You might have noticed his work
in the collection of Windows 7 sample media, alongside a koala, penguins and a jellyfish
, a piano tune
and a version of Debussy's "Maid with the Flaxen Hair"
, or maybe his ditties got you tapping your toes in a video game
. Perhaps you met him at his tea shop in Manchester
), home to his own line of organic teas
. Maybe you know him for his marathon mixsets, running four
, or almost seven hour long
. You might know him as Andy Carthy
, but it's a bit more likely you've already heard something of Mr. Scruff
Some 19 years ago, he was a bedroom hip-hop DJ
, and by 1994, his repertoire had expanded
. That year he started doing live gigs, playing wherever he could around his hometown of Manchester.
"I played in a lot of bars, plus club events such as a young manumission, a world music night called 'one tree island', a reggae night called 'dubism', and a hip hop/soul/jazz/funk night called 'headfunk'. I played different music at each event, generally whatever I could get away with!"
The next year, he got his first original tracks pressed to wax, with The "Hocuspocus" EP
on a local label, Rob's Records
. There were a few more singles in 1996, and in 1997 Andy Carthy had himself an album
, by way of compiling his early music from Rob's Records and the sub-label, Pleasure Records. Mr. Scruff was here
In 1998, Carthy joined the Ninja Tuna label
with a three-track single
, his release being the 62nd single on the label that now has some a couple hundred singles (plus bundles of albums)
under their collective belt. He went on to release two more albums on Ninja Tune, Keep It Unreal
in 1999, and then Trouse Jazz
in 2003. The following year saw the first commercial mix CD from Mr. Scruff, Keep It Solid Steel Volume 1
. Intended to be the first of an ongoing series of mix CDs
, he was tangled with licensing of vol 2
in 2006, then shifted his focus to the next studio album
in 2007, and in 2008 it sounded to be shelved
, with the Southport Weekender mixset
, history of the bi-annual event
) available as something of a stand-in. In October of 2008, Mr. Scruff released his 4th album, Ninja Tuna
, and in collaboration with Ninja Tune he created a new sub-label, Ninja Tuna
, for Mr. Scruff's own material and ephemera.
Like many hip-hop and electronic/dance music makers, samples play heavily in Mr. Scruff's tracks. For instance, Carthy pointeed out that "'Get A Move On' is basically all samples.
" That particular track relied heavily on Bird's Lament
, by the blind composer/ musician/ inventor Louis Hardin, also known as Moondog
). Along the musical samples reside some more cheeky things, as heard in Wail
, Ahoy There!
, which were the last tracks of his first three albums, each little nautical stories made from a variety of samples.
Much of Mr. Scruff's persona comes through his drawings. He said of his drawings, "I like the balance and incongruous aspect where I can put a cartoon on a flyer and then be playing hardcore jazz records in the club.
If I just put, ‘Come and listen to my rare jazz records’ I’d just get a load of beardy blokes – and I’m sure there will be a load of beardy blokes down and that’s cool if they’re down with a load of other people." The Ninja Tune era albums had singles with music videos featuring Carthy's drawn characters, with Get A Move On
from the first album, and Sweet Smoke
from the second. Ninja Tuna spawned a number of similarly themed videos, including This Way
, Stockport Carnival
, and Give Up To Get
. Music Takes Me Up
was more produced, featuring the singing Alice Russell lemon.
Still looking for more funky Scruff? Check almost an hour of MP3s of an interview
, or a bit of the life of Mr. Scruff, in his own words
, from push-button electro mix-tapes to 2008. And if his Soundcloud page
doesn't give you enough music, check his old Hotpot Radio Shows
, a mix of stuff with Mr. Scruff and Treva Whateva
, a mate from back in the day. Hotpot.com is down, but Archive.org caught some pages