Sunday, July 16, 2006

July 16, 2006: DJ Food

July 16, 2006: DJ Food

Back on the horse; here we go... This week's feature is on Strictly Kev of the inimitable DJ Food. In fact, we'll focus on DJ Food in general, on our way to the SAR Q&A with Strictly Kev...

I believe I was aware of the project (DJ Food) prior to last year, when the original version of "Raiding the 20th Century" arrived in my mailbox; however, I had yet to focus very closely. I had recently moved into a room on the 2nd floor of a friend's house in South Minneapolis, and was paying part of my rent by helping out with the remodeling of said house. I'd read the source list on the back of the sleeve and popped the disc in to a paint splattered CD boombox, to listen as I worked on painting the dining room. The 39+ minutes just flew by, and I had to press Play again (and again).

(first photo: Strictly Kev, lost at the center of a swarm of detritus)

I was immediately impressed by this dedicated composition (Raiding the 20th Century) -- a collage of work by sound collage artists. Described as a history of the cut-up, the track was as much a documentary about the developing use of audio appropriation over the decades as it was a mix of popular and experimental music. Either way, I knew it had a place on the show. Many of the artists who receive regular airplay on Some Assembly Required were featured right alongside a slew of the mashup artists I was only just then starting to throw into the mix, on the show.

I aired the mix, in its entirety, on Some Assembly Required one week, and a funny story is, I actually lost a station thanks to having missed a few expletives, in my rush to get it out to syndicating stations. I, of course, try very hard to meet or beat the FCC's expectations for family friendly radio, as the show airs at various times of the day, from station to station. Unfortunately, a station in Texas cancelled us soon after, writing to inform me that there had been a couple of f-bombs buried where I hadn't been listening closely enough. A lesson learned the hard way. Note also, that in episode 80 (this week's podcast) I refer to Raiding the 20th Century as being by Strictly Kev, rather than DJ Food, as I was a bit confused at the time, about the identity of the artist. I should have done a bit more research...

I wrote DJ Food (Strictly Kev) a couple of months later, to see about an interview, and by coincidence, discovered that he was just about to begin work on a revamped version of the project. He'd read a book called "Words and Music" (by Paul Morley), since finishing the first mix and had been moved by much of what he'd discovered there. He contacted Morley and recording him reading some passages of the book, to be included in the updated version of Raiding the 20th Century, which was to include a much broader selection of examples of cut-up music. In fact, Strictly Kev asked if I'd submit some examples of work by artists who receive regular airplay on my show, and I'm proud to say that many of the samples I sent made it into his new version. Along the way, he had also downloaded my interview with Steve Stein, of Steinski and Mass Media (one of the very first interviews I did on the program), and included a snippet of that conversation in the mix as well. I have a handful of proud memories associated with doing this program. This is one of the big ones!

(second photo: DJ Food's Patrick Carpenter and Strictly Kev)

Of course, DJ Food goes back a lot further than these two great mixes! The project began in 1990, as a side project for Matt Black and Jonathan Moore, of the highly influential project Coldcut. According to Strictly Kev, the duo started by releasing a series of "food for DJs" records called the Jazz Brakes series. Along the way, they worked with a few other artists, including Paul Brook, Patrick Carpenter, Issac Elliston, Strictly Kev and Paul Rabiger. Eventually, they went back to working primarily as Coldcut and DJ Food fell to Patrick Carpenter and Strictly Kev. At some point Carpenter left to focus on his project, The Cinematic Orchestra, leaving DJ Food to Strictly Kev (who has also recorded as Flexus Intro).

There are several DJ Food records, including six of the Food For DJs series (which eventually transcended its original function, as a simple collection of samples, loops and breaks for DJs to mix with) and a best-of collection of remixed tracks from this series was compiled in 1996. A Recipe For Disaster was put out in 1995, and in 2000, Kaleidoscope was released, featuring Bundy K. Brown and Ken Nordine (of Word Jazz fame). Raiding the 20th Century was released online in 2004, and one year later, the final version was also released online.

Without further ado, here's the SAR Q&A with Strictly Kev, of DJ Food...


*Name: DJ Food

*Are there any additional names used to describe this project: I go by the pseudonym Strictly Kev personally, as DJ Food can be used for more than one person.

*Members: Kevin Foakes (Strictly Kev)

*Founding Members: Matt Black and Jonathan Moore (Coldcut)

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: Digital. More like reconstructions than deconstructions though.

*Location: London, England

*What is your creative/artistic background: I've been a DJ, originally from a hip hop background, for 21 years now and also have a degree in Graphic design. Cut up music / sampling immediately appealed and I've been fascinated by it ever since.

*History: I've been a member of DJ Food for 10 years or more and DJing since '85.

*Born: Reigate, Surrey, UK

*Motivations: Because I can. Sampling appeals because I never learned to play an instrument. Having any sound at your fingertips with the ability to construct something new from it is a joy.

*Philosophy: No great philospophy, although I do have a set of parameters I work within, in respect of what I sample and how I do it.

*How would you like to be remembered: With a smile, being remembered at all would be a good thing.

*Web address:


Be sure to download this week's podcast (episode 80, on its way) to hear the original version of Raiding the 20th Century. Thanks to Strictly Kev of DJ Food, for being the focus this week, here at the SAR blog!

In other news - I hope to see many of you at Rosalux Gallery this Friday, for the 2nd installment of Relay at Rosalux. The featured DJs this week are Paul Harding of Radio K International (770 Radio K), Tarik Moody and DJ Don Cuco of The Rhythm Lab (89.3 The Current) and myself (Some Assembly Required). The event begins at 9PM. There is a small door charge of $3. Its an 18+ event. Hope to see you there!

Until then - thanks for listening,
Jon Nelson


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