Kutmah (pronounced koot/mah) released his long overdue debut album “The Revenge Of Black Belly Button!” (or TROBBB!) via Big Dada on 11th August 2017. The record features an incredible cast of guests - Gonjasufi, Jonwayne, Natureboy Flako, Ta’Raach, Jeremiah Jae, Zeroh, Zackey Force Funk, N8NOFACE, Sach, Akello G Light and DJ Chris P Cuts - spanning experimental meditative, Zennist loops; crackly oddball beats and abstract raps; as far as outright punk/noise and even folk/blues.
Heralded by Flying Lotus as “one of the most influential DJs of the beat movement”, Kutmah’s skills and vision as a producer are brought to the fore on “TROBBB!” which is an incredibly sentimental record, heavily referential to his past but also future-facing, and not just in its sonics. “I wanted to make a record for loners, “ he laughs. “You know some records have that ‘Hey! I'm at a festival!’ sound? Well I wanted to do the opposite of that.”
It’s fitting that the album arrives via Big Dada - a label that helped shape his vision. “Big Dada started the same year I started DJing. Not DJing in clubs or making tapes. Literally when I first touched turntables,” he explains. “I knew I had to find that other type of music to fit where my head was at. Leftfield beats and abstract rhymes were what I was looking for and alongside Jazz Fudge, Mo Wax, Asphodel and Fondle ‘Em, Big Dada was what I was digging.”
Kutmah is a mercurial creative whether you’re talking art or music. As a DJ/curator, he has tirelessly searched for and championed new underground talent from across the globe. His passion, hunger and most importantly, his incredible ear for new music have made him Flying Lotus’ go-to warm-up DJ and also earned him the honour of compiling an album – “Kutmah presents Worldwide Family Vol.2” – for Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood Recordings in 2012. It brought to the fore Kutmah’s gift for A&R, cemented when he founded his own label IZWID in 2013.
Justin McNulty was born in Brighton, England to an Egyptian mother and Scottish father. He moved to the United States when he was 12 years old and grew up in Los Angeles, California. In 2004 he co-founded the now legendary Sketchbook Sessions at Little Temple alongside Take, Eric Coleman (Mochilla) and DJ Nobody (Low End Theory). It was LA’s first instrumental beats and art night, and it paved the way for the city’s inimitable musical renaissance. The sonics and spirit are encapsulated in Kutmah’s monthly Sketchbook radio broadcast on NTS – now in its sixth year.
On 29th July 2010 Justin was deported from the US for 10 years. He spent 3 months in a detention centre in New Mexico before being flown to the UK. He lived in Manchester and London before relocating to Berlin in 2016.
“Everytime I play, I feel I’m planting seeds,” he muses, in relation to his move to Europe and his role as an albeit unofficial ambassador for LA’s blossoming beat movement. “The funny thing is I was an outcast even when I was in LA. Dancefloors weren’t really ready if I’m honest. People were still heavily into classic 90’s hip-hop, so they weren’t ready for some gnarly beats. I started DJing so late that there was no way I was going to get a reputation playing 90’s hip-hop – we already had DJs for that.”