Lucas MacFadden aka Cut Chemist is the fifth element. A solo turntablist who counts DJ Shadow and the Invisibl Skratch Piklz as his friends and collaborators, the was in Singapore for Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide Festival back in May with 4 turntables and some obscure music. Prepared for some hero worship JUICE sought an audience with the former member of the funk Latin band Ozomatli and hip hop group Jurassic 5. All hail.
Interview + Image Kinemat SG
JUICE loves turntablists. Is technology killing off real skill?
Yes, I do think technology is killing off skills as a lot of DJs use Serato now. When the art of buying a record is taken away, everybody is a DJ. It waters down the art. However not everyone is a turntablist. And when there are no skills involved there are other ways of getting attention from the audience.
Okay, what about downloading, is that killing the music scene?
No, I think it is helping the scene. It is hurting people making money from music but then there is more music to be found out there.
You’ve had a brilliant career so far. What’s your proudest moment?
Making my solo album [The Audience’s Listening released in 2006]. It was a tough thing to move away from my group and embark on a solo journey.
We checked your site, you are one awesome dude and we would kill to have been your chemistry partner. How do you rate your school life and were you a hit with the girls?
I was a complete nerd. I didn’t socialise and wrapped myself up completely in music. I had friends but I didn’t date. And looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing.
Rad. Still did you ever make one of them wet soppy love mixtapes and if so what kind of tracks did you put on it?
I did make a mixtape. In it were ‘You Got What I Need’ by Freddie Scott and a lot of DJ Shadow songs. I guess something indicative of my tormented soul….
That “Karate Kid” pix is the shits. Do you do martial arts?
No. But I’d like to learn.
What was your first job and what did you spend your first paycheque on?
A gig for a house party when I was 14 or 15. I got paid $30 and I spent it on more records.
Finish this sentence, “If I wasn’t a DJ I’d be a ….”
The Audience Is Listening theme song was featured in the Apple iPod Nano ad; who are you listening to right now on your Nano?
I don’t own an iPod. But currently I’m listening to some indie rock, the White Stripes and Ethiopian music.
You’re already soundtracking TV series and films and you recently made an appearance in Juno playing a high school chemistry teacherâ€”cute. What’s the next acting gig and who are you gonna thank in your Oscar acceptance speech?
Another cameo in a movie as a DJ would be nice. For the acceptance speech, I would like to thank Jason Reitman as he directed me so well.
What is your most treasured possession, the one thing you’d save in a fire?
It won’t be any of my records. It would be this 1985 hip hop show poster of the Roxy in New York from Steinski.
Would you have a problem if you were reincarnated as a robot?
It will be cool as I will be a robot that makes sappy love mixtapes.
Cut Chemist rocked the (Odean) Towers at Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide festival held in Singapore in May. More from the Jedi Master of beat juggling at www.cutchemist.com and www.myspace.com/cutchemist. Gilles’ WWF promises to return to the island state in 2009. www.worldwidefestival.com/singapore.php for updates.