MEET THE MAN BEHIND THE MUSIC: JHUTTZ
Former Beastwang resident and dingy grime producer, Jhuttz, is reassuringly making a name for himself in the grime community. He caught up with Matt Knight about his musical aspirations, studio time with half of Phatworld and the power of dubs
Learning to DJ rooted back to when Manny Jhutty had motives to mash up dances in kitchens before Beastwang raves: “I got into DJing cos my boy in Nottingham, M75, he started and he’s like my best mate. I was looking at what he was doing, I was like shit I wanna jump on that. Bassline was fucking huge back then as well and grime was sick and there wasn’t much DJs about in Leicester compared to how there is now.
“So copped some decks, and in my flat at Newarke Close there’d just be bare motives to DJ at innit, so I’d take my decks down and do pres all the time before Beastwang and all that. Then me and Chris (Upson), because me and Chris started at the same time, we’d both go on my decks in my kitchen, and do a big pres with bare people there. It was like a motive before even doing sets, it was playing in front of people and people enjoyed it.”
Production followed shortly after, when the 20-year-old realised that he could be making the sounds that he wanted to be hearing: “I just wanted to make beats that I wanted to hear and that I’d want to play myself, because most of the best beats that are out there in bassline and grime, mainly grime, are dubplates. You can’t get them, like all these ones with the sickest samples and all that, samples from hiphop and all this stuff that’s got this certain vibe, they’re just so hard to get, whereas I can just make them myself.”
As Beastwang took Leicester by storm with big multi-genre line ups sweeping in all the students of the city, Manny managed to become a regular for the renowned club night. He explained the long and tiresome process of getting his foot in the door: “In May 2017 or late April, I joined the Beastwang rep team, but the only reason I joined it was just to try and get a DJ slot. I didn’t really care about the repping thing and all that, but back then it was only a couple people repping for Beastwang so it was pretty cool, everyone in there was really sick, you know was all real ravers back then, it was a sick group so I was happy to be a part of that.
“So after that in the summer time, Nico and Sam, they did Beastwang radio every Tueday, and obviously during uni time they'd have loads of people to DJ for them, but in the summer time there was no one there because obviously all the guys who are usually DJing are probably home for the summer, and they'd need content every single week and this was like six weeks straight. So both me and Chris, we’d both send in individual mixes like every other week for the whole summer to Nico, because he had two hours of radio to fill, so I’d send him half an hour every other week. One week I’d do garage, one week I’d do grime, one week I’d do like old school bassline, but I’d make sure all the tunes are different, you know tunes that he'd never heard.”
To prove his musical diversity and knowledge, Manny mentioned his ‘anti-prang’ RnB & grime mix: “I did one called anti-prang mix which is like a mix of RnB and grime, it was the most chilled grime you’ll ever hear. Nico was running a competition for the halloween rave, me and Chris sent our last mix of the summer just for radio, and I sent in that chill mix, and then Chris sent in one of the best garage mixes I've ever heard.
“We both sent that in and he was just fucking buzzing on the radio, like buzzing at the mixes, he shutdown the competition and just said me and Chris were playing it, so that’s how we got our first booking. Through a lot of time, a lot of mixes sent, you had to put a lot of work in, being persistent and also playing shit that people don’t play. Especially with grime, obviously lots of people mix bassline and I can mix bassline really well but I’d send in a grime mix just because it’s a bit different, and it shows my knowledge of music and how seriously I take music.”
Musical influences can be found in many places, in Manny’s case it’s in the direction of General Courts and east coast hiphop sampling: “General Courts who is a next level DJ and he makes a lot of tunes for Mez, you know people like that he’s fucking sick. D.O.K who’s similar to him, Skepta as a producer, one of the most underrated produces ever, like his tunes back in the day were fucking sick.
“Then I’d say DJ Premier from America who brings that hiphop sampling, I try to always sample 90s hiphop, but bring it in a grime beat. That’s what I bring from DJ Premier, so I take all them guys and then add in DJ Premiers sampling and mix it together.”
February 2017 saw his first headline show alongside Chris (Tenshu) in Nottingham for 2Step events, Manny recalled it as his favourite set to date: “We got booked there as headliners somehow, we weren’t even releasing music back then. It was like a little rave in Bar 11, which is fucking tiny, it could fit like 50 or 60 people max, I’d say 100 tops right it’s tiny. We got booked in there, we had the shittiest like Allen and Heath mixer, where it’s like every channel has got two mids, two lows, two highs, so it was like a spaceship to work with.
“It was weird because it was supposed to be a garage set but we were just doing the weirdest set mixing like garage, grime and bassline all at 137, it was just fucking sick. Doing double drops out of nowhere, everyone was getting gassed and all the mandem that we got from here (Leicester) they all came out to Nottingham it was a sick vibe.”
Manny then recollected a grime set for Beastwang that resulted in a load of MCs staying onstage for his set: “Me and Chris were supposed to play by ourselves and then all the MCs, who are the Shutdown residents, they were on stage before but they didn’t want to leave. They wanted to stay on for another half an hour during our set, and Nico was like, yo do you want these guys on your set? I was like yeah but there isn't any other choice innit, like they aren't gonna get off these lads. I wanted them on the set and then, I was nervous as fuck, luckily I exported a file full of instrumentals, luckily, it turned out to be one of the gulliest sets it was sick.”
Manny attempted to explain how his love for grime manifested from his fondest for east cost 90s hiphop: “I was really into hiphop and I always have been, always mainly 90s hiphop and mainly east coast 90s hiphop. When you listen to a Mobb Deep song and the beats on there, the way Prodigy was spitting, you just felt that coldness. I've always been into grime in some way, it’s just where I'm from and the people I know, but when I got really into it like a couple years ago, like four or five years ago, it brought that same vibe I felt from that New York 90s rap, that cold, cold rap. The way people were spitting it brings that excitement when you go to the raves, there’s something about the grime rave that brings that excitement, it’s just sick.”
THEY WERE PLAYING MR C DUBS, THEY WERE PLAYING BLITZ DUBS AND THEY WERE PLAYING ALL THEIR OWN SHIT AND I JUST COULDN'T BELIEVE IT
After teaching himself the basics of production and the skills needed to get the gist of things, it was only until he spent some time in the studio with Tich, 1/2 of Phatworld, that saw his production skills increase dramatically: “I felt like I needed to know more, I could sample really well and I could put together scatty tunes but wanted to get better technically at producing so I could put tunes together easier. So when I made big tunes it took me way longer to put together because I just didn’t know certain things, and then I was talking to him (Tich) through social media and we linked up and then I spent a couple hours in his studio.
“He taught me loads of little tricks, all these little efficient tricks that just help you out so much when it comes to synth making, and the main thing when it comes to mixing down, equalising a tune, everything. He taught me all of that stuff and that helped me more than anything, that was like in August last year I'd say since then I've become the producer I am today. Since that day every tune I've been making since then has just been a different kind of chapter in production. Everything before I don't really play that much, I don't touch it, I don't listen to it, except for like one or two tunes that I got lucky with. It’s not like I went in to just, you know, learn how to produce bassline because I've only made one bassline tune since seeing him, Back from the Dead. Even though he's not a grime producer, his efficient way of producing helped me make tunes like 100x better, doesn’t matter the genre. Somehow spending 6 hours with Tich made me a way better producer in grime, I'm super efficient now like I can mix down, I can do all these little things, I know all these little tricks.”
With a couple produced tracks on the 1Forty 1FGRM003, Manny explained that in terms of upcoming releases, he is focusing on working with MCs and a couple projects for Wang Records: “I'm putting a tune together with a Leicester MC called Jafro, he’s one of the best out of Leicester. It’s kind of weird because it’s grime but it’s also really soulful as well, it’s really nice and it fits his melody, that one’s forthcoming on Wang Records. I've got two other tunes set for Wang Records as well, two instrumentals but we’re trying to find an MC for one of them, we’re gonna delay those other two just so we can find the right MC.” Manny laughed and continued: “I’ve got a fuck load of dubs, I've got too many. I've just got too many dubs man, I prefer keeping dubs than releasing tunes, I don't know why.
“I've just got loads of dubs, you know, you’ll hear them on radio, you'll hear them on shit like that. It’s kind of just the way grime is man, everyone’s just really tight on their dubs. If no one's gonna send dubs to me then I'm not gonna send dubs to anybody either, I ain’t going to release my tunes either, it’s just so your tunes don't get wasted. Unless it’s a hit, a really really big tune, you know like a Swifta sort of tune, they kind of just get lost with loads of other stuff, so if you keep them unreleased it still makes it kind of special.”
The passion for dubs can be seen in bassline as well, as we agreed on the best sets being the sets where you can’t name one track: “My favourite sets are when I’ve seen the Off Me Nut lads, Phatworld b2b Superior Cornrows, and that’s one of the best sets I've ever heard because I didn’t know one tune man. They were playing Mr C dubs, they were playing Blitz dubs and they were playing all their own shit and I just couldn't believe it. You don't know what the fuck they’re playing, and they'll have dubs that are kept back for like six years, dubs are the best thing about this production thing.”
Through hard work and ruthless dedication to producing, it has welcomed many useful links and connections into Manny’s life. He described the benefits to having useful musical connections: “ Like with Lyrical Strally, the MC, how I can just send him a beat now, or just send Phatworld a beat and they’ll be like, ah thank you or whatever, stuff like that.
“I'm still trying to make my way up and everything I'm doing now is eventually to kind of do bits in the future. I'm still trying to develop more relationships, I’d say that’s what I get most gassed at. Just being able to send these guys, who I really fuck with, send them a tune and they’ll just get gassed over it that’s what I’d say my biggest achievement is, because them links will eventually lead to better things in the future.”
Manny’s production goals lean on the modest and down-to-earth approach, rather than big fame and big money, to get his tunes spun on radio and get MCs gassed is what it all boils down to: “My main goal is just to hear my grime tunes get played on radio by big grime DJs like Grandmixxer or General Courts or Travis T or Sir Spyro. When I make a tune my goal is to get my tune played out by them, to get them to really like it and then get MCs to spit over it over a set, them get gassed and then wanting to wheel the tune because of the way my tune plays with the MC and everyone just gets so gassed and wheel it, that’s my biggest goal.
“When it comes to every single tune, it’s not really like, ah I want to be headlining this festival in five years, or I hope this makes me famous or hope this makes me money. It’s like nah mate, I do uni for reason innit, fucking paying £9000 three times, I'm not just trying to mug myself off, I kind of know what’s going on. I know I'm not trying to make millions of pounds off music, I just do it for the fun of it, whereas other career stuff that’s more linked in to uni and shit, that’s where I get more career goals from.
“Whereas music, I just want to hear people get gassed over my tunes, I just want to hear the big DJs play it and I want to hear MCs spit over it at like Rinse FM, and then get gassed to wheel it. Then eventually someone wants to spit over my tune, that’s like the biggest thing, that’s the most gassed I could get it, if someone wanted to spit over my tune, like if Mez wanted to spit over a tune, that’s the biggest achievement for me, and that’s all I want.”
Manny is putting a lot of time into production and instrumentals, he rounded off the chat with where you can hear or catch him in recent times: “I've got a booking in East Midlands in May, a grime set, and then just gonna take it as it goes. I’ll probably just get bookings on the way, that’s pretty much how it is if people need a grime DJ or whatever, but right now I'm just trying to focus on working with MCs over the next six months, that’s my main thing. I’ve got plans with Jafro, I've got plans with a guy called Logan in London, proper next level spitter he’s going to be on Lord of the Mics, it’s just about getting tunes down because sets come and go.”
Check out Jhuttz below:
January 28th 2019