Depending on how clued up you are with regards to dubstep and grime, you may know our next interviewee under the alias ‘Young D’. Back in 2008, he was producing moody basslines and dark, hypnotic rhythms. Nowadays, you might know him under the infamous alias, Skelecta.
After becoming a household name within the UK, Skelecta continues to mix skippy, percussive grime, house and garage with dubstep influenced basslines, crafting out his own sound within the ‘UK Bass’ genre. Having secured multiple releases on 877 Records and Indecent, he’s certainly not one to shy away from mammoth productions.
Now, if you haven’t heard ‘Big Bad Wolf’, Skelecta’s collaboration with Hybrid Theory, you’ve been living under a rock. It has been played out at raves and radio stations up and down the country for the last year and is finally getting a VIP release on July 28th. Just before the release however, we managed to catch up with him and find out what he loves about ‘Chiptune’ music and why he rates Biggie Smalls.
When did you start DJing – and what or who were your early passions and influences?
I’ve always been into different styles of music and always tried to learn different instruments. Within the electronic style, I started DJ’ing in 2007/8 but was mainly mixing grime, garage and dubstep at youth clubs. DJs like Sir Spyro, DJ Impact, Rusko, Skream, Oneman and Mak 10 were definitely my influences and DJ’s that made me want to get into the scene back then.
What has been the high point so far in your career, what really sticks out to you?
I’d say the biggest highlight of my journey so far has been breaking through as Skelecta really. The whole Skelecta thing started off as a side alias for my darker styled garage back when I was mainly playing out grime and dubstep under the name ‘Young D’ around 2010. I kind of decided I wanted to drop that and use the name to make music people wanted to dance to and not just go mad to. To cut a long story short, when I was playing my dubstep shows, one day I made the track ‘Sublow’ randomly and then people like B Traits, Plastician, Barely Legal and My Nu Leng started rinsing it on Radio 1, Kiss and Rinse FM. Next thing I knew, I was featured in B Traits’ ‘Ones to Watch’ mix, then it just all blew up from there.
If you had to choose between DJ’ing or producing, which one and why?
I’d probably choose DJ’ing just because you’re on a high most of the time you’re up there. Obviously there are a few shows that don’t have the best turn outs, but I’d prefer that over the frustration of mixing my productions in a studio any day, haha!
How do you normally go about preparing a set? What influences the track listing?
I rarely ever prepare tracklists for what I’m playing really. I’ve gone through so many different styles and sounds as a producer, so I guess my main aim / influence is just to play a set that reflects the sort of sounds that have shaped my production. Basically, if it’s original, got a strong bassline and a strong rhythm, then I’ll probably play it.
What is one subgenre you think doesn’t get the attention it deserves?
This is a weird one, but Chiptune (8bit computer sounds). I like weird sounding stuff. I wouldn’t sit in a car and listen to that stuff but, growing up on Sega & SNES and retro video games, I rate weird sounds a lot and 8 bit sounds are something that always clicks with me straight away. The melodies are a madness!
What is one track that never gets old for you no matter how many times you hear it?
If you’ve heard me play in the last 2/3 years, you would’ve definitely heard me play Trends – Hypnotize. The energy that tune brings! The way he chopped up that Biggie Smalls sample is the reason it’s one of my top 5 grime instrumentals of all time.
So what future material have you been working on?
I’ve just dropped the VIP of my collab with Hybrid Theory “Big Bad Wolf” for free download via Soundcloud. I’m gonna be attempting to roll out as many free downloads as I can over the next few months. That will take me nicely into my next EP ‘Flavour’ which will hopefully drop before the end of the year. Then on the grime side you will definitely be hearing a lot of new instrumentals from me on radio and Soundcloud. Plus there’s quite a few vocal projects in the pipeline that I can’t say too much about, but keep an eye out!
If you want to keep up to date with everything Skelecta is putting out, make sure to lock into his social media pages: