Mr. Scruff is the recording name of Andy Carthy (born in 1972 in Macclesfield, England), a British DJ and artist. He is a native of Stockport, England and studied Fine Art at the Sheffield College of Art.
His DJ name was inspired by his scruffy facial hair, as well as his trademark loose-lined drawing style. He has been DJing since 1994, at first in and around Manchester then nationwide in the United Kingdom. He is known for DJing in marathon sets (often exceeding six hours), his eclectic musical taste, his love of a "nice cup of tea" and the quirky home-produced visuals and animations that are projected on large screens during his gigs.
Scruff's debut 12", Hocus Pocus
was released on the small Manchester-based label, Robs Records
. Subsequent singles and his debut album, Mr. Scruff
followed, released on Robs Records subsidiary, Pleasure Records
. After a brief stint working with Mark Rae
, he moved to the larger Ninja Tune
label, and subsequently released the albums Keep It Unreal
and Trouser Jazz
His most notable hit "Get a Move On" is built around "Bird's Lament (In Memory of Charlie Parker)" by Moondog. and has been used in several commercials ranging from Lincoln and Volvo automobiles to France Télécom and GEICO insurance. The song also samples Shifty Henry's "Hyping Woman Blues" and led to a renewal of interest in Henry's compositions.
All of his albums contain tracks about fish, whales and other sea-life, which cut up recordings of voiceovers from children's stories and nature documentaries to create surreal and silly stories. His album artwork and music videos are noted for their whimsical cartoonish look; the cartoons are drawn by Scruff himself, in what he calls "potato style." Scruff also drew cartoons for music magazines such as Jockey Slut in the 1990s.
In 2004, Mr Scruff released Keep It Solid Steel Volume 1, the first of what is intended to be a series of several DJ-mixed compilation CDs for Ninja Tune's Solid Steel series of artist mixes. These mixes are designed to recreate the eclectic genres one would expect to hear at a Mr. Scruff club night. In November 2006, Ninja Tune confirmed that the 8th Solid Steel record would be mixed by J Rocc and the 9th would be Volume 2 from Mr. Scruff. Other Solid Steel mixes have been released by fellow Ninja Tune artists including The Herbaliser, Hexstatic, DJ Food and Amon Tobin.
He has a wide array of remixes to his name, and has also produced tracks for others — notably "Echo of Quiet and Green" for sometime-collaborator Niko for her 2004 album Life on Earth. Niko returned the favour, appearing on the track "Come Alive" from the Trouser Jazz album.
Having performed regularly at The Big Chill Festival in Eastnor Castle deer park, Ledbury, Herefordshire, he was asked in 2006 to select the tracks for their compilation album, Big Chill Classics.. He has also often provided a Tea Tent at the Big Chill, and produced his own range of teapots, teabags and other tea-drinking paraphernalia.
July 2008 saw the release of Southport Weekender Volume 7, a double album released in the Southport Weekender series, recorded in a purpose-built holiday village in Southport, Merseyside. The first disc was mixed by German nu jazz DJ's Jazzanova, and the second was mixed by Mr. Scruff. Scruff's contribution is a mix of soul music..
Mr. Scruff is scheduled to release several singles in 2008, followed by a new album Ninja Tuna in October 2008. These will be released on a new label, Ninja Tuna, a collaboration between Scruff and the Ninja Tune label.
Mix and compilation albums
- Hocus Pocus (Robs Records, March 1995)
- The Frolic EP Part 1 (Pleasure Music, September 1995)
- The Frolic EP Part 2 (Pleasure Music, February 1996)
- Limbic Funk (Pleasure Music, 29 July 1996)
- Large Pies EP (Cup of Tea Records, April 1997)
- Is it Worth it? (Grand Central Records, June 1997)
- Pigeon (Echo Drop, June 1997)
- Chipmunk / Fish / Happy Band (Ninja Tune, February 1998)
- Get a Move on (Ninja Tune, May 1999)
- Honeydew (Ninja Tune, November 1999)
- Get a Move on / Ug (re-release, Ninja Tune, August 2001)
- Beyond / Champion Nibble (Ninja Tune, 23 September 2002)
- Shrimp! (Ninja Tune, May 2002)
- Sweetsmoke (Ninja Tune, December 2002)
- Sweetsmoke Remixes (Ninja Tune, April 2003)
- Giffin (Ninja Tune, 20 October 2003)
- Chicken in a Box / Spandex Man (Ltd edition, Ninja Tune, 11 April 2005)
- Donkey Ride / Giant Pickle (Ninja Tuna 01) (Ninja Tune, 12 May, 2008)
- Kalimba / Give Up To Get (Ninja Tuna 02) (Ninja Tune, 14 July, 2008)
- Music Takes Me Up (Ninja Tuna 03) (Ninja Tune, 15 September, 2008)
Mr. Scruff with...
- DJ Spooky – "Murderah Style" appeared on the compilation album Tribal Gathering 96 (Universe, 1996)
- Mark Rae – "How Sweet It Is" and "Gotta Have Her" both appeared on the compilation album Central Heating (Grand Central Records, 25 November 1996)
- Tony D – "Flavour" featuring Mark Rae, Mark 1 and Mr. Scruff, from the album Pound For Pound (Grand Central Records, 15 September 1997)
- Mark Rae – "The Squirrel" appeared on the compilation album Central Heating 2 (Grand Central Records, 17 April 2000)
- Peter Nice Trio vs. Mr. Scruff – "Harp Of Gold" from the compilation album Out Patients (Hospital Records, 30 May 2000)
- Fingathing – "Just Practice" featuring Mr. Scruff, from the album The Main Event (Grand Central Records, 20 November 2000)
- Quantic – "It's Dancing Time" from the compilation album Shapes One (Tru Thoughts, 2003)
- Quantic – "Giraffe Walk" from Quantic's album, One Off's Remixes and B Sides (Tru Thoughts, 6 February 2006)
- Swell Sessions – "No No" from the album Swell Communications (2007)
- Mr. Scruff and Quantic – "Donkey Ride" (Ninja Tune, 12 May 2008)
- Last segment called "Full Circle" from documentary movie Scratch features Spandex Man with various extra samples added.
- Episodes of the hit UK TV comedy show Spaced featured the tracks "Spandex Man", "Chipmunk" and "Blackpool Roll" from the Keep It Unreal album.
- "Spandex Man" was also used on the BBC series Top Gear and is often used on The Real Hustle on BBC Three.
- The song "Ug" from the album Trouser Jazz is used in numerous Weebl and Bob cartoons, including the very first one entitled "Pie". The pie as a motif later recurred in one of Scruff's videos (Sweetsmoke).
- "Get a Move On" was used in a Volvo commercial and subsequently used for ads for Lincoln automobiles, the BBC for snooker highlights, Bargain Hunt and in The Apprentice, and the Adio Footwear in the skateboarding video One Step Beyond for Kenny Anderson's part. It was also chosen by Victoria Wood as one of her eight favourite records on Desert Island Discs.
- "Blackpool Roll" was used in New Zealand by television network TV ONE as background music as part of their branded channel advertising and show listings.
- "Spandex Man" features in and is used on the DVD Menu of the film SW9 and the film "Gumball Rally 3000".
- "Fish" was used by Nexus Productions for the Virgin Atlantic safety video, which features the voices of Vic Reeves and Dani Behr.
- "Fish" was also used by Reuters Thompson for their UK Customer Service hold music