Having grown up on the golden era of hip-hop and having a love of breaks in general I knew The Mohawks, in particular their late sixties track The Champ as a break from the likes of Afrika Bambaataa, Big Daddy Kane, DJ Shadow and just about anybody who was of note during that time. Even jazz legend Miles Davis sampled it for Fantasy on the Doo Boop album. It was up there with The Winstons Amen Brother, James Brown’s The Funky Drummer and Lynn Collins Think in terms of the impact it had on sampling.
What I didn’t realise at the time was that The Mohawks were a band of British session musicians. There are some interesting comments in the interview:
- The musicians had made no money from the sampling of the tracks (I guess its likely that the record labels and publishing companies keep royalties received to themselves)
- As session musicians, the tracks were created on an industrial scale going from session-to-session churning out recordings
- The Champ was recorded in one take which is unusual for a studio recording
- There is a nice circular reference in that The Champ references Otis Redding’s Tramp
- Their discussion on how technological change has affected music creation over the past four decades
The video is on YouTube so may not be visible to all readers.