Since the UK funky explosion in the spring/summer of 2008, Cooly G has stood head and shoulders above her peers as both a unique personality, and a production and dj talent to be reckoned with. With her first release on Steve Goodman’s high profile Hyperdub imprint consisting of Narst‘s harsh metallic pounding, yet Love Dub‘s glowing soul and light-handed soca beats, both tracks offered a depth of innovation that appealed to a host of young dj’s disenchanted with dubstep’s increasingly large steps towards mindless, mass-populace stadium rave.
Whilst further Hyperdub releases and a host of high profile mixes (Radio 1, FACT, XLR8R) have undoubtedly brought her attention from all corners of Simon Reynolds’ much reported ‘hardcore-continuum’, her own Dub Organizer series has gone from strength to strength, with the current seventh edition doing the rounds with the UK and Europe’s chief-selectors. Firmly touting herself as a ‘house’ artist, rather than a UK funky artist, Cooly may align herself with the more tribal/funky house names like Karizma, Phil Asher, Dennis Ferrer et al, yet her productions go beyond what you or I would traditionally call ‘house music’. And we’ve not yet mentioned the fans.
Whether it’s her constant use of Twitter, or her straight up approach to conversation, or her dedication to being a single mother in a predominantly male industry, Cooly G has an appeal that escapes most young dj/producers. And Cooly’s fans are hardcore. Travelling hundreds of miles to catch her shows. Bringing her gifts ranging from dressing gowns to bags of fruit, and generally professing their connection to her in a way that is both adoring, and at times overly intense.
Now, with the launch of her Dub Organizer label, all seems set for Cooly G to step up to the next level. We sat down with her to chat through A&Ring her label an interesting roster of fresh talent (Krystal Klear, DJ IC & Kismet and North Carolina’s Arethis), and setting a template for the future of the UK bass scene.
So, what would you say you’re trying to achieve with the label, as I’m assuming its an extension of the Dub Organizer series obviously, but what would your aim behind it be?
My aim behind it basically… just kind of like getting people that ain’t got that opportunity together, and giving them that same opportunity that Hyperdub gave me. The aim of it really is to be something a bit like Hyperdub – that’s really the thing in my mind. Not like, totally like it (Hyperdub), but something that has different producers with different sounds that are all good, and everyone’s just doing their thing.
So has Steve/Kode9 been giving you pointers?
Yeah if I’ve got anything to ask or anything at all I just holla at him. And obviously there’s little hook-ups like if I ask questions about things like contracts, or how to deal with something – but I’ve been learning that in the past year anyway, which is what we were talking about before, but I’m actually now doing it. So it was a bit like being prepared from a while ago, but I’m doing it and not playing games – I’m all in mastering studios and I’ve got the actual test pressings back it’s just crazy at how fast its actually moving.
So would the label be more an outlook for new talent rather than your own productions?
I’m gonna be doing stuff on it but it’s gonna be more focussing on new talent. So I might colloborate with say, Krystal Klear – all of which is happening anyway – but I might colloborate with someone on the label, or vocal a track, but it’s more for them, as I’m still doing my Hyperdub thing, so I’m happy the way it is.
A hook up between you and Krystal Klear would be nice…
Mmmm yeah definitely – I’ve not sent him the vocals yet, but basically next year we’re gonna do this thing where four producers – it’s a double vinyl – will produce and I’ll vocal them. I’ve done one already with this guys from North Carolina, I’ve done one with Krystal Klear, and this yoot’ from Chicago who makes weird electronic music, but I’m talking to so much people (sic) to get on the label, as I’m getting flooded with stuff, but I’m trying to find people kinda similar to me, not just music-wise but personality-wise – like just not normal people – not saying I’m just fucking weird but I am not normal am I?
Haha – well I wouldn’t say that but I guess…
Well you know, a single mum who goes out there and makes all these beats… it’s not normal is it?
No it’s not exactly standard, I know what you mean.
I just get attracted to those kinds of people with a story behind them – the guy (Arethis) from North Carolina, he’s nuts man, he drove 12 hours to come and see me play in New York!
That’s a proper fanboy tactic! Krystal though… he’s doing some really interesting stuff I think and he’s got a real kinda, musicians approach I think – he’s not just another producer.
Mmmm yeah it’s got proper grooves in it as well which is good. It’s not even like it’s house music what I find, it’s proper boogie/funk, which is why I put him on the first release with Arethis on the B-side as they’re two different tracks and I want people to understand that this label is gonna be so dramatic, it’s not just gonna be the music, like mine, it’s just gonna be hot music.
So are you interested in building a core group of artists like Steve has done with Hyperdub?
Yeah I want a little family thing as I love the whole Hyperdub thing. Even meeting them all at shows in other countries, and seeing how we are… it’s just a nice feeling – like when I first met Darkstar, oh my gosh they were just lovely to me! I love Aiden (laughs) – it was like we were brothers and sisters from long time ago, but we just hadn’t met each other. Everyone treats everyone like family – even on the first day you meet them, it might be a month since you met them or a year, but it’s just heavy and that’s the kinda thing I want. Everything to be nice and everyone’s like a family.
So, how did you find the states all in all?
Do you know what yeah? I loved it. I was so focussed – I dunno how I became so focussed over there as I was so scared! I was so far away, but the only place I didn’t really like was New York. I didn’t like Manhattan, it was too loud for me. It was just way too noisy, but then the shows… I did a secret party on the Monday as soon as I flew in, some MIA party, then I did another secret party with Mount Kimbie at The Bunker and that was just fucking sick! It was sooo sick I was like ‘right I’m even feeling New York a bit now’. Then the Saturday show was with The XX which was alright, but I played the early set so I had an early night but all the other shows in other states were dramatic I loved it!
You’re playing some interesting shows then – to be playing an MIA aftershow, Mount Kimbie and The XX y’know, that’s quite a high profile run…
Yeah hanging out with them (The XX) was heavy because they didn’t realise I was travelling to all these places on my own, so one of the nights, we come out the club, went to an afterparty and they were like ‘you’re coming on our tour bus tonight – we don’t want you to go on a train, you’re hanging with us’ – and I jumped on the tour bus! I didn’t even know these people – y’know, their different ways their different sounds – it was just crazy. It was all too much but I was handling it well y’know – now I’m back home I’m thinking about it now, as out there I was more concentrating on my schedule, and then actually fucking up the dance, plus obviously I was missing my son, so I’m chatting to him on Skype, but when I’m supposed to be going to bed, they’re getting up, so I’m knocking out on Skype talking and falling asleep! It was an experience.
Yeah it sounds tough…
Yeah but there’s an Australian Dub Organizer tour that’s being sorted out now, which is good as that’s the sort of thing I want to do – go to different places and that, and I’ll be doing live sets next year with live vocals coz basically coz all the stuff I’m making at the moment no one has heard yet, I’ve just sent a couple of bits to Kode9, but it’s more different now – more spaced out, more vocals, more production and arrangements, so I’m just practising on Ableton, and hopefully do the album on the live show. So (looking ahead) for me it’s more live, and just looking after the artists.
So would you say you’re quite prolific, and that your work rate is more than that of others?
I don’t even notice it. I mean, people haven’t even heard the stuff that I’ve got now. So I don’t really notice because… Maybe because I’ve put out 7 EP’s, apart from Hyperdub stuff, but I don’t really see it as alot of stuff, I don’t really see it as enough. Because not everyone is gonna like some of the stuff – some people only like some sounds, and there’s millions of people out here. So everytime I make a new tune it’s like a new vibe because I’ve learnt something new, I’ve seen something new, I’ve heard someone speak a different way, or seen someone act a different way – that’s how my music always changes and grows, by just me being influenced by something, feelings, vibes. It’s like being in New York I felt like I had anxiety – llike those tracks are all shaky you know them ones? So I was kinda scared – I ain’t gonna lie – I was thinking of these buildings, the twin towers.. I’m just weird like that, I was proper freaking out – I got over it though! (laughs)
Well you know, when you’re on your own as well – it’s a big deal so I reckon that can always have something to do with it.
Yeah – too much time to actually just be proper on your own in somewhere like that. Like being a mum is like… Because bare people just think that because I’m a girl and I make beats, they have this weird feeling of me – which is a good thing but y’know, I am still normal. And now my son understands that I dj – he’s like “did you go on the aeroplane, will you bring me back something” (laughs). He’s been engineering – he records and presses stop sometimes when I do my vocals.
I was gonna say you’ve got to get him on making some beats!
(laughs) yeah I mean y’know, sometimes I can’t be bothered to run to the computer so he just does it (laughs) – it’s actually really fun because he just makes it a bit easier, even though he’s only a kid but y’know – it’s fun.
‘Greensilver/Rugged Angels’ by Krystal Klear/Arethis is out now on Dub Organizer 001.
Words: Louis Cook
Photography: William Biggs