Cut Chemist has been recording and performing for over twenty years. He started dj’ing in 1984, at age 11 years old. In 1987 aged 14 Cut started recording with his friends including Chali 2na (Jurassic 5). Cut first became known as a founding member of both the rap group Jurassic 5 and the Grammy award winning Latin funk outfit, Ozomatli. Keeping his involvement with both groups in tandem with one another, Cut has developed a taste for music and rhythms from around the world while keeping his ethic for the hip hop tradition. His mix-tapes and remixes became critically acclaimed. His ‘Chemist’ moniker was fully realized with his instrumental, Lesson 6: The Lecture. A musical journey that challenged hip hop production with music theory ideals. Cut also found time to collaborate with DJ Shadow on what would be one of the worlds most sought after mix cd’s, Brainfreeze, soon to be followed by its sequel, Product Placement.
Eventually Cut left both Jurassic 5 and Ozomatli to pursue a solo career, starting with Warner Bros. where he landed his first solo LP, The Audience’s Listening in July, 2006. The title track was quickly placed for the first Worldwide Apple Nano commercial with Cut performing at all major US and European flagship Apple stores, while the single, “The Garden” became a favorite with taste makers and the single “What’s The Altitude” became one of the most viewed videos on YouTube.
In 2007 Cut Chemist supported Shakira on her “Oral Fixation” tour where he dazzled her audience with his selection of world music and a cut ‘n’ scratch audio visual presentation, something that no one has ever done before or since, garnering Cut Chemist with the reputation of pushing the boundaries of what a ‘DJ’ can do. Upon returning to LA he made a cameo appearance as the chemistry teacher in the academy award winning movie Juno, as well as other Jason Reitman productions, Jennifer’s Body and Up in the Air. Meanwhile, Cut also concentrated on making marks in LA of the highest praises by headlining the Hollywood Bowl with long time friend and collaborator, DJ Shadow. there they began the year long campaign for the third instalment of their mix cd series this time entitled “The Hard Sell” which toured all around the world to sell out venues and Festivals.
Since then Cut has been back in the lab re-inventing his sound, he had the opportunity to remix of Nat King Cole’s “Day In Day Out,” and more recently Quantic and his Combo Barbaro’s “Un Canto mi Tierra.”
As Cut Chemist works out some final touches on his follow up to The Audience is Listening, Cut ended 2010 pushing a new concept mix he released entitled Sound of the Police, different than the conventional DJ mix CD using two turntables, this exclusive offering was created live using only one turntable, a mixer, a loop pedal and all original vinyl pressings. Cut thought when performing this mix live it would challenge the contemporary DJ as well as himself. The music chosen for this mix goes quite a bit deeper into the crate than his other contributions. Driven by his passion for Ethiopian, Colombian, Sudanese and Afro-Brazilian sounds respectively, this mix also features a few classic tunes you might recognize. Sound Of The Police puts it all in the context to help the listener remember that hip hop culture is indeed rooted in Africa.
Originally Sound Of The Police was only intended to be a one time performance for Mochilla’s ‘Timeless’ concert series opening up for Ethiopia’s own Mulatu Astatke in 2009. He recorded the practice session and after the success of that performance he thought it deserved to be heard and seen by as many people as possible. The live performance attempts to be a reenactment of the CD but with cameras on the turntable and loop pedal so the audience understands exactly how the records are being manipulated. “You don’t have to be into DJs to enjoy this show. It’s like walking a sonic tight rope and the audience gets to see me fall if something goes wrong,” Cut says. “The interesting parts are when I mess up and fix it. The audience goes crazy and appreciates what a difficult balancing act this actually is.”
Sound Of The Police proves Cut Chemist is still pushing the envelope when it comes to live DJing. It combines entertainment with music and cultural education. Cuts always used these elements when it comes to his music and he won’t stop. “It’s important to widen peoples musical vocabulary and I feel its my job as a DJ to do so.” While Cut is finishing his sophomore solo LP, Sound Of The Police will tide fans over with unique DJ skills and an eclectic blend of music from around the world.
Cut is also moving forward to release a series of reissues through his label A Stable Sound. This year he has been active in getting exclusive material in the hands and ears of his fans, releasing treasures from his vaults for free through social media sites like Soundcloud, Twitter and Facebook.
“Whatever comes next you can expect the same ethic of artistic integrity” says Cut. “Hip Hop is not a specific type of music, its how its presented. I feel I’ve always proved that and will continue to do so.”