Lee Potter, aka Cut La Roc, made his name in the hurly-burly big beat days of the late 90s. Signed to Skint Records, the same label as Norman ‘Fatboy’ Cook, he was responsible for pioneering the big beat sound worldwide alongside Midfield General, Bentley Rhythm Ace and Fatboy Slim himself.
Cut La Roc held a four-year residency at the Big Beat Boutique in his hometown of Brighton. He’s DJ’d all around the world several times, appeared on Top Of The Pops, set a new Guinness world record for DJing with the most decks at once (nine!), and has recorded with vocalists such as Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody.
Now he’s about to release his third artist album – ‘Larger Than Life’. Bookending another chapter in the La Roc story, it’s a magical blend of soul, funk, hip-hop, deep house, lilting electronica and breakbeat. Drawing on all his influences, it’s a masterful piece of work: assured, confident, and pushing at boundaries like somebody at the top of his game should still continue to do.
It all started for Cut La Roc when he got into hip-hop in his mid-teens. He practised scratch techniques for hours, becoming an expert battle champ, and when acid house hit in the late 80s he was exhilarated by its energy. He began to DJ in clubs, using his scratch skills to stand out from other DJs, and by the mid-90s had fallen in with the Skint Records crew.
Big beat, the sound that coalesced around Fatboy Slim and the Skint brigade, was a perfect genre for Lee. Mashing together block-rockin’ beats, amyl house, sample culture, breakbeat and drum & bass, this was an exciting time for electronic music. Big beat is credited with converting a slew of indie-rock fans to the wonders of dance music, and its mix ‘n’ match ethos suited Lee down to the ground.
As well as being resident at the Big Beach Boutique for four years, Lee DJ’d all over America, Australia, Europe and the Far East. He put out first the ‘Mad Skills EP’ on Skint, swiftly followed by the ‘Freeze’, ‘Making It Hot’ and ‘Fallen’ singles. He was invited to mix an ‘FSUK’ comp for Ministry Of Sound before releasing his debut album on Skint – ‘La Roc Rocs’ – in the year 2000.
Assorted tracks and remixes of his were signed to tons of compilations, and after he moved to Colchester and saw that the music industry was rapidly changing he set up his own label – Rocstar Recordings.
Rocstar released Lee’s ‘Many Styles EP’ and music by beatfreak luminaries such as Chad Jackson and DJ Whack before putting out Lee’s second artist album in 2007 – ‘Nemesis’.
Now, as the release of ‘Larger Than Life’ looms, he’s accumulated a tidy roster of artists on Rocstar – Parker, Funkanomics, Pixel Fist, 601, Ben & Lex etc – and also started the Rocstar DJ agency to service the dance scene with DJ bookings.
‘Larger Than Life’ sees Lee collaborating with a wide variety of vocalists. Gary Lightbody from Snow Patrol appears on ‘Mishka’, a soaring love song that really shows off the tenderness of the singer-songwriter’s voice.
‘What Love Is’ kicks off the album’s proceedings with a great blaxploitation funk bassline before it unfolds into a tasty slice of hip-hop love. ‘Ride On’ is an futurist electro paean, while ‘Come Get Some’ – featuring Donald D – is a grimey vocal breakbeat number.
‘Hey Girl’ featuring Lion D is a heavy technoid ragga track that could fit into UK funky/bashment scenes as much as detonate breaks steppa floors. ‘Jump Up & Down’ is an electroid jump-up hip-hop joint, then ‘Don’t Stop’ could almost be the Stones.
‘Deathstar’ and ‘Glitter’, both featuring a vampish Fangs, are slices of punky electroclash filth, while ‘Waited Far Too Long’ almost borrows the riff from ‘Dear Prudence’ by The Beatles before unfolding into a lo-slung funky trip-hop jam, Alex Larke’s indie vocal lifting it into MTV territory.
It’s Cut La Roc’s best album yet, the one he’s most proud of, and ably demonstrates that he’s a veritable master in the studio, as well as on the decks.