Bastard at the Asylum: CartelMike Interview Pt 2
Second part of the interview with bootleg (mash up) club legend Cartel Mike in which we discuss how the club came about and how he now feels about bootlegs. But first, why the silly affiliation with corporate behemoth Manchester United.
6. What’s a MUFC fan doing in London? Presumably this means you come from … Bournemouth?
aaah, my Dad was the United fan. I went through my entire school life without us winning a pot. I’m from Luton originally, and gravitated to London for work. Always the ambition to work at the world’s best video production studios., and be silly in my spare time to balance out the awful moral complexities of working for advertising agencies and giant film studios.
7. What was your involvement with the club Bastard? How did it come about?
Well, as said up there, I’d always ran that sampled music night. We then became big buddies with Osymyso and Freelance Hellraiser, and the four of us thought “lets hijack this night” and fill it with Boom Selection and homemade goodies. Within three months we had every national newspaper and style magazine crawling all over us. It felt hugely significant at the time, especially the iconic moment when Mixmag called us “the greatest club night in the world”. Even by 2003 we felt like we wanted to move away from the “bootleg” word & connotation, and Bastard felt like the perfect name to sum up our collective sensibilities. The initial wave was complete craziness, with enormous amounts of coverage and even our own slot on a Channel 4 TV show, but the second wave was probably more fun. You can imagine the amount of knobhead club promoters who simply couldn’t understand why i didnt want to a) charge on the door and make money and b) move somewhere bigger, but that would have been against everything we stood for. We illegally stole and remixed music. How could we possibly charge for that?! We stood firm, and resisted change, and our belief paid off. From 2003-2008 we embraced the GYBO crew and gave pretty much everybody their DJ’ing breaks, which led to this amazing atmosphere of everyone feeling involved, and everybody contributing. The best five years of my life pretty much. We kept it real, and got to tour the world too, and also give a leg up to 50+ aspiring, and quite often brilliant, music producers. And it always felt fresh and exciting. There are just too many stories to tell. I’ll save that for the follow up interview! [always a chancer!]
8. Everyone who recalls the club said how small it was. Why not go for something bigger?
For the exact reasons above. We already had brilliant, well paid day jobs. Why go for another one? Bastard was The Asylum. The Asylum was Bastard. Mark & Harry, the owners, were complete legends and supporters so why move? We could cram about 100 in there, and it rained from the ceilings in sweat. Top names were attracted to come and play because there was no kind of money/business pressure. It was just a good crack. Garrett Lee/Eddy TM/Strictly Kev/Si Begg all had much better things to do with their time, but still absolutely loved it. We were truly genre/sexuality/racially/age/interest agnostic. Ive never been in another club night like it, to this day. It was the best use of the analogy “a perfect storm” as i could ever imagine.
9. It all seemed so exciting and vibrant in 2002/03 to hear mash ups. What marked the start of the end?
Too many careerists I guess. I won’t knock anyone’s right to try and make a living out of something they love doing though. I’m just glad we had the foresight to do it first, and rinse all that fun. Ubiquity killed the fun of the juxtaposition i suppose. I do remember Kylie doing hers at the Brit Awards. Never felt quite the same from that moment. Also, when Cartel were kicked off the MTV tour for not playing ball. That was another moment. MTV trying to give us asinine bootlegs to put on out setlist pissed us off. That wasn’t what it was all about, so in Moscow we just played a daft rave set and no bootlegs. We got sacked. It felt f*cking brilliant. It was our KLF/sheep moment.
10. And what is music’s role for you now?
Same as ever. Seeking out things that excite and challenge. I’m 38 now, so nightclubs are beyond me finally, but I’m looking forward to popping down to the next underground night that’s inspired by chaos and rule-breaking. The people I’ve met through Bastard have become friends for life, so there will always be time to reminisce. As Ben Soundhog said in his interview, this will make a pretty good book for a future historian. Perhaps I’ll write it.
We’ll wait and see if that book emerges. My grateful thanks to Mike for doing this. And, if someone could prompt the_Dr to get in touch, that’s be great.
Meanwhile, here’s a track created especially for Bastard 97 by Josh Console that has easily withstood the test of time. It’s a total loving destruction of Lynyrd Skynyrd. Free download.