I was surprised to not find more information on the web about the brilliant but short-lived UK progressive house label, Skinnymalinky, and its artist collective, Beat Foundation. The imprint was founded by 6 foot 8 inch, Yorkshire-born Andy Cato (born Andrew Cocup), who was taught to play piano and trombone by his father, a professional jazz musician. In 1987, Andy won Yorkshire’s Young Jazz Musician of the Year award and would go on to graduate from Oxford University. Introduced to acid house by his cousin, Andy took up DJing and tried his hand at production with a piano house track, “Get The Music.” After selling out the initial white label pressing, Andy secured a proper release on Rumour Records in 1992 under the alias Seventh Sense.
Cato adopted the name Big C and set up Skinnymalinky Records in London at the end of 1994. Produced by Big C and Anselm Guise as Mothers Pride, “Floribunda” became Skinnymalinky’s first release in 1995. Looking to create unique sounds, Cato sought out like-minded collaborators with similar musical backgrounds. Mike Mukhopadhyay, also a classically trained musician, had learned piano, saxophone, and bassoon while growing up, playing the latter in the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. He completed a music degree at The Queen’s College Oxford and then moved to London in 1994. Andy and Mike recorded Skinny’s next single as Fatback Boogaloo.
Enter Dan Hewson, who like Cato played piano and trombone and is a fellow Oxford grad, and like Mukhopadhyay was a member of the National Youth Orchestra. Dan’s father is producer, arranger, and conductor Richard Anthony Hewson, who has provided his talents to many popular artists, including The Beatles, The Bee Gees, James Taylor, Diana Ross, and Herbie Hancock. When Andy, Mike, and Dan formed Beat Foundation, the trio started making some real magic, with productions punctuated by funky basslines, epic builds, and cascading pianos. Other artists on the Skinny roster included Rumpus, Yekuana, and future house star Sander Kleinenberg. Dan Hewson’s father also released a single under his alias as RAH Band.
While continuing to produce material and remixes as Big C and with Beat Foundation, Cato connected with Alex Whitcombe to become Qattara in 1996, following a collaboration issued on Skinny the same year. The duo released their productions through Whitcombe’s Steel Fish imprint; after their first single was licensed by Positiva, requests for remixes soon followed. Meanwhile, Mike Mukhopadhyay was creating tracks and remixes with Simeon Friend as Distant Drums, and Dan Hewson released a solo single on Skinny as Dan Factory Spook.
In 1997, Andy Cato initiated a new venture with Tom Findlay which began as a club night, then became a series of parties, and eventually the two started recording as Groove Armada. Andy and Tom would find great success with this project, scoring huge hits in 1999 with their singles, “At The River” and “I See You Baby.”
To better focus on Groove Armada, Cato shut down Skinnymalinky in 1998, and a remixed re-release of “Shelter” licensed to VC Recordings became Beat Foundation’s swan song. Cato also bowed out of Qattara, but recommended Mike Mukhopadhyay (now Mike Marshall) to carry on in his stead with Whitcombe. In addition to Qattara, Alex and Mike released material as Altura and Blonde L. In 2000, Mike Marshall rechristened himself once more as Mike Monday, and strongly established his new identity via a string of top-notch singles and remixes.
Dan Hewson joined Jerry Bouthier and Simon Grainger to form Electrique Boutique in 1998, scoring a hit with their single, “Revelation.” Later, Hewson would collaborate with Paul Dakeyne as Hyperkarma and also provide string arrangements for productions by Groove Armada. He now produces traditional jazz with numerous collaborators between the UK and Portugal.
In 2002, Gusto Records acquired the Skinnymalinky back catalog for a reissue project that never came to fruition. One single was ultimately released—new remixes of Beat Foundation’s “Save Me” by Mike Monday and John Johnson.
Andy Cato, Mike Monday, and Dan Hewson all continue to produce music of quality and distinction.
After the letter prefix, the first three digits signify the sequential release order and the last two digits indicate the year of issue.
SMR00195 Mothers Pride “Floribunda”
SMR00295 Fatback Boogaloo “Wide Open Spaces”
SMR00395 Beat Foundation “Save Me”
SMR00495 Mothers Pride “Nightflight”
SMR00596 Various “The Green EP”
SMR00696 Rumpus “Feel Free”
SMR00796 Big C “Daylight”
SMR00896 Yekuana “Sarawak”
SMR00996 Beat Foundation “Shelter EP” (Part 1)
SMR01096 Beat Foundation “Shelter EP” (Part 2)
SMR01196 Alex Whitcombe “Ice Rain”
SMR01296 RAH Band “Living For The Nightlife”
SMR01396 Dan Factory Spook “Same Old Acid, Same Old Lies”
SMR01496 Sander “Save The…”
SMR01597 Rumpus “Atacama”
SMR01697 Yekuana “Canis Loopus”
SMR01797 Beat Foundation “Virginia”
SMR01897 Vadis “Past And Present”
SMR01997 Beat Foundation “Foundations II”
SMR02097 Satellite “Early Bird”
MALINKY GROOVES Discography
MGR00196 Malinky Grooves Volume 1 (6 Feet Under/Boomer)
MGR00296 Malinky Grooves Volume 2 (Brainchild/Hide & Skin)
MGR00397 Malinky Grooves Volume 3 (Life According To Bozo)