Artist To Artist – Mr C & Tyree Cooper


Mr. C and Tyree Cooper have racked up round 60 years of glorious acid house experience between them. There were always going to be sparks when we let the two old friends grill each other, and we're pretty pleased with the results – get ready for the lowdown on everything from the early days of UK acid house to the seismic changes wrought by new technology. Extra points go to the endlessly humble Mr C for claiming to have invented hip house…     

Tyree Cooper to Mr C

T.C. – In your own words, can you explain the “Summer of love” ?

Mr C – The 2nd summer of love in 1988 was quite incredible. The first was of course in the 60's. House music was really building & had been so on the gay & underground scenes in London since 1985 at weekly gay parties like Pyramid at Heaven & Mud Club at Busby's. House was also getting a lot of play at parties that were traditionally disco & funk, like RAW, Soul 2 Soul, Family Funktion, Shake & Finger Pop & Boiler House. There were also great radio shows on Pirate Radio, the first being Jazzy M's Jacking Zone show on LWR & Colin Faver's show in Kiss FM. For me though, there were four defining events that really pushed it over. The first of those were the Hedonism parties over in Hanger Lane, West London. The first was in late 87 & the second was in early 88. These were warehouse parties for 1500+ people that really showed that house was taking over & not just a passing trend. In 1988, I started my first club night as a young promoter called Fantasy at HQ in Camden Locke, North London which was every second Monday from February through April. Right after this Paul RIP started the RIP parties, the first in Eversholt Street in Euston & then weekly in studio space that used to be a jail in Clink Street, London Bridge. In my opinion, it was these parties that really blew up Garage, House, Acid & Techno & therefore the second defining moment. The third was Shoom who were were also doing great parties around the corner in Southwark Street which were more Balearic but completely with the love vibe & then there was Phuture at heaven every Thursday. There were also the Car Wash parties in Elephant & Castle. From here the summer of love literally exploded & it was crazy. People going nuts all night & spilling out on the the streets chanting Aciiiiiid. Acid house became a culture & still to this day rules the UK night clubs.

What was the first Acid House record you heard? And what was your thoughts?

I'm not sure, but i think the first acid house record I heard was Acid Tracks by Phuture & absolutely loved it. It was like a new twist on Chicago House Music, which I was already addicted to.

How did you form the Shamen?

I didn't form The Shamen. The band started out as a psychedelic rock band in 1986. Their manager moved down to London from Scotland to discover us crazy Londoners doing Acid House parties at Clink Street. He was blown away and then contacted the band telling them "You're a psychedelic band, you really need to come to London & check out this Acid House scene". Colin Angus & Will Sinnott moved down & immediately changed their blueprint from rock to Acid House in that summer of love in 1988. It was the following year they asked me to do the rap as a guest vocalist for Move Any Mountain under the suggestion of Paul Oakenfold. I did the first of 19 remixes of that song in early 1990, which was a proper house remix. I thought the original was more of a white alternative thing. I was always into black music, so my slant on the track was deeper & more housey. I didn't actually join the band as a full member until spring 1991 & then started my tenure by doing a straight up acid house remix of Possible Worlds called the Stick mix.

What did you think of  Hip Hop when first heard it?

I was raised on Funk, Soul & Disco so I loved it. I think the first hip hop tune I heard was Rappers Delight by Sugarhill Gang when I was only 13 in 1979 & I was blown away. I went & bought the extended 12 inch immediately & learned every word. It was then I knew I wanted to become a rapper. The first wave of Hip Hop holds dear in my heart, especially the electro side of it. I loved Dr Jeckle & Mr. Hyde, The Jazzy 5 who went on to become Grandmaster Flash & the Furious 5, Afrika Bambata & the Soul Sonic Force, Egyptian Lover, Newcleus, Captain Rock, MC Shy D & more. 

After the first “Chicago House” track broke through the UK scene what was were thoughts of that track? And did you think it was garbage or did you think it was the coolest thing you heard?

I was listening to House before it was called House. Stuff like Serious Intention & stuff that Arthur Russell was doing in NYC on labels Easy Street & Jump Street. I think the first Chicago House tracks I heard were This Brutal House by Nitro Deluxe & No Way Back by Adonis & of course loved them. I then dug deeper & discovered Mitchbal records, Jesses Gang & all the rest of what Chicago was releasing, but at this time in 1986, I still wasn't a DJ, I was a house music rapper & enthusiast.

What was the first Hip House track you heard? And what did you think of it?

The first Hip House tune I heard was It's Percussion by M. Doc autumn of 1987 & thought is was no more than OK because I was already rapping on house for almost 2 years before that came out & could do much better. I remember meeting Adonis in the summer of 1986 here in the UK & blew his mind rapping over No Way Back. He wanted me to do a rap for him but living so far away from Chicago & not have the technology we have today, it was impossible. The first Hip House tune that I loved was also in 1987, a track called Lets Get Jazzy by KC Flight. He was incredible. I discovered a house rapper that I actually thought was better than me, lol.

Top Of The Pops or MTV?

Top Of The Pops. We did the show many times with The Shamen & always insisted on open mics as we refused to lip sync / mime. Those shows were so much fun. I'd always slip in some naughty words that I shouldn't have that were not in the records. 

What made you start Plink Plonk? And will release some the back catalog?

In 1988 I came up with the name while out of my mind on the dance floor at RIP, but was a poor street kid from London & had no money to do a label. It was them that I vowed, if I ever make money from my rapping & music making, I would pump it back in to the Underground. When i got my first big pay check from the Shamen in autumn 1992, that's exactly what I did, setting up Plink Plonk Records with Paul RIP & building the Watershed Studio. Chip E also helped us back then with what we were doing. I was fortunate enough to release some very established house & techno artists, as well as my mates from the streets of North London. Everyone had to use a different name so the music was judged on the music, not the artists. I have no plans to release the back catalogue. I"m happy moving forward & concentrating on future house & techno on my Superfreq label.

Do you think that there will be another club like The End?

The End was a magical place that changed the landscape of clubbing the world over, becoming the blueprint for all modern days clubs. Will there be another club like it? I don't know but Output in Brooklyn is pretty damn close & Fabric in London continues to fly the flag.

After our first meeting back in 94 or 95 while doing probably the first ever online radio shows, did you ever think that we would come this far with media technology?

I did know that we would come this far & even further. It's amazing how the technology has allowed us to share our music across the globe. Imagine if we have this back in the mid 80s. The kids today would actually know their history instead of only following the hype that they do. What is good though is that we have the technology now & the history can be found by those kids that become specialists & want to learn more. Viva house & techno music.

Mr C to Tyree Cooper;

Mr C – Let’s go way back. You grew up on Chicago’s South Side. Did you ever get into trouble as a kid?

T.C- Shit, i used to get in trouble all the time when i was young. Let's just say this, anything that was not hammered down was mine. ANYTHING!!!!!!!

Like myself, you were heavily inspired by your mother playing soul records. Tell us more?

Yea, my mom was into all kinds of soul and jazz and later on she got into funk, and i got a good taste of radio as well. I used to listen to Am radio back in the day for the old 60's songs and as i got older and started getting into what was on the TV, like Soul Train. From there i didn't know what kind of music what? But i knew it was something special because when i was in the fourth grade and fifth and sixth and seventh grade I was the classroom DJ because my mom had all the hits that were on the radio and some that wasn't, but livin in the hood you just knew what the hot tunes were.So by the time i actually started to begin my DJ career i already knew what kind of music i wanted to play. 

Flute or Basketball?

I played flute at Simeon Vocational High School marching band and when I transfered to William R. Harper High School I played there as well. But when I trasferred to Harper H.S i played on the varsity basketball team. I played only one season, but it was enough to get the attention of a few college coaches. Also I played a helluva lot of basketball in the summer in Chicago as most basketball players do. I went to summer camps from a few colleges so that can get a good look at me to see if I fit into their system. It was so much fun hooping that I thought I could have a chance to further my career as a ball player via college or going over to Europe and playing. So to answer the question, I still enjoy the game of basketball whether I'm playing for fun or watching it on TV…….

Ron Hardy or Frankie Knuckles?

Farley Jackmaster Funk,Leonard "Remix Rroy, Frankie Knuckles, and Ron Hardy are MY four pillars of House Music. All four DJ's are uniquely different in their own way, but at the same time all four represents the very essence of our sound. This only my opinion, so I don't want anyone to be attacking about what I said to this question…

Tell us about Vince Lawrence?

Genius, to put it mildly….Vince was the first person I met when I wanted to start recording and he gave the introduction to Jesse Saunders, although I was going to the "Playground" where he and Farley were DJing, but I never got the chance to meet him formally. I think I asked Vince some really off the planet ass questions but he answered every single one of them. I remember when i got my first contract from DJ International Records back in 1986, Vince was my attorney, in a roundabout way. He went through contract like a fine tooth comb going thru str-8 hair, I was so impressed that I wanted to be in this business forever…..

House, hip house or acid?

Shit, all the above plus one more. Deep House, but not today's standard of "Deep House" but that real Chicago, Detroit, and New York shit!!!!!….

I started rapping about house music & jackin in early 86, so of course I invented hip house. What say you?

Well I aint gon say anything about what you did when you were coming up, but what i will say is if that's true, then you only doing "Club Rap" and as far as "Jackin" we were "Jackin" the entire time, that's part of our dance culture so i don't know what you were doing. Hip House is exactly what it is, Hip- is to know and House – is to release your expression or to tranlate Hip House  "Know yourself". So everyone that follow us and did Hip House knew exactly what they were doin and was confident in themselve because of their expression….. Hip House

Awesome supa dupa trooper. Tell us about the Supa Dupa label?

Well Supa Dupa is my digital label, and I have a vinyl label as well. Right now i'm only concentrating on vinyl now, and I have five releases out. I will be releasing most of my back catalog from DJ International and Dancemania and a few labels that i dealt with from back in the day. Also what kind of label would I be if I don't release some new shit from new artist and old artist, Lidell Townsell, Hugo H, and Farley Jackmaster Funk, and K-Alexi and new artist DJ Erv and Afreme. and IsIs Salam as a feature on a remake of a old house track that was NEVER released…….

Any new productions on the go?


What would you like to be when you grow up?

When I grow up, I wanna be the guy who writes the check for any pro athlete, becuase that's wealthy. I mean the one who own's several fortune 500 companies, and truthfully I know I'm not that far from that……

You can catch Mr C and Tyree Cooper at Memory Box's 'A History Of Acid House' on 19th April, for tickets see here.