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Ruff Kut Records
Profile from 1993:
Jim Ryan at 23 years of age and his anonymous partners have built up a successful label (Ruff Kut) starting as a community project and a £5000 princes youth trust grant. They are based in Stevenage and their 16 track digital recording studio is built on top of Bouses Lyon House.
They started putting out records 15 months ago with their debut album named after their own record label Ruff Cut. The first official release was February last year, Climax they didn't press that many copies but they distributed it around the DJ's and it was picked up by Steve Jackson who hammer it on Kiss FM, I think mainly because it was so different. The track had very explicit vocal samples taken from a pornographic video, when you played it you would get a lot of people looking a bit embarrassed at first. Also there's still a lot of people waiting to see the video. At the moment they have a lot of people working from the studio.
The Good 2 Bad & Hugely, Gappa G & Hypa Hypa, who are two DJ's on the mainstream circuit, Eddie B an individual who's putting his own tune together, Asian Anick who's putting a lot of Bangra music together, but he's able to switch over to the Hardcore side they also got a few other individuals signed up to Ruff Kut on the basis of commercial releases.
The studio is out for hire as well, but there's a lot of people making music but a lot of its alike 50-50. At the moment we are trying for original beats and noises, because once you've got them for half way there. People that have Ruff Kut records will know they make a lot of tracks with pitched up vocals.
We asked Jim weather he'd like to keep this style on all the tracks. It depends what your trying to achieve there is some vocals that don't sound right unless pitched up, for example on 'Got to release' a track on the new fist fill of dollars EP the vocals originally started out at a very low pitch and didn't really fit the track but when we sped them up it totally re-lifted it, so we kept them up on a high pitch. There's musicians that say the speed up vocals trend sounds like Mickey Mouse, but when you hear it at a rave, its like a totally different things, it more like what people want to hear. Classic tracks that were around in the 70's rare groove and soul, are now coming in what people want to hear these vocals, vocals they've heard before that can be mixed in with other hardcore tracks.
Gappa G had just finished a track using samples from a rare groove track so rare that there were only about 50 to 60 copies of it in the country. When we finished the track we played it to people in to rare groove not into rave at all and they loved it, so it seems to me the scene is looking to change but I don't know what to.
We would rather make records and supply them in small amounts, so people have to phone for the records rather than the shops having large amounts f stock that they may have left in the racks fro some weeks.
A label that I highly rate is Moving Shadow. I think they have been top notch for about a year now, the Production House and XL Recordings, for the same reason I rate the Prodigy, because at the end of the day they have come up from nowhere they haven't changed the music to get in to the charts, but the music that they make has been accepted.
The first two records that we put out were in a way just testing the water to see what sort of reaction we would get when the third had a track played by the Pet Shop Boys on radio 1 'Espania' and we were inundated with calls from retails trying to get hold of the record.
At the time there had been a mix up with the records catalogue number, someone by mistake put two numbers into the computer so when the orders were coming in they were coming under a totally different catalogue number.
As far as sampling, our publishers are on top of things and in most cases we get clearance very quickly, DMC are our publishers and there have only been a couple of things that we haven't had permission for. Sometimes sampling worries us because they could have a track and think this is gonna be wicked but depending on the samples when it hits the street you could get fucked up big for it. You have to weigh up whether or not the tracks is good enough to get everyone off your back for its samples that still bring the money back into the studio.
We have had three of our tracks that have been used as samples, but I personally feel people in the Rave market shouldn't be bothered about samples because at the end of the day rave music is about sampling. I think you should disguise your samples, before in my early days I didn't, but this was back when I was treading the water like, seeing how far you could push it!
But discussing your samples shows that your not giving the record buying public things they've already had. Ruff Kut not only work in the studio, they perform PAs at venues. Jim described how a Good, 2 Bad & Hugly PA is played. We have dancers, keyboard players, samplers, drum machines and a DJ scratching live, we also make the PA more of a show, by bringing 'Hughly' into it. Hugly being an individual dressed as Freddy Krugger, at the start of the PA the lights are turned off the stage and smoke is added to the room, then suddenly the lights come on and Krugger stood there still, and just makes the crowd go mad.
At the end of the day the whole attitude of Ruff Kut is that we are approachable, we wanna be at a Rave when someone say's 'Oh, listen to my tape on a walkman, to me is a nice situation. A lot of future artists will be people who are heavy ravers, to start with, the label is here because we want people to be heard of and we want people to get famous, really we'll help out as much as we can.
As it stand we send our new material to the top 20 DJ's with an exclusive basis, within the first 3 weeks. Then another different category of people get it into the 4th week.
Gappa G & Hypa Hypa Information Centre (12")
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