Amazing Fingathing from Manchester's Grand Central label.
FINGATHING are a two piece live and recording outfit consisting of scratch wizard Peter Parker on turntables and Sneaky on Double Bass. Parker explains how the two met
I used to commute to Manchester from Crewe,( where everyone is into Dexys Midnight Runners and shit) to go to Eardrum and watch him (seminal Manchester Hip Hop night), but we never spoke properly. We met for the first time doing the Grand Central Sound System, providing back-up for Rae & Christian.
Sneaky adds, It was the Tony D tour, and when everyone else was having a break, wed keep messing around together.
It was obvious something was coming together
The fact wed been given a chance to do something quite serious... we were both just totally into it, overwhelmed really (beams). Eventually, it was just me and Sneak and Mark and Steve, and they used to say Why dont you do that thing you did in rehearsal tonight? We just slammed it and the kids that heard us thought it was mental says Parker.
Peter Parker (aka Dan Baxter) was discovered by Mark Rae of Grand Central records, when judging the 1997 DMC Mixing Championships - where he came second in the UK finals - and it wasnt long before he became a fully fledged member of the Grand Central turntable squad.
Enveloped by Hip Hop culture at the age of nine years old, Parker was first inspired by Streetsounds' genre defining Electro series. Trying his hand, first at breaking and then graffiti he soon realised his full hip hop potential was not linked with head-spins or spray cans but in the art of turntablism. For years he honed his technique on his mate's decks before finally getting the cash together to purchase his own set of 1200's. But theres a bit more to it than that as Parker explains
I could pretend I grew up with funk and jazz, but any jazz I heard was totally abstract and off its rocker. My dad was a big Thin Lizzy fan. At school I swapped a copy of Oink, this really naughty kids magazine, for a tape to tape player and a cassette of Electro 6 and Electro 9. It was early 80s, the hip hop craze was in and Id never heard anything like it before. Everyone started wearing name trainers rather than British Home stores and I started wearing sweat bands because a kid in the year above me wore them! I also started skating and listening to punk and proper, hardcore hip hop with loads of swearing and abusive language (laughs).
As those who have witnessed him will bear testament, his live shows are both awesome and awe-inspiring. His pure technical displays using classic 70s break beats and underground hip-hop have hypnotised many crowds and gained him many fans. He is also a member of the Cutting Crew along with Statik and ex-DMC World Champion DJ Noize.
Sneaky is a classically trained Double Bassist. He attained Grade 8 with distinction in 1992 and went on to further his musical education by taking a BTEC (Oldham College) and a BA (Hons) in Popular Music and Recording (Salford University).
I started playing double bass 20 years ago, the cello when I was 5. My parents are classically trained musicians so I grew up in a very musical house, explains Sneaky, a well known face on the Manchester music scene having established himself as resident at nights such as Eardrum at Kaleida before its move across Oldham Street to the infamous Dry Bar. In November 1998 he was chosen to perform with Eardrum in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia as part of a promotional visit to represent Manchesters music scene.
All this lead to Sneak appearing on several albums including guest bass on Mr Scruffs dance floor classic Get A Move On from the 1999 album Keep It Unreal on Ninja Tune & some session work with Lemon D (Metalheadz) and Dillinga. More recently, his skills were once again in demand for Scruffs latest ninja masterpeice, Trouser Jazz (Sept. 02), again as guest bass but also as co-writer on a couple of tracks. His work ethic is exemplified by his continued desire to juggle his FINGATHING workload and session work with countless Jazz outings alongside many of the UKs luminary talents. Check any of the mid-week Jazz sessions that take place in Manchester or Liverpool and you will most probably spot Sneak in the line up along-side fellow talented northerners Danny Ward (20:20/Rain Band/AIM), Steve Brown (Cinematic Orchestra) and many more.
Both Sneaky & Peter Parker are original members of the Rae & Christian live crew and initially presented Fingathing tracks live as part of the Rae & Christian live set. You may have seen them on any of Rae & Christians UK live dates, on the Radio One session with Mary Ann Hobbs, on MTV Live and the Vibes On A Summers Day festivals in Australia. The reaction by those who saw the pair perform on the festival circuit in the summer of 99 was incredible. The crowds were literally blown away by their almost telepathic free-styling. The same happened in October 2002 when the lads were invited to support the legendary DJ Shadow on his UK Tour alongside RJD2 (Def Jux), Beans (Anti Pop) and Too Many DJs (Soulwax). The Nottingham leg of the tour was recorded and broadcast by BBC Radio 1 as part of their One Live programming a performance summed up by Shadow himself as
some dope, progressive shit! Praise indeed from THE master of progressive beats music. The festival circuit in England and Europe is now switching on to the lads inimitable talents. Last years Carling Festivals in Leeds & Reading saw Fingathing entertain a packed dance tent at both sites. They also played at V2002 in Staffordshire and The World SK8 Masters at London Arena the musical content within a day-long skate expo featuring world champ and global skaters demi-god, Tony Hawks. 2003 has already brought festival action in Holland (Virus), Sweden (Hultsfred) and Austria (SpringThree) with more upcoming throughout the summer. They will also grace some of the larger stages in Belgium, Morocco, France, Hungary and Germany between now and September. They will also return to South Africa in October after a highly successful trip in March with the British Council. Shows are also taking shape in the USA - New York will be first to witness the boys in full live splendour with more extensive touring inevitable in the next couple of years. The bands full UK Tour in May this year was a massive success, taking the band back to familiar club audiences, as well as the lesser chartered territory of traditional Rock & Indie venues. The response was truly amazing especially when they road tested brand new tracks using extra kit and brand new visual elements. Chris Drurys funny, twisted visuals are gaining a fan base all of their own testament indeed to his unique talents which are now in high demand. The 55DSL flag ship store in Soho will be graced with Chriss work throughout November and the PlayStation2 Skate Park will also feature many of Chriss designs when the newly refurbished facility is re-opened later this year.
With two amazing albums, well received by industry and public alike coupled with 4 years of near-constant performance is starting to bear fruit. The 3rd album is currently in production and will hit streets in the spring. Prior to that GrandCentral will release a very special programmed mix, provisionally titled The Smoke Shop EP due in October this year.
Asked to describe influences and ideas behind the music, Q Bert, Frank Zappa, Marvin Gaye, Black Sabbath, Stan Lee and Ron Carter are all mentioned for various reasons, but actually pinning them down on describing the music is more difficult, something theyre loathe to do
Its something weve never really heard anyone else do before says Sneaky, and hes right. Their combination of live double-bass and scratched, cut up beats in its true raw sense is something very special indeed, youll have to listen for yourselves