Thursday, November 17, 2005

Shackleton and Appleblim Interview

Spine-shredding scattershot drum programming, twisted blips with congo-bongo orgy, big reverbs - Skull Disco. This new label hides 2 producers: Shackleton and Appleblim. After the first 12" single released - before the second one I asked them about the past and the future.


Appleblim @ Skulldisco 2

D--How did you get into the world of dubstep? What are your roots? What are your relations to the garage scene?

Sam--To be honest, I've no real relation to the world of garage. I got into some stuff at Forward when Appleblim and Necta Selecta took me down there one night. I liked some of it, but didn't really feel it all. Personally, my roots are fairly diverse. I'm in my 30s now so I've been able to hear a lot of different kinds of music in that time. I've always liked dub, but then again, I've always liked some noise stuff like early Godflesh too. I'm not really into the world of dubstep either, although I respect producers like Loefah and the Mystiks, I try to make bass-driven music with a bit of depth (although that's for others to judge). I use a standard bpm as I want to be able to mix with my tunes.
Appleblim--I went to FWD>> in 2003 with my mate Necta Selecta, and it just blew my mind. It was the most excited about 'dance' music I had been since the heady days of Jungle / D&B round 95/96 at which time I was in London, going to Metalheadz, Jungle Fever etc... I just caught the bug at FWD!! It was Youngsta, Oris Jay. Youngsta just blew my mind! In those days he was still playing Grime and stuff, things like Chase & Status, Jon E Cash, but also the Skream and Menta stuff. That system there is just AMAZING on a good night. I want to climb inside the speakers and live there, everything would be ok in there! I am a music lover first and foremost! I have roots in many different scenes...techno, trance, jungle, hiphop, but mainly as a bass player into Prog / Metal / Psychedelia / Punk... and as a raver....well started out in '92 going to raves with Necta Selecta seeing people like Sasha, Orbital, N-Joi, Jumping Jack Frost, Easygroove, Grooverider, Fabio etc. - the days of rave! I love all kinds of techno, dub, house, electro, folk, metal, avant garde, experimental. Just MUSIC! I loved 2-Step and UKG, thats how me and Necta got into FWD really, we just loved all that MJ Cole, Large Joints, Groove Chronicles type shit, and noticed the pirate radio stations were starting to play some really dark and 'awkward' rhythmic stuff in 2002....(at this time we were both listening to a lot of Autechre, and felt some similarity in the approach to beats on these early grime productions...) I worked in a record shop in Berwick Street soho at the time, and I suggested going to Uptown Records in Soho, Necta went and asked DJ Cameo for some 'jerky beat' stuff and walked out with Soulja 003 by Ras Kwame, and Terror Danjah 'Highly flammable'! - 2 very mportant records for me! I went and picked up Pulse X by Musical Mob, and Eskimo by Wiley, and that was it! Hooked! I went to some big garage nights, and the bass just blew me away. It had the energy and swing that i used to feel in jungle. When sounds started mutating into the scene we know now - well, all the better!

D--I feel your tunes has a characteristic ethno-vibe. How could you describe your tracks?

Sam--I know what you mean by that, but I don't want to trivialise other forms of music by lifting a sound from another musical culture and transplanting it on to mine. I do listen to a lot of music from different countries, especially Erkan Ogur the Turkish saz player, but I wouldn't even attempt to replicate his stuff on the computer. It would be a blasphemy.I would describe my tracks as music to enjoy yourself to. I just want people to be able to lose themselves for a bit on the dancefloor. I know that I like dancing in front of big speakers and I reckon that I can make music for people to do the same to and hopefully lift themselves out of the humdrum of everyday life for a while.

D--And what about you?

Appleblim--Well, I just try and make beats, in the vein of stuff I love - Skream, DMZ, Toasty, Vex'd. I am unashamedly influenced by these people. If I get near to that sound then I have succeeded!

D--How do you make your own tunes?

Sam--I use Reason, and take my own samples in with Soundforge when needed.
Appleblim--I use Fruity Loops, with a very basic set-up. I like the DIY nature of it, and the almost unmusical aspect. Not that I am saying that people who use Fruity are unmusical, I mean Plasticman and Skream both DESTROY with trax made on Fruity. I mean, MY OWN approach on Fruity is kinda non-musical - I don't have a keyboard, I don't have lots of synth plugins - I just use what minmal shit I have.

D--How did you meet with Sam?

Sam--Appleblim worked with my best mate, Engine Room, at a record shop in town. We always got on well when we met. I suppose he became a good friend by proxy.
Appleblim--I met Sam thru a mutual friend, and started raving with him. We had some mad times! We just let go and shocked out in FWD!! Got chatting to people, started buying records off Youngsta in Blackmarket. I was always the first one thru the door at FWD! I had to travel a long way as I am no longer in London, so I'd get there stupidly early and chat with the door staff and barmen! The thing with FWD was it felt a little restricted and this ain't slagging anyone off, but people didn't see to let go and SHAKE IT LOOSE in those days. I was just so moved my the music that i couldn't stand still! I would get funny looks for being up and raving at 10.30 to Lombardo or whatever and not looking like your usual garage head, but that's what it's all about! Get people up and moving!

D--How do yo see now the dubstep scene and your relations in that?

Sam--As I said, I respect some of the producers. And the thing that people know as dubstep seems to be getting more creative and prolific. To be honest, I seem to get more exposure from people outside the dubstep scene so I don't have too many relations with it. I see the whole 'scene' as being in transition too, which is a good thing, and I bet that some people with vision from the scene will be doing interesting things in the future. Not necessarily dubstep though
Appleblim--Hard to say - I just love the music. I consider myself a fan first and foremost. The beats I make for me are an experiment. I am very please that people seem to enjoy them too! As for the scene, well, it's a big issue. I don't really like the whole squabbling on forums thing, tho I do like proper debate. I think we will have some very exciting music being made over the next few years, and thats all there is to it!

D--Which way do you think it will going forward? The halfstep-sound could be a higher level into the dub music with it's slowed down vibe. Many producers are making tunes on this method. - Do you think that is the future?

Sam--I don't know what it means and don't want to know. I find that the more you think about other people's conventions, the less you will do anything interesting yourself. I have an emotional relationship with music and find that analysing it's components kills the joy. Music's all about the sentiment for me. Sometimes destructive, sometimes tender. And the range in between.
Appleblim--It's all the future! Half step is good, breaks are good, 4x4 is good...just listen to Anti War Dub by Mala, or Solid Snake by Morph! It's all music.

D--What was the starting point to start a new label for you? Which different way do you think to aim with the releases?

Sam--I got a lucky break when Ian Hicks of Mordant Music decided to release Stalker. I got an even luckier break when Rough Trade put it on their best of 2004 compilation. That gave me the confidence to put my stuff out myself. I want Skull Disco to put my own things out! I just hope that it doesn't become boring or stale.
Appleblim--Sam just said 'I love your track do u mind if i put it out' (Mystical warrior) simple as that really. I thought it was too ruff, so I remixed it, and it kinda worked. Skull Disco is financially Sams thing, I do the press and promo, which seems to have worked well.

D--Who made the design? How do you interlock your music and the skeletons? Is it a conscious symbol or just a joke?

Sam--Well, I read a book about a tribe in Cameroon who had a party where they dug their ancestors out of the ground and put them as observers of the festivities while the tribe played music and got pissed. I thought that sounded like the sort of vibe that I want in a party. But then I thought that having skeleton's doing the ritual would be better. It's of the next world entirely, and that's how I think about the best music. Let's face it, skeleton's are always a good image too. Hence, Skull Disco. I then remembered an old friend of Engine Room's called Zeke who did a little bit of artwork for me in the past and thought he would be perfect. I strongly recommend Zeke as an artist by the way if anyone needs some work doing.
Appleblim--Well, it's all about whats being made at the time. I think Shackleton will surprise a lot of people with his future releases. He just lives music in a way I find hard. He gets home, and produces for like 6 hours a day! I can't do that, I'm a lot less focussed in my beat-making.

D--Do you have any schedule-plan of the releases? What tracks will be the next?

Sam--I'd like to release four 12"s a year on Skull Disco. I've got loads of tunes I can put out. I just hope the interest stays there. I'm starting another label for my more eclectic stuff. I think it will be called Imminent Apocalypse as I believe that to be the case with the way the world is being run (although I may look foolish if I'm still running that label when I'm 60!) I should be putting my collaboration with the vocalist from Savage Republic soon, it's versions of a couple of tunes from the Tragic Figures album. Next Skull Disco release is going to be A. Shackleton - Majestic Visions AA. Appleblim - Cheat I, Appleblim - Girder. And fuck it! I'm going to put out my version of Cutty Ranks' Limb by Limb even if I end up with a lawsuit! All future releases will come with a pro-bicycle / anti-car fanzine.
Appleblim--Yeh: Girder and Cheat I from me, Majestic Visions from Shackleton. Should be big.

D--I agree you. It will be big. The last few months you started the Skull Disco nights. How many nights has been passed? What are you experiences?

Sam--We've done two nights. They both went well. I'm going to keep on with it.
Appleblim--2 nights now, both wicked fun! Again Shackleton has to take credit for organising and funding these events, I just turn up and play! They were top fun. Especially when Coki & Sgt Pokes played. They are heroes of mine,so it was mad to see them shockin' out in a venue that I saw being built! Zen Bar has a lot of links with me and my friends thru the years, I have played there, recorded there, worked there, so it is great to go back and rinse out dubstep there!

D--What are you plans to it? Do you think it will be regular?

Sam--Regular enough to be a known night, irregular enough for it to be a special occasion. Have a look at my website for details.
Appleblim--Well, the venue is not doing nights anymore due to police interfereance, but we will hopefully secure somewhere else.....keep your eyes peeled!



Blogger GTTRBRKZ said...

Nice interview! Big-up the Skull Disco gang! When do I get a T-shirt?!

2:54 PM  

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