King of the Boots: CartelMike Interview Pt 1
These interviews started from the demise of the GYBO bootleg (mash up) forum the other week. But recalling the past it was hard to ignore the central role played by the essential club – King of the Boots/Bastard – that was GBYO’s incarnation in non-virtual life.
It’s therefore only appropriate that we sought the views of Cartel Mike before he quits the mother country for the colonies – silly boy’s going to America. Heaven help them.
1. How the devil are you? And what’s the weather like in London?
I’m very good thanks. Life is a little crazy. After spending a large chunk of last year there, I’m moving permanently to New York in four weeks, so its busy, busy, busy. Weather in London? Predictably bloody awful.
2. How did you get involved in music?
I’ve always dj’d & run Club nights from my first year at College. Early obsessions with house & hip hop led to an unhealthy curiosity in illegal sampling and pirate radio. And then raves & noisy indie. I deeply loved everything about the KLF/JAMMS as a teen/early 20, and that just led to me running my first London club night. The day job brought me together with Jonny, who shared these passions. Its a little known fact that i ran a sample based hip hop night at Asylum for about 18 months before we curated the first King of the Boots which then became Bastard.
3. I don’t know what you think about mash-ups these days. But how did you get involved in doing them?
Well, things like Evolution Control Committee and the ’1987′ album were already strong parts of our club night, so it was quite a natural progression to start doing our own and hooking up with others making illegal bedroom music. For me, it was (and still is) the cultural juxtapositions that made bootlegs/mashups brilliant, and not just that they sounded good. I couldn’t give a toss about whether Gaga over Madonna sounded good. It means nothing. Whereas, puncturing a hole in Snoop & Dre’s ego by putting their tracks over things like Only Fools & Horses and the Grease soundtrack is exactly what Bastard was all about. Using Van Halen as a backing track when hair metal was deeply uncool (pre Darkness) in a club night felt naughty and stupid. We never lost sight of naughty and stupid.
I still feel the same about mashups/bootlegs now. Challenge things. Challenge me. But if I hear Rhianna over One Direction, even if its note perfect, I couldn’t care less.
Also, the other key thing about what made bootlegs brilliant is that people were so unaware of them. Punters couldn’t get their heads around what you were doing. They’d begin dancing to a great old rave track and then realise they’re singing along to Bonnie Tyler. I think that crucial “surprise” element has been completely lost, which was inevitable and completely understandable.
4. What role, if any, did Boomselection or GYBO (in any of its various guises) play?
Both huge. The Dr (Sheldon) was the original pied piper. Not just with bootlegs, but as the worlds first mp3 blog as far as im aware. We were part of something hugely culturally significant. It was almost as if mp3 encoding, web hosting, iPods and Acid/Ableton were made exclusively for what we wanted to do! It was like our record store. And we didnt have to pay for it. We never lost sight of how exciting and naughty that felt.
GYBO allowed us to extend the community even further. The inclusiveness of a forum, as opposed to the autocracy of a blog really helped open things up. And also find new superstars.
5.Are there any bootlegs of yours (and I confess I don’t remember you doing many) that you think have withstood the test of time (don’t say, none)?
None. Ha! We did about 20 back in 2000/1. I dont have any of them now. I cant even remember them. Definitely a few with Madonna and Kylie i think. Pretty sure three or four of them made it onto the seminal “Nevermind The Bootlegs” http://www.discogs.com/Various-Never-Mind-The-Bootlegs/release/891083 My face is on the cover, so im proud. (i think about four of the “unknown artist” ones on there are us too….) but we were always more interested in creating video than audio. Audio for us was the club night.
Next part of the interview tomorrow. To accompany this post, here’s Mike and Jonny live in San Francisco, doing a Cartel Communique Greatest Hits set, as they say “whilst a bit drunk. The bad mixing is clearly Jonny and not Mike.”
BTW, If anyone still has any of the sets from Bastard, do send them my way acidtedblog[at]googlemail[dot]com
Finally, Cartel Communique & Chris Morris produce this bit of genius: