[Source: The Independent]
“I didn’t say forget dubstep,” Skream says when I open the interview by incorrectly wording a past quote of his – “I said I don’t tie anyone with dubstep anymore.”
Inside the small dressing room, there are photographers, promoters, DJs and emcees all attentively fixed on Skream.
“The word dubstep is being used by a lot of people and there were a lot of people being tagged with the dubstep brush. They don’t want to be tagged with it and shouldn’t be tagged with it – that’s not what they’re pushing.”
“At one point, all the Numbers gang were tagged with it,” he says looking towards Numbers label boss Jackmaster who is in the room, “When I say ‘UK bass’, it’s what everyone UK is associated with so it would be a lot easier if it was called that,” says Skream.
While relatively young at 25, Skream is a veteran of the dubstep scene. He reflects on the diversification of the genre and its connection with what he calls UK bass music.
“It’s a different age range now – there are a lot of kids now and they’re really into dubstep”, he says before pausing, “But they’re not into the dubstep what was being played at 3rd Bass.”
“I don’t really play full dubstep line-ups anymore and the diehards will avoid a show I’m at now unless I’m playing at DMZ,” he says.
In the past his wide variety of productions has sometimes attracted criticism – especially from the online community.
“I know there were a couple of people on certain forums that really started dissing me hard at one point,” he says, before smiling, “But I love it when people say ‘Skream’s sold out.’
“What people don’t realise is because the majority of people listen to what’s played by mainstream DJs, they just think, ‘That’s all he’s making’ but then forget, I’m still making tunes for Youngsta, Hatcha and Mala,” he says.
He slouches back on the black leather sofa.
“When we were playing in clubs where there were 10 people – that was work,” he says, “I’m still in touch with everyone who I’ve been on the journey with and who I’ve grafted with.”
“After the La Roux remix hasn’t been graft – I haven’t had to prove a lot to anyone.”
2010 was a prolific year of releases for Skream. With his two singles, numerous remixes, three free EPs, Outside The Box and another free album, he released over 50 tracks. He now believes, because of the amount of music, there is a level expectancy for free music.
“I may have shot myself in the foot by giving out so much free music,” he says. “Now when I upload stuff onto Soundcloud, people comment ‘Give this away on the next Freeizm,’ – Freeizm’s finished.”
“People tend to concentrate more on what doesn’t get released for the fact that it just doesn’t get released,” he says. “They become like a vinyl collector’s item – they talk about the forever – it drives you mad. They don’t leave you alone until they get it and then they don’t even play it,” he says.
He gave the music away in an attempt to prevent his Outside The Box album leaking. It did not. But Skream continued to give music away.
“Nobody wants to pay for music anymore – it’s hard to earn money in making music,” he says.
Arguably his biggest success from his free downloads was his collaboration with Example earlier this year on ‘Shot Yourself In The Foot Again.’
“It went A-list in a week and got nearly 200,000 thousand downloads but it couldn’t chart – if it would have charted at the time, it easily would have gone to Number 1,” he says, reflecting on the track.
“I had someone who owned a major label say to me, ‘You made us all look like c***s,’” he says, “But I liked the project because there were so many other side projects and it wasn’t planned.”
He has no plans for another album this year.
“I’m not writing an album for a while – I put two albums out last year,” he says. “Do you know how much stress that caused?” “When you’ve got a deadline, there’s only so much fun you can have until you realise this needs to be finished. I want to put singles out for the moment and just have a fun.”
This month Skream releases ‘Anticipation’. The collaboration with Sam Frank is a poignant one as the duo both recently became fathers.
Skream also has releases prepared on his Disfigured Dubz label. But it will not be, as many fans expect, an outlet for him to release music whenever he wants.
“Disfigured was never for me to put music out on – I did the first release because I needed to establish that it was my label,” he says, “I’m putting a funk album out before the end of the year which is a big album. It’s like 90s r&b cross funk and it’s just going to send the label in another direction.”
He has high hopes for both the label and music he is currently supporting.
“I want to do what Numbers are doing – now’s the time, there’s no genre – it’s just UK bass.”
It is obvious Skream is enjoying this renaissance of UK bass music.
“I like where it’s at the moment and that’s because our shows are getting bigger. It fits the shows a lot better and that’s cool,” he says, before pausing, “But I want to make sure once this fad dies out, I’m still standing.”