Matt Ford, formally known as DJ Format, comes straight outta 'Hampton. Southampton. Maybe not the glorified upbringing that's likely to be expected from a rising hip hop pioneer, but Format is plenty appreciative of his past. His background is a charming reflection of how he came to be the guru who now stands proudly behind a mastered set of decks, his tool of choice being a record box bursting with previously undiscovered gems and an enviable stack of his own EPs, LPs and remixes.
After years of getting his fingers dirty digging through dusty crates, the vinyl fanatic found himself falling into a production groove, thanks to an absorbed dedication and persistent drive. It was that very drive that got him behind the wheel of Jurassic 5's van on their first UK tour, which perhaps helped to steer his direction further. Shortly after hooking up with J5's Chali 2na and Akil, he managed to snag P.I.A.S. under his belt, and subsequently fired out two massive LPs from his holster - 'Music for the Mature B-boy' and 'If You Can't Join Em... Beat 'Em.' His celebrated collaboration with Canadian MC Abdominal has spun him around the globe and back on tour. He's touched down just about anywhere and everywhere except... well, Fabric.
"Eventually my agent sorted this gig out, and no kidding, I get there and there had been a power cut, the fire alarms were going off. Literally, I grabbed my record box to go in and everyone was in the street. So when I went in and did the photoshoot in the club just now, that was the first time I've ever been in there. But yeah, hopefully by the time the mix comes out I'll have played in the club finally." DJ Format
'FABRICLIVE 27' is a fiery mix that could ignite any club atmosphere - a delightfully engaging juxtaposition where Ananda Shankar meets Lyrics Born and Def Jux gets introduced to Ellen Mcilwaine. The mix kicks off with Format's own funk-charged '33% B-Boy,' hops smoothly into scratches and loops from Ugly Duckling, and cuts to Lyrics Born's attention-stealing, freewheeling, hypnotizing, mesmerizing technique of setting words to flight. On '3ft Deep,' Abdominal and D-Sisive charm the bassline with their playful eloquence, illustrating their audible synergy with Southampton's favourite producer. Just as the mix seems dominated by beat juggling, b-boy breaks and cut n paste samples, Nostalgia 77 alluringly sweeps in with his beauteous 'Changes.' Thereupon Format transports the mix back to a time when the roarin' 60s soul movement was in full swing, when Ella's slinky phrasing and powerful intonation ruled the charts and Nina Simone's passion and tremolo were righteous reasons for celebrity status. The mix sublimely exposes modern hip hop's unsung influences as it soars alongside the masters' masterpieces. The soul-drenched blend is fuelled by wah wah guitars, jazzy syncopations, funky basslines, emotive vocals, wailing, jazz organs, crashing symbols, wild snares, bold brass blares, and even a sitar. It ends with the lavish contralto of Cleo Laine easing the way into Edan's genre-clashing 'Rock N Roll,' proof that all those "music back in my day..." musings are as irrelevant as the whereabouts of a producer's upbringing. It's all relative. As Ms Fitzgerald once said - "It isn't where you came from, it's where you're going that counts."