Cool king of the Krafty funk sound
Electro elder statesman ... Martin 'Krafty Kuts' Reeves.
The man himself may object to the term on grounds of casting aspersions on his age, but to call Martin ''Krafty Kuts'' Reeves an elder statesman of electronic music is meant as nothing but a mark of respect.
The breakbeat/funk technician has been practising his craft for more than 15 years, an impressive stint in the largely fickle and fast moving world of dance. While mixing it up, Reeves has largely stuck to his trademark big beat, funk-laden sound.
''It's a mixture now, incorporating a bit of dubstep, drum'n'bass and electro but keeping that Krafty funk so it's still nicely digestible,'' he says. ''It's fresh and new but not too dissimilar, so people can enjoy the old with the new.''
New single Compnded from his album Let's Ride, coinciding with his 17-date Australia-New Zealand tour with a Canberra stop, is very much in this vein. It's a joyful nod to the furry pants and hands-in-the-air aesthetic of '90s rave, replete with familiar distorted bassline courtesy of fellow mainstayer Gordon Edge.
''It's about ravers so it's old school v new school,'' he says. ''You'll really like the video, it's made by a guy in Brisbane - it's a cutting together of old dance footage and I'm really proud of it. It's a really fun video.''
Reeves' energy and enthusiasm keep him young. This is the fifth time I have spoken with him over eight years and at every occasion his words come racing down the phone line with a pulse of excitement.
''I've got a contingency plan … That's a good word isn't it?'' he says. ''I'm going to be teaching young artists how to write and produce music, do mixes, and promote themselves. I've got my own record label which I will put a lot of time into so I'll probably end up writing a lot more music and doing less DJ-ing. When I do DJ the shows will be more spectacular, with a big visual experience and lots of new music. Hopefully it works that way.''
Reeves is happy to share his thoughts on many things. After 15 years and more than 1000 shows, he has mastered the rigours of touring for budding young DJs.
''It's all about pacing yourself and getting good catnaps in between gigs and not getting to the shows too early,'' he says. ''People say, 'Get there early and see me play' and you'd love to, but if you do you might have a few drinks and before you know it your mind is awash, with everyone throwing a million questions at you. You're not focused, and it can throw your mind from what you're about to do. If you get wasted every night it catches up on you. But make sure you enjoy yourself! That's what the whole thing is about.''
Reeves also has a thing or two to share about today's pop music.
''I'm not really into pop music. It's not inspiring enough.
''If you look back 10 years there were good songs made with a musical aspect. Now it all just seems like 'throw your hands in the air' and 'popping bottles in the club'; 'getting slizzard' and 'let's get drunk tonight'. The lyrics are really watered down, you know? Across the world it's a familiar pattern of throwaway music with embarrassing lyrics. We've got lost somewhere along the line.''
Reeves will soon be here to steer us into a path of righteous funk. Unlike the recent Canberra bashing of late-night host Craig Ferguson, who has never set foot on ACT soil, Reeves loves the place.
''I'm so looking forward to Canberra,'' he says. ''I have amazing and fond memories. There's a lot of mates there, I was there with all the fires … Lots of history. It's got a special place in my heart. I know it's considered one of the less beautiful cities of Australia but to me it's got a lot of character. It's a real family- oriented place.''
Krafty Kuts (Britain)
WITH: Cheese, Stunami, Hubert, Dept of Defiance and Styles & Hyde
WHERE: Trinity Bar, Challis Street, Dickson
TICKETS: $25 at the door before 10pm
■ Allan Sko is managing director of BMA magazine in Canberra