Two years ago we introduced the world to Johny, Peckham’s mysterious dubplate cutter. Since then his operation has evolved out of his bedroom and welcoming new partners into the fold with recession-defying confidence. The shop now resides on Old Kent Road and, with the help of Ned and Lua, has established itself as the primary location south of the river to get music pressed in hand-sized quantities, with modest and (most importantly) accurate turnaround times.
Seeing a lot of potential in the volume of quality music they were working with, they’ve started DJing as a collective and have also set up a micro label providing a platform for producers to have their music heard and sold on wax. With the first two releases on the horizon, we chatted to Ned (known in certain circles as Medlar), about the benefits of limited runs, having access to tons of unreleased music and their constant forward movements. This sits alongside a 100% original mix of Peckham Cuts material.
For those that don’t know, can you tell us a bit about what Peckham Cuts is and the impetus behind starting it?
Dominic Jones or “Johny” as he’s known to many started cutting dubplates in his flat in Peckham a few years ago, where myself and a lot of other people living in the area first met him, and have been going to him since. This year he trained me to use the cutting lathe as Lua who was previously helping out moved back to Amsterdam. Her plan is to potentially set up shop over there too. We were all amazed by the quality of the music going through the business, the majority of which was made by unsigned artists. The benefit of being able to do very limited runs of records, with none of the financial pressure and constraints that usually apply when approaching a run of records, made it seem like a shame not to take advantage and do some small runs.
What’s the philosophy behind the new micro label?
We wanted to get it ready for this piece, so the first release is a track by Johny (Analog Electronic London) and one by myself (Medlar), though generally from here on in it will focus on artists who’ve released nothing or very little so far. All non-exclusive, so any artist could sign any tracks again to a label for a full release if there was any interest.
Can you talk a bit more about the Peckham Cuts collective as a whole? Who’s been pivotal to getting it off the ground?
It’s only ever been the three of us, though it was solely Johny for a number of years. Lua met myself and Johny when she was working at Rye Wax and Johny subsequently trained her on the lathe. She was cutting dubs at the previous shop in Holdrons Arcade on Rye Lane and helping to expand things, since her move to the Netherlands the shop has moved to Old Kent Road and it’s primarily Dom/Johny and myself who are doing most of the cutting itself.
Can you put your finger on the Peckham Cuts sound?
We hope we’ll find out as it goes on. As we don’t need to consider how well things will sell or any other factors that apply when committing to a run of 300 or 500 records, we literally only need to cut a record once it sells. This means it could go quite wild! Still there’ll be a fair amount of club-focussed music as that’s what people who cut records with us tend to make so naturally we’ll go with that.
Where do you see yourselves in five years time?
Hopefully with a steady stream of business for the cutting side of things, perhaps another lathe or two. Ideally this micro label idea will result in some artists getting proper record deals!
This mix is comprised of 100% original Peckham Cuts material. Could you tell us a bit about it? Any tracks that are particularly special to you?
The mix is a good cross section of what goes through the dubplate shop: people who want a dub to play at a party, producers who are curious to hear their music on vinyl, unreleased music from friends and peers, one of the releases Rye Wax curated for the Run Out earlier this year and a reggae special that was cut for carnival weekend. Since Johny started his Balamii radio show, playing only music he’d previously cut, there’s been a little demand on the DJ side of things. Having access to a lot of exclusive music has benefitted my own DJ sets greatly too and it makes up a significant amount of any set I’ll play now. Together we’re playing sets of 100% dubs as Peckham Cuts, just locally and for fun really. The mix was so easy and a pleasure to put together, it was just hard leaving stuff out.
What’s coming up for you guys? Anything we should know about?
Just keeping on. It’s been a good year, The Run Out was a great success and we hosted a talk and workshop at Somerset House. Big thanks to the Rye Wax team for their work with both of these! We are going to be working in partnership with Secret Sundaze Studios where we’ll offer special rates to people who use both services and will also be offering a drop in service at Rye Wax and maybe some other record shops in London. Our good friend Martha, who is part of Mcalpine Films, is also working on a short film about dubplate culture which you can expect to see real soon!
Bikini Atoll – Bikini Atoll
Planet Battagon – Moon of Dysnomia [On The Corner Records] ? – ?
? – ?
Matt Bruce – ?
Music Of Colour – ?
Violet – Up In Forest Hill
Anthony Wilson – ?
Nebraska – Lycamobile
Koichi Sakai – Akuma Chop
Braga Circuit – ?
The Golden Filter – All The Way In
Chris & Conor – ?
Simon Lynch – ?
Anthony Jones & Medlar – Overdose Edit
Hardial – ?
Lexi Andrews – Infinite Call
Djenga – Marzipan Dreams
AndersAnd – ? [Brown Fat records] Analog Electric London – Eye Arp You
Crystal Clear – ?