UK Hip Hop: International
Mad Skilz


Mad Skilz
Mad Skilz
Mad Skilz 4 man set
Mad Skilz - Trick in Leeds
Mad Skilz Crowd
Prime Cuts @ Mad Skilz
When I first heard about this crew and club night I was slightly surprised that Hull was able to sustain and attract such high quality acts as the Scratch Perverts and Cash Money etc. Wondering what it was all about and in an effort to expose some of what is going on in the UK outside of London I got Nick from the Mad Skilz crew to break it down and give us an insight into some of the struggles and let downs almost anyone in the music business will have to endure and learn from:

Thanks for the interest in what we are doing up here, it's nice to get some recognition for the work we're doing, god knows the money sucks.

As for a biography the team was formed about 2 years ago (although we're not seeing as much of each other nowadays - too much money lost) anyway, we kept meeting up at the Manchester heats of the DMC competition and I was like this is ridiculous there's more DJ's from Hull than there are from Manchester in this thing and yet there weren't any decent hip hop nights going on. So we decided to hook up. Tim (Fast-T) has been on the scene for ages, he's about 28 now and got through to the UK finals of the DMC's in 1990 and 1997, he's been djing House and stuff in Hull since about 1987 and does a lot of production. He was the one I really wanted to work with from day 1, then there's Marc Halliday (Doc Jnr) I moved up to Newcastle a couple of years ago to do Music technology at Newcastle College and it just so happened that Marc was doing exactly the same. So the night was started at the Riverside in Newcastle on Feb 11th 1999 with Cutmaster Swift as the first guest I ever had. After Swifty we did 2 more nights in Newcastle. I wanted to showcase home grown talent through the contacts I'd made at DMC, so I booked Mike L for the next night and then invited Fast-T up for the one after that.

This tactic soon became an expensive experiment and we finished in Newcastle and moved back to Hull.

Once back in Hull I started doing smaller events at a place called the Adelphi, these nights featured the 4 of us on 4 decks and created a lot of interest about the town in what we were doing, but we did it all for free and never made any money. So, i looked for financial backers for the night i really wanted to do - The Scratch Perverts, who were hot as fuck at that time. Anyway a local shopkeeper said he would invest in the night. So i went off and booked Prime Cuts and Tony Vegas last November, 2 days after prime cuts won the ITF scratching battle and a couple of weeks after they had won the DMC Teams finals in New York (I told you they were hot at this point) any way I did all the running about because I was so excited about having the perverts play at my night, I sorted a venue that was going to be newly built the night of the Perverts. 2 days before the gig the venue told me that they had a 12 O'Clock license!!! So I booked another venue and sorted a bus to take people from The Welly to Sillouette, did 7-10 at the Welly then 10-3 at The Silouette. Anyway the night was wicked 500 people turned up and the Perverts played from 12-3 and I got wankered beyond belief (I think it was the stress).

So a month later I book Kool Herc, that one goes off too 600 people at the night, Kool Herc was technically shite but he got everyone going, plus we played a 4 deck set (that is where the picture is from). Now at this time, The Hull Daily Mail asked if I would write a weekly column for the newspaper on the local scene, so I began writing for them about clubs in Hull - mainly Mad Skilz and what we were up to, plus I had scratching tips and listings even competition's. So, you remember the shopkeeper I told you about, he'd been making money the last few months and began getting a bit kind of "Yeah this is me, Mad Skilz work for me" and started booking guests from the contacts  I had acquired in the industry, so he booked the Arsonists for 1500 without me knowing, meanwhile I had the chance to get Vinroc!! So i suggested that we do both of them. Thursday - The Arsonists and then Saturday - Vinroc. Get them on the same ticket / flyer - 10 for the both nights. I thought that was a winner but it turned out that no one got it, everyone was like "10 !!! Fuck that", so we got about 200 on each night thus losing money...but VINROC played the best set ever at Mad Skilz and therefore goes down as the best guest I've ever had.

So this is when it goes sour. The shopkeeper doesn't pay us a penny for both nights we have a falling out and go our separate ways. So he starts his own night with Prime Cuts playing at it and we do Dj Noize on the same night but at a different venue.....Big mistake. We lost 350 each off the Noize night, but DJ Noize was all our favorite dj at the time, so happy that he played, after that we picked up the Dj Apollo night with the Souls of Mischief for FREE after the shopkeeper pulled out at the last minute and Mike from Fresh rang me and said "look, I'm going to have to do this night up there so do you want to sort it or not" so i was like "shit yes, Apollo of the Invisibl Scratch Piklz - in Hull, fucking too right" so the night went a head and Apollo played to a crowd of 40 lucky punters.

Right that pretty much brings us up to date apart from the Charlie Chase night we did.

So now here we are poised for another big night....no other money men involved. Me and Jon (Dj Severe) putting up the cash for Cash Money....another legend I wanted since day 1.

So we'll se how it goes. Sorry for the length of the email but there's a lot to tell.

DJ Cash Money Live @ Mad Skills, Hull, Fri 18th May 2001

Visit MadSkilz on the web: www.madskilz.co.uk
Email: nickd@dappa.co.uk :: Tel: 01482 226 721

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