First Time / Last Time: Emalkay


No one forgets their first time.

And unless you suffer serious memory loss… No one forgets their last time, too.

A new feature style on UKF, we’re kicking off the debut First Time / Last Time piece with Emalkay. A man who needs no introduction, he’s been responsible for some of the most emotive dubstep UKF has ever uploaded. Now at the helm of his own label Bring It Down, we caught up with him to find out about his first and last experiences and learn some incredible dubstep history along the way…

We did meet Hatcha apparently but we couldn’t possibly tell what was going to happen next! No one could predict that the whole dubstep movement would develop and evolve from that one shop in that one little borough.

My First Performance

It was about 10 years ago when grime was bubbling. Me and some MC friends were called the Code Red Crew. We’d been doing a lot of pirate shows and had a well-rehearsed set with me DJing original productions on dubplate. We played at a club in my home town Birmingham called Code. It was a fairly big crowd and everything was buzzing. Then, half way through the set, the promoter – who can I only assume was on some kind of substance like crack – came up and had a fit. He garbled some crazy shit at us that I couldn’t understand and threw us out! Other than that it was a great show!

My Last Performance

I played in Pittsburgh last weekend. It was crazy! It was like a good old fashioned UK style warehouse rave. There were so many lazers! I think the promoter had a lazer fetish or something, it was just a web of the things. They caused a crazy frantic vibe. I don’t know how there weren’t any seizures! I played with TC and Calvertron and had an amazing time. My first ever time in Pittsburgh, too… Already looking forward to going back if that’s how they always do things!

Hearing those jungle mixtapes with the sound of the crowd and horns and everything made me really want to grow up and get to one of those raves!

First Record I Bought

The first ever record I owned was Snow’s Informer. My parents bought this for me and I must have been about eight or nine. Some people call this a guilty pleasure but I wouldn’t. I’d happily play this from my car’s soundsystem any time with no remorse!

The first record I actually bought myself was The Prodigy’s Fat Of The Land. I’m definitely proud of that first music purchase. It played a hugely influential role in my musical tastes and eventually led to where I am today. Actually I’m proud of every musical investment I’ve ever made. If I’m going to part with my money then I make sure I’m doing it wisely!

Last Record I Bought

I’m lucky to be sent a lot of music, so I don’t buy as much as I should. But the last record I bought was Gesaffelstein’s album Aleph. He’s a really cool French techno / new wave producer. I always thought he’d have a much bigger presence in the UK because there’s so much bass in his productions. It’s pretty dark stuff and his work with Kanye West was amazing, too.

First Club Experience

It was an under 18s event in Birmingham called Hush. We’d go there every week when we were 16. We were massively into garage, grime and D&B even at an early age so when under 18s nights popped up I was on them straight away. There was a big renaissance for old school jungle at the time; I clearly remember being enlightened to the work of Shy FX in those early days. It was also the era when garage started taking some very dark twists and turns, eventually becoming dubstep as you well know!

Last Club Experience

I don’t really go out much now because I’m always playing in clubs. But I do try and turn up early and hang around to catch up with other DJs and see what people are playing and what crowds are enjoying. The last event I went to just to party was in New York at the Highland Ballroom. It was a drum & bass night. The first big proper club nights I went to after the under age events were drum & bass raves. They had a huge effect on me. And it seems that type of early 2000s D&B vibe is happening now in America. It’s such an exciting time for D&B over here… I’d love to check out more D&B parties over here if I could!

First Musical WTF!? Moment

It has to be jungle. I still remember hearing it for the first time when I was 10. I was in the playground  at school and someone had got some tapes from their older brother. There was nothing like it at all. It just blew me away; before hearing it I honestly thought most music was shit because I didn’t like lyrics or guitars or anything like that. Hearing those jungle mixtapes with the sound of the crowd and horns and everything made me really want to grow up and get to one of those raves!

Last musical WTF!? moment

To be honest I find it harder and harder to get one of those real ‘wow’ moments in music but I’ve recently been sent Moody Good’s album and that really did blow my mind in places. Eddie used to be in 16 Bit and he’s really pushed some interesting sounds and dynamics. The vibe, the darkness, the edginess and some of the vocals are really interesting and special. It’s great to hear him staying true to his sound and developing it.

First Release

This was back in 2003. Me and a friend wrote an untitled four track white label EP. No digital, no social networks – the only way you could get your music out there was to press it and distribute it yourself! We pressed a bunch and drove up and down the country going into record shops individually and trying to get them to buy as many records as possible.

It was a crazy kind of proto dubsteppy, garagey type sound and, funnily enough, the one shop that took the most records was Big Apple. They bought 50, which was quite a lot to buy. I wish I could remember our interaction with them more than I do. We did meet Hatcha apparently but we couldn’t possibly tell what was going to happen next! No one could predict that the whole dubstep movement would develop and evolve from that one shop in that one little borough. I wish I could remember it more but all I remember is leaving the shop thinking ‘wow, they just bought loads of records! I hope they sell them because it was a sale or return deal’. Funny how things work out eh?

Last Release

That would be my For The People EP on my new label Bring It Down. It was an exciting release for me. I’ve never wanted to be a brostepper. Some people might see that term as an insult but I don’t. It’s just a way of differentiating between the heavier side and the deeper, more roots side. I got bored of making big wobble music and I wanted another way of incorporating different elements I’m feeling into 140 and 160BPM. I wanted to go back to my jungle influences and put together some sub bass rollers. I loved the fresh challenge and setting up my own label and everything.

Now we have the remix collection. I’ve always thought I should have been remixed more in the past. It’s very interesting to see what people make of your work and how they interpret it. Everything I write is 99% my own sounds. I don’t sample much, I make things from scratch. I spend a lot of time grafting original sounds so I’d love to see people using those sounds in different contexts. Having a remix competition was very exciting for me. Grant Bowtie is clearly a future sensation, he’s such a talented producer. Whichever avenue he decides to go down I know he’ll do very very well. I’m happy with every remixer on the package.

What’s coming up next? I’d like to keep mysterious on this but let’s just say there’s more dubsteppy music on the way… Rhythmic, emotional and just the right amount of dark. I’m looking forward to getting it out there.