Named Best Club Music Producer in 2007 by the City Paper’s annual Best of Baltimore competition, DJ King Tutt has been on the up and up ever since. Constantly pushing the boundaries of club music, electro-house music, and a fusion of the two, Tutt strives to never let his talents become stale. A strong believer in quality of output, you can only expect the absolute best from his mixes and live performances.
If you’ve been into the Baltimore music scene for a while, you’ve at least gotta know Tutt for his tracks like “Shake My Ass”, “African Chant”, and “The Roof Is On Fire”. Tutt’s been producing tracks since I was twelve years old and playin’ kickball at recess. Okay, so I might be young, but he’s really been in the game so long that he’s become a respected Baltimore institution. After “Shake My Ass” gained the approval of Baltimore club king Scottie B, Tutt became his go-to guy for productions. Scottie B and Tutt quickly formed a dynamic duo and became an untouchable force as prominent DJs and producers for the events and releases of Unruly Records.
Tutt is all about testing his limits in the realm of music. To hear a perfect example of his house/club music hybrid, check out his Evolution EP, released in 2008. There are seven tracks on this EP, but two of them specifically stand out to me: “The Future” and “Black Democrat”. “The Future” touts this, well…, futuristic house music appeal while “Black Democrat” sounds like this epic, Baltimore club march. Juxtaposing these two totally different vibes onEvolution says a lot about Tutt’s confidence in his skills as a DJ and producer.
Last month, he released his latest electro-house mix, Say Hello to the Bad Guy. Nineteen tracks deep, Bad Guy quickly whisks you away to the sunniest of days with its upbeat melodies and steady grooves. One listen to this mix and you’ll quickly find yourself in the right mindset for your evening outing or just coolin’ out at the crib. Check my review of it here, but more importantly,download the mix and listen for yourself! Trust me, you might need the energy for your weekend jumpoff.
If you wanna hear more of Tutt’s house mixes, why don’t you go catch him live and in action this weekend? He’ll be playin’ some records at the Deep Sugarparty on Saturday at the Paradox in Baltimore. Dude’s mad busy so don’t sleep on this chance to see him play!
But, I wanted to get to know Tutt a little better so I hit him up with a few questions for Cool Breezy. I’m sharin’ the wealth! Here he talks about Say Hello to the Bad Guy, the state of music in Baltimore, and what it takes to be a good producer.
Cool Breezy: How long have you been in the DJing/producing game and what initially brought you into it?
King Tutt: I started DJing in ‘95 after my father died and producing in ‘99. I used the money that I received to buy my first set of turntables. But, while going through school, I played various instruments and was in the band. My main focus was the percussion section and I was also a drummer. I took classes in music theory, as well. So, basically I was DJing and playing the drums at the same time. I’m one of the few producers and DJs in Baltimore that can actually read and write sheet music. While I was in high school, I worked as a DJ and floor guard at Skateland Orchard in Towson. [That] is where I first start DJing on a regular basis for a large crowd.
CB: Who or what influences your particular style of electro-house music?
KT: For me, I have always had a love for house music. Everybody in Baltimore knows the deep house classics but you never hear new stuff. So when Scottie [B] and me started producing and DJing together [and] by him traveling around the world, he exposed me to what the rest of the world was listening to and I started loving it! So I would, and still do, frequently visit YouTube and search various DJs like David Guetta, Carl Cox, and others to see how DJs are gods overseas. I also have a strong love for good Baltimore club music. So I like to ride the thin line between the two and see how far I can take it. When I’m in my studio, it really depends on how I feel that day and what I’m working with.
CB: Describe the creative process for your most recent mix, Say Hello to the Bad Guy, and what were your goals for the mix?
KT: At least one person a day will ask me for a mix of some sort. So as much as I hate recording myself mix, I decided to start doing it on a frequent basis. First, it starts with satellite radio. Listening to different DJs mix, I kinda study what tracks are [being] played. I choose what songs I like and what I feel are the best songs for me to play with my style of DJing. Then, I will call a couple different DJs and we swap files. After I pick through the all the songs for the mix, I turn the turntables on…and go!
The goal of the mix was for everybody to know that I do DJ! Some people know me for my production and some people know me for my DJing. I want everybody to know that I do both. It was a chance for everybody who hasn’t heard me mix in awhile to see what I have been up to while I’m working on my new EP.
CB: What do you think about the state of music and production in Baltimore right now?
KT: We can talk about this all day!!!! In Baltimore, it’s getting better and worse at the same time. I think all of the serious artists in Baltimore have really stepped their game up in the last couple of years with the level of products that are being released. But I think [there’s] still too many people in this city that take what they do as a hobby or joke. For example, a lot of people come to me to talk about production, but they use terrible equipment. If you’re serious about what you do, you try to get the best possible gear. I have seen producers use the same beginner equipment for their whole career. [There’s] no way possible for you to get [professional] results with beginner equipment! Some rappers in this city don’t even have any type of recording equipment. I think that’s crazy. Another thing that bothers me is that some DJs will play anything and don’t have the heart to tell some artists that the song needs work. I have heard so much garbage on the radio it really kills me. If an artist thinks he or she can just put anything together and expect me to play it, they have another thing coming!
CB: You have a solid reputation in the game. Do you have any advice for present and future DJs and producers?
KT: Study what you love! Don’t be in a rush for people to hear your work. If you’re good, it will come out eventually. Don’ t be afraid to be different. Lastly, if this is want you wanna do, spend money! Anything that is cheap, is cheap for a reason!
CB: So, what do you do when you’re not playing records and producing tracks?
KT: A lot of people don’t know that I’m a police officer. So basically, I work all day!!!! On my rare off days, I try to spend as much time with my family as I can. I’m a movie and TV dude too. I can watch the discovery channel and the Bourne Trilogy all day! I recently just brought a ps3 also, so let’s see how this works out with that.