Tue, 2 April 2013
Mixpak FM 048 comes from London grime producer, Slew Dem Crew member and boss of Ghost House Records, Spooky. Around since the dawn of grime, he's been holding down pirate radio shows for over a decade now and producing some super heavy, innovative and often playful tracks for labels like No Hats No Hoods and Oil Gang. You can still catch him doing his radio show on Deja Vu FM which, if you're lucky and he's covering for someone, can run for 6 hours.
Though the conversation about the influences and cross-sections of dancehall & grime is not new - see the still excellent Grime in the Dancehall podcast for a thorough run-down and discussion - Spooky is certainly keeping the link alive, well and deep, giving us a constant reminder of UK soundsystem lineage. In amongst his many releases and remixes, you'll find samples and hat-tips that run from Bob Marley and Barrington Levy right through to 90s classics and contemporary dancehall.
So for his Mixpak FM, we asked him to pull from his collection of reggae and dancehall-inspired grime and his (live) mix is something quite special - from his own productions to P Jam's take on Eek A Mouse, Chimpo's grime version of Sleng Teng and even some Luciano thrown in. Read our Q&A with Spooky below to find out how the dancehall sound got into his productions, his most memorable Slew Dem sets and his favourite reggae records.
Where are you right now? In a East London hell hole.
How & where did you record this mix? Recorded the mix at a mate's studio called Real Vibes based up in Tottenham.
How long have you been doing the grime thing? What pushed you into it? Been doing grime before it was even called grime. Plus grime was more or less the music everyone was into at the time and the music was (and still is) exciting.
How did the Slew Dem Crew come about - how did you all meet? Slew Dem have been about since the very late 90s.. I only came into it around 2005/06.
What's your most memorable Slew Dem set/performance? Performance-wise: me, Chronik, G Man, Merky Ace (Family Tree) and DJ Magic in Prague last year (2012). Radio-wise: me, Esco, Chronik, G Man, Rage & Tempa T on Rinse FM in 2006.
So many of your tracks take from reggae/dancehall - what's your relationship with the Jamaican sound? Blame my folks. They're from JA and they were down for playing old time reggae, ska, rocksteady or lovers rock.
What influence has dancehall had on you, as a producer or as an individual? I like to revive an old dancehall or reggae track every now and then.... give them a update but not take too much away from the original. And I know everyone can relate to a few of 'em even now!
What links do you think there are between grime & dancehall? Probably down to the bass-heavy vibrations. Plus you got the likes of Riko Dan, Killa P, Jamakabi, Badness etc who bring that dancehall element into grime as well.
You've been playing some of reggae stuff in your Deja sets recently - what are your favourite reggae/ dancehall records? Not too much though!! Favourites would have to be Elizabethan Reggae (Boris Gardener). Soul Serenade (Byron Lee), Silly Games (Janet Kay), Wide Awake In A Dream (Barry Biggs) and Stealing Love (Carlene Davis).
What gets the most wheels in a live Spooky set? Probably "Spartan" from what I remember.
What's the best thing about the grime scene now in 2013? There's more professionalism within the scene. Maybe a bit more unity and positivity is needed along with a few more DJs and a few more raves / organizations.
What's the difference between now and when you started out? In my opinion.... there are barely any under 18 raves, no-one's really hungry for radio, most pirate radio stations only following what genre of music is hot, most record shops have closed down and the music now really goes hand in hand with the internet.
What else have you got coming up this year, release-wise? A double A-side 10" vinyl, a single called "Baby" on Unknown To The Unknown Records, a track called "Moonlight" on the Big Dada 'Grime 2.0' compilation out 5th May and a couple remixes as well as knocking out a few releases on my Ghost House label and the occasional free download.