What hasn’t been said about Slackk already this year? I’m even racking my brain trying to think of what I haven’t said about him this year yet. The fact is, Paul Lynch, known to you, me and everyone who isn’t his Nan as Slackk, has blown the bloody doors off 2013, filled the insides with petrol and set that shit ablaze. Sure, he’s been involved in a large list of great things before now (highlighting some of grime’s best moments in Grimetapes digital archive of pirate radio sets, recontextualising Eski sounds before it became a thing, this loveable midget and his sleazy mates…) but 2013 has witnessed him get more than a little involved something what really can’t be labelled anything less than a movement within grime, in which a broad clutch of new producers have reinvigorated its instrumental side and pushed its barely visible boundaries to even greater heights. When you consider his consistent and – crucially – never diluted monthly mixes and how increasingly vital the Boxed nights (which will take over Room 3 at fabric on October 4th) are becoming, it’s hard to imagine this sound being as strong – and as weird – as it is without Slackk among those manning the helm.
Lynch has just released Failed Gods, his latest effort for Local Action (which previously put out last year’s excellent, and somewhat prophetical in terms of what soon followed, Raw Missions EP). It ranges from utterly stentorian grime in ‘Shogun Assassin’, which sits somewhere between Plasticman’s ‘Cha’ and IMP Batch’s ‘Hitler Riddim’ (effortlessly slewing both), to footwork-infused Badalamenti dread in the at once haunting and theatrical ‘Silk Robe’, to beatless sketches of cyberpunk horror (‘Jackpines’) and even a reloading locked groove. Yeah, it points in a lot of directions, but they’re all linked somewhere further forward than most of us could see, and sonically could only come from one proverbial finger.
Basically, Slackk is running tings right now. So if you don’t know, get to know…
For the benefit of those that don’t know, could you please introduce yourself?
Err, I’m a producer/DJ called Slackk (or Paul, to my Nan). I make grime I guess, moody stuff mostly.
The last year’s been pretty bonkers for you I guess? Alongside Boxed and your monthly mixes it seems like amidst the chaos you’ve found a really strong sense of focus? As in, for all the Patrice & Friends and other experiments in the past your sound is more recognisably yours than ever before…
Yeah it has been a bit of a mad year to be honest. It was probably a couple of years ago now that I decided to just focus on the grime stuff with Slackk, but the last year to eighteen months seem to have found loads of people in the same headspace at the same time. So that’s been good, it’s meant that I’ve had a lot of great stuff to play in my sets, and I think that feeds into your own mentality regarding production because there’s a lot of friendly competition – everyone wants to better everyone else don’t they? So I think it’s probably a mixture of really enjoying what’s going on around me and enjoying making the music I’m most passionate about really. I still do experiment a lot though, that stuff just doesn’t get heard by many people other than me and the missus really.
The reaction to Failed Gods has been really strong, and I don’t think I’ve seen Tom Lea of Local
Action get so emosh when hyping up a release. Can you tell us the story behind that EP? It seems more than just a collection of bangers. How did it come together and that?
I don’t know if there’s really a story behind the EP as such. After Raw Missions I think me and Tom both agreed we’d try and look at doing another EP in a year or so, and this was just the way the stuff I’d made over the year sat together? It’s the culmination of looking at 25-30 tracks and finding the stuff that most complimented each other I guess. I’m definitely more productive now than I’ve ever been in music you know. Plus I think after putting out Minor Triads earlier this year I definitely wanted to better myself. I think I’ve done that. Extra pressure for the next one now!
Whose idea was the grime locked groove at the end? It’s sick.
Yeah that was mine. When I knew we were doing another 12” I wanted to try and do a locked groove because I’ve never done one and I don’t know many people who have. I didn’t really know how long they could be or anything so the first one I did was about 8 seconds and then I found out it had to be a lot shorter. I’ve expanded that now though so it’s alright- nothing goes to waste.
I’ve asked you about Boxed before in the FACT thing but it’s grown massively since then. Fabric is next month – how did that get hooked up?
From what I understand, Four Tet asked for us. He’s doing an eight hour set in the main room on the night and when fabric approached us with the idea he said he wanted us in Room 3 and fabric were happy to oblige. It’s a bit mental really, managing to run in Plastic People & fabric within the space of our first year, but I think that says a lot about what we’re trying to do and how strong this sound is at the moment. Really looking forward to it. It’ll be interesting having a lighting guy on the go this time as because well, normally we just tell the club to turn everything but the bar off.
What’s next for the night?
Well, we’re doing another one at Birthdays at the end of November. I’m not talking about the line-up until we’ve done fabric but it’s a bit special. I think that one’s basically our Christmas party so we just decided to go all out with it to be honest. After that we just want to carry on doing them as often as we can. I don’t really have some overarching plan for next year or anything, let’s just keep playing weird music in dark rooms and see what happens…
Your monthly mixes are always filled with more names every month I’ve never heard of until you upload them. What hitherto unknown producers have stood out for you most this year?
Fucking hell there really is a lot. I’d say this year the best tunes I’ve heard in terms of what I play have been from Samename, Bloom, Inkke, Major Grave, Sirpixalot and Trends among about a million others. I think they’re probably the most consistent in terms of my sets when I’m playing out – that lot will always get played. I’m definitely missing out on a lot of people there but who wants to read a giant list…?
And what established producers have inspired you or gassed you up the most?
Depends what you mean by ‘established’ really. In terms of people who’ve had loads of releases out and have a strong ‘profile’ in that sense, I think Spooky and Visionist have had really stellar years, as much as their sounds don’t really have that much in common. The producers who I would say have made the best tunes this year, though, are Murlo and JT The Goon. I think everyone should know about Murlo by now but JT The Goon is probably more one of those people who’ve been doing it for a really long time but not many people know about – he’s been around since the very start of this grime shit, you know; legitimately – but more in the background. I’m really glad people are getting to see him on his own merits as opposed to just producing beats for vocals and that now. Great producer.
Tell us about the NTS hook up? How regular is your show now?
Its once a month, the NTS show. I did a little guest slot there a while back and then they asked me to start doing it regularly after that. I’m really glad it all came together really because I think the true test of a DJ – in London anyway – is the regular radio shows and that. Really if it wasn’t for pirate radio grime I think I’d be a completely different person, so I’m glad I have a show.
Eyes on anything else at all? Can’t really fathom how you’re fitting in all these shows and monthly mixes and then this SR mix at all to be honest.
I just want to push my luck and see how far we can take Boxed and this sound really – I’ll be really disappointed if all the people we’re playing don’t start getting recognition and that over the next year or so, I think the music is definitely getting stronger and weirder and I just want as many people to hear it as they can. I’m obviously also writing music whenever I can (within reason, you need to actually have a life, like) so I want to get a couple of really strong releases out over the next year or so too.
I would quite like to work with all the new young MCs coming through out of Lewisham at the moment as well but that’ll probably have to wait till next year.
What are your thoughts on this production war dub business popping off right now?
Yeah it’s a bit mad isn’t it? I think it’s a healthy thing if it means that people carry on and it’s not a flash in the pan – Eastwood and Macabre Unit made dubs for fuck’s sake, and that’s basically my two favourite grime sounds from back then, so if they carry on I’ll be ecstatic. If not, it’s been entertaining. All the war always seems to happen in September though, in grime, it’s weird.
It kind of solidified the idea for me that the two spheres of grime (as in the old producers/MCs and the ‘new wave’ crew) are completely separate entities now, if they were ever linked beyond inspiration etc. in the first place…
Err… yeah; I said something like this the other day as well. I think there’s still a lot of interesting things coming from the older lot and I don’t want people thinking I fucking hate everyone (I mean, I do, but not in grime really) but I think it’s inevitable that a younger generation of producers has different ideas to the ones that have came before them – I don’t think many people are willing to play backseat to MCs anymore, if they even want anything to do with them at all. Plus I think it goes without saying that the sounds and ideas are quite different too. I don’t like that ‘new wave’ term though.
Literally today you sent for Logos. I thought that was interesting since his sound is so far away from yours while Bloom/Samename and Visionist/Kahn have a bit of crossover…
Ah it’s all just a laugh isn’t it really – I didn’t send for Logos because I thought our sounds had that much in common or anything, I more just did it because I wanted to know what a Logos war track would sound like to be honest. Plus I had to send for someone, it was killing me just sitting on my hands while everyone else got on it.
(listen to Slackk’s send for Logos here)
What do you reckon he’ll respond with (I realise this question will probably become redundant in a matter of hours but I’m curious)?
I think he’ll probably fuck me up to be honest – Logos is a serious producer. But then that means you just need to come back stronger doesn’t it.
(listen to Logos’ response here)
What else have you got in the pipeline? Fucking hell I hate that word, sorry. Makes you sound like a corporation. But you know…
To be honest, I don’t know. Definitely another EP or two next year, maybe even this year if I get restless and decide I need something out. Maybe an album next year, if things fall right and I can get the right tunes to sit together. Basically though I think it’s just a lot more work, and I’m up for that, I want to work y’know?
What’s Patrice saying?
I think Patrice has gone now really. I did love doing that little side project and I think the stuff I put out as Patrice & Friends was probably a real catalyst for everything I’ve made since, weirdly, but everything has to end at some point and I’d rather just finish it now rather than coming back every now and again to diminishing returns you know? I’ve got another side project that I’m going to try and put out next year, though, I just need to make sure it’s perfect before I do. Need to find another name as good as that one as well [laughs].
I remember reading on your Twitter a while back that you’d deleted all your sounds and samples so you could start from fresh. And that you do that every now and then. I thought that was telling since grime producers often push their identity with calling cards while your production seems identifiable more through melody and style…
I just think I’ve got a poor attention span – I’ve always done this, ever since I started making music. I get bored of my sound or think “no, I’ve exhausted that VST” and delete it, or delete all my drums etc. I know that some producers have their distinctive sound and I appreciate that. If I ever had a bass sound as good as Alias did back in the day I’d have ran that shit into the ground, to be honest. But yeah I like to keep things fresh – I think it keeps your stuff honest because you can’t rely on what you’ve done before y’know?
How long does each season of sounds last for? When do you decide it’s time to switch up?
I reckon generally every six months or so, or less if I’ve really rinsed it; I made about six tunes with a VST in July for example, and I’ll never go back to it ever again I don’t think. I’ve regretted it a couple of times but its like, oh well that’s life.
Tell us about the mix you have recorded for Sonic Router?
There’s just a load of tunes I’ve liked over the last six months in this really, and some new ones. I was quite hungover when I started this but after a couple more beers and a third take, I think it’s quite good. The hangovers gone as well!
DOWNLOAD: Slackk – Sonic Router Mix #164
Inkke – Like Silk
Spare – Katana
JT The Goon – Twist Of Fate (Sirpixalot Remix)
K-Ro – The Bubble
Dark0 – Bora VIP
Macabre Unit – Take Time (Inkke Edit)
Murlo & Famous Eno – Ariel VIP
Llesca – Sharks
JT The Goon – Eski Moment
Rabit – Hollowpoint (War Dub)
Shriekin Specialist – Take Down
Impey – Bangclap
Spooky – Need A Girl Refix 06
Milktray – Hotel
Shriekin Specialist – Looting
Major Grave – Looking Forward
DJ Q – Trust Again (Rabit Remix)
TOYC – Keyframe (Bloom Remix)
Slackk – Shogun Assassin
Neana – Bow Kat 8 Bar
Logos – Steel Pulse
Inkke – Tenchu
OH91 – Stealth
Saga – Newsance
Slackk – Empty Bottles
Slackk’s Failed Gods EP is out now on Local Action. Boxed takeover Room Three at FABRICLIVE on Friday 4th October.