Could R$N reveal the secrets behind the genius of German beats producer Cuthead in only five questions? Due to popular demand the genre-skipping Dresden local is re-releasing 18 tracks he made between 2006-2010 as new album “Total Sellout” but his new baby has not clearly read the PR schedule! Journalistic ability tested to the max, we talked riots, the Red Bull Academy and Indiana Jones;
1. Tell us about the wild parties and clashes with authority from your early hip hop days in Dresden – was this the exuberance of youth or something more important?
It was a funny time! Together with my friends we bought all the equipment and scoured warehouses and other lost places. It was like a hobby since I was a little kid, to roam around in old decayed buildings and East Germany was the perfect place to do it after the wall came down.
In the last ten years many of these buildings were reconstructed or demolished, so it would be much harder today to find a nice indoor spot. We were all surprised how many people attended the second party and in the beginning the police were relaxed. They came in and just told us to leave the place clean when the party is over.
Later when it got bigger, the police attempted to bust all of the illegal parties and we had to keep everything top secret and just tell a few people where it is at. One time, when they closed down a big party, some of the guests got angry and destroyed the police car and rioted in the area. I am not proud of that episode, because our aim was to party with our friends and we did not want to harm someone or destroy something in the venues. The whole thing never was political and no criticism of the system, we just wanted to party in adventurous surroundings.
2. Favourite record of all time and why?
Oh, that's a hard one.
For me, it has to be an album, because everything else would be too short. I think I will name more than one, maybe an older one and something current.
My favourite record from the old days is maybe Skip James - 'Today'. Its a great melancholic album. Its so simple and repetitive, but truly strong in the way it transports emotions to the listener. The recordings are from the late 20s and it still works today. Timeless.
My favourite record from 2000 onwards is Quasimoto - 'The Unseen'. When I first heard it in the early 00s I was a bit puzzled. There were so many samples and sound-bits in it and the sound was super raw and dirty. It took a while and then I realized the whole greatness. I had it on MC in my car and I remember that over the time, every tune on this records was my favourite for a while. Tracks I did not like too much in the beginning, were later my favourites. That's very important for an album, no fillers just killers. And still today it doesn’t sound dated.
3. Artist (alive or dead) most respected?
Even though it's not my favourite music, I really was blown away by the production of Squarepusher when I started to produce music around 2000. Concerning production it was just brilliant and showed me what's possible with modern equipment. Every bar was so detailed and playful arranged that it left me speechless. I spent hours to listen to the Warp stuff, tying to figure out how he did that sound or this effect. It is really technical show-off and I later got a bit away from this approach, but it helped me so much to discover all the features of my equipment.
4. According to your bio you took part in the Red Bull Academy in Barcelona in 2008 – how was that experience?
I only can recommend every young artist apply. The academy takes care of everything, offers the most fabulous gear you ever dreamed of and get you in contact with other interesting musicians from all over the world. These two weeks really opened my eyes to a lot of artists from different styles and it also gave me a worldwide perspective of music for the first time in my life.
I was really focused on hip hop music before I went there. We were a small group of friends and music lovers here in Dresden, but there was no exchange with many people not to mention other countries. It also gave me wider feedback for my music. I was a kid, doing music in his bedroom and suddenly a well respected company said: "Hey, that's good music, we like it“ and this gave me self-confidence to keep going on.
5. If you could play any fictional character in a film who would it be? (these can be pre-existing films or films yet to be made)
Indiana Jones. I was a big fan when I was school boy!
‘Total Sellout’ is out now on Bandcamp and 10th October in all other stores.