Get To Know: Skream

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How did your love for music begin?

Through my older brother I guess, he was a Jungle DJ, Hijak. It kind of started at school I guess when I realised I wasn't into what everyone else was into; I was into football, but not massively. Just finding my own gap in the void of what I was actually into, I was into music. Don’t know how or why, that’s how it was. I started DJing when I was 11, my brother worked at Big Apple Records as well so I used to go there and look at records all day, it all started there.

 Skream with Benga at Big Apple Records in 2001

Skream with Benga at Big Apple Records in 2001

What were the first records you heard that made you think I want to do that?

First records I owned were garage records; I can’t remember the names of the first records I owned. The first records that were bought for me by my brother were ‘I Don’t Smoke Da Reefer’, Asher D – ‘Superman’ that garage record, but the first ones that made me want to make music would have been anything by Zed Bias, anything by LB and Artwork aswell, he used to do stuff under the name D&D. Yeah any of that early dark garage stuff, but to be fair I had started making music then anyway. It wasn’t long before the records I was hearing I started trying to make, it felt quite natural.

 

Can you tell us a bit about your thought process when shifting from producing Dubstep and your reasons for doing so?

It was a long time of lack of inspiration. I was working with dBridge and Instra:mental at the time who was Boddika and Jon Convex. Boddika started making the Boddika stuff around then. I’ve been buying house records since I was about 11-12, obviously the house and garage thing. Yeah it was a lack of inspiration and the music I found myself listening to or wanting to play more was around the 120 - 125 (bpm) mark and I didn’t make a record for 6 months and I was like this ain’t me. The complete transition was like two years in the making, that’s what a lot of people don’t realise. It wasn’t something that I was like right I’m going to do this now because of my position in Dubstep and how I was affiliated. Obviously being one of the first people to do it, it was gunna be a big thing. I didn’t realise how big it would become and how much it would be talked about when I changed. It wasn’t a thought process, more thinking how do I upset as little people as possible. I knew there would be a lot of people upset, I just didn’t realise how many.

 

 

What was the feedback you got from it?

Nobody knew what I was doing when I flipped, I didn’t really know completely where I was going, but I knew it wasn’t where I was. In England it was accepted a lot more. Online reaction... I can’t really judge it on that as there is arseholes online everyday.

 

 

Other countries?

America took a minute; some places, especially if I hadn’t been there, and it was my first time playing you get the obvious kid shouting Dubstep. Most people know now, I had a year of people screaming Dubstep at me or what not, but its all good now. People get it. People are aware that I’m not going to play Dubstep.

 

Being one of the pioneering figures in Dubstep how do you feel its going?

I’m really enjoying listening to it at the moment, like Youngsta, its gone underground again and I said this about 4 years ago. When it boomed I said it would fizzle out like the sheep getting involved. The mainstream buzz will fizzle out as it does, then it will revert back underground and I’m really glad it has done. There’s so many good producers like Kahn, Truth are still pushing it, Mala obviously, it’s really dark again and I listen to the Youngsta show all the time so I’m fully aware of what’s going on. Its in my blood, people think I’ve just stopped listening to it and that’s ridiculous, but I think its going good, its back where it needs to be.

 

 

Out of all tracks you’ve produced which one never fails at your gigs?

Well with the stuff I’m playing now, the only one I can say at the moment is ‘Bang That’. When I was playing Dubstep like the La Roux remix, tracks like Filth, Midnight Request Line, Oskillatah they were classics so whenever I played them they go down!

 

Personal favourite Dutch Flowerz…

Thank you. You know what musically it’s one of mine aswell.

 

Being someone that has such a broad taste in music, do you think having categorised genres that music fits into, restricts or limits the amount of music people will explore, or even think they like?

It can do, it depends how you listen to music. For the generation now, yeah it definitely does because its more like, oh I’m into this, rather than being into music and I know it sounds like a bit of cheesy answer but music is music. I think it’s the social element of being into one thing rather than everything which is a bad thing. You know like dress codes, if you go to a house rave people dress different than if you go to dubstep rave or a jungle rave. It’s the same when it was all fucking rock and fucking reggae years ago.

 

 

Take us through an average week for yourself?

If I’m at home I look after my son. I do radio, record my radio show, and then I’m on the road. I’m moving into a new studio tomorrow so the new thing of the week is I’m going to be making music again which I’m pretty excited for.

 

 

Any up and coming producers you tip to make it?

The thing is I used to say Route 94 but he’s made it now. Jasper James and Motions a new kid on my label, I got a new label coming out aswell called ‘Of Unsound Mind’.

When’s that going live?

Launching in May/June.

 

 

What can we expect from ‘Of Unsound Mind’?

The first release is an extremely deep fucking house record, but not like deep house its like a fucking melodic eight minute record that you need to listen to for six minutes to get to the best bit and I’ve got some really really good music lined up!

 Interview taken place before Skream's set at O2 Academy Oxford 18.4.14

Interview taken place before Skream's set at O2 Academy Oxford 18.4.14