Old School UK Hip Hop Special: Interview with UK DJ/Producer/Remixer Simon Harris

 Happy New Year good people...for the first interview and compilation to kick of  2011 and for the 4th year anniversary of the Cold Rock Da Spot blog, I wanted to do something special, so here is an interview with one of the UK legends of Hip Hop, a supreme, producer, remixer and founder of the great Music of Life label, which gave the World, Asher D & Daddy Freddy (of whom Simon is credited with as being one of the originators of Raggamuffin-Hip Hop).

Demon Boyz, Overlord X, Hijack, Hardnoise/Son Of Noise, She-Rockers, the late, great Derek B (who was the first ever UK Hip Hop act to achieve chart success), MC Duke, B.O.O.M, Einstein, Kobalt 60, First Frontal Assault, Killa Instinct, Thrashpack and more than a few other MC's and groups from the UK that people still talk about, and of course Simon's own material (older heads will remember "Bass (How Low Can You Go") and his multitude of breakbeat albums and Music Of Life compilations (including an awesome one from Clyde Stubbelfeld, the infamous "Funky Drummer"), so please sit back and enjoy the history and the links to the dope music uploaded with Simon Harris's permission.

This post is especially dedicated all of the awesome Old School UK heads that I know on Facebook and I want to send a massive thank you to Janka Man for hooking me up with some really dope music I have only ever had on tapes and bigs ups also to Crime Family and aREAL for some goodies.
MC Duke



Killa Instinct


Hardnoise (R.I.P.  DJ Nyce 'D')

R.I.P. Derek B 

Simon Harris


CRDS: Peace Simon, This is a real honour for me, I grew up on so much of your music and the great Music of Life label  :)

SH: Thanks! It's a honor for me if people still listen after all these years.

CRDS: Simon, please tell readers what got you into Hip Hop and how you became a legendary producer and remixer?

SH: Not sure about the legendary part but I got into all this from DJ'ing, while I was at school I was doing mobile discos, weddings and parties and got more interested in the technical side, the mixing which at the time in the late 70s was not popular, all the DJ's were 'personalities' and wore Hawaiian shirts or Tuxedos, so I got myself a pair of SL1200s and went from there, added a pro mixer and a reel to reel tape deck and began making little remixes and edits for radio DJ's.

I always liked rap music like Kurtis Blow and Sugarhill Gang but then I heard Mike Allen's Capital Radio Show and realized there was a whole scene out there, so i got into all the Sugarhill stuff, started buying imports at Groove Records in Soho (London) and before I knew it I was really into the whole thing, this was the mid 80s and I started Music of Life with my DJ partner Froggy and Morgan Khan who was releasing the Electro Albums on his Street Sounds label, then Morgan's label went out of business, Froggy left and I decided to turn Music of Life into a total UK hip hop label, firstly licensing US tracks and then with Derek B starting to make our own UK rap music.

CRDS: What were the first records and moments that influenced you?

SH: All the old school stuff I was a fan of and still am, I was more influenced by producers than artists so I was a fan of Marley Marl, Rick Rubin, Mantronik and those guys.

CRDS: For you, what year represented the best years in Hip Hop?

SH: My favorite will always be the early years say from "Jazzy Sensation" in 1981 up until the late 80s.

CRDS:  How do you feel about Hip Hop today?, do you think it is dying off and being used and abused by some talentless people that are only it for image and the mighty dollar?

SH: I am not a fan of current hip hop and I don't know much about it sorry, for me it is disconnected from the old school days that I really liked. The whole 'attitude' thing has got really boring for me, if they lightened up maybe I would be a fan again, I liked the days of the Roxanne battles and the early days of Def Jam and Run DMC.

CRDS:  Who have been some of your favorite artists to work with?

SH: All of them! Each one was a different experience.

CRDS: What is your personal favorite album from your Music of Life label?

SH: Probably the live Hustlers Convention because it was unique and unpredictable, we just had a party, invited everyone and recorded the whole thing.

CRDS: How many unreleased remixes or music do you still hold onto and if you do, when will you release it?

SH: None - we released everything.

CRDS: Were there any completed albums, that never got released on the label?

SH: Nope.

CRDS: How did you meet Daddy Freddy and Asher D?

SH: I had the idea to mix up ragga (reggae toasting it was called at the time) and hip hop, it had never been done before, so i called up David Rodigan and discussed it with him, he recommended Asher D so we set up a recording day and Asher just walked in with his friend Freddy who came along for the ride, I liked his voice and pushed him in the studio, we rolled the tape on some Marley Marl style beats I had made and they recorded 'Ragamuffin Hip Hop' live, in one take with no rehearsal and that was it.

CRDS: Would you say that you are one of the originators of Raggamuffin Hip Hop?

SH: I thought of the idea but got some direction from David Rodigan and then the first song was "Ragamuffin Hip Hop" and that was all Asher and Freddy doing a live jam.

CRDS:  What is your main profession these days?, I notice that you have a great blog about tech things, music, movies and geek stuff (lol).

SH: True but still my title is 'Music Producer', if you walk into my office you can call it a studio, different now, mainly virtual studio using Apple Logic and lots of plug ins and soft synth but it's a more powerful studio than any I used to work in back in the day.

CRDS:  Do you still DJ out now and then?

SH: I stopped because the last gig I did a few years ago was going great until I looked over my shoulder and saw about 6 other DJ's lined up behind me waiting to go on after me, I can't work where I am expected to do a 15 min set and then make way for the next guy, I was used to working for hours at a time, usually the whole night start to finish so it's different now, that said I am going to be doing DJ mixes of 2-3 tracks mashups using Traktor which I just got along with the Kontrol X1 so i am looking forward to doing some new DJ mixes for radio and podcasting.

CRDS: Are you still involved with DMC?

SH: We are still great friends, I think Tony and Christine Prince are the most incredible people, for me I have more respect for them than most of the industry put together, DMC is an incredible organization, I have been a fan ever since Tony Prince walked into my gig in 1983 and told me all about his new idea, he kindly asked me to be part of it and gave me a copy of the second issue of Mix mag which had Shalamar on the cover and I still have it somewhere. Christine kindly helped me get my US Visa last year as well.

CRDS: Where are Tenor Fly, The Demon Boyz, B.O.O.M. and Hijack etc these days, do you ever see any of them Simon?

SH: I haven't spoken to Fly for a while, Mike J (Million Dan of Demon Boyz) and I are friends, also Kamanchi Sly of Hijack, all great guys and not forgetting the very talented MC Duke of course plus the rest of the Music of Life gang. I am very good friends with Chris Morgans who had the Thrashpack group we signed back in the day.

CRDS:  How do you feel about today's technology, do you use MP3's yourself and download music, or are you strictly a vinyl Man?

SH: No I don't have a turntable any more, I digitized just about everything including all my old 12 inch singles a while back, all the old tapes, videos ect and now have a big digital library, huge iTunes library of everything, all the old school hip hop and much more, the entire Music of Life catalog, I am very into new technology.

CRDS: Anything you would like to add?

SH: Thanks for your support and wishing everyone a successful and healthy 2011



Check out this dope UK site with lots of info about a lot of the artists and more mentioned here...


You can find a ton of rare UK Hip Hop at this dope blog and a lot more


CRDS Presents-Simon Harris/Music Of Life Select Tracks:
1-Hijack-Style Wars

2-Kobalt 60-Concrete Show

3-Derek B-Good Groove (Billy Beat Mix)

4-Da Hoodzmen-Runnin' Rampant


6-Simon Harris-Bass (How Low Can You Go) (Bomb The House Mix)

7-CJ Mackintosh & Einstein-The Tables Are Turning (Extended Mix)

8-MC Duke-I'm Riffin' (English Rasta)

9-B.O.O.M-Delivering The Answer

11-Demon Boyz-We Call Him DJ Devastate

12-First Frontal Assault-Bloodfire Assault 

13-EPMD-I'm Housin' (UK Mix)

14-Ice-T-Drama (Hi-Tech Mix)

15-Asher D & Daddy Freddy-Posse, Rock and Move

16-She-Rockers-Give It A Rest

17-Killa Instinct-No More Need For Whispering

18-Son of Noise-Son of Noise

19-Daddy Freddy-Haul and Pull (Bobby Konders Mix)

20-Hardnoise-Mice In The Presence of the Lion
21-Whodini-Friends (Mastermix)

Peace to Simon Harris and the Music of Life crew and thank you for reading.


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