1996-2000 The Idiots

We need to go back to mid 90s Manchester. Two MCs Z-9 (Zak,a grafitti writer cum mc) and Ash Trai (Matt,a percussionist cum sarcy lyricist) were writing Hip Hop tracks on the low. Manchester was and would never be ready for the deep sarcasm and B-boy wit they possessed. They were the 'most Hip Hop' kids in town, from the garms to the sounds, they were miles ahead of everything in Manchester at the time. And there was humour there- this is what attracted Chubby Grooves. Zak and Matt would buy the latest Kool Keith record or funk break at Fat City records where Chubby was working; so seeing them there and having been introduced by mutual friends the three began to hang out.

Around 96/97 Nanosphere Complex,as they were known, did a few support shows with Chubby spinning, for the Pharcyde and (should we even write this?? ha ha) Coolio (there,said it - times were tough!!) What usually happened was that the two would emcee the jam before and after the headline act, and more often than not get thrown out for being too crude on the mic. Chubby was impressed with the paradoxical combination of maturity and immaturity that was their distinctive style.


Nanosphere Complex worked with a host of Manchester producers but nothing was happening,either the producers were too gangsta or too stoned; no one really understood the complex steelo and the straight-faced piss-takes these goons were displaying. The boys then hooked up with a producer called Jay Glaze (then just known as Jake) through Hacienda owner Rob Gretton's label Rob's Records. Glaze had released an album and a few singles for Rob's Records under the name Strange Brew with another Manchester Dj/Producer Martin Fisher, known as Martin Brew. Brew at the time was still trading off the back of the StrangeBrew project while Glaze was looking for something new.  Zak, Matt and Jake began working on some demo's feeling a common anti-manchester-music-scene bond. The group formed became known as The Idiots (Z-9, ADHD and Jay Glaze).

Through a variety of Manchester contacts made over the previous 10 years on the club/Hip Hop scene, they found themselves, after one or 2 managers, working with ex Smith's manager Joe Moss, who was then managing Johnny Marr (The Smiths) and Bernard Sumner's (New Order) band Electronic. After chillin with The Idiots for a few years and watching their development, Chubby Grooves, wanting to see the true spirit of their work maintained through a potentially artistically crippling record deal, stepped up to jointly manage the project alongside Joe Moss. This wasnt always (ever?) a smooth ride. The two managers didn't see eye to eye on creative aspects, plus tensions were emerging within the group.

A few low key showcase gigs were played to record company execs and a 'prestiguous' NME review soon followed. It was at this point that Joe, his contact in Los Angeles and lawyer in New York arranged for The Idiots to fly out to Hollyweird for a meeting with Interscope president Jimmy Iovine. Behind the scenes Glaze had pulled out of the project. No one was getting on, the MCs were dissing each other and Glaze openly in the lyrics; it all got a bit Nasty Nas! The American trip went the same way. By the end the two MCs, friends for years, were not talking. The meeting with Jimmy Iovine was laughable. When asked if they wanted Dr Dre to produce for them they all said f*ck Dre, we have a producer, but the producer had just quit a few weeks before. No one wanted Dre producing,they wanted an underground sound. Possibly a huge mistake!!?!!