Welcome to the world of Chris P Cuts. Not only will he cut up a mad scratch on any piece of vinyl, he'll lap up the leather and school you in anything to with pro tennis trainers. With a moms dedicated to nothing but the Swoosh there was never going to be a chance that Chris P wouldn't end up a kook for the kick, so we hit him up with a crate full of questions to find out just how he earned such a snappy DJ name and sneaker collection.
Give us the lowdown on who Chris P Cuts is and how you got hooked on wax and sneakers?
Hello Sneaker Freaker, this is Chris P Cuts. Basically I'm me! I got into hip hop from an early age through the help of my brother and his mates. One of his friends was a DJ and was just upgrading his SoundLab DLP1rs for some 1200s. I gave him £10 and he gave me the Soundlabs, a Numark mixer and some headphones - bargain! I was thirteen at the time and have been Djing and collecting records ever since. Since a young chap I've been heavily into sports. I played a lot of tennis and basketball from about 11, 12 years old. I was lucky that my mum would buy me different kit for both. She actually preferred Nike to other brands so think that's where Nike started for me. So being into Sportswear, trying to look ‘cool' for girls and hip hop basically combined to turn me into a trainer head and I've been wasting my money ever since!
What came first, the turntables or the trainers?
It was kind of the same time but I guess trainers. I was really into tennis as I said from about 11 years old onwards and started taking the turntables more seriously about 13 or 14. My tennis years were the golden years for Nike tennis. I wanted to look fly and the Nike ads were all over the tennis mags I was reading. I started begging my mum and sister for new kicks! I was wearing my tennis shoes all the time as both casual shoes and sports shoe. I remember having Air Resistance in junior sizes. I had the Sampras Air Oscillate and the black and purple Agassi Tech Challenge. I wish I could get a pair now. That hybrid shoe Nike bought out last year just wasn't the same! At this time I was asking for new trainers for my birthday, Christmas and any time I was with my mum in close proximaty of a sports shop. I quit tennis at about 14 after discovering things like hanging around in the park and music. Pretty much from this point onwards I wanted to be a famous DJ.
I've asked many DJs this question, but what do you think the correlation is between spinners and sneakers...it seems most DJs out there, especially in hip hop, have a hankering...why is that do you think?
HipHop DJs are collectors first and foremost...and records are not the only catch. We got CDs, books, magazines and loads of other things to collect too. Basically we like to waste a whole heap of money! I think the thing for me with trainers is their shape, the colourways and the history behind each shoe. Going shopping for kicks is different every time, just like records as anything could be out there! You've just got to put the time in to find them.
Well for a start it was all my mum would buy and it's all I've ever worn so I'm used to them. For me Nike have the best shapes, the best technologies, the best colourways, the best names, the best materials, the best athletes, and the best patterned fabrics, NikeID etc etc! And I used to work for NikeID's London studio. I basically used to wear Sampras, Agassi and Jordan gear well before pink Ben Shermans and Wallabies! Since I've stopped working for the Swoosh I've started to broaden my horizons in the kick game.
What draws you to each shoe that makes its way into your collection?
There's kicks in my collection I never thought I would buy or wear but some things just pop up for a good price and you cant say no, then I end up really liking a design and buying a few in different colourways. The main thing though is the shape. I really like Gazelles at the minute and NB 850s. I've been trying to get my hands on the Sneaker Freaker edition but can't find them anywhere!! Any chance of a hook up? UK 9!! Cheers!!!
How is the sneaker scene holding up in the UK? Is it still as nuts as it was in the early 2000s?
Yeah I think the sneaker scene is holding up nicely. People still get excited about certain releases, but at the same time they don't get hyped about others! We got an exclusive Nike spot in East London called 1948 dropping releases like the Tongue In Cheek Dizzee Rascal Max 90s and more recently the Ben Drury Max 90 Currents. The latest Patta Max 1s also lasted about a week in any shop they were available in. We also had the same madness in London behind that butt ugly shoe the Yeezy. Luckily I let that pass me by. In terms of properly collecting we've still got a scene too although some big players have retired. We got a couple of second hand sportswear shops popping up where people have started selling their whole collections due to money issues. The retro shops in Notting Hill must have got a huge collection sold to them recently. They had every colour of the Max Burst and Max 93s that I can remember. I went nuts and left broke!
How is the hip hop scene holding up over there? Where are you playing these days?
Yeah the hip hop scene is holding up nicely. Just last night was the ‘J Dilla changed my life' remembrance night held by The Doctor's Orders. It's an annual fundraising event held around the time of Dilla's death with all proceeds going to Lupus UK charity. Over 1300 people turned out on a Sunday night! So yeah there's a few Hip Hop nights running strong and London is still the stop for any artist on a European or UK tour. Last week Talib Kweli killed London and we got Jay Electronica and MF Doom in the next couple of weeks. I play at ‘The Doctor's Orders' (shout to Spin Doctor) nights which have been quoted in Timeout as ‘The Kings of the London's HipHop scene'. I also spin at a monthly night called ‘What Good' (shouts to James R and Kish) which has a crazy cult following and have a weekly show on London's biggest internet radio site called ‘The FunHouse'. The FunHouse is filmed from DJ MK and Harry Loves kitchen from Monday to Thursday nights. Tune in worldwide at http://www.spinetv.net/funhouse. Last week we had 30,000 viewers!
It's good to see you still have a healthy collection of vinyl, even though you use Serato. How many pieces of wax are you storing at the moment?
Around three or four thousand and growing, never really counted properly. I'm in the process of recording all the bangers for Serato, which is taking forever. I kind of slept on Serato for the first year it was out then embraced it. It's crazy and keeps getting crazier.
It does have its drawbacks and means every one with a laptop is a DJ. These people clearly are not and they could never DJ before Serato so it baffles why they think they can now? Having a strange fashion sense, a known face, a website or a new art installation doesn't mean you can DJ. It takes years of practice. We will call you out! Some of the older style DJs wouldn't use Serato and I can see why. A lot of DJs use Serato as close as they can to real vinyls too. So they don't mark out different points or calculate bpms. I use everything Serato has to offer. The new 2.0 and the bridge with Ableton looks crazy!
Sure does! What's more important to you - vinyl or leather and why?
It is really too hard to call but to give an answer I'd have to say the leather. With the whole Serato thing coming around I know if my most prized piece of vinyl (Beastie boys green 7") snapped I could still spin an MP3 on Serato in a club. But if my Jordan IVs got ruined I couldn't wear them to the club and don't have a back up.
What does 2010 hold for Chris P Cuts?
Hopefully ‘the' answer! I'm doing this Chris P Cuts thing full time now so really just trying to push it as far as it will go. I don't wanna look back in a years time and think oh I should have done that or played there. I've got a mix being played on one of London's biggest stations - Kiss FM. Loads of gigs coming up like the support slot for the Just Blaze Alchemist sound clash. I'm in the process of finalising gigs in Germany and Canada and hopefully a little spot in Ibiza in the summer. Just trying to network a lot and get the name out there and a cult following behind my mixes.
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Photography by Errol Photography