Lee Potter, aka Cut Le Roc, is a funny guy to talk to, making lots of jokes and having a laugh. This is reflected through both the music he makes and plays. He doesn’t take it too seriously, but seriously enough to have a go at changing the perception of the dance music scene as being dull and dark and all about what you look like and what shoes you wear.
Potter first started DJing at the tender age of 12 years old. Rather than picking up a guitar, as he was in his terms “a real hiphop kid”, he went out and purchased “what we call ‘cake tin’ turntables, belt driven things with heaps of slipmats and plastic, anything to keep them going in time”. Skipping school, much to his Mothers’ horror he “basically spent every minute of every day just scratching records and trying to work out how they did things and work out new things”. This led Potter into collecting old funk records, looking for that prefect break, which got him listening to funk, soul and jazzy stuff in general, and amassing a huge record collection.
He developed a passion for dance music in a pretty usual manner “You’d go to a hiphop jam” he says “and it’d be full of blokes with funny hats on with their arms crossed. I’d rather be where the girls are with hardly any clothes on,” he laughs. “But that’s a big no no in that scene – you’re only supposed to like hiphop and that’s it. I found acid house parties quite mad – it still had that funky feel to it, it’s electronic, it’s got this really weird, annoying bird chirping noise, and there’s girls here!” he laughs talking of the Acid House parties his friends took him to. “I started to become more open minded about music, which was a really good thing to happen for my career because if I was still a hiphop kid now, I’d be making good little hiphop tunes in me bedroom, but not going anywhere.”
Something that gets brought up a lot is the fact that he’s listed in the Guinness book of records for playing on 8 decks, a true testament to his skills as a DJ. “I did the Future Sound of the UK (FSUK) 4 mix for Ministry of Sound, and they asked me if I could do something special they could base promotion around, and I said yeah, whatever. They came back and said ok, we’ll have you play on 8 turntables, Vestax have agreed to supply the equipment, we’ll do it at the Ministry, get the press and punters down to see it. Then they told me at the last minute that Guinness may not come down, after I spent two months practicing for it, because they were all out watching people eat beans or something”, he laughs. “But it was more of a fun thing, not something I wanted to be seen as me showing off or anything. It was just a good fun time.”
Now Potter is head of his own record label, as well as a producer and remixer. “I haven’t done a remix in ages, but the rule with me for remixing is I only do it if I like it, and if I think I can bring something to the mix. Not just cheeky samples they can get in trouble for, but even something subtle, like new drums or filtering. Something that brings a new element or vibe to the track.” This last statement is indicative of the philosophy behind his record label, Rocstar Recordings. “I left Skit over a year and a half ago, as I wanted to pursue some other avenues. There were a lot of things happening there, they were focusing on Fat Boy Slim, the Lo-Fi All-Stars, and Xpress2. I said to them that they didn’t really have enough energy to focus on me as they had for Norman Cook, and that’s cool, he was the one who paid for everything,” he laughs “They were cool with that, and we’re still all good friends.”
“I didn’t necessarily want to do my own label, because I know how much work it is and I’m a bit of a lazy bastard” he laughs, “but I sent my stuff to a few people I know who run big breaks labels, people who had put out stuff similar to what I’ve done in the past, and they came back to me saying “we like it and all, but it’s not really the direction we’re heading.” It appears that Potter wasn’t making the same sound as every body else. “Everyone’s doing this new school, tech-breaks, slowed down drum and bass sound. I thought people who ran record labels were like the guys at Skint – quite open minded to musical sounds. I said to them “wouldn’t you rather be at the cutting edge of something new, to turn people’s heads and make them say “that’s really good and new” rather than put out the same old same old? They’d bring out the old “the dance industry is in a real rut, and we’re not selling as many records as we used to”. It’s my opinion that if they’d put some different music out, get the people excited over new stuff, they might buy it”.
“So after about 7 or 8 rejections along these lines I thought, “fuck this, I’ll do it myself”. And what kind of music is Potter bringing out? “It’s just good, funky music. It can be hiphop, it can be house, it can be breaks, it can be disco, whatever. I have a real vast array of artists doing different things for the label. The whole thing is “funk and fun”. Everything is so dark and heads down,” he explains of clubbing in England at the moment. “’Have you got the right shoes on? Is your make up running? Get lost, we’re night clubbing.’ I’m just trying to re-introduce fun and funky music back into the scene, music that no matter what style / genre you like, you’ll enjoy listening to this too. We’re just trying to break out of the mould, do something different.”
Potter is finally going to bring his fresh and funky beats to Adelaide. “Basically I’m going do what I normally do, and to hit you with everything,” he laughs “I’m not going to go too down tempo or hiphop, nor too dark, but take you from head nodding to having it large. Come down and say Hi, I might just buy you a Vodka” he laughs.