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The crazy Brits are coming with big club sound

UK DJs Krafty Kuts and A. Skillz on deck at Tommy’s



Who: Krafty Kuts and A. Skillz

When: Saturday, Oct. 29

Where: Tommy Africa’s

Tickets: Advanced $20 tickets at Hot Box Internet Lounge, $22 tickets at door

United Kingdom DJs Krafty Kuts and A. Skillz bring a fresh sound to North America’s R&B and hip-hop driven DJing scene Saturday, Oct. 29 at Tommy Africa’s.

Krafty Kuts shakes up North America with his European-driven, multi-music base and pushes the boundaries with big-club sounds.

"The UK seems to push the boundaries and I think that is what makes it so exciting when (European DJs) come to North America, bringing a completely different sound," said Krafty Kuts a.k.a. Martin Reeves. The music scenes between the two are so different."

He explained North American DJing was forged from R&B and hip hop, unlike Europe where DJing grew out of a different cross section of musical styles: mainly punk, disco and rock ’n’ roll.

"Two very different vibes," he said of the two countries. "It is interesting when drum and bass came to North America and North American hip hop to the UK. That is what keeps it so interesting. I think that is why a lot of British DJs do quite well for a set time in North America."

Embracing a broad range of musical styles – funk, house, break beats – is what Krafty Kuts is infamous for; his cutting and scratching weaving the different sounds into a constantly moving dance floor.

"People can hear a lot of different sounds that they might not hear from anywhere else," he said of his shows. "When you are moving around to different grooves, you don’t get bored quickly and it’s easy to dance to."

Despite the eclectic vinyl mix, Krafty Kuts still sees a through line to his music, particularly his newest tracks found on the greatly anticipated release of his yet-untitled artist album produced on his own record label, Against the Grain. The debut album includes collaborations with Tim Deluxe, Freq Nasty and the Scratch Perverts, among others.

"I see a (star) coming through the album," he said. "I didn’t think at the time where the album was going, but it just happened naturally."

Two years in the making, he said the tracks are nearly there.

"It’s really more of a break album," said the DJ whose turntable roots began in hip hop. "It’s got a funky sound with live musicians. I think North American audiences will relate. It’s more funky with a swing to it and easier on the ears. It’s taken a long time to get it right."

A big DJ event in London first inspired a young and curious Krafty Kuts, who three years later finally bought his own set of turntables. Despite his success, he said he has not yet reached his goals – to his relief.

"Once you reach your goals, reach the top, there is only one-way to go: you relax and are ready to quit," he said. "It is always better to stay bubbling near the top."

Krafty Kuts has played with the best, including luminaries Fatboy Slim, The Freestylers, Jungle Brothers, Scratch Perverts and Armand Van Helden. And while many may be more technically apt at the turntables, such as turntable masters DJ Scratch, the work of Armand Van Helden stuck with Krafty Kuts the most.

"He has a cockiness with the crowd, a quirky thing," he said. "He’s a very traditional DJ where he is all about the crowd. You need to balance someone who has good technique and can do the tricks, but is also quite vibrant with the crowd."

He said one of the most valuable resources for a DJ is to check out competitions, tapping into music, mistakes and successes. Along with numerous awards, including Best International DJ at the Australian Dance Music Awards, 2005 Best DJ and 2003 Face of Breaks at the Breakspoll International Awards, Krafty Kuts has won numerous DJ competitions.

"The art form (DJing) you can’t really explain to people," he said. "It’s good to hear what other people are doing and learn from their mistakes."

Krafty Kuts is looking forward to joining forces with A. Skillz for the Whistler show.

"It’s been a while since we DJed together," he said, adding the two toured last year. "We always bring a few surprises (to our shows) and we try to be spontaneous…. Expect something very funky and fat and big – also something very creative. We work really hard at what we do. We try to give people what they want at the end of the day."

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