Nick Catchdubs was nice enough to give us his new mix AND an interview. He is one of my favorite New Yorkers and his label with A-Trak, Fools Gold (maybe you have possibly heard of it?) is killing it right now.
4AM: How and when did you meet A-Trak?
Nick Catchdubs: Roxy used to do Friday night parties on Bowery – I want to say the club was BLVD? Dust La Rock, who would later go on to be the Fool’s Gold graphic designer, did the flyers, it looked like the back of a dollar bill with a Debbie Deb quote about “fog machines and laser rays” on the top. One night, A-Trak and I DJed together, we got booked to do shows in San Francisco and LA soon after, and over the course of hanging out we realized we had a lot in common with music, humor, and haberdashery. From then we just stayed friends, sending mp3s back and forth and talking shit.
4AM: How did you and Trizzy eventually come up with the Fools Gold idea?
NC: He ran the Audio Research label in Montreal for almost a decade with his brother Dave, and realized it had such a strong history as an underground/indie hip-hop label that his new, more electronic-influenced stuff wouldn’t fit. He decided to do a new label and asked me to start it with him. I had already helped out with the launch of Mad Decent (I designed the logo and some of the original Bonde Do Role art, and was brainstorming a lot with Diplo in the early days) and this was an opportunity to get more deeply involved with putting out new, original music. We came up with the name and concept, and then just went from there putting out records.
4AM: Did you have any idea it would take off like it has?
NC: I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t always part of the plan!
4AM: How many hours a day would you say you listen to music?
NC: I’m going THROUGH music constantly – mostly just to check out all the new songs that came out that day, find stuff to play when DJing, or give people a once-over on MySpace. But as far as actually sitting down to fully digest albums and mixes, I only get to do that when I’m traveling or in the car. But I do try to schedule chores around the house around particular radio shows – taking a half hour to do the dishes during DJ Enuff or Mr Cee’s Old School At Noon.
4AM: Best gig ever?
NC: Hmmm – there’s been a bunch of really good ones. “End Times” with Caps N Jones a year or two ago (Switch was randomly there and introduced himself at the end of the night, I was geeked) and the recent Wale “Mixtape About Nothing” release party are two local ones that come to mind right away. Whenever I play with Diplo it’s always fun – just this Sunday we did the Mad Fools party in Central Park and the afterparty at Santos Party House, and over the past year we rocked New Year’s Eve in San Francisco, the New Yorker Festival (old folks get loose!) and a Mad Decent party at Studio B that was the first NYC Blaqstarr show. They were all great.
4AM: Worst gig ever?
NC: Not gonna hurt anyone’s feelings by naming the corporate event in question…
4AM: Most glamourous star studded models and bottles gig ever?
NC: Do “hipster celebrities” count? Lets keep that bag of snakes closed, I’m gonna go with this private Rihanna show at Highline Ballroom that ended up being really fun and unpretentious. I was worried about having to corny it up but I mostly played dancehall.
4AM: Best request ever?
NC: A girl asked for Outkast “Bombs Over Bagdhad” during a set of fast tracks. Yes, of course I can do that!
4AM: Worst request ever?
NC: Bee Gees.
4AM: First record ever bought?
NC: The first records I bought with my own money were Guns N Roses Use Your Illusion 1 and 2, but the first record I ever picked out in a store was the Garbage Pail Kids soundtrack. I couldn’t tell you any songs that were on it, I just loved the Garbage Pail Kids. Who doesn’t?
4AM: Last record you bought?
NC: The Syclops I’ve Got My Eye On You CD. The last mp3 was Lee Jones “Aria” on Beatport.
4AM: First DJ mix that made you say “this is what I want to do” to yourself?
NC: I was collecting records and listening to DJs on the radio all my life, but it wasn’t until the summer I graduated college that I realized it was where I wanted to go with music (which is pretty late in the scheme of things – I had been playing in bands and things like that up to that point). There were a few mixes I heard all around the same time that made the lightbulb go off – Spinbad’s ’80s tapes, Mark Ronson‘s promo mix for Digiwaxx for his Here Comes The Fuzz album, and most blatantly, Hollertronix’s Never Scared. They were each presenting music that I liked in new combinations – I figured it would be fun to do that on my own.
4AM: Describe the perfect weekend
NC: Friday night getting real paid, Saturday night going to someone else’s party as a private citizen (but still drinking for free), Sunday walking around (no rain), catching a movie and a good meal.
4AM: Favorite place in NYC to DJ?
NC: My apartment. Sorry, city, but you are going through a “transitional period” right now.
4AM: Favorite DJs/producers right now that are not on Fools Gold?
NC: DJ Eli (though he did do a remix for us), Laidback Luke (ditto), Claude Von Stroke, Fake Blood, Hercules and Love Affair (though I guess it’s really just Andy Butler and Tim Goldsworthy), DJ Sneak, The Dream, Sean C and LV… I could name people for days.
4AM: What song have you played out so bad that you never want to hear it again?
NC: There’s always a time and place for Calabria horns. ALWAYS.
4AM: Best live show you have ever seen?
NC: Portishead sounded amazing at Coachella but the show had no atmosphere. For me, the best shows are always the ones where the artists defy nature and technical difficulties to pull through, that “oh shit!” factor is unbeatable. Feist played at the Fader SXSW tent in 2005 and the wind nearly knocked her over but she just got more and more psyched by it, almost possessed. Peedi Crakk played at the Fader CMJ space two years ago after getting lost in Chinatown, pulling up to the spot minutes before curfew, and still killing it.
4AM: You used to be the editor of Fader correct?
NC: You like that segue right? I was an associate editor there for three years, before leaving to DJ and work on Fool’s Gold full-time last July.
4AM: What was the important thing you learned from working there?
NC: I had no magazine or music industry experience whatsoever when I started – I wasn’t even trying to be a writer, I was just asked to do some stories and interviews, they liked my style, and the job sprouted from there. It was total school for me. I got to travel for the first time in my life and see different artists operate in their home environments. I witnessed records go from creation to label to PR to magazines to stores (and got to learn from other people’s mistakes for free!)
4AM: What should we look out for in the Nick Catchdubs future?
NC: I just finished a mixtape for Timbaland’s new artist Izza Kizza , and an all-Fool’s Gold mix for a 2xCD compilation we’re doing with Scion. I’m really slow on the production side, but I’m working on remixes for El Guincho (out on Mad Decent) and U-God from Wu Tang Clan‘s new solo single. I did a remix for MIA’s “Bamboo Banger” that is supposed to (finally) come out as well on XL. I’m working on some original music too, so I can actually put out a record of my own on my label!
4AM: What shoud we look out for in the Fools Gold future?
NC: Tons of records - Kavinsky, Treasure Fingers, Sammy Bananas, Four Color Zack and Pretty Titty, Jokers of The Scene, Nacho Lovers, Trackademicks, Bag Raiders, Congorock, Crookers, LA Riots, Malente, Kid Sister’s full album, that Scion comp, and some surprises of course…
4AM: Favorite Simpsons episode?
NC: Just one? That’s un-possible! I love them all. 22 Short Films about Springfield is my favorite now, but it always changes. Itchy And Scratchy And Poochie is up there too.
01. Pase Rock “Get Money Kids”
02. 50 Cent “I Get Money (Catch On 45)”
03. Trap House “Step Into”
04. Bad Yard Club “In De Ghetto (GrandTheft Remix)”
05. Dukeyman “Shine”
06. DJ Sega “Everybody Handz Up”
07. Machines Don’t Care “Juggs”
08. Mr Vegas “Round Of Applause”
09. Moby “I Love To Move In Here (Crookers Bass In Here Mix)”
10. Nacho Lovers “Acid Life”
11. Jamie Anderson and Content “Body Jackin”
12. DJ Big Red “Jakybodi”
13. DJ Will Roc “Replay Again”
14. Loco Dice “Pimp Jackson Is Talking Now!!!”
15. Lil Bo Tweak “K Rizzle”
16. 2 Bad Mice “Hold It Down”
17. Bassbin Twins “Woppa”
18. Loefah “It’s Yours”
19. Big Tuck “Not A Stain On Me”
20. Busta Rhymes “I Got Bass”
NC: I didn’t want to add to the pile of “new music” mixes with interchangeable tracklists – some of this is brand new, some of it isn’t out yet, some of it is “recent vintage” (or old as hell but new to me), but it all has a nice swag to it. Retro? Not retro? Most of my current favorites have similar elements (throwback house/rave samples, fast raps, dancehall vocals, breakbeats, sometimes all in the same song) so I figured, why not put a bunch together for a picture of where my head is at this summer? I hope you enjoy the listen, I had fun connecting the dots.
Pase Rock “Get Money Kids”
50 Cent “I Get Money (Catch On 45)”
“Get Money Kids” is far and away my favorite song of the past few months, it’s like Pase and Eli sat down at the computer and said “Man, the Juice soundtrack really needs more hip-house…” I usually mix it live into some sped-up Serato loops of 50 and Milk Dee to keep the $$$ theme alive.
Trap House “Step Into”
Way too many WUBBA WUBBA WUBBA basslines lately, but this one still manages to stand out – a crowd-pleaser that breaks the formula juuust enough. Thanks, Australia.
Bad Yard Club “In De Ghetto” (GrandTheft Remix)
On the school bus everyone knew chants from club songs like “Beat that bitch with a bat…” and “It’s time for the percolator…” from the older kids, but no one really knew it as “house music.” It wasn’t until a party in 6th or 7th grade when this girl played “Witch Doktor” and “In De Ghetto” on cassingle that I realized a whole separate thing was going on. Sammy Bananas hit me a few weeks ago with this new mix of “In De Ghetto” by DJ GrandTheft of the Eh! Team, it chops up the original without getting too flagrant.
Shyne finally gets out this year. You know he converted to Judaism in prison? L’chaim!
DJ Sega “Everybody Handz Up”
As we continue on with the Bad Boy flips, this track is a MONSTER. I think it is gonna be on the “DJ Sega Saves Hip-Hop” EP that’s coming soon.
Machines Don’t Care “Juggs”
Lots of goodies on the MDC album, but this one is a particular favorite. Best dancehall song on the subject since Vybz Kartel “Breast Specialist”?!?
Mr Vegas “Round Of Applause”
Moby “I Love To Move In Here (Crookers Bass In Here Mix)”
The Vegas song really just a vocal and some handclaps, so it’s a lot of fun to loop other shit up on top, and Crookers made it easy with their open drum intro (PS – excellent remix package on the new Moby single!) I cut the Grandmaster Caz verse with cue points but that’s not because he isn’t awesome – a few years ago Ayres and I hung out with the legend himself at the Heineken “Amsterjam” festival on Randall’s Island, where Caz was MCing the mash-up tent, also starring Diplo, DJ P, Princess Superstar and Matt and Fancy from Fannypack. Viva 2005! I think I bought Fantastic Four “Thing Hands” at Target when we got back to Brooklyn that day.
Nacho Lovers “Acid Life”
Obviously I’m biased, but this is one amazing-ass record. Something old, something new…lots more from Toronto’s premier techno scholars on Fool’s Gold very soon.
Jamie Anderson and Content “Body Jackin”
DJ Big Red “Jakybodi”
I didn’t know about this remake until A-Trak started playing it on the last label tour. It’s been in my rotation ever since, with the DJ Big Red track batting clean-up.
DJ Will Roc “Replay Again”
Dance music took so heavily from Baltimore club over the past few years, and now the veterans are going off in new directions of their own. It’s inspiring to see a label like Unruly reinvent themselves – the recent King Tutt and Chavy Boys EPs and this hypnotic, electronic Will Roc track are some of their best.
Loco Dice “Pimp Jackson Is Talking Now!!!”
I know absolutely nothing about Loco Dice, but this has been a late-night sureshot of mine, it bumps like a less zany Detroit Grand Pubahs. “We in Brooklyn baby, this is how we get down!”
Lil Bo Tweak “K Rizzle”
2 Bad Mice “Hold It Down”
Trevor Loveys and Co’s stuff as Lil Bo Tweak manages to feel incredibly current while referencing jams of yesteryear with all the samples and even the name (Lil Mo Yin Yang, anyone?). Conversely, the 2 Bad Mice came out in 1991 and sounds like it could have been made this morning.
Bassbin Twins “Woppa”
Loefah “It’s Yours”
I wish more dubstep felt like these two instead of zzzzzzzzzz.
Big Tuck “Not A Stain On Me”
Had to drop straight out of the Loefah with this. The beat is just a Beastie Boys loop, but goddamn! Another recent favorite that never really broke in NYC. Dallas rappers’ haircuts are too crazy for us.
Busta Rhymes “I Got Bass”
This isn’t a half-assed “A Millie” – Bangladesh is doing some neat shit with the Chuck D sample chorus and oddly-timed edits, and Busta’s flow is off the wall. “This shit be soundin like a thousand mosquitos buzzin/ Like hmm hmm hmm, hmm hmm, hmm hmm…”