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de-VICE #2

mr. scruff

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de-VICE #1

de-vice_old_bugger.jpg

text by the charming
mr. timothy colman, esq.

It's been nearly 20 years since the second Summer of Love's main ingredients - ecstasy and dance music - laid the groundwork for modern club culture. While many still enjoy chemical enhancement with their beats, some - maybe older and wiser - prefer something a little less stimulating. British DJ Andy Carthy, aka Mr Scruff, reckons the answer is tea.

"I like tea and I like drinking tea," says Carthy. "People drink tea all
day, especially in Britain, but when they go out at night they canıt get it
anywhere. Not everyone wants to drink tea in a club but for some itıs an
energy drink like Red Bull."

Based in Manchester Carthy even went so far as to replace the chill out room
at his club night, Keep It Unreal, with a tea room. It even goes on tour in
the United Kingdom with him.

"Itıs just a cheeky thing to do, people donıt expect to find it in a club,"
says Carthy. "I quite like the general incongruous thing of having a tea
store in a night club. Also there are people who really enjoy having a cup
of tea in a club. Itıs something to be different, not to be wacky, just
something that I like ­ me being me really."

Carthy has taken his love of tea to the extreme selling his own brand of Mr
Scruff tea, Grandadıs Choice, through the Fairtrade group. Basically the
organisation allows consumers to buy directly off the organic tea farmer.

"Itıs nice to get involved in a bit of the Fairtrade business," says Carthy.
"Iım not a big one for politics but itıs nice to do you bit and raise
awareness without shoving it in peopleıs faces. Everyone does t-shirts and I
thought letıs do a few unusual bits. I like tea so that was a reason to do
the tea bags."

Itıs not just tea Mr Scruff enjoys; heıs also a vinyl addict. Picking up on
skar and hip hop in the early 80ıs his collection now includes house,
electro, jazz, reggae, disco, funk and Latin. Hooking up with the Ninja Tune
label in 1996 he has released two albums for the imprint. Itıs his eclectic
DJ sets though, which often clock in at six hours, where he really made his
name.

"Whenever I used to play guest DJ spots it was always three hours plus,"
says Carthy. "When I got offered a residency I thought, why donıt I just
play for the whole night and stop hogging everyone elseıs night. For me two
hours is nothing, Iım barely getting warmed up. Playing venues for the first
time it means I can get to know the crowd and the venue and not just have
done that when Iım finishing up. Itıs not the usual approach but itıs
something Iım comfortable with and have developed."

Carthy doesnıt plan any of these marathon sets. How then did he managed to
scale down to 80 minutes for his first mix-CD, Keep It Solid Steel, and
still manage to make it sound like a Mr Scruff club set?

"Itıs a lot more planned than a normal set but I made sure the flow was
natural and fitted together," says Carthy. "Ironically it took me 18 months
to get a mix which I felt was natural and flowing. Thatıs how I started
DJing ­ painstakingly putting together mixes that take a long time but sound
very natural."

The effort has paid off, even Madonna is a fan of the mix.

"Oh please, Iım going to pass commenting on that. It always raises an
eyebrow but Iım sick of talking about Madonna."

You havenıt been asked to play any of her parties then?
"Not that I know of but itıs not something Iıd be interested in."

mr_scruff.jpg
the scruffy one

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