Celebrating and saluting some prime grime influences
ClashMusic DJ Mix Podcast - Slackk

What do you get if you mix heavily doped-up codeine episodes and Stanley Kubrick if he was into laying down abrasive grime over his films? You get the beautifully, truly twisted sound of future grimed-up house producer Slackk, of course, who supplies this week’s Clash mix, celebrating and saluting some of his prime grime influences.

Though the mix primarily demonstrates a delightful penchant for deeply dirty bass-fixed styles and roadblock beats, there are also melodic, ethereal flutters in there, reflecting two of the main styles that Slackk’s own material veers towards.

We caught up with Slackk – Paul Lynch – to chat about his mix, new and old grime producers, and writing tracks whilst on a lot of painkillers.

Give us an overview of your mix:

Well, the most recent EP [‘Raw Missions’] is for all intents and purposes what I would want in a grime record. I’ve been trying to make something like this for quite some time now, long before I released anything with anyone, as it’s quite explicitly my main influence with the vast majority of music I write as Slackk. This mix was basically intended to reflect that, bar a Brackles track I pitched up a little, it’s trying to find a mix between the kind of tracks I’ve loved, that have influenced me and more modern stuff that I’d say stems from it. Obviously a couple of things from myself in there as well – stuff from the most recent EP and something I’ve just recently finished, ‘Roman Empire’. I'll probably change that title though.

People generally seem keen to label you as either a house or grime artist. Do you see yourself as leaning more towards one of these?

I know it’s a bit of cliché to say it as a producer or beatmaker or whatever, but I really just try and make music, regardless of genre. I like to make slow jams, a bit of rap, I have my Patrice & Friends side-project which has a quite specific Chicago juke influence. I’d just prefer to do my own thing as opposed to just putting myself in some kind of pigeonhole. I did make my name – so to speak – with a couple of house releases, although there was always the grime influence there, which I think is quite apparent in the earlier releases. As time’s progressed, though, I’ve found myself playing less and less house in my sets and I think that’s been reflected in the music I’ve been making as Slackk recently.

To be honest, if I could have been successfully making grime from the start then I would have done, but it’s taken a long time for me to be truly happy enough with it to want to put some grime out. It’s such a strong influence on my sound that if I was going to release grime I wanted to do it right. I feel like I’ve managed that with this EP.

Give us a quick run-through of the ‘Raw Missions’ EP:

Well, it’s a four track EP whittled down from about eight or nine tracks that I started writing off-and-on last winter. It was ‘Blue Sleet’ that came first – I’d put my back out and was off work, doped up on really quite strong painkillers, and the core of that was laid down quite quickly. I was really just trying to make something a bit grandiose and I think there was a clear idea of trying to write something that wouldn’t sound out of place in 2001, if Kubrick was into abrasive grime. ‘90 Years’ is probably the harshest thing I’ve made; I was trying to emulate the really sparse early grime productions – stuff like ‘Pulse X’ and ‘Bongo’ by Youngstar or Wiley’s ‘Ice Rink, just a couple of noises and drums that propel the track. ‘Fat City’ started as another codeine episode but that one took a lot longer. A few people have described it as having some G-Funk vibe to it? I’m not sure about that. Then there’s ‘Almost Transparent’, the core of which is a riff I wrote about two years ago. Anyway, I always thought there was some kind of kung fu vibe to it but just didn’t finish it for some reason. Then I came back to it and it ended up almost being a sino-grime track or whatever, reflective of those old Mr Wong and Jammer EPs.

You recently worked with BAFTA-winning director Natalia Stuyk on a nifty video for ‘Blue Sleet’. How did that come about, and what's the concept behind the video?

Well, Tom Lea, who runs Local Action, has known Natalia for years, and she’s been doing the video thing for a while now. We were sorting out this release and the idea of her doing the video just fell into place organically, really. We were bouncing ideas back and forth and I really liked the idea of trying to do something along the idea of Gaspar Noe’s ‘Enter The Void’ film – visually, it’s mad and a lot of it has this lurching camerawork that almost flies above the action. We didn’t really have the budget for a crane, so that’s when it became the 3D animation thing. I think it’s quite reflective of the ideas I had when I was writing it, but really, all the credit belongs to Natalia for how it actually looks.

Do you enjoy the contrast between gentler melodic tracks, and much harder, twisted grime material?

I just try and keep myself active, to be honest. I try and sit down with music most days – it just depends on your mood. The aggressive stuff is great to make if you’re in the mood, but it’s not always that easy. I don’t think to just sit down with the idea of writing a bit of brutality and it just coming naturally. I’ve been writing a few quite sparse things recently, just blasts of pulse bass and harsh drums, but it’s not something that comes to you every day. Some days you’re a bit more pensive and you end coming out with more melodic stuff. I just like writing, either way.

What tracks or artists have been pushing your buttons recently?

I think there’s loads of good stuff recently, yeah. Mostly grime. I’m starting a little label and hopefully my first release is going to be by this producer, Major Grave. He’s got a really keen ear for melody and there’s almost an orchestral sound to his stuff, along with some disgusting basslines. Other producers like Bloom, Noaipre, Trends – these are really good grime producers that should hopefully be coming into their own over the next year. Been listening to a lot of juke too – the recent Traxman and Rashad albums are both great. Probably more interested in juke than anything else at the moment, to be frank. Playing a lot of stuff by Manny and Slick Shoota in terms of stuff at 160 as well.

I’m really looking forward to the new Fekky album too, which should be out soon. He’s a rapper from Lewisham who had a CD out last year, ‘This One’s On Me’ – that was brilliant.

Is there a full-length album in the pipeline?

Hopefully, yeah. I’ve been a bit against doing an album before, but I’ve got a lot of tracks together at the moment and, well, it just feels like an album. I want to get a few vocals together and then try and push it out there. Soon, hopefully.

‘Raw Missions’ is out now on Local Action, who lead a takeover of Room 3 at Fabric on Friday 17 August, featuring Slackk, DJ Q, Scratcha, Throwing Snow, Artifact and Tom Lea.

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Slackk Tracklist

1. Slackk - Blue Sleet
2. Gremino - Trashman
3. [Unknown]
4. Swarvo - DJ Marsta Freestyle
5. Africa Hitech - Silencer Riddim
6. MIK - B£LLY Freestyle
7. Macabre Unit - 1st Blood
8. Terminator – P’s, Cars, Yards
9. Slackk - Fat City
10. Footsie - Bag of Grease
11. Slackk - Ashes & Diamonds
12. Kingdom - Take Me
13. Slackk - 90 Years
14. Macabre Unit - Bubble
15. Sir Pixalot - Geeneus Vs Waifer
16. Brackles - X Ray Specs
17. Spooky - Summer Bounce VIP
18. Noaipre - Butterfly Knife
19. Badness ft. Dizzle Kid - Box U
20. Sir Pixalot - Gunman Skank II
21. Bok Bok - Dark Hearts
22. Tweet vs ?? - Oops Bootleg
23. General LOK - Grover Remix
24. Chronik - Put Man In The Boot
25. Sinjin Hawke - Crusade
26. Slackk - Almost Transparent
27. Slackk - Roman Empire
28. Youngstar - Shottaz Riddim
29. ?? - Eyes On Bongo III
30. SLK - Pull Up That Fwd

Check out the previous episodes of our Dj Mix Series on iTunes HERE or individually on ClashMusic.com HERE

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