Life on the cutting edge...
In 30 years, Cutting has never been out of the DJ's crate or off the turntable, and the buzz really never stopped -- starting with Cutting's very first release , Hashim's undisputed classic "Al-Naafiysh (The Soul)", right up to the cutting edge dance records and compilations released by the company every month.
A Family Business Goes Worldwide
Cutting's co-founder Aldo Marin brought a family business based in New York's Washington Heights together with ambition and the passion for dance music: "I was 20 years old at the time...I was DJing on WKTU, doing the Paco super mixes, and the custom music mixes for about three years. I started out of my Brother Amado’s record store when I was about ten years old”. Like so many of dance music's movers and shakers, DJing was Marin's first step into the professional side of music. "I was spinning records since I was 12 years old. My family wanted me to go to college, I wanted to concentrate on music, but I didn't know in which direction. I couldn't play an instrument. I got popular DJing about six months after I got out of high school. Being on the radio, it escalated to a certain point where I really had good connections, between my brother and the record store, with distributors and the radio station, accessing the masses with my mixes. I told my brother one day, 'Look, I want to start a record company. Are you in or not?' He said, Yeah, I'll back it up financially.'"
Jerry Calliste, Jr. p/k/a Hashim was a budding musician from the nearby housing projects who "used to come around with one of those small Casio keyboards and play songs that were out at the time. One day, we were experimenting at my house and did a mix with a lot of the melodies from a lot of different songs put together. I told him, 'Man, let's make a record! I'll get the gear, I'll buy the a drum machine, keyboard, and a mixing board,' and 'Al-Naafiysh' was born...it's still selling today, a 26-year-old record."
Cutting Records Takes Off and Moves in All Directions
Like so many businesses, even the proprietors didn't know they had a going concern until the company was in flight. "We didn't know until six months later that we were really in the record business. We just started really small; we ran it out of the record store the first year, selling to the people who sold records to us. People started calling us from Texas, from England...it was incredible, we started getting calls from all over the world, and we said, 'Wow, this is really working!' The record “Al-Naafiysh (The Soul)” really took six months to really take off. We got it on the radio in about six months, WKTU played it on rotation.
“Back then we would put out a single every three months. It was really just four singles a year, but we really got to concentrate on them. The second was the Imperial Brothers, 'We Come to Rock', then Hi-Fidelity Three 'B-Boys Breakdance', we got the Latin Rascals to do their first edit on a record, which was a big thing. Whiz Kid did scratches on the Imperial Brothers, so we got recognition because he was on Tommy Boy at the time. We wanted to show versatility, that we could do different types of music. It worked out, a lot of DJs backed us up, Red Alert, Afrika Bambaataa, DNA were helping us out as well. We weren’t a rap label but we did get much respect from all the key players."
Cutting's first big musical turning point came with the fusion of romantic teenage melodies with the hard beats that came out of rap. Aldo explains: "With our ex-partner Hashim the first couple of years, we did a lot of the electro kind of music, but I also wanted to expand into what was better known as Freestyle, so my brother and I bought him out since he wasn’t much into the genre. Soon after, Sa-Fire’s ‘Don’t Break My Heart' became our first freestyle record. We were going straight-up hard dance-pop. Then came Nitro Deluxe “Let’s Get Brutal”, Giggles' 'Love Letter' and Corina's 'Out of Control', and there began our streak of success, we placed our big stamp that showed people, boom, this is what we're doing and this is how we're going about it. It was definitely a turning point and not just freestyle because 'Let's Get Brutal' was very much on the underground house tip and went commercial in Europe.
"We went on to the Concept of One with Tony Moran, which featured Brenda K. Starr and Noel. At the same time, we were doing records like ‘Wiggle It' by 2 In A Room, which were not considered freestyle, 'Do What You Want', those kind of records. I didn't want to be just one dimensional. I believe good music is good music regardless of genre, it could happen no matter what label you're on or anything like that. Nowadays, record executives prefer doing certain labels for certain styles of music. We have had tremendous success in various types of genres over the years like in the Urban Latino field with international hits like “Guallando” and “La Novela “ by Grammy nominated artist Fulanito, “Tumba La Casa” by Sancocho, “La Bandera” by The Vargas Brothers and “Mi Gatita y Yo” by Las Guanabanas and Daddy Yankee to name a few”.
Cutting Records' Three Phases of Life...to be continued!
There are some truths that will never change, whatever business you may be in. "Every day you still learn, no matter what," notes Aldo. "No matter how long you're in the business, you'll still be learning because you can't really be taught; it's gotta be trial and error, bumping your head against the wall several times before really achieving anything. It's constantly changing. The way we market records now is different because there's so many boundaries now: this is rap, this is hardhouse, underground house, and this is vocal house. Back when we started it was all about the good music. The original 92 KTU (New York) use to go from straight-up R&B to a France Joli (Dance) record and I don't know if they could do that now. There are too many negatives.
"In the 90’s, we were putting out a fair amount of house records ( Masters At Works "I Can't Get No Sleep" feat. India and Kathy Brown's "Can't Play Around" among the notable hits) because we were influenced by Hot 103, which then became Hot 97, they were playing a lot of our dance records like on the pop tip, Corina’s 'Temptation', Coro’s “Where Are You Tonight”, but soon after that we went through another turning point, when freestyle disappeared from New York radio and at other dance stations across the country and only one or two Freestyle records were programmed yearly, so we had to come up with different ways to keep the label afloat during that time. We did it through licensing; for example, the 2 In A Room album at that time, called World Party, the 740 Boyz turned into a huge record in France; 'Shimmy Shake’, the first 740 Boyz single went gold in 1997. It sold 120,000 in Germany and close to 300,000 in France”.
In the late 90’s and well into the new millennium, Cutting continued its multi-cultural diversity in music spawning a decade of Urban Latin successes that introduced Reggaeton into the NY airwaves with the hit by Las Guanabanas/Daddy Yankee “Mi Gatita”, and Urbano classics “Guallando”, “La Novela” and “El Padrino” by Grammy nominated group Fulanito, international hit “Tumba La Casa” by Sancocho and Grammy nominated Chico Malo.
Cutting Records remains determined to overcome the current difficult climate that faces the music industry with the same passion and focus on the music that has kept people around the globe dancing for nearly 30 years….
Chart Highlights at a Glance
RECORD LABEL CHART HISTORY
THE BILLBOARD 200
DEBUT PEAK WEEKS ARTIST
DATE POSITION CHARTED Album Title
2 IN A ROOM
Dec.8,1990 151 6 Wiggle It
Sept.17,1988 79 40 Sa-Fire
DEBUT PEAK WEEKS ARTIST
DATE POSITION CHARTED TITLE
2 IN A ROOM
Oct. 6, 1990 15 22 Wiggle It
April 30, 1994 86 6 El Trago (The Drink)
May 18, 1991 6 14 Temptation
Sept. 28, 1991 51 6 Whispers
July 13, 1991 54 6 My Fallen Angel
Jan. 25, 1992 47 14 What Goes Around...
Sept. 24, 1988 48 16 Boy, I've Been Told
Feb. 4, 1989 12 24 Thinking Of You
June 24, 1989 71 7 Gonna Make It
Jan. 27, 1990 88 9 There's A Party Going On
BILLBOARD SPOTLIGHT: Independent Labels And Distributors At NARM `94
Top Indie Dance Singles Top Indie Dance Label
Pos. TITLE-Artist Pos. LABEL (No. Of Charted Albums)
6 I CAN'T GET NO SLEEP 9 CUTTING RECORDS (1)
Masters At Work Featuring India
BILLBOARD SPOTLIGHT: Independent Labels And Distributors At NARM `95
Top Indie Dance Maxi - Singles Sales
13 EL TRAGO (the drink) - 2 In A Room
BILLBOARD - THE YEAR IN MUSIC
LABEL (No. Of Charted Singles) END ISSUE YEAR - CATEGORY
CUTTING (6) 1991 - Top Dance Sales Label
BILLBOARD - THE YEAR IN MUSIC
Pos. TITLE - Artist END ISSUE YEAR - CATEGORY
46 EL TRAGO (THE DRINK) - 2 In A Room 1994 - Hot Dance Music Maxi-Singles Sales
12 I CAN'T GET NO SLEEP - Masters At Work f/ India 1993 - Hot Dance Music Club Play Singles
6 TEMPTATION - Corina 1991 - Top Dance Sales 12-Inch Singles
34 WIGGLE IT - 2 In A Room 1991 - Top Dance Sales 12-Inch Singles
43 WIGGLE IT - 2 In A Room 1990 - Top Dance Sales 12-Inch Singles
96 THINKING OF YOU - Sa-Fire 1989 - Top Pop Singles
BILLBOARD - THE YEAR IN MUSIC
Pos. ARTIST (No. Of Charted Singles) END ISSUE YEAR - CATEGORY
24 MASTERS AT WORK Featuring INDIA (1) 1993 - Hot Dance Music Club Play Artist
11 CORINA (2) 1991 - Top Dance Sales Artist
18 2 IN A ROOM (2) 1990 - Top Dance Club Play Artist
76 SA-FIRE (3) 1989 - Top Pop Singles Artist
21 SA-FIRE (3) 1989 - Top Pop Singles Artists - Female