Andy Smith is a man with a lot of feathers in his hat. Best known for a number of years as Portishead’s DJ and record dealer of choice, Andy can also lay claim to being the first DJ to release a multi-genre mix album on a major label, “The Document”. The original Document mix, released in 1998, sold in excess of 100,000 copies and in the years that have followed, the Document series has become renowned for its skillful blend of the best sounds from many different eras.
In recent years, Andy has become the go-to man for labels seeking an expert musicologist to remix and re-edit their untapped back catalogues. From Trojan and Greensleeves to Freestyle and Sanctuary, Andy has produced a catalogue of standout compilations which have justifiably kept him in demand as a club DJ.
Andy was one of the first DJs we ever booked to play as a guest at a club night way back in 1995, and memories of him walking into a busy club with a large unmarked sports bag full 45s still put smiles on our faces. When we told Andy about Classic Material, he showed obvious excitement at the prospect of a hip hop night that would put the fun back into the music we grew up on. And that’s reason enough for us to welcome him as a guest once again.
With over 20 years of record collecting and more than 15 behind the turntables, Chris Read is well qualified for his position as Classic Material resident DJ and curator. His 2007 mixtape release ‘The Diary’, an 800 track strong megamix of hip hop’s landmark recordings, has become a cult classic and given Chris a worthy reputation as something of a rap historian.
For over 10 years Chris was responsible for one of the UK’s largest regular hip hop events. Having enjoyed a 2 year residency on BBC 1Xtra and performed at some of the UK’s most prestigious venues as part of a BBC New Urban Music award winning jazz outfit, Chris is best known in recent years for his steady output of remixes and mixtapes, downloaded in tens of thousands by a loyal online following.
As well as DJing at Classic Material events, Chris will be producing Classic Material’s monthly mixtape and curating the series of events and design projects.
With two critically acclaimed albums, a mix album for the ‘Fabric Live’ series and an international tour in support of Jurassic 5 under his belt, Format is a DJ that we would hope needs no introduction. Format is, put simply, a one of a kind DJ and the owner of a record collection that will bring most serious collectors to tears… and that’s why we’re thrilled that, as one of the only DJs in the country with the records to so, Format agreed to come down to Classic Material to play a 7 inch only set of ’84-’87 hip hop.
As a producer, Format has been putting the funk back into modern hip hop in a manner that, alongside acts such as Jurassic 5, P.U.T.S. and Giant Panda, ignored popular trends and made music that just, well… sounded good. With a definite nod in the direction of old school sampling trends, a forward thinking approach to production quality and choice of lyricists, Format’s albums are a well rounded marriage of the new and the old.
For us, Format is a particularly important DJ to have play at the night because he does what he does with a great deal of passion and whenever we’ve DJ’d together in the past, it’s been a lot of fun … both things which are at the heart of why we decided to start the night.
DJ IQ, the youngest of our contributors, put most of his older peers’ skills to shame when he burst onto the UK scene as under 18s DMC champion. Many years having since passed, IQ has an impressive back catalogue of productions and mixtapes to his name.
With a solid reputation as a floor rocking club DJ, IQ is currently playing to stadium sized audiences as tour DJ for the chart storming Professor Green.
We’re thrilled that IQ is up for taking it back to the more intimate surroundings of the London hip hop club!
Nick is curator of the Classic Material series of events and design projects alongside Chris Read.
He is also the man behind East London’s hugely popular Droppin’ Science parties. Cutting his teeth (and records) with some of the finest DJs London has to offer, Nick has a keen ear for the hip hop cuts that move the dance floor and has earned his right as resident DJ for Classic Material.
With a radio show on Sensei FM alongside DMC Champs Matman and Daredevil, and regular guest spots across London, Nick is entertaining London’s more discerning listeners and dancers on a weekly basis.
If you want to talk about credentials, Pogo’s got ‘em! A popular DJ on the UK’s hip hop club scene for many years, Pogo has more or less done it all. From DJ championship titles as part of the En4cers team, production credits on UK releases of early 90s classics from the likes of House of Pain and compiling the “Block Party Breaks” compilations to DJing duties for award winning jazz saxophonist Courtney Pine, there are few elements of DJ culture which Pogo has not had a hand in and excelled at.
Currently residing in Brazil, Pogo still makes regular trips back to the UK where his DJ sets are a must see.
Our cassettes of Pogo’s Kiss FM guest mixes on the Max & Dave rap session in the early 90s are still on heavy rotation and not without good reason…
If James Brown hadn’t beaten him to the punch, DJ Vadim could probably have a good claim to the title of ‘hardest working man in showbiz’. With a relentless touring, performing, DJing and studio schedule, Daddy Vad aka Luvbug Vadski aka Vadim Rodriguez is a one man music machine.
With a bulging back catalogue of releases for his own Jazz Fudge imprint and heavyweights including Ninja Tune and BBE, Vadim’s production sound is continually evolving and keeping things fresh whilst staying true to the same underlying influences. With recent releases drawing influence from multiple genres from ska to latin, hip hop remains a common thread.
It’s a genuine pleasure to have Vadim along to take it back to his roots. Who knows, we may even dig out that cassette that we have of young Vads phoning into Kiss FM’s Max and Dave show back in 1991 and winning himself a copy of Naughty by Nature’s OPP album and a Tommy Boy goody bag.
DJ Woody is one of only a few DJs who can accurately be described as injecting true musicianship into the art form of DJing. With a catalogue of DJ battle titles to his name, his technical ability is a given, but it’s his ability to get truly creative with that ability that has put him in a league of his own.
Having toured extensively alongside DJ Vadim, released a series of mixtapes including the critically acclaimed ‘A Country Practice’, Woody is currently blowing people’s minds (and rocking dance floors in the process) with his brand new VJ show, Turntables in Technicolor.
With a passion for old school UK obscurities, we’re full of excitement to see what Woody has in store for us, and know that whatever’s in the bag it will be served up with his usual style and precision.
Harry Love is one of only a few to have made a heavy impact on the UK scene both as a DJ and producer. As one time member of cult DJ team the Scratch Perverts, Harry’s introduction to the club scene came via his credentials as a turntablist. A high profile residency at London’s now infamous Kung Fu club night sealed his reputation as a popular club DJ.
Harry’s production credits read like a who’s who of the UK hip hop scene and his jazzy yet polished productions sound as good on a club sound system now as when they were first released.
Currently causing a stir on the internet with the online / live / video / radio party that is the Fun House and performing with the Extended Players, Harry continues to make moves!
As a member of the WeLikeOurJob team, John is the man behind the majority of design work for Chris Read’s Music of Substance club night, website and mixtapes. With a shared passion for the design elements of hip hop’s history, John was a natural choice as Classic Material’s designer.
Currently responsible for the runnings of London’s go to store for high end sneakers, Foot Patrol, John has a variety of design projects under his belt.
John will be contributing the design elements of Classic Material’s monthly product series.
You'll find John here.
With a host of battle titles to their names, including DMC Supremacy champion and ITF World Championship finalist, Matman and Daredevil are at the height of their game in the UK’s turntablist fraternity. Unlike many DJs from the turntablist scene though, they are also accomplished and entertaining club and radio DJs.
With residencies at Bungalow 8 and East London’s Droppin’ Science, and regular shows on London’s Sensei FM, alongside Classic Material resident DJ Nickname, we’re happy to welcome our friends to Classic Material to flex their skills.
Representing for the Unsung Heroes, West London’s Mr Shiver is, ironically you might say, an unsung hero of the UK scene. The Unsung Heroes’ debut LP ‘Unleashed’, released in 2000 was an Indie era masterpiece featuring the vocal talents of seminal independent MCs J live and L Fudge amongst others.
Just as you’d expect for craftsman of hard hitting, soul and jazz drenched long player, Mr Shiver is deep in the crates and has a collection of desirable platters that are the envy of many.
Flexing his crate digging muscles playing nothing but funk 45s at his monthly ‘Size Doesn’t Matter’ parties, we’re happy to welcome Mr Shiver back to his hip hop roots with open arms.
Mr Thing is, to get straight to the point, one of the best DJs in the country. With world DJ battle titles under his belt as part of the original line up of the Scratch Perverts, guest scratches on a host of releases, production credits for the likes of Yungun and a series of cult breaks mixes, there’s not much Mr Thing’s not turned his hand to.
With his ‘Strange Breaks and Mr Thing’ compilation series on the BBE label currently making waves with beat heads, record nerds and lovers of good music alike, Mr Thing remains as in demand as a club DJ as he ever has been.
Aside from a near super human enthusiasm for buying records, Mr Thing is one of the nicest guys you’re likely to discuss obscure sample trivia with.
Normski exploded onto the public stage in the early 90s as presenter of BBC2’s groundbreaking Def 2 and Dance Energy shows, which helped broadcast the under-represented elements of the UK’s dance music culture and black music as whole to a new audience.
For many years prior Normski had been documenting the rise of hip hop culture in the UK and UK club culture through photography. As a key figure on the UK’s early hip hop scene, Normski had access to rising stars of the home grown scene and touring acts from the US. Well known subjects appearing in Normski’s work include Big Daddy Kane, Biz Markie and Public Enemy. In recent years, Normski’s photographic works have experienced a renaissance with high profile exhibitions at venues across the UK.
Normski will be contributing photographic works to the Classic Material series.
As one of the two masterminds behind The Herbaliser, Ollie Teeba has an accomplished career of touring and recording behind him. The Herbaliser’s early releases fused turntable skill with obscure sample sources to great effect and quickly earned them a cult following.
Having delivered a series of critically acclaimed albums on the Ninja Tune label, the current incarnation of The Herbaliser’s live show owes as much to spy movie soundtracks as it does to hip hop, but The Herbaliser’s hip hop credentials are not to be questioned, with past collaborations from artists as diverse as T-Love and Dilated Peoples.
Ollie has an uncanny ability to put together entertaining and well thought out DJ sets and we trust him to deliver just that at Classic Material.
Pritt Kalsi is an accomplished film maker and the driving force behind the ‘King of the Beats’ series of DVDs and events. Armed with only basic camera equipment and an unwavering passion for documenting hip hop’s fundamental elements, Pritt has spent years tracking down, speaking with and filming the genre’s key figures.
Subject material for Pritt’s films have included scratch DJ culture, legendary UK hip hop pioneers HiJack and, most recently the beat battle phenomenon that is ‘King of the Beats’.
Pritt will be contributing film material from his vast vaults to the Classic Material project.
DJ Food’s Strictly Kev is a man with some history in the game. A staple figure in the Ninja Tune family, Kev is routinely trotting the globe alongside his partner on 4 turntables, DK, showing appreciative audiences why they are leaders in their field.
From the ‘Jazz Brakes’ DJ tool series of the mid 90s to the leftfield releases of recent years, hip hop and its constituent elements lie somewhere deep in the mix of influences that make a DJ Food release, mix album or DJ set something memorable.
Kev has always been very supportive of our mixtape endeavors via his Solid Steel radio show and in the craft of mixtape making we like to consider him a kindred spirit. With an enviable record collection and knack for putting together well thought out and expertly delivered DJ sets, we’re very much looking forward to seeing what Kev has to deliver at Classic Material.