed the boat out with remixes from both Jaydan and Voltage on their release of ‘Delikutt Beats’. It’s currently doing BIG things on the circuit but what do you make of the project? Which one is getting the reloads?
“I judge my tune selection on each individual night, say for example I turn up to an event and it’s a dark and moody vibe I’ll play accordingly, on the flip if the night’s full of up for it bouncing teenagers, I’ll bash up some proper jump up!
I’ve been supporting both tracks, they are so different so it’s perfect for me. The original feel and movement of the original has been retained perfectly and I love the way both producers have retained their individual roots and memories with their remixes – top job.”
5) When remixing classics what’s the Blackmarket top tip for doing the greats of the 90’s justice?
“Quality over quantity is the key, I’ve seen examples of this in the past where remixes are rushed and the tracks are sub standard. If you’re going to touch a tune that’s made history, only release it if you think you can improve, compliment or add to the original. I’m all for cross genre remixes too, a great example of this would be DJ Trend’s UK Garage relick of ‘2 Degrees’ – the more attention a track gets across the musical spectrum the better in my opinion.
It’s probably a reason why I’ve not yet touched the back catalogue from Kartoons, the quality needs to be right as does the choice of producers but I’m not ruling it out for the future.”
6) If you could pick one tune to have the 2014 re-lick, what would it be and why?
“Moving Fusion’s ‘Turbulence’ was, in my opinion, a turning point for Ram Records. It was predominantly a jump up track that contained elements of darkness, probably due to their original hardcore roots. It’s without a doubt a sensitive issue for them as the track itself played such a massive part in their success but if anyone was to work his magic with this tune it would be Voltage”
7) If you could choose one official remix of a classic that’s been put out in the last 15 years what would it be and why? A Blackmarket seal of approval if you will!
“Krust really set the bar with official remixes when he put his unique style on Shy FX’s ‘Funkin’ Dem Up’ way back in 1996. That intro still sticks in my mind and the way Krust took the original and made a totally different track out of it whilst retaining some core elements was, in my opinion, an ideal way to remix a classic”.