Alexander Nut Talks


It seems no coincidence that Alexander Nut is involved in one of the most forward-thinking labels in Eglo, and one of London's most revered underground venues in Plastic People. Valuing soulful fusions of a panoply of different genres as demonstrated in his acclaimed Rinse Mix, it's easy to see why both Eglo and Plastic People have progressed meteorically in recent years. Between afternoon shows for Rinse, he's also started Ho Tep, a more casual outlet that differs from Eglo's intrepid ambitiousness but adheres to the consistent quality his venture with Floating Points has maintained.Throughout all of this, it seems he's retained antithetical notions towards the falsity of hype and posterity. Instead, his intent seems to be predicated on simply 'Putting out some positive energy into the world'. 

Here, we had a chat about all of these involvements, the enduring influence of Wu-Tang ideology, and his history with Deviation, who celebrate their 5th birthday this Saturday. Alex features on a formidable bill that includes Moodymann, Dam-Funk & Hudson Mohawke.
Hi Alex, for those not familiar with you, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your involvement with Rinse, Eglo and Ho Tep?
I'm Alexander Nut and i'm originally from Wolverhampton in the West Midlands but moved to London sometime around 2003. About 6 years ago I started a show on Rinse FM, doing my thing, playing my skitzoid eclectic mix of what ever im feeling, which generally tends to be hip hop, soul, house, broken beat, dub, rare groove etc etc.  I consider myself  a radio, mixtape and club dj, which to me are three very different things.. i’m a vinyl head and lover of life. Various journeys through creativity led me to meeting Floating Points inside Plastic People, having supported his early demos on my radio show… I used to live with Fatima in Homerton, Hackney. The whole Eglo thing just spiraled from there really. I also have another little label called Ho Tep. 
And what have you been up to recently? Any highlights from the summer run of festivals?
Touring a lot, spreading our sounds. Dimensions festival was easily the highlight of this year for us. We did an all day/all night Eglo stage there with the crew and some guests/friends like Benji B and Kyle Hall. It went off, we went in deep and the vibes and atmosphere of the place was crazy. You could feel it on your skin. Sound systems was dope, weather was glorious… what more can you ask for?
With things like Rinse, there’s a tendency to mythologise its roots as a pirate station but it seems to have held on to its distinctive identity and attitude over the years – from your experience working with the station, how do you think it’s managed to stay true to its origins?
Definitely it stays true to its origins whilst always evolving and moving forward, I’m really proud to be a part of it and an humbled by the fact I still have a show on there. What i do is so different to the majority of stuff on there,, but i see the impact and influence the station has had on music and contemporary culture. its bananas. I was doing pirate radio from the tower block in Wolverhampton before i ever moved here, so it’s nice for me to carry on that tradition and keep things moving. Rinse has been a big inspiration to me.
You also frequent Plastic People along with Floating Points on a regular basis. I’ve heard threats of closure are regular; why do you think it’s important to keep somewhere like Plastic People open? Can you describe the current ethos and direction you think it’s now going in? 
I’m actually working for the club now helping out with bookings and programming. It’s going great and we have some amazing nights going on. It’s important to have places like Plastic People because it represents all the good things about music and partying.. It’s just a small dark room with and amazing soundsytem. In this day and age of hype and multimedia madness its great to be able to break things down to it’s rawest form and give things a chance to breath. It’s deep. A lot of people are just on a hype, money, fashion thing these days, to me Plastic is sanctuary.
Moving onto your mixes and your releases, I was interested in how you came to bring together quite disparate genres, as evidenced on your Rinse mix and what you regularly put out on Eglo and Ho Tep – can you pinpoint when you started to think more loosely about divisions between genre; any key records or moments that encouraged you?
I’ve just always been like that, to me it all makes perfect sense. I think soul is the thing that connects it all together. That and I think I just have a short attention span, but if I like something, then I like it a lot and i’ll go in real deep with it. I’m always learning and discovering new stuff, so i have to throw that into the mix as well. The rule book got dashed a long time ago, it’s all about feeling.
Onto Eglo; what are your specific duties for the label?
Everything.. except we just got an accountant. So hopefully we won’t have to worry about that any more. As far as the A&R’ing, promotion, admin, events and day to day runnings go it’s pretty much all me. Floating Points is super busy, he’s doing his PHD and is dj’ing in a different country every week, so i’d prefer if he just concentrated on making music for now. Which he is, so everything is as it should be. There’s a great team of people involved as well. Kay Shin does a lot for our design and artwork and helps out a lot. Big ups Kay! x
Fatima and Funkineven’s ‘Phone Line’ Eglo release has done really well, how did that collaboration come about and did you anticipate the love it’s received? Besides ‘Phone Line’, which Eglo release are you most proud of?
I thought it should have got to number 1 personally but yeah, I’m happy it went down well, it’s a big tune and there’s still three other tracks on the EP we’ve yet to push.. Oh yeah it’s an EP! D'oh! That's why it didn’t get to number 1! I’m proud of them all though, I know thats a cop out answer but it’s true. Theres so many different flavours, I like them all. I’m looking forward to dropping out compilation tho, that's due soon. 

What was the reason for setting up Ho Tep; how is it a distinctive outlet from Eglo?
Ho Tep is just a record label, Eglo is much more than that. Eglo has brought through and established a lot of artists. Ho Tep is more a little underground record label, it’s just a casual thing on the side, but im commited to Eglo, full time.
I love the Letherette work released on Ho Tep, can you tell us a little bit about them and how you came to release their material? Is there any more Letherette stuff coming in the near future?
I went to school with Letherette, just putting my buddies on because I loved the music they were making.
I’ve heard from previous interviews about a first love for hip hop, is there a particular time or collective of producers you’re particularly keen on? I’ve also seen some of your twitter posts, quoting Wu-Tang…
I love Wu Tang. I wish there was something like Wu-Tang shining as brightly right now. Wu-Tang had something to say, I learned a lot from Wu and RZA to this day is a huge inspiration to me. It was much more than money, clothes and hoes because I think that's what it all boils down to today. Through Wu Tang I learnt a lot about religion, literature, mythology, geography, life, pain, love and music. And of course the sound and aesthetic of the music is incredible to. These days Hip-Hop just seems like a popularity contest run by the big corporations, weird! 
Off on a tangent here, but I’ve also heard you used to paint, do you still pursue this? What kind of artists were you into? Do you perceive any link between that kind of artistry and your current pursuits?
I wish I had the time to draw and paint still, it's definitely something I want to pick back up on. I’d love to do an exhibition of portraits, thats my thing. I used to draw loads as a kid simply because i was so bored back in Wolves. I don’t think i’ve been bored in about 7/8 years. I basically have a constant need to be creative. I’ve done a few bits of artwork for the label, so I still get the opportunity here and there. 
As a label boss, you must be constantly listening to other peoples music, are there any plans afoot to start producing yourself?
I do make beats, one day when i’m happy enough with something i’ll put a release out, I wouldn’t drop anything for the sake of it tho. I’ve leaked loads online in the past.  I felt the need to a while ago, like i tried to rush something out but it didn’t seem like me. I'm happy with the way im producing at the moment and the sound i’m getting, so we’ll see what happens in the future. 
You’re credited with bringing attention to material from new, exciting talent, in the past, people like Kyle Hall, Bullion and Morgan Zarate. Is there anyone around currently who you’re particularly excited about?
We’ve got this new act called Strange U coming out on Eglo, it’s a hip hop thing, thats dope im excited about that. Also i thought the Dirg Gerner release on Ho Tep earlier this year was incredible, so im looking forward to more from him. Letherette has signed to Ninja Tune now, so i look forward to hearing what their album is gona be like. Andres is dropping some crazy records right now, he’s really doing it. I love Aybee, African Sciences and the DeepBlak label from LA. Fatima’s recording her album for us right now, which i can’t wait for. Two of the demo’s have nearly made me cry already. 


What’s your process for selection for a night like Deviation; what routines does it habitually involve? Any favourite places to find new music?

I don’t really have a process, I switch up the way I do things all the time to try and keep it fresh – all depends on how i feel on the day. Radio is a great place to road test stuff. Right now i'm just really feeling playing on vinyl again. it's so much more enjoyable and sounds so good, hmmmm, i love it. Deviation is one of the best places to play, that's family all day. And Benji is one of my favourite Dj’s as is Moodymann, and of course I love Dam Funk, Kode 9 and HudMo. So it’s my kind of vibe anyway, I just go with the flow -im just looking forward to partying with the crew. I can’t wait!
What’s your history with Deviation and what can we expect from your set at its 5th birthday?
I’ve been going to Deviation since the second party they put on, I wanted to go to the first one but I think I was mad broke at the time, so i just stuck the flyer on my wall instead. Benji and all the Deviation gang have always supported what we do. Don’t expect nothing from my set, just know i’ll be playing off wax and taking it here, there and everywhere. No hype, no gimmicks. 
What have you got in the pipeline for all your various ventures?
Just tryna survive doing the things I love. Putting out some positive energy into the world.

Alex Nut runs Eglo Records and plays Deviation's 5th Birthday this Saturday. Info here.