Despite being English, Martin Reeves, aka Krafty Kuts, is a fantastic campaigner for Australia. The perfect traveller, he finds a balance between getting in touch with nature (to the point of becoming accustomed to nosy insects and critters) while also enjoying the cities’ culture. He’s been here 12 times in the last six years and his commitment and love for the local scene has made him Australia’s favourite international DJ.
Is the UK breaks scene different to the Australian breaks scene?
Aussies feel it, it’s much more a part of their heritage already. It’s nestled in very quickly and it’s their big thing. The English people are getting into it. It’s grown over the last few years but I don’t think it can reach the same level as Australia. There are a lot of promoters in Oz putting on big festivals with breaks acts at the forefront: Me, Plumps, Freestylers, Stanton Warriors, and rightly so. It seems to fit that whole urban lifestyle out there – skiing and boarding, skating. It’s the great outdoors.
From an outsider’s point of view, how has the Aussie dance scene changed?
There are always loads of new styles that come in but a lot of them don’t seem to wash in Australia. The electro-clash thing has definitely taken off. The D’n’B has taken off but it’s not as big as breaks, Pendulum is huge and rightly so. It’s got a lot to do with the promoters, Break Fast in Perth, Family Nightclub in Brisbane and Fuzzy are the main players doing Field Day, Parklife and Harbourlife.
So do you do a lot of research before-hand?
I do actually. I ask a lot of DJs what they play when they’re out there and how it’s gone. I ask the promoter what the vibe of the club is. I think it’s important ‘cos you’ve got to be at one with the audience. If promoters say it’s a purist break beat night and they want to hear the latest that’s great, I can go in and do that. Or if it’s somewhere like Coffs Harbour and it’s a resort sort of place you’ve got to think about these things. There’s a great club in Coffs, the Plantation Hotel. Lovely place to go. Lots of creepy crawlies though – out the front of my hotel there were huntsman spiders, red backs, and snakes everywhere. I’ve got used to it now but I used to be scared shitless of insects ‘cos I got attacked by loads in Perth. We had really bright lights on, it was a hot day, and every fucking insect in all of Australia decided to descend on our stage, where I was with A-Skills. They were in our ears, our hair, down our clothes, in the mixer, the cross-fader, jumping on the vinyl, oh my God – from flying things to things that just want to hit you.
Becoming used to the insects is part of the new questionnaire for residency. Are there any cafes, pubs or secret venues you can recommend?
I’d definitely say Melbourne for clothes and Sydney too, especially for trainers and great T-shirts. They’ve got stuff you don’t see in the UK. There’s great summery stuff, like on the Gold Coast it’s summer all year round so it’s always quite bright. There are some amazing restaurants, especially Chinese and fish restaurants. The Golden Century in Sydney is the best Chinese restaurant you’ll ever go to. There are a couple of great fish restaurants in Byron Bay and an amazing one in Cairns. Port Douglas has one too. What’s it called? Cold Trout. Fucking ‘ell! I love the fishing, I love the food. The best comes out of me when I’m there. I’ve made some great friends out there, some wonderful people and I just have a really great fucking time and it’s not just DJing, but fishing and doing all those things Aussies maybe take for granted. I will probably end up there one day. They’ve got a cool vibe going on out there and they have for a long time.
And can you deal with the heat? You were over here for Field Day on New Year’s Day – the heat was excruciating.
Oh God. It kinda killed the vibe that could have been there. We were about to go on the breaks stage in Sydney and suddenly this storm came up because it was so hot that day and closed the stage I was due to play on. I was like “Shit, I’m not going to play to the 5000 people standing in front of me”. Then they announced thatKrafty Kuts would finish the last hour on the main stage with Dynomite in front of 25,000 people. John Wall and Ajax gave up their set so we could play the last hour. We did a really good job but it was totally unexpected because we had a two-hour set rehearsed and suddenly we had to condense it and play the big tunes ‘cos you’ve got 25,000 people to please rather than 5,000 breakbeat heads, it’s quite a difficult task.
As for Parklife, it’s a great way to kick off the summer festival season – good music, beer and bikinis…
You’re not wrong there. Who are you looking forward to seeing? I hear Who Made Who are good, they’re a bit more of an indie-band. Coldcut are really good live. I think it’s a good collection of artists to kick off. I’m looking forward to it. I’ve got a really good set time and I’ll be able to do my thing. Everyone will be wanting to party because it’s been a little bit chilly and touch wood the weather is going to be good.