Vinyl Junkie Interviews - DJ T-CUTS (Mined Records)
So I caught up with the Rudeboy Tim T-Cuts for a little natter about Dub Plates, Pissing in petrol tanks and the future of Mined Records… So lets start at the beginning Tim… Before all the raves and junglism… Going way back… What is your earliest musical memory?
My memory is pretty shot so I’m struggling to think of an answer for this, but I guess it was something pretty gangster like the sound of music soundtrack.
That is pretty Gangster!! You’re an OG! So when you were growing up, what music was most likely being played in your house and how did it influence your musical path?
I wasn’t from a hugely musical household; my mum would play the Beatles a fair bit and there was a little pile of records that I used to scroll through every now and then out of curiosity, but it was nothing that really influenced me later in life.
OK, so what was the first record you ever bought and how old were you?
I bought that Christmas tune, “feed the world” from Woolworths on 7”. I guess I was around 9 when that came out. Still bangs to this day!
Woolworths! Now that’s a blast from the past… So for our younger readers Woolworths was a chain of department stores, a bit like a poor man’s John Lewis lol. So anyway, when/where/what was the first rave you ever went to and how did it effect your life?
The first rave I went to was at a club called Sterns in Worthing. It was the end of November in 91 and I got taken up there with my mate by his parents when I went to stay at his one night I was 14 years old and it absolutely blew my mind.
Below is a video of Tim in action at Distant Planet!
So what do you think you would be doing now… if rave/jungle never happened!!
I guess if the rave movement hadn’t have happened I would have just been skateboarding more. Raving drew me away from it you see.
Cooool… So your from Brighton right? What was the rave / jungle scene like there in the 90’s?
I come from a place called Rustington which is just along the coast from Brighton. In-Ter-Dance at sterns in Worthing was a Mecca for raving on the south coast until it closed in 93. You had it all there, Hardcore, early jungle and garage/house. There were also a lot of raves in Brighton although I always found them harder to get into with my fake N.U.S card…
Ahhhh. Gutted to say I never made it to Sterns. Have only heard good things though. When did you first start learning to mix records and what inspired you to do so?
My mate whose parents took me to Sterns used to collect early rave tunes on vinyl and another friend had a pair of technics SL22 decks and I was totally fascinated by everything surrounding the music and couldn’t wait to have a go at mixing. I’d mix with their gear until ‘93 when I started buying tunes and I got my first set of decks.
Why did you choose the name “T-Cuts”?
The name T-Cuts originated more when I was playing Hip-hop and getting more into turntablism a little later into me DJing. There is nothing too creative behind the name really. The T stands for Tim and the cuts were what I was doing over beats at the time. I had an old mixtape called Bringing back the Shine with a rip off cover of a well-known car polish on it..
I did wonder if you were a spray painter! So what DJ’s have influenced you over the years and how have they influenced your DJing style?
Rave and Jungle DJ’s I was massively influenced by were Ratty, his style back in 92/93 was unmatched and loved trying to emulate how he would mix. Also, Randall for his unbelievably tight mixing skills and just letting the mixes roll forever. That was always a sight to behold. Then there are the influences from the hip-hop scene such as DJ Craze, Cashmoney and Roc Raider. When I started to learn more about what they had to offer it just opened the possibilities of what a DJ could do.
When and where was your first DJ gig and what are your memories of this night?
My first gig was in ‘95 at a night called Jungle Pressure in Worthing. I think it was supporting DJ Vibes (Rock&Vibes), Pigbag and local heads who were putting the nights on Quantum and Rok One. The energy in the club was electric, it was a small venue in Worthing called “The Factory”. Camo netting draped from the ceilings and dry ice making it hard to see in there. That experience really cemented my love for playing out.
Vinyl DJing Vs Digital DJing… What do you prefer and why? And how do they differ?
My main love is for playing Vinyl as I just feel it has a lot more character to it and I love a challenge when playing out and for those who play wax will know all about those challenges. I think you would be foolish to not want to embrace the digital side of it though. The only downside I find is forgetting track names and endlessly scrolling through until it jogs my memory haha. You can definitely have fun playing digital.
So music production… When did you start and what kit were you using?
I first got invited to the studio in about 96 and I did quite a few sessions with an Engineer called HellRazor at Dance Floor Studios (these guys did all the tapes for In-Ter-Dance). They had the classic set up for the time. Atari, Akai S950 and a load of other goodies. Not that I was at the controls, but I would play basslines and harmonies etc on the midi keyboard and say how I wanted the tune to sound. I was pretty green to it all though and a bit naive when it came to learning all about the sample side of things but the more I went the more I learnt.
I see that you had a release under your alias “Young Husler” back in 1996, tell us how this release came about.
Yes I used to go under the alias of the Young Hustler back then. I thought it was cool at the time. Makes me cringe a little now though, not gonna lie. Hellrazor had a label called Breakthough records and he put two of my tunes out on the label although there were only ever 50 copies made. I found it mad to spot some copies on Discogs!
After that, according to discogs… there was a 23 year gap before you released any more music? What happened there? Where the hell were you lol ??
Well, that isn’t necessarily the case, i didn’t really stop making tunes I just never really released them into the wild. I made about another 6 tunes at Dance Floor which I just got cut to dub at Music House and JTS and would rinse them in my sets. Then when the jungle scene quietened down the studio shit slowed down and there weren’t many events happening so that’s when I started making basic loops for me to scratch over. This was Hip-hop and in the early 2000’s I made some tracks with some MC’s from the USA through MySpace. I guess I just did it more as a bit of fun back then and was more into scratching and learning beat juggles. I suppose around 2015 I started messing about more with making jungle tunes but again was mainly just for fun so never did anything with them.
There has been a massive resurgence in vinyl sales lately with loads of old classics being remastered and repressed. Is this a good thing and why? Discuss….
The great debate! I think it’s a good thing as it brings new life to a tune that people have most probably been out priced of buying an original of. I guess the only worry for a collector is the drop in value of the originals if they do get repressed. I’m just not keen on artists cashing in with greedy price tags for the old classic line “I have just found a box in the loft”.
Do you think the vinyl thing will grow or fizzle out? discuss your reasoning…
It’s really hard to tell how vinyl will go moving forward. I think you will always have your die-hard wax heads that will buy tunes no matter what and we’re in such a niche scene that I think things will just keep going as they are. I’d always encourage CDJ’s to broaden their horizons by getting decks and learning that craft too and I think once they start that they’ll discover that attraction of digging through the crates for tunes rather than just loading up rekordbox.
Pete Cannon talking about the colaborative release he did with Mined.
You started Mined Records in 2019 and have had a steady flow of releases ever since. What inspired you to start a label and what is your mission statement for Mined?
I had a couple of pretty heavy blows dealt to me and realised just how short life can be so decided to just go all in with what I loved the most and so Mined was born. My mission was to create an outlet for my music and to help give others a chance to get their music out as I feel that’s very important to keep the music going. Two things for me which are key are authenticity and to just let the label grow organically.
Have you had any involvement with running labels before you started Mined?
Mined was the first label I have had any involvement with, I figured out how hard can it be haha.
I love the Mined logo, it is pure genius… But was wondering… how did you come up with the logo and is there a reason why you called the label Mined?
I came up with the logo idea for Mined one night whilst suffering with insomnia. I wanted it to represent a few things really. The miner helmet was to indicate the digging for samples, breaks and hidden gems and the brain to represent a conscious movement and to share knowledge. I still have the original sketch that I drew off the logo that night at 3am.
How is the current state of the economy effecting you as a label?
Things are definitely difficult at the moment. It’s always such an unknown bringing a record out, especially when people are being far more selective in what they spend their money on at the moment. We just have to keep pushing through and hopefully we can inspire others to do the same and keep growing our scene.
I see lately you have been releasing some super-limited music on Dub only? How is this going for you and what was the thinking behind it?
The Dubs have been really successful. It trips me out how quickly they sell. I put them up for sale and within 20 minutes they are all gone. I just thought it was a good way to keep the tunes coming out while the pressing had slowed up at all the plants. A few other labels seemed to have followed suit now.
Your latest release on Mined, which we currently have in the shop, is a collaborative release with N4 Records. How did the link up with the legendary Pete Cannon come about?
Me and Pete go back a long way. We met through Hip-Hop back in the early 2000’s and discovered our mutual love for jungle and hardcore. We made a tune together called “Buzz Ed” which was released on N4 003. That tune fetches a pretty Penny on Discog’s now. Pete suggested doing a joint label release so it was just a matter of getting the right tunes for the project. Couldn’t be happier with how it all came out, right down to the artwork. It’s been getting some mad support on the dance floors which is awesome.
Whats coming next from Mined? What releases do you have lined up and any other upcoming projects / events?
Next up for Mined we have some more jungle goodness. Tunes are made but I just need to get the wheels in motion for the release. Looking to get those out around late February early march if all goes to plan. I’ll also be dropping a small re-run of a couple of tunes of mine on 10in lathes. A jungle techno tune called “Loosen Grip” and a crazy little amen number called ‚”G’owan Gangster”. Both tunes have seen support from the likes of Billy Bunter, Jay Cunning, Swankout & Pete Cannon. Got some good shows to announce. I’ll be out in Amsterdam in March for the Jungle Weekender which is definitely a bucket list gig. That’s going to be a hazy one for sure. We have some in stores planned as well as some other exciting things to announce but not just yet… I’m also working on another project with Daddy Nature and Chilli Dubs called “Rolling Thunder”. We have some new music in the works which will be dropping later in the year on all digital formats. These tracks have more of a roller vibe to them and we’ve been trying to capture that 95-96 Raggamuffin style with guest vocalists. We’re playing at the Ministry of Sound on December 3rd and we have a whole heap of shows to announce for next year but again can’t really say where yet.
Is Music production and running a label your main source of income? If not what is your day job?
It’s pretty much my full-time job. I still do a couple of days a week of plastering just to keep the wolves from the door. I’m also a full-time dad to two boys who keep me busy. I have a studio in my garden so it’s nice to shut myself out there and get lost in the tunes.
The sound of the early 90’s hardcore and jungle has come full circle with lots of young people, who were not even born first time round, adopting this sound, buying records, and even producing music in this style… It’s amazing… what’s your thoughts on this and how is it going to affect the future of the scene?
Younger generations coming into the scene can only be a good thing. It’s making the scene a lot more accessible for everyone rather than like back in the day where the gate keepers dominated.
Music is for everyone to enjoy no matter what colour or creed you are. The scene would just die if new life wasn’t brought in.
You done an awesome guest mix for my radio show and podcast which was aired on November 17th. Tell us about the mix… Why you chose that particular selection of tunes and did you record it digitally or on vinyl?
For the mix I just wanted to grab a selection of wax from my collection that I just don’t play that often and maybe people haven’t heard either. It helps keep you on your toes and not too comfortable by playing the same old same old. This was all mixed on vinyl and recorded at Mined HQ.
You can listen back to the show here: PODCAST
So... How does the newly produced hardcore / jungle compare to the original stuff?
There have been some really good releases coming out. I’m not so keen on over polished stuff. I feel that tunes still require a nice bit of crust to capture the rawness of the foundation sounds.
Do you have a big record collection and how long have you been collecting?
My record collection is pretty big and always growing. I started collecting in around 1993. I have a good chunk of 91-99 rave/jungle/drum&bass. A large selection of golden era hiphop (US & UK) a heap of reggae 45’s and 12’s, funk, soul, and miscellaneous charity shop booty which is where I grab most of my samples from.
What are your 3 most treasured records?
Now this is a tough one. I’m going to have to say Prodigy and “Your Love” as that was on one of my first tapes that helped me discover the genre. Then I’ll have to say Roots Manuva “Witness”. That tune sounds so good on a big system. The bass on it is just relentless and it’s a classic UK hip-hop tune. And thirdly I’ll say Maceo and the Mack “Cross the tracks” as it was a track I used to use a lot to practice my beat juggles with plus Kid N Play sampled it and the track was in House Party which I watched A LOT when I was young.
What record is top of your wants list?
I would love to get my hands on Dark and Moody vol 1 as that was a gem from 93 and fetches a lot of money now.
What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you out on the road DJing?
When I was playing a lot of Hiphop I was ina duo with a rapper by the name of Suave Debonair and whilst on a journey to play a show in London the head gasket started to go in the car and we had no water in it to make the last couple of miles to the gig so we both pissed in a bottle and poured that in the engine. It kept the car going so we could play. Improvise, adapt and overcome Haha! Safe to say we had to get the RAC to take us home.
Any final words or shout-outs??
I’ve got to send big love out to my two boys and Jess for the support. Love to all the crew on Mined, Disdained, Fend!K, Janaway. Swankout for his help with mixdowns and masters. Jay Cunning for always repping my tunes. Pete Cannon and N4. Shouts to Rompa and Ollie. RK Bass, 1800Dub plate, Green king Cuts. Distant Planet for keeping the culture going and Vinyl Junkie for having me on.
For more info and T-Cuts and Mined records, you can check out this recent interview he did with our good friends over at Distant Planet.