Un-Cut blend an awesome combination of intricate drum ‘n’ bass, subtle melodies and seductive vocals to create one of this summer’s most exciting sounds. Having mastered their craft over the last four years, Darren Lewis, 2D and Jenna G arrive for this year’s festival season armed with stunning material from their debut album, ‘The Un-Calculated Some’. Jenna G’s enigmatic mix of no-nonsense Mancunian candour and sophisticated femininity ensure that she’s one lady you just can’t help but sit up and take notice of.
VF: Are you nervous about this year’s Homelands appearance?
Jenna: Yeah, we’re the first act up on the live stage. It’s not really nerve wracking but it’s quite an honour. A bit daunting as ‘cos everybody’ll be waiting for the music to start but then we’ll have the rest of the day to party! So I’m not really that bothered that they didn’t put us in a better spot!
Weren’t you here last year as well?
The best thing about last year was when I was sunbathing near the Movement tent. I could feel the bass pumping through the ground. It was wicked.
Glastonbury’s coming up before you appear at V2003. You must be looking forward to that?
It’s really cool ‘cos I ‘aint paying to get in there. I know ‘nuff people that aren’t going to Glastonbury and I’m like YEEAAAH! I’m playing there! And they’re going, “Damn! Can you get any tickets?” and I’m like, “Nah man…!”
Your tune, ‘Midnight’ is all about getting away from the daily grind and just losing it once in a while. Is that what you and the boys are planning to do this weekend?
Yeah! Definitely. The tour’s been a bit of a daily grind. So it’ll certainly be a midnight moment this week and we’ll be letting our hair down.
You’ve just been on tour with Lamb. Were they big party animals?
They’re really big party animals. They’ve got hundreds of friends in every place where we went and so it was always like a massive after-party. It got a bit too much at some points ‘cos they just really know how to party. They’re like new-age, party till you drop kinda people, rolling on the floor and dancing. They’re really cool.
Did you win over any of their fans?
Everybody there were really music appreciators and thankfully, they appreciated us. There were some people that followed them around to every single gig. You’d spot them in the crowd and it’d be like, “Oh my god….” That was quite fun. I hope we get that one day. Like a mad cult following us.
You’re looking forward to having stalkers then?
Yeah, I’m looking forward to all stalkers! I shouldn’t say that though ‘cos I live in such a fuckin’ open place. Everyone knows where I live. So, no, strike the stalker bit…..unless you’re leaving me beautiful presents.
Is it a hassle living in Manchester when there’s few drum ‘n’ bass clubs outside of London?
If I get loads of money I’ll buy places in other countries but I’d never move out of Manchester. I like it. Over the past 5 or 10 years drum ‘n’ bass has spread out into cities like Bristol, Manchester and Cardiff. It definitely came from London but it’s now a more England thing.
Have you noticed the genre attract the negative elements that are normally associated with garage or r & B?
It used to be a problem. There was a time when DJs wouldn’t even come and play in Manchester ‘cos of too much hassle. But it’s definitely moved to the other genres of music now and I think that’s just because it went back underground when all the trouble was going on. Then it carried on making good music not just adrenalin music to keep you hyped up and ready to fight in a club. It actually started to mellow out and be a bit more diverse. I think that the ever-changing climate of drum ‘n’ bass keeps away all the fakers. You have to appreciate the fundamental to appreciate everything else around it. That screws up all the gangsters who want to listen to hard music and beat somebody up.
Have you witnessed that type of violence whilst being involved with the scene?
Not whilst I’ve been MC-ing. It was quite kosher and ever since then it’s died down. It was when I was younger and out raving. Definitely seen ‘nuff things. That was just the way it was when you were raving in Manchester. Things you see growing up! I don’t know! You have to have a bit of it all to be a real person.
There must have there been times MC-ing when you’ve completely bombed?
‘Nuff times! The funniest time was when we were last in Amsterdam and doing a gig in the Melkweg. I had a load of my friends over and we’d all had a good bit of drugs so we were all a little bit out of it when we went in there. I basically ‘came up’ when I was on the mike and I couldn’t stop singing about love! All night! I had to give my mike to the MC. I was just chatting about love all the time. Every time I got on the mike it was just love this and love that. Things like that have happened when you can’t get something out of your mind.
How do you get on with the boys in Un-Cut? Are there many domestics?
We always have domestics but I think that’s a healthy relationship. They’ll call me a bitch and I’ll turn round and call them a pair of cunts. It’s nothing. I have the same relationship with my dad. We can screw at each other for a week and then just turn round and say, “Are you safe with me?” And that’s it. It’s the same thing. That’s how it works.
For a while, you got into acting including a leading role in Danny Boyle’s short film, ‘Strumpet’. Did you do another movie after that?
We did another film called ‘Two Wheels Only’ in Luxembourg and that was cool. I don’t think it’ll see the light of day in this country. But it was really nice. I got to see another country for a month and worked with some quite famous actors. I’d definitely do acting again but it kinda highlighted to me why I chose music over it. When I was younger and you become aware of your looks and everything. I wasn’t very confident and acting does pull on that particular string all the time. When you go to a casting, people have looked you up and down before you’ve even opened your mouth. In music, it’s the voice, talent and words that matter first. That’s not to say I’m a bint, yeah! But when I was young, I was quite ugly!
Why should people rush out and buy the album this summer?
If people rush out and buy it we’ll be totally overwhelmed! I think if people casually stroll into the shop and are mulling over why they should buy it then we’ve tried to make it in the same vein as all the classic albums from our growing up. Not to say that there’s any references in there. One of the albums that we always talk about is ‘Off the Wall’. There was a slow thing on there, a bit of a poppy thing, disco and funk stuff. We wanted to do an album that had all that in it rather than trying to be in one genre and restrict ourselves to it. If people like to listen to music for emotions then they should listen to our album. We’ve got every emotion on there.
There’s another female-fronted drum ‘n’ bass trio on the same stage as you later on. Aren’t Uncut just the poor man’s Kosheen?
What?! They’re the old man’s Un-Cut! I’ve MC-ed with her before Kosheen were even going, man. So, I know……Everybody that was at Spellbound that night knows what happened….. That’s all I have to say.
Is it that kind of success that Un-Cut are looking for this year?
I think it’s any kind of success. We’re really just grateful to be out there touring and just bringing the music that we’ve made to the people and having people appreciate it. We’re having a good time and we’re proud of what we’ve done.
Un-Cut’s new single, Fallin’, is due to be released on 14.06.03 – www.un-cut.co.uk