What with his imenent appearance at AKA almost upon us we decided to have a chat with SLACKK aka Paul via email about Grime vs Funky, his recent Numbers release and errr…. Capeoira. Here’s what happened:
Q: First time I got to know about you was a post on Dan Hancox and Bok
Bok’s Lower End Spasm blog on your Eski House mix – how did that come
about? Did they ask you to put the mix together our did they just pick
up on it?
A: To be honest I asked them to put the mix up. I’d been making these grime influenced tunes for a while and passing them to a few DJs here and there, Jackmaster being one of them, and he arranged the Fire Flies/Peru 12″ off the back of all that. I’d known Dan & Alex for a while via raves and just generally talking shit about music, so we sorted out the idea of me doing this mix as promo for the 12″. The timing didn’t really work out as it happened because the vinyl had pressing issues but that was the idea behind it. That’s another story though.
Q: Obviously you’ve been around in the music scene for a lot longer than
that mixtape – you were instrumental in http://www.grimetapes.com/ – a
fantastic archive of pirate radio Grime and other ‘nuum centric mixes.
how long have you been into Grime, and what do you feel about the
state of Grime in 2011? Was your move to South London an attempt to
get closer to the heart of Grime?
A: Er, I’ve been into grime for I don’t even know how long. First moved down here from Liverpool at the end of 2002 and I was really young and clueless about most things really. Picked up on grime from there because well, it was ubiquitous on the pirates at the time and was just a really vital sound. It just kind of found me I guess.
A lot of people are always ready to label grime as being dead or irrelevant these days but it’s never really went away for me. I think it’s in quite a healthy state coming into the start of the year actually; it’s swung back towards being an instrumental led scene as opposed the little mixtape era we had, and there are a lot of promising producers and good music being made. I’ve got a couple of mates running grime labels in Oil Gang & Butterz and they’re selling well, putting out good music. I dunno, grime’s one of those scenes that just keeps running along whether you like it or not, and I think there’s a lot to be said for that kind of mentality.
Living in South London has nothing to do with grime or anything really, it’s more a matter of it’s cheaper to live there than most of London, there’s less twats and good food. Can’t ask for more than that.
Q: Obviously your brand of house music bears comparison to the grimier
edges of Uk Funky – Lil Silva is the first name that comes to mind,
having been around for so long, though Jam City, Bok Bok & Spooky are
all doing great things between the two genres. How big an influence
is this kind of Funky on your productions? Obviously it’s easy to
hear Grime too in your tunes, specifically the sounds of producers
like early Geeneus, DJ Oddz, Wiley, Jon E Cash – which would you say
is more important to you?
A: I always find it difficult to try and categorise influences frankly, Ben. I guess you pick up on the things that you listen to the most and I do listen to grime more than house, but that’s possibly just because I’ve got so much of it. I do prefer the ideology and aggression of grime though, there’s a lot to be said for the upfront nature of the music which isn’t always apparent in funky. Really though I just do me; I think in my earlier stuff (as some people who’ve heard it will attest to) there were certainly attempts to try and emulate the early funky sound but these days, nah. I’m frankly just trying to recreate the sound palette of grime at 130 these days, make things as bass led and odd as I can.
Q: You’re closely linked with the Wifey LDN crew – which by the way is a
wicked night, taking place at Dalston’s Alibi, blending Grime,
Bassline and hard Funky to great effect. How did you get involved
with Wifey & when’s the next night?
A: It’s weird, the Wifey thing, because I knew Ralph (one of the promoters) long before I knew what Wifey was or that he was involved in it. I used to do Capeoira a few years ago- during a brief health-conscious period, long since dissipated- and Ralph used to go to the same classes, he was a lot better than me, and plays the Berimbau as well, all that shit. Anyway I stopped all that ages ago and then around the time of the Eskihouse mix he got in touch with me, primarily about the mix etc, and we realised we’d known eachother for time. Really odd.
Wifey is great though, really do love the night. It’s gone monthly now, every 3rd Friday, and I’m playing the January one alongside DJ Q & R1 Ryders.
Q: I was really pleased to see you guesting with the Wifey crew on Marcus
Nasty’s Rinse show, although a little bit suprised in a way, as I seem
to remember Nasty, alongside the Circle crew, being one of the most
vocal in the Funky scene against any kind of grimey side to the music
– wanting instead to make a completely fresh start, away from the
mistakes that they saw the Grime scene as having made.. Has Nasty come
around to the possibilities of grimey house?
A:Nah I think you’re getting your wires crossed here slightly- the stuff Marcus was bemoaning was more the abundance of MC tracks that were coming through from “failed” grime MCs as opposed to Circle’s avowed hatred of anything that didn’t fit into their dubbage aesthetic. I don’t really agree with the latter but that doesn’t matter too much.
The Rinse thing was a great look for me though, and I really did fucking enjoy it to be honest. It’s a different kind of vibe, being in there, bouncing off the energy of the MCs and well, being part- however briefly- of the most vibrant station in the city. Was a big moment for me, that. I know in theory I’m meant to be really nonchalant about it but I’m not, it was mental.
Q: What are your favourite tracks to play out at the moment and which
artists are you most excited about in the coming year?
A: To be honest I don’t know the names of anything. Generally if I get a tune and like it enough to burn it to CD I write down something to remind me of the tune as opposed to what it’s actually called. I know that’s stupid but that’s what happens. That does mean I end up calling tunes by completely different names but I know what they are so who cares.
Really think Damu’s going to be the one to watch next year to be honest. He’s got a couple of twelves coming on Local Action and Silverback and they’re both brilliant. Grimewise I think you need to watch out for Deset, he’s coming out with some of the best stuff I’ve heard in a long time. So aggressive and mental.
Q: Finally your Numbers EP has had a really great response, with Wiley
sampling ‘Fire Flies’ being one of the bigger tunes of last year for
me, and your self released Eski Clicks tune was equally large.
However judging by your mixes and soundcloud, and the constant stream
of dubs you send over, these two releases are just the tip of the
iceberg… When and how can we expect more Slackk releases?
A: Yeah, I make a lot of stuff. Some of it’s shit but whatever, that’s part of the process. As for releases, I’ve got a split 12″ coming on my mate’s label late February/early March, that’s next. My tune’s called Synthetics and the B side is by this lad called Hervey Jenkins, a real garage throwback kind of thing. After that I’ve got a few remixes coming and a second release on Numbers towards the middle of the year.
Got some stuff coming with MCs as well but trying not to talk about that too much to be honest. You’ll hear some of it in Brighton though.
Big ups to Slackk for answering our questions and don’t miss him alongside Brackles b2b Braiden and Sbtrkt at Life this friday…. Plus one final interview incoming later in the week.