Freeform Fridays: Master turntablist Cut Chemist serves up exotic mix

KCRW Music brings you a new on-air series “Freeform Fridays” featuring mixes from special guests and KCRW DJs. We kick off the series with New York-born, California-raised Lucas MacFadden, better known as master of the decks, Cut Chemist. Over the last two decades, Cut Chemist has established himself as one of the world’s most talented turntablists and is celebrated as an independent artist, a founding member of Jurassic 5, and Ozomatli collaborator. 

In anticipation of his KCRW set, Cut Chemist shared insights on music, travel and DJing around the world. 

Cut Chemist on inspiration behind the mix:

I love the world and electronic hybrid direction that club music has taken in the last few years. This mix is some of my favorite producers and artists from the late 2010s. Heavyweight club producers like UZ, Diplo, El Dusty, and DJ Shadow, and also local LA talent like Gingee and Lealani. 

I was doing a lot of traveling in different parts of the world, including tropical areas, and this type of music provided an incredible soundtrack for such places. It’s eclectic and fun. It’s street and club. It appeals to my progressive senses for music as it explores so many different emotions and sounds. 

On Colombia having a profound musical influence:

I went to Colombia in 2017. My girlfriend and I traveled around the country and there was a tiny island off of the coast of Cartagena that had to be powered by generators. We walked through a jungle to get to a small town square where kids were playing Jumpeta, a genre of electronic music in the carribean. It was so loud we could hear it from across the island. 

In that same small village, we met an 80-year-old man who was a gaita player, the Colombian wood flute instrument that is prevalent in a lot of the pacific region. He told me he put out a 45 single and I found a copy. The song is so good and captured all the emotions of that trip. It’s included in this mix. It’s called “Cumbia Isleña.”

The other highlight of that trip was going to the Petronio Alvarez Festival in Cali with my friends Quantic and Brian. I’ve never seen thousands of people in the audience dance at once during a music festival. 

Of course, I bought tons of records but the music culture there had a profound impact on me ever since. I always loved cumbia but I got schooled on so many other types of music including new ones being done by the younger kids. It was an amazing time.

On sonic ‘ringers’ in the mix:

There are so many ringers for me here. I personally get a lot of reaction to “Bike Engine” by Stylo G. It is so wild and fun. It’s tropical and street. No matter where I am, it winds up the audience so well. It caters to my “jump off a cliff” style of performance and music ethic. This song is unruly but sharp at the same time. Sonically it delivers. Emotionally it relates to young people. The picture in my mind of a bike driving through the streets of Jamaica or Cali, Colombia or even Brazil is so clear to me. 






Stephanie Barbosa