Wednesday, April 30, 2008

FWD>> Sunday sessions

FWD First ever flyer

On the 25th of May, FWD>> relaunches as a Sunday session. In echoes of dubstep’s founding club’s earlier incarnation at Velvet Rooms, the night will run Sunday sessions’ at Plastic People.

The first Sunday line up will be a tribute to the inaugural FWD>>. Playing on May 25th and selecting music from that first session onwards, will be Youngsta, Hatcha, Oris Jay, Benny Ill and Slimzee. FWD>> will also be re-issuing the first flyer, for old times sake.

Speaking to FWD>> management, there’s a real buzz about the change of times, a sense, echoed in the enthusiasm of headz that have heard the news, that the move returns the club to it’s roots.

There’s been many phases of FWD>>. I remember the first one in 2001 at the Velvet Rooms clearly. I’d been on at El-B to start a club night to showcase his sound, but the Ghost Camp were never one for organising things. It took people like Soulja and Neil Joliffe to step up. Not realising most people would be on “garage time,” I arrived far too early, only to find a club mostly populated by the bar staff. But by the end Velvet Rooms was full. I recall euphorically standing in the middle of the dancefloor, trying to convey my enthusiasm to Neil that they’d actually pulled it off. With Ghost arguably at the height of their powers, the night peaked with Jay Da Flex’ set.

By the time FWD>> moved to Plastic People things had changed. UK garage as a movement had imploded and the club began to go it’s own way. Months would go by with the dance floor barren, such that when the club began to feel full, people would enthuse about there being oooh, 40 people there. This is even before the term “dubstep” itself, back when people talked about “the Forward sound,” which meant the confluence of dark 2step/4x4, breakbeat garage and proto-grime.

What united those nights and undoubtedly kept them alive, was a sense that it was by the scene, for the scene. People came down, got to know people became inspired, went away, made beats, shared them with the DJs and heard them tested over that amazing system. It was dubplate culture at it’s finest: and look at the results.

But in the scene around FWD>>, things changed. Instead of being the only dubstep club, anywhere, it’s now just one of many in London alone. The DJs it supported, from Hatcha to Youngsta, Mark One to Plastician, Kode9 to Skream, have all gone on to become international DJs, such that hanging out together is harder when everyone’s booked for Japan or Glastonbury.

Sunday Sessions at FWD>> should change all that, stop the disinterested passing traffic and random City shirtboys and encourage the headz to pass by. I for one will be there.

FWD Flyer May 08 front

FWD>> also return to The End on the 23rd of May. The lineup is pretty large, personal highlights include a Martyn 2 hour set, Ghetto, Appleblim, TRG and the chance to see more dubstep fans looking baffled by funky. He he heh.

FWD Flyer May 08 back

Wot do u call it? Wonky...


Wonky: pronunciation [wong-kee] –adjective, -ki•er, -ki•est.

1. British Slang.
a. shaky, groggy, or unsteady.
b. unreliable; not trustworthy.

2. Musical flavour - *not* a genre - transcending multiple scenes in summer 2008, characterised by an outbreak of unstable midrange synths.

As summer 2008 approaches, a theme emerges across myriad existing genres: the mid-range is being hijacked by offkilter synths that are about to explode. Crossing hip hop, hyphy, grime, chip tunes, dubstep, crunk and electro, one flavour unites a network of exciting sounds. Wot do u call it? Wonky.

Read my Pitchfork Wonky special which features Rustie, Hudson Mohawke, Quarta 330, Ikonika, Darkstar, Zomby, Flying Lotus, Samiyam, Starkey, Dev79, Joker, Guido, Gemmy, Pinch and Trim.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Rinse April pt 2

Rinse FM


This week we return to our monthly Rinse show, tonight 11pm-1am. Add the station to MSN

You can still download last week's show from the Rinse podcast (via iTunes) or from the Rinse blog here. You can still download the February show here.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Usually bubble?

Blackdown: So Wiley’s “Wearing My Rolex” has become the first tune featuring a grime artist to be signed to a major is ages. The dance to it and your follow up “Rolex Sweep” has become a YouTube phenomenon. Tell me about how “Rolex Sweep” came about?

Skepta: “It’s about girls taking a guy’s Rolex and she starts dancing with it. Wiley’s saying he can give his girl the Rolex and I’m saying she starts to do the Rolex sweep with it.”

B: You seemed to move really quickly on this one…

S: “Yeah. Because it’s getting noticed so quickly we’re figuring out what’s the best way to release it. We jumped a bit ahead.”

B: Tell me about the dance to “Rolex Sweep,” because people know about the dances in hip hop, with Soulja Boy in the states have been dance moves with hip hop tracks, but that hasn’t been the case with grime much. So how did you decide to do it in grime?

S: “A lot of the time a lot of ideas come from having fun, laughing and joking. I said to Wiley why did you make “Wearing My Rolex” and he said “y’know, sometimes you’re in a club and you’re talking to a girl and you’re so drunk that she might say ‘oh let me wear your rolex’ and said “yeah and you give it to her and she goes to the bar and tries to show it off to the bartender and she starts dancing with it and stuff,” and he was like “yeah, the Rolex sweep” and that was it. We just started dancing.”

“We, people in the UK, have been dancing since like, the ‘90s, it’s not nothing new. I’ve always seen people doing weird dances in house raves, funky house and bassline raves. There was in grime, people use to do the little gunfinger skank in raves, but people stopped now because it’s really MC-based, the scene now. But before there was dancing, so we just thought ‘yeah man, let’s just do a dance.’ Obviously Soulja Boy’s just come out but we’re gonna play on that in the promoting of the track.”

B: The thing is a lot of other grime MCs take themselves very seriously, and I don’t know if they would have allowed themselves to be seen to dance. What makes you different?

S: “The way I see it – I was having this conversation with Wiley the other day – I think a lot of us, as artists, forget we’re the pioneers of the music. The kids have just come along and grown up on grime and they’re really narrow minded about things and they think an MC is supposed to be a specific way. He’s supposed to wear a specific hat and dress a specific way.

“It’s like I wrote a lyric the other day about making money, a track called “Over the Top,” and at the end of the track I say “I’m not saying I’m a rich man or a bather, just saying go get money…”. And everyone seems to have commented “ah Skepta think’s he’s gangsta because he’s making money, he’s talking like he’s rich, and he’s not even rich” and I actually said on the track “‘I’m not saying I’m rich I’m just saying, get money.’”

“They’re really naive about things: in the music you’re not allowed to talk about money, clothes, wearing your own Boy Betta Know T-shirt. They want us to talk about guns and fights and shanks and clashing for the whole thing. So I don’t really see myself like that and I try not to care what people say, and I just do me and live how I want to live.”

“When me and my friends go out, we’re always dancing. No one can call me fake because if you go to a funky house or grime rave and a song came on, you will see me and about 15 of our friends doing loads of different dances. That’s just what we do man, so I just wanted to incorporate it. My music: I just wanted to show me. That’s what it’s about.”

B: You recently played to an audience of 5,000 at the 1Xtra Live event. How did that feel?

S: “Yeah, it was a bit scary man. I’ve done shows like that but I’ve never done them in England before, they’ve been abroad. I did one in Brussels with 4,000 people but they don’t really understand you properly and you’re not up against Akon or Chris Brown in Brussels so being up against them in England and knowing they’re gonna watch it back on YouTube I was a bit nervous.”

“But the butterflies are in my stomach when I’m not on stage and that’s the weirdest thing about it. When I’m behind the stage and they’re saying “Alright Skepta, you ready? Ready? Going on in one minute…” That point there is when I’m so scared. But as soon as I say my first word on the microphone – “yeah” “yo” – then I’m gone, I’m in my own world and I just think to myself and put on a show for them.”

B: One of the frustrations for the grime scene is that in general it is not allowed on those stages. How do you feel about the fact that now electro tune “Rolex Sweep” comes along, suddenly the doors open…

S: “We have to realise that the people that make our style of music we’re not the majority of the country, we’re a small minority of what the country listens to and what’s on the radio at the moment and what Radio 1 is supporting. They’ve got a reputation to live up to and music to play and they’ve got certain target amount of listeners they’ve got to hit so they don’t want to jump in and support grime, I wish they did but certain times in the world you’ve gotta work with what you’ve got.”

“We know how the radio works and sometimes you do have to make a “Wearing My Rolex” but now it started from there to going on stage performing “Wearing My Rolex,” “Gangsters” “Duppy” and “I Wear My Own Garms,” so you have to learn to break into things.”

“So Boy Betta Know is working on their own album now called “VIP” coming out. It’ll have “Wearing My Rolex,” “Rolex Sweep” “Doing It Again remix” and a song called “Too Many Mans”. Loads of new songs, it’s gonna be smash. It’s coming out on Boy Betta Know, a lot of people want to sign it but we want to keep it for ourselves, for the summer. “Wearing My Rolex” is unknowingly the first single off our album, it’s going toward the campaign of it.”

DJ Skepta mixes the next edition of the Rinse mix series.

Friday, April 04, 2008

The Ghett-go


New Pitchfork column from me featuring Trim, Ghetto, Cluekid, LD and rise in jungle flavours.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Rinse FM March/April 08

Rinse FM


This week we returned to our monthly Rinse show, Thursday 11pm-1am. Add the station to MSN Tracklist to follow, but it was a fun one with beats from Cluekid, LD, Trim, Ghetto, Grevious Angel, Sully, MJ Cole, Crazi Cousins, Kode9, Darkstar and more...

Download this show from the Rinse podcast (via iTunes) or from the blog here.

Rinse April 3rd show tracklist

Mavado "On the Rock" (unreleased)
Crazy Cousinz "Do You Mind" (unreleased)
Sunship ft Warrior Queen "Almighty Father" (Casual)
MJ Cole "Sincere (MJ's dubb 2000)" (Talkin' Loud)
Phuturistix "Thelonius Punk" (Hospital)
Plastician "Shallow Grave (Skream remix)" (unreleased)
Groove Chronicles "1999 (remix)" (unreleased)

Grevious Angel "Lady Dub remix" (unreleased Devotional Dubs vol1)
Sully "Jackman's Recs" (unreleased)
Darkstar "Need You" (Hyperdub)
Pinch "Wonky Bleepy" (unreleased)
Logos "Medicate" (unreleased)
Ramadanman "Blimey" (Hessle Audio unreleased)
L-Wiz "Amy Diamond" (unreleased)

Joker "Early Morning" (unreleased)
Sully "Trackside" (unreleased)
TRG "2084" (unreleased)
LD and Cluekid "Guerrilla Warfare" (unreleased)
Ico and Sollabong "Emperors Song VIP" (unreleased)
Sharmaji "Twist it Left" (unreleased)
Kode9 + Spaceape "Konfusion" (Hyperdub)
Dusk "Focus" (Keysound dubplate)

Trim and Radioclit "Thief in the Night" (Soulfood)
Ghetto "Brothers in Arms" (Freedom of Speech)
Durrty Goodz "Marijuana" (unreleased)

You can still download the last show from the Rinse blog.