Tony Vegas, Prime Cuts and Plus One are the Scratch Perverts - a name that has become synonymous with HipHop and battle DJing ever since their formation in 1996. Their reputation as one of the world's most progressive DJ collectives is unparalleled; two consecutive World DMC Team titles, Plus One's World DMC Champion and World Vestax Champion titles, Prime Cut's back to back World ITF Scratching crowns, and countless showcases and gigs all over the world.
Having won all there is to offer in the competition circuit, the Perverts are ready to enter the next stage of their development as recording artists. But as DJs who have contributed countless techniques and pioneered such radical innovations developing the musical language of the turntable, what the Perverts define as HipHop is a long way off what people would expect. "HipHop is a celebration of all kinds of music just by its very nature," explains Prime Cuts. "So it follows that our album is very much a HipHop album in the broadest sense of the term. We've tried to do what we see HipHop as being – a celebration of all music, taking on board everything that inspires us and channelling it into our tracks."
The ideals created by the likes of Kool Herc and Afrika Bambaataa developed through HipHop's formative years, originality, dynamism and innovation are all principles that the Perverts have applied to their DJing art and now to their music. "We've tried to bring the mentality behind our creativity with turntables to the studio," explains Tony. "We're looking to show the same sense of independent thought in our music."
The Perverts have always unselfconsciously embraced and incorporated anything that feels right musically, which is evident when you consider that they count the likes of The Neptunes, Dillinja, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, and Aphex Twin, amongst their inspirations and influences. "HipHop is something that came from a lot of different music," says Tony. "It was always about the collective energy. It's not just a rapper that makes a record a HipHop record its about a vibe – and if a record has that vibe I personally look upon it as being integrally HipHop." At the same time, however, the Perverts last intention is to make an album of sound-a-like productions "We are different," asserts Plus One. "If we make a breakbeat track it's not gonna sound like the Stantons, if we make a HipHop track hopefully it won't sound like the Neptunes, if we do something leaning towards drum & bass it might end up more like a rock track."
Although they may have retired from battling indefinitely, the Perverts have lost none of their supercharged competitive spirit. "We still have that proper B-Boy ethic deep down at the core of it all," explains Plus One. "It's this need to take someone out, to do better than them," adds Prime Cuts. "For example, listening to a Dillinja track and thinking that's so heavy, I wanna do something better than that – it's that mentality that drives us, we wanna take on something that we've heard someone else do and try to do it better." These days, instead of spending hours building battle routines to take each other out, the Perverts are crafting beats to do exactly the same thing! "We're always trying to out do each other," Plus One says with a grin. "Even though we're all working towards the same cause, still at the core of it is that energy – I wanna make the best tune this week, I want to have the ideas, and that gives us this immense drive that maybe other people don't have."
The creative energy and enthusiasm that the Perverts exude is quite something, through all their schizophrenic influences and lofty ideals you get the feeling that they will harness and channel their combined creativity into something very special. "Our challenge is in coming up with something that's an honest reputation of ourselves," say Plus One. "Which is quite a difficult thing 'cos we're into so much different stuff." As Tony Vegas sums up; "We're just trying to true to ourselves, we want people to be left in no doubt whatsoever as to what a Scratch Perverts record is, you can guarantee that we'll be bringing the same amount of honesty, energy, desire that we have to our DJing."