This weekend it’s the naughty cherry on the wholesome cake of fun that’s been Britain’s party calendar so far; the Notting Hill Carnival.
In 1979, Coldcut’s Jon More was living at the end of Portobello Road in a pub. And his memories of carnival recall edgier stuff than sandwiches on trestle tables and bunting.
Coldcut are Jon More (L) and Matt Black (R)
“The pub belonged to a very bad artist who was at the Royal College of Art and had gone away to find himself,” he says.
“I managed to get a spot in there. From my room I looked over a school and I could see the police rehearsing their riot stuff. They were fairly underserved. They looked like they had rubbish bin lids. Not like the military devices we have these days.”
Three decades on and Coldcut are looking to kick off again. Not with riot police this time. But with a big Ninja Tunes party at the Paradise club in Kensal Green.
“It’s an exciting event”, says More. “I think it’s the first time we’ve done a Ninja party for Carnival. I’d have to check back on that though. There have been so many over the years. But we’re really looking forward to it. We think we’ve got an interesting line up.”
The legendary pair will be headlining alongside long time friends and collaborators like Rebel MC, Zed Bias and Adrian Sherwood. Plus there’ll be some Ninja newbies too. “We’re really pleased we’ve got Adrian Sherwood who’s an amazing name and a great contributor to the reggae genre. And he does a mean set I can tell you.
“Then we’ve got Sticky, who we’re doing stuff on Ninja with. And another act, Kwes and Micachu.” Special guests are being kept under wraps for now. But will be announced nearer the time via the website and twitter.
In true carnival style the plan is to go with the flow. “Matt and I are just going to relax and play some records,” More says. “I might even decide to bring some 7 inches along. You never know. I’ve been working on some mixes that have got interesting stuff in.”
You don’t survive upwards of 20 years in the music biz without being able to see what’s on the horizon long before anyone else can. Coldcut’s relevance today and Ninja Tunes’ stable of artists can attest to that. So what did these musical mavens make of the representation of British music at the recent Olympics closing ceremony?
“Well I was rustled out of my slumber by Kate Bush,” More laughs. “I’m a late convert. When she came out I was listening to Throbbing Gristle, so it was a bit difficult to get her.”
Being no stranger to organising killer line-ups and big events, it’s hard not to want to try on the shoes of the person who put it all together. Would Coldcut have done a better job?
“That’s a killer party to DJ at really,” says More. “Very very difficult. I think I would’ve gone for a hologrammed Jim Reeves meets Max Bygraves. Mixed by Fatboy Slim probably. But also A and R’ed by Simon Cowell.”
And then I would’ve got the Coldstream guards to come and play a selection of Throbbing Gristle tracks. Probably scored by Andrew Lloyd Webber. That would’ve finished it off nicely.”
Fans of camp pop legacy will be pleased to know that George Michael would still make the cut, despite the awkward second song. “Nobody’s going to like that second song are they?” says More. “He performs his mountain and then he has to climb slowly to the bottom and then sing his valley. That’s what happens. It happens to all of us. And he probably will have another mountain one day. I have faith…”
But back in the real world, Sunday’s big event promises no mountains, just music. Unlike the Olympics and the jubilee, you can leave the pomp at the door.
“Just come down. We’ll have lots of DJ’s and no ceremony.”
Ninja Tune Presents… will be at Paradise, Kensal Green on Sunday 26 August from noon.
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