posted by Mike
February 2020

Bournemouth, UK producer Leo Rhodes AKA Roast Beatz is cooking up another one. He's got an insatiable appetite for fresh music that's fueled a hefty career as a producer, DJ, and label boss. That means: he's always bringing something new to the table. Due for his next release in early March 2020, Roast Beatz gets down with some prep work for full-length entitled Electric Pistachio.

In his Stereofox mix, Roasty boasts a heavily-seasoned selection of finely-cut, funky hip hop and more. Get a taste of what's marinating in the world of Roast Beatz with a recipe of sizzling-hot originals and the freshness served straight out of the Cuttin' It Fine record label.

While you give it a listen, Get the full scoop with the resident Ghetto Funk personality where we explore life topics, talk his upcoming release, and get some previews on his new clothing line.

Track List:

  1. Roast Beatz feat. Kurnel MC - Reach Out (Beat Le Juice remix) [Instrumental]
  2. Shaka Love You - Gotta Dance
  3. Jungle - Happy Man (Frankee More Re - Funk)
  4. A.D.O.R. - One for the trouble (Acapella)
  5. Roast Beatz feat. Dr Syntax - BoomBox (Liberty Chaps Remix)
  6. Roast Beatz feat. Broken Poetz - Now You Know
  7. Altered Tapes - I Wish I Could Dance
  8. Roast Beatz feat. Kylie Earl - Lose Yourself
  9. Roast Beatz - Gimme The Light (Funk Hunters Mash)
  10. Beastie Boys - Body Movin (Hipsta Re-funk)
  11. WBBL - Kicked It
  12. Anderson Paak - Come Down (N-You-Up & Nick Studer Remix)
  13. Pecoe - Everybody Get Down
  14. LL Cool J - Headsprung (Acapella)
  15. Bluntskull & Blackout JA - Jump Up Now (Roast Beatz Remix)
  16. Casement - Pussio
  17. Nick Bike - My First Bicycle (Trayze Remix)
  18. Mr Fitz - The Word
  19. Roast Beatz feat- PRofit - Home Grown
  20. Ross Go - Got To Get Down
  21. Party Pupils - The Plug
  22. Roast Beatz - Taking It Back
  23. WBBL - Bad Boiiiiiiiiiii
  24. Roast Beatz feat. PRofit - Knock Knock

Hey Leo! It’s a real pleasure to have you on the mix! How are things going so far at the start of The Golden 20s?

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So far so good man, been battling some bullshit virus but if we’re talking about music then I’m healthy in that department. I’ve been working on some free downloads, sending my album out to distribution and beginning the long journey of promotion for my third studio album, plus juggling lots of other releases and submissions for the year ahead! 2020 is looking like a really exciting year man.

This mix is all kinds of funky. Tell me more about it and how you put it together

It was quite hard to do a shorter mix. Usually, I do 1 to 2-hour mixes for the "Cuttin’ It Fine Podcast". I love fitting as much new stuff as I can, featuring different genres so there’s always tons of different content.

For this mix though, I wanted to showcase some of the Cuttin’ It Fine talent we’ve put out this year and some of my new stuff. I’m not good at playing my own music. It’s only over the last year or so I’ve forced my tracks into my sets. As with anything I put out, there has to be an element of Funk and party steez. I started at around 110 bpm and crept up to 120 bpm. It was mostly just tracks I think are dope. Plus, last year I didn’t release my Shindig set. I didn’t have the time and was so swamped with other commitments, so I had a load of edits from that I wanted to include. Plus a few remixes I’d done for people, alongside a few live mash-ups as always. The majority of music on the mix is either mine, a release on Cuttin’ It Fine or a remix someone has done for me, with a sprinkling of bonus bangers.

Roast Beatz has been a contributor to the culture of funky beats and bass for years. How did you get into the scene and what made you decide to stick around for the party?

Man, I only realized how long it’d been when I got booked for Ghetto Funk’s 10-year anniversary at Shindig Festival 2020. I have been supporting that movement since the start. It all kind of tied in to when I relocated to Bournemouth from London which is where I live now with my family.

I got into the scene when I moved here and was looking for something different to play. I was used to playing at clubs in London where I could get away with dropping moody hip hop and mid-nineties stuff while scratching it up. In Bournemouth there was nowhere I could do that. So, I started my own nights which were a fusion of the two. I’d book hip hop artists but warm the party up with some Ghetto Funk, Mid-tempo breaks and old school hip hop. It was from there I realized the music I was making was way to downtempo to get people on the dance floor. So, I changed my digging process and looked for more up-tempo samples, while learning about synths and beefing up my drums. This led me to getting on Riddim Fruit which also blossomed a great relationship I had with Ben the owner. He gave me some inspiration for my label as I loved the vibes of Riddim Fruit. From there, I worked with BadBoe on BBP to release my last album whom I had so much respect for as a producer. Then Ghetto Funk. I blogged for them for a bit which was great as I love writing. I talk a lot of shit and have a stupid imagination. You just have to read the blurbs for CIF releases and you’ll get what I mean. Then I did the podcast and finally started releasing music with them. Will and Slim have done so much for the scene, so working with them and learning from them has given me a great starting block for Cuttin’ It Fine.

Since being immersed in this scene I have met so many dope people, had so many dope opportunities, it’s made it impossible to leave. So here I am and I can’t see myself going anywhere especially now I have the privilege of releasing bangers to the masses via Cuttin’ It Fine.

You’ve been tirelessly at work building your label the past years: Cuttin’ It Fine. What made you want to start a label and how has it been different than you thought it’d be?

Yeh, it seems mad. Cuttin' It Fine will be two in June 2020. We’re relatively young but have put out a lot of music, sold out of merchandise and received such great feedback. I couldn’t be happier.

I wanted to start a company after making some money from CryptoCurrency. I had always wanted to start a record label called Cuttin’ It Fine. It was the name of my first album now buried in the archives and I have it tattooed on my forearm. I also wanted to start a clothing label because I love fashion and have always wanted to get involved with that somehow. Originally, I was going to start 2 companies, but once I started doing the merchandise for CIF, I realized how great the logo looked on clothes and figured, there are no rules, I own it, I can do what I want. So, I just combined the two ideas Cuttin’ It Fine can be a record and a clothing label.

It's been a lot of work and I never thought I’d be able to do all the things I’ve done so I’m stoked to have pushed myself. People don’t realize it’s a one-man-band. I do the artwork for releases, blurbs for releases, podcasts, promo, blog, release music and that’s after my family and other responsibilities. The things I thought would be different…A lot of people I thought would show love have slept on it and vice versa. Life and people are funny sometimes but I’ll just do me and keep smiling. The people who have shown support have been overwhelming and the people I’ve managed to get on board with the label are so dope man. I’m so proud of the crew we have. I’ve learnt a lot about the kind of fans you get. Some are amazing and want to support you whole-heartedly. They will literally invest money in you by paying way over the odds for releases and clothing. People like that I see you! Some fans are like spoilt kids who think that you were put on this planet to give them free tunes, those guys…. Well, thanks for supporting the movement.

Cuttin’ It Fine is all about serving up the Bass, the Hip Hop, The Funk topped off by an eclectic serving of iLL shit! What would the tagline for Cuttin’ It Fine be and why?

The tag line for Cuttin’ It Fine is simply:

Catch a vibe with us.

It’s because we’re not really pinpointed to music, we offer fashion as well, podcasts and someday we’ll start parties and put on events. Like I said earlier, there are no rules, when you follow guidelines shit becomes stagnant and you become the same as everyone else. We offer vibes. We can help you feel good, look fresh and give you music that sounds heavy.

And the word is you guys are doubling down on bringing fresh merch for people to catch vibes with. What can people expect from the Cuttin’ It Fine clothing line?

Well after we sold out of our first run of tee’s, replenished and more a less sold out again, I figured it was something to be explored more. This April we’re dropping a full season of freshness and I’m finally getting to design and produce 5-panel caps. Think Supreme caps and Quiet life. They’ve been my inspiration, but I’ve sourced materials I’ve always wanted to see on a cap. Anyone who knows me knows I’m a sucker for a fresh lid, so I’ve been busy designing high quality, dope looking 5 panels alongside a great range of new threads. All on more ethically sourced products that are a much higher quality so we can run alongside other clothing companies. I’m working with designers to produce some new t-shirts with relevant themes. We’re going to utilize our musical connections to promote our products bringing meaning to what we’re doing and adding a story to our garments. I’m not about doing garish designs on shitty t-shirts that will shrink and fade after a wash. Being really into clothing I understand that things need to fit right, look dope and last a long time. I’m about things looking slick, designed well and reaching customers outside of the amazing people who follow our music. I’m stoked to say people who haven’t a clue who we are musically have seen our clothing and purchased it because it’s designed right and looks dope. I’m really excited to bring our new range of T-shirts, shirts, jackets, caps, sweaters and hoodies to people this year. Hopefully, the clothing will bring fans to the music and vice versa.

You’ve got a full-length coming up on Cuttin’ It Fine. What kind of Roast Beatz flavors can we expect?

So, it’s a 12-track album called Electric Pistachio. My son named it when we were goofing about in the supermarket. I was struggling with names and he said it. Initially, I just cracked up and then said, that’s a dope album name! As for the content, it’s basically my interpretation of the music styles and genres I love. The underlining tone is Hip Hop but with my twang on it. We’ve got Reggae fused tracks, funky ones, mellow ones, party ones, neck-snapping ones. I guess I tried to sum up all my chosen podcast genres in one album. I’m stoked how it all sounds and I’ve had some solid feedback so far. It’s taken me ages to put out. Mostly due to collaborations and secondly due to me being a fussy twat when it comes to mixing stuff down. I am the worst person to get music out of the studio. I keep changing my mind, then changing it back blah blah! I hate myself when I’m making music. I’d put out so much stuff if I wasn’t so fussy. It’s not a bad thing, just annoying when you actually are trying to release a project. I’ve also dug stuff up from the crates and remade it so it’s more relevant. The song Sour Bliss was recorded in 2006 by Triggs Vega. He doesn’t even rap anymore. I always loved the vocals so felt I had to let it see the light of day. I remade the track, laid the lyrics and it just worked. So, I’m stoked to finally drop that!

You’re a big collaborator… with producers, MCs, vocalists, etc. Tell me about some of your clique!

I guess it’s because of my hip hop roots. As a producer, you’re always destined to collaborate with a vocalist of some description. Or at least that’s how I learnt back in the day. I’d make beats for rappers. I used to be on Itch Fm in London so thankfully had a lot of connections with the UK hip hop world and made a lot of good friends in that scene. That helped me with the nights I put on in Bournemouth and has helped me with my collaborations over the years. The first guy I worked with was Teef. We became really good friends, did loads of tracks together and loads of shows around London. The same thing happened organically with a lot of other rappers. Later when I moved to Bournemouth, I just hit up people. My collaboration with Action Bronson was a fluke, I got to him before he blew up! Pretty much everyone else has been organic. MysDiggi and I will always work together and do shows, same with Syntax. I’m also hoping to work with more people along the way. I’m stoked to have done a track with Greg Blackman on this album, that’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while. Plus Profit and Kurnel MC feature heavily on my new album and will continue to feature on Cuttin’ It Fine releases.

Which musicians and/or producers are you keeping your eye on nowadays outside of your crew?

Outside of my Cuttin’ It Fine crew? I’m really feeling J squared, Mr. Stabalina, WBBL, Benny Page, Nick Bike, Shaka Loves you (Although they're family, really!), Beat Le Juice, Altered Tapes, Tera Kora, The Allergies, Amerigo Gazaway, Gardna, Bruno Borlone, Kaytranada, Party Pupils, Children of Zeus, Goldlink, Anderson.Paak, Kano…. This list could go on forever but the above will give you an idea.

Outside of music topics, what’s your go-to method of unwinding?

Well, it used to be getting blind drunk with friends but I am approaching 11 months of sobriety which has taught me that way of life wasn’t really unwinding at all! I’d been a big drinker for as long as I was old enough and if I’m honest, it bought me a lot of dark times and unhappiness. It’s a bullshit part of our culture when people feel they have to get pissed to fit in. People automatically need to know why you’re not drinking if you’re at a function or a party. It’s the one drug you have to justify not using, it’s pretty weird.

So, I’ve been learning to rewire my train of thought and have been living a much happier, healthy life over the last 11 months.

To unwind I hang with my family. We live in a dope part of the UK, I can walk to the beach from my house. We go for Pizza on the beach, walk my French Bulldog, go cycling and link friends. It’s better in the summer here due to the location. We have a campervan so take that out and about the UK and to France in the summer for a couple of weeks surfing and chilling. I’d like to do a whole summer soon.

I go to the gym about 4 times a week. I go super early to avoid the crowds and love island wannabe’s! I just crank some music people have submitted to the label, a mix or listen to audiobooks. I lost 2 and a half stone this last year so have been pretty stoked on how it’s panned out. I’m trying to surf more. Being close to the beach it’s a no-brainer. I used to skateboard every day but now my body is so fucked up from throwing myself downstairs and rails. This summer I’m going to dedicate a lot more time to surfing it’s definitely a vibe and my son loves it as well.

I also took up karate last year which I get to do with my son. I’ve gotten to a Green belt now, he’s a purple belt and doesn’t let me forget it! We’re starting to compete this year so we’re going to be the father-son duo splitting wigs on the real.

I like to read horror, factual stuff, true crime and generally things that leave you shocked. I also listen to a lot of audiobooks and podcasts. I geek out on flicks, mellow out medicinally with certain substances. Pretty normal stuff really, man.

Being a resident of the south coast of the UK, What’s your favorite aspect of UK culture?

I grew up on the South Coast, moved to the city and then relocated. I always seem to end up by the beach. I lived in Australia for a while and their BBQ, beach, surf and chill culture is one I’ll always follow. I love The UK festival culture. Bournemouth isn’t a great town for music so I find myself not playing out as much in my home town. I have a few residencies but nothing new crops up that often. So, when it’s festival season it’s great to go to some festivals and perform at some as well. Another great excuse to get in the Camper. I’m not good with mud and rain so I couldn’t tent it, man! Thanks for the interview, Leo. Quite a start to 2020 for you and the CIF crew… what else are you looking forward to this year?

This year I’m looking forward to finally getting my album out, Gramophone Soul has an original EP coming out that’s sounding dope! There’re some new people releasing music with us. We have a lot more original content coming out as well as funky breaks and free EP’s. Shindig and the 10-year anniversary is going to be a blast. I’m trying to get out and do some more festivals with Kurnel and Profit. The clothing side is consuming a lot of time right now, but I am really enjoying it and looking forward to getting that out. We’ve got a load of free downloads accompanying T-shirt drops on the horizon so I’m really looking forward to adding to the label's story and hitting up some new pastures. Thanks for having me man, as always, much love. x

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