If none of your mates have got it together to sort a house party this NYE, and you’re facing up to the reality of an inevitably disappointing night out, all is not lost…
See in 2017 as you mean to go on – festival style. Music and event all-rounders Diplomats of Sound are taking over Bristol’s 19th century manor house, Backwell House, erecting some tipis, and filling them with party-perfect live music.
Headlining the event is cut and paste master DJ Cheeba, who is at the forefront of the aural artform, along with contemporaries Mr Scruff, DJ Yoda and friends and mentors, Ninja Tune-founders Coldcut (who he regularly joins on their Solid Steel mix show).
Jumping seamlessly between genres and tempo, Cheeba’s live shows demonstrate a combination of technical excellence, imagination and an ear for a banger.
Cheeba’s live shows demonstrate a combination of technical excellence, imagination and an ear for a banger
‘Growing up, leftfield underground music influenced me – lots of Ninja Tune stuff – underground dance music really.
‘I used to listen to John Peel sessions a lot. I used to borrow the tapes and play them on my Walkman on the way to school, and one that really stuck with me was a Coldcut Peel session. I’d never heard or thought about music being sampled and chopped up like that.
‘That sparked the initial interested and then that rolled on to an interest in turntables, and I just kept on going really. It was a hobby-stroke-passion that has turned into a career, somehow!
‘Coldcut are still a big influence on me. Matt Black especially is quite the futurist, he’s been making this Ninja Jamm app (the Bonobo-approved user-friendly producing and remixing app). Ageing gracefully, he’s still at the forefront of technology and I’m trying to keep up with that kind of thing – it really interests me. They began inspiring me with that cut and paste style of mixtapes, and they’ve not gone on to inspire me with visual arts and new media stuff as well.’
‘I’m influenced by and enjoy all kinds of music, so the cut and paste art form – I suppose you could call it – suits me, because you can combine all those styles and throw them together.
‘And having grown up with turntables and being really into scratching and technical DJing, those two elements together have forged a path for me. I’m presenting a whole range of music, depending on what I’m into or what a crowd is reacting to, but also delivered with some technical skills.’
‘I plan to do an album’
For those wondering when or if Cheeba will finally put out an album, it’s on the cards he says: ‘I plan to do an album. I’ve got a long game of producing my own videos and my own songs, but that will still be made in the cut and paste style.
‘It’s just a case of time. My priority list is always shifting and making the album is backburner stuff. It’s something I plug away at, but I’m in no mad rush to put it out.
‘These big projects come in which I jump into and throw my heart at. I’m also working up to releasing another big AV mix, a 60-minute audio-visual trip that will demonstrate the show I’ll be touring next year.’
In recent years, Cheeba has also become world famous for his AV shows, which he’s toured around the globe and at festivals including Glastonbury.
‘When I started I was collecting records, then as the technology grew products like Final Scratch and Serato started to appear and I started to see other DJs using them, and that really interested me. The music plays via your laptop, but still using vinyl. You could have two copies of any song, you could play your own songs or your own edits of songs, and you could play records over and over without them wearing out.
‘I got connected with the software company Sorato, who were at the forefront of that, and I started beta testing software and hardware for them. Then they told me: “We’ve got this idea for video technology, where we can use the same software to control videos.” So I started to beta test that, and I had a bit of an epiphany moment. I thought, if I could edit video the way I could edit audio, the possibilities are crazy…
I had a bit of an epiphany moment. I thought, if I could edit video the way I could edit audio, the possibilities are crazy…
‘I’ve always put little vocal film samples or little narrative bits in mixtapes, and now I’ve been able to put it up on a big screen and translate that better to the audience.
‘It’s always the music that leads the way. Sometimes I’ll do shows around a theme, or a project or artist, or era; then the video feeds into that.‘Occasionally I’ll do audio visual stuff in a cinema for a sit down audience, where you can play more thoughtful stuff. And then at big festivals or clubs, you want to focus on the dancefloor. The NYE show at Backwell House is going to be a house party vibe – it’s New Years Eve, so people want to have some sort of elated happy time.’
It’s not possible to describe a Cheeba show without using the word ‘fun’. With a huge musical vocabulary and the technical skill to switch up his set on the spot depending on what a crowd is reacting to, you’re guaranteed to find yourself dancing… a lot.
I won’t ever play anything I don’t like and go into Taylor Swift – to me that’s selling out.
‘I’m pretty focused on putting on really good live shows. It’s the word of mouth reputation that does you the best good.
‘The NYE party is going to be fun. I won’t ever play anything I don’t like and go into Taylor Swift – to me that’s selling out – but I’ll play the full expanse of genres and try and create an intimate house party vibe.’
NYE in the Tipis takes place on 31 Dec at Backwell House near Bristol. Cheeba headlines with a DJ set and joining him on the bill is 12-piece afrofunk band Matuk and Dance Off DJs. Standard tickets and tickets including coach travel to and from Bristol are available here. The tipis are heated, so don’t be afraid to throw on your best NYE finery.