Characteristically Hungover: Richie Culturedeluxe Interview
Alongside Boomselection and GYBO was Culturedeluxe’s site which reviewed and, controversially, rated bootlegs (mash ups), so I thought we ought to catch up with Richie Culturedeluxe (Richard Brown) who has now become a spoken word poet.
It’s a Sunday morning so I’m characteristically hungover. But with good reason. Last night I hosted my first ever spoken word night in Aberdeen and all went well. Victory ale was the order of the day.
I used to make ‘megamixes’ around 1990 by playing two cassettes simultaneously and recording the output on a third by holding it up to a speaker. The sound was muddy and messy, as you’d expect, but I’d get the odd passage here and there where it sounded really good – to 13 year old ears anyway. From then I started meddling around with OctaMED on the Amiga and bought my first sampler and, around 1999, picked up a dodgy copy of Acid v1 from the Barras market in Glasgow (perhaps the funniest thing about bootleggers is we all used to rip off the software too) and began pissing about on my PC, not that the extra channels or memory made the end product any better you understand. A couple of years later I heard Jacknife Lee’s ‘Get Ur 9lb Cock On’ and Freelance Hellraiser’s ‘Stroke of Genius’ and thought, ‘hey, that’s pretty good!’ and realised there were others out there doing the same kind of bedroom noodling – albeit rather better.
3. What role, if any, did Boomselection or GYBO (in any of its various guises) play?
I think I discovered Boomselection through a link on the Optimo website. When I got there, I voraciously collected as many MP3s as were still available including many of the bootlegs that are quite rightfully thought of as the classics. The concept of an MP3 blog was excellent – great music coupled with some background info and links to go find more. That’s where I, like many others, discovered a link to the ye olde proboards GYBO and I signed up that afternoon. I spent a large part of the next five years on GYBO, eventually exclusively in Off Topic where you could be assured some banter with others who liked to pop on during the working day.
4. How did Culturedeluxe relate to GYBO? And why is it now Whiffy Tidings?
The original Culturedeluxe actually began life as the ‘Excalibur Music Store’ (why not?) and was an online database of free MP3s I’d put together for my own easy access as much as anything else. When I realised I was pretty much only adding bootlegs to the site, I converted it, changed the name and turned it into a bootleg database. There was also a chart feature based on how often the track was downloaded via the site. This was no more than a bit of fun, but I think it annoyed some people on GYBO that folks were posting the CDX link of their track rather than a direct one meaning an etxra click. I know my London Booted project has been mentioned a few times already in your interviews, so I’ll save you the back story again, but it was made all the more wonderful by having such easy access to so many talented producers in one place.
In 2005 I’d gone off the whole bootleg thing and was really keen to launch a music reviews site. So, Culturedeluxe was reborn as just that with help from GYBO members including Superdan, Ben Goldrun, Dunproofin’, Fosterama, Charlieblimey and Solcofn. I could have left the old site and launched under a new domain, but I thought the name suited the new site better – and, besides, I already had an audience of sorts. This version of Culturedeluxe lasted another four years before I stepped aside from editing. The last interview I published was actually with JoolsMF about the DJ Hero game – so, circles completing and all that.
Whiffy Tidings is my showcase site featuring my stories, poetries and, yes, several of my old bootlegs including the infamous ’50 Bluebells’ (Jimmy Shand vs 50 Cent) which I’m told still receives regular playouts in Scottish clubs to this day. Culturedeluxe will return as something else, maybe sooner than you think, but for now it’s enjoying a well deserved retirement.
FREE Download: 50 Bluebells (When Jimmy Met Fiddy)
Get the background to the making of here.
I think the closing of the Asylum (the venue that hosted Bastard) had a major effect. GYBO was never more vibrant than the days following a bootleg club night with half the board discussing their part in it – and greeting bizarre photographs of themselves with the words, ‘I don’t remember doing that!’ I think if you couple that with the fact that the scene’s top names were starting to get, deservedly so, paid production work, it meant some of the best bootleggers were also out of the picture.
The main reason though was that, to me, the fun factor of bootlegs took a backseat to technical proficiency. Give me a rough, slightly off blend of Public Enemy atop the theme to Juliet Bravo any day to a skilled yet very boring combo of Flo Rida and Green Day, for instance. (No offence if either of those combos exist…and if the PEvJB one does then send it to me immediately!)
6. And what is music’s role for you now?
It’s funny, in Dunproofin’s interview with you last month [here and here] he hinted at an EP of cover versions he was releasing, but didn’t mention that it’s one he’s doing with me as E-Jitz. Nor did he mention that Nick and I are bringing Prank Monkey Records out of retirement to release it! We recorded vocals (in German, naturally) for the last song yesterday and he’s off beavering away on it as I write. We also shot a cracking video in Aberdeen with Thriftshop XL.
Music will always be a great love of mine, but I’m happy now to put music projects to one side in order to concentrate on the spoken word performances I mentioned earlier. To that end, I’m also hoping to release a spoken word 7″ in the near future, funded entirely by selling my CD collection.
FREE Download: Pop Razors – Superstitious Goat [Sound of Music vs Stevie Wonder]
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