We were fortunate enough to have an opportunity to sit down with one of electronic musics most respected artists, Skream, at HARD Day of the Dead over the past weekend. So, without second thought I contacted local correspondent and fantastic regular GDD columnist, Laura Dambuleff, to meet up with him away from the lights and sounds of the main stage in the much quieter press tent.
Hi Oli. Good to see you again bud. How’s it going? You loving LA or what?
Yeah I love it here, I’ve been coming around since I was about 20. I always have a good time, It’s always been lovely.
What was your first show here?
With SamXL. It was a Pure Filth show. It was wicked actually.
Damn so you’ve been coming round here for a minute then. Are you touring more round North America versus last year?
Less actually. More shows, but not as much here. Obviously, I’ve changed what I’ve been playing so I’ve had to re-solidify my fan base back in the UK before I go over here and really push it.
Are you doing Warehouse Project? Not the Disclosure one right?
I’m doing the one that’s ’20 Years of the Essential Mix’ and Heidi’s ‘Jackathon’.
Whoa, fun – that’s perfect for the new stuff.
Yeah, [Warehouse Project has] supported me so heavily over the years. I’m very excited.
Dope. So let’s go back to your transition. Has it been easy at all?
No. Actually, yeah. It’s easy being honest.
That’s what I was gonna say. I think a lot of people who’d bag on it are the types of people that don’t accept change and progression as a naturally occurring process of an artist.
That’s what it is. You know, I’ve made enough music for a growth to sort of have to happen.
When did you start making house records?
The first time was actually when when I was fifteen. The crazy thing is that the first person I sent it to was Scuba, way back when he was still doing stuff as Paul Rose. I was still in school at the time.
Haha, damn. I was like, 11 years old then. I remember last year in 2012 when you played ‘Thinking Of You’ at the Do Over in Miami and thinking to myself “FUCK I hope he just keeps releasing more house shit. He’s onto something.”
Yeah yeah, the year before. I was on a good one at that party.
Haha dude I remember. So what are you working on now that you can tell us about?
Just trying to work on my transition. Working on making it a thing where I don’t get asked what I’m going to play every night. It’s starting to get well irritating that I still get so many tweets asking me what I’m going to play.
Is there any part of this you weren’t prepared for?
Not really – It wasn’t an overnight decision. It’s something that came about over the past two years. You know, you saw me two years ago playing disco sets in Miami [at conference]. I just tried to work it the best way I could. I think I’ve done pretty well.
Well from my view here it seems so. The people that I’ve seen and been around have been appreciative of everything you do.
Over here, and of course back home, I’ve got a good group of friends who I work with. I believe they trust me.
Yeah I mean that goes back to just being honest. You can’t knock someone for that. Alright so how often do you cut your hair, BEING HONEST?
[Laughs] Every two weeks.
Smooth. I fully know so many people who legitimately have gotten the “Skream haircut”. Not even joking.
I have to. I feel depressed if I don’t cut my hair. That’s the honest truth, as much of a vain thing as it is to say.
But it’s not. So many people just do it for their own well being. Like of course you look nice but it just feels good to have a clean cut.
Yeah it makes you feel good.
Are you gonna play the same parties you played in SXSW next year?
Yes. Skreamizm, the party at Barcelona. I’ll be doing that again, definitely.
Who’d you have this past year?
It was me, Jackmaster, Plastician, Oneman, Cashmere Cat.
Oh cool, so all over the place.
Yeah, it was so fun. The vibe in there was so good and I ended up pouring drinks behind the bar for people. It was great.
Are you gonna do Skreamizm releases with your house stuff now?
Wel,l the Skreamizm releases probably won’t happen for a while just because I just don’t have enough music built up yet. I’ve already given away everything I can possibly give away. But the thing is that Skreamizm is becoming much more of a brand now with the tours and shows. I’m doing a Skreamizm in New York on Thursday. It’s me, MK, Oneman, Route 94, Curses.
Classic. Got some old school, new school. That’s tight. OK new producers for 2014?
Haha I was just making a joke about that the other day because the new trend for DJ names is numbers. Hot Since 82, Route 94…
Well, Route 94, is the road between Chicago and Detroit. It’s a clever name actually.
Are you still doing Radio 1?
Yeah, me and Benga doing it every Friday night 11 til 1. We just signed a contract for another year.
Sick! What’s the plan for next year?
Just continuing. Playing cool stuff that people haven’t heard yet or that people want to hear over the course of two hours.
That’s awesome, I’m so glad. Same time slot?
I don’t know. Nobody knows until the day of announcement, haha, it’s very top secret.
Is there any other Radio 1 stuff that you really like?
Eclair Fifi, T. Williams, they both do In New DJs We Trust. I really love Zane Lowe, I think he’s a really amazing radio host, a great tastemaker. Annie Mac to get your weekend started right!
Ok well I don’t have anything else written down. Any last words?
I LOVE YOU AMERICA!
Final question before I let you go: What’s your favorite thing to eat here?
Barbecue. I have to be really careful with from where though, I’ll upset people.
* The above interview was recorded and transcribed by Laura Dambuleff for Salacious Sound at HARD: Day of the Dead in Los Angeles on November 3rd*