Jump-up isn’t the first sound you associate with Skeptical. Hell it’s not even the second, third or fourth thing most drum & bass fans would associate with him. For most it wouldn’t even enter any ‘top 20 things you associate with Skeptical’ list.
Then along came Musket…
Released just months after his Fibonacci Sequence EP, Musket is a peppy little firecracker, all clipped, buzzy and harmonic. In many ways it totally fits in with everything you associate with the Exit Records artist; thundering-but-warm bass and kicks, crisp production, minimal in its make-up. But in most ways, it completely flips everything you know about Skeptical because it’s a jump-up tune that wouldn’t usually be seen rubbing up against the car-flattening dark rollers Skeppy is known for.
But these are the exciting musical times in which we live… Drum & bass’s cauldron is bubbling over with hybrids right now and all the best artists are playing – and making – whatever the hell they like right now. The scene sounds all the better for it and Musket captures that spirit. The fact it actually began as a bassline tune (a genre that wouldn’t even touch most people’s ‘top 100 things you associate with Skeptical’ lists) makes it even more of a unique tune.
We called him up to find out more…
Have you ever held or shot a gun?
I have actually. Years ago as a kid I did this clay pigeon shooting competition and won a little shield. Then more recently on a stag-do in Bratislava. Only hand guns this time but we all put a fiver in the pot. Whoever got the highest points got the money and I ended up winning that. Watching my mate in a wedding dress shooting a handgun was a highlight of that trip.
We got an award-winning sniper over here! So Musket’s been around for a bit now. I know I heard Doc Scott playing it in September…
Yeah it’s been around for a longer than that. I was sitting on it for a bit, not even playing it out then I thought ‘fuck it’ and gave it a spin. It got more of a reaction than I thought it would, so I kept playing it. Since then I’ve had lots of people asking about the track so it got to the point where I thought I’d release it.
It’s limited on vinyl, right?
It’s not a limited press buts it’s on vinyl. I personally hand stamped the labels myself so its all been a little project over this last few weeks. The vinyl pre-orders I had on my Bandcamp sold out overnight which was a nice surprise.
I wonder what type of mood you were in when you wrote it. You were in a frivolous mood? Had you just shared a line-up with Upgrade or something? What brought the musket out of you?
Ha. Believe it or not, the tune started as a bassline tune. You know when you’re just playing around, looking for ideas and thinking of ways of switching things up and have a bit of fun for the day? I was doing that and ended up writing this 140BPM bassline. I tried it out at 172BPM and with a bit of rearrangement it became what it is today. I followed the vibe really…
I’m stuck on the idea of a Skeptical bassline tune! I’m imagining something pretty sick!
Oh, I don’t know man. I wasn’t feeling it hence why I turned it into a drum & bass tune.
Timing is perfect, though. Jump up’s infiltrated everything at the moment.
In a way it kinda always has. Jump up is always there doing its thing whether it’s infiltrating or not. When I was a young bedroom DJ I came through on a lot of jump-up and some of my old vinyl collection is jump-up.
I’m imagining the Dope Dragon style of jump up though?
Oh yeah obviously loads of Bristol stuff. Also back then I loved the Charge Recordings stuff too, the first 10 or so releases on that label were amazing.
Who started supporting Musket first then?
I think Doc Scott was one of the first to play it. Only him and Darren (dBridge) had it. It was hard to send out because I didn’t know who’d like it or play it or whatever because it’s so different to the tunes people expect off me. I was on the phone to Scotty the other week and he was saying to me, he likes the fact I’ve got people at two different ends of the spectrum; some are saying it’s the worst Skeppy tune ever and the other side are saying it’s the best Skeppy tune ever. He told me when you’re doing that you know you’re doing something right. I guess he’s right but you never know what to expect.
I agree. It conjures strong opinions and that’s the most important thing. You never want people to be like ‘meh’ about a release and just not give a shit do you?
Yeah, I guess so. I know I’ll get some haters but it’s just a bit of fun and that’s all it is.
Bits of fun often turn into people’s biggest tracks
Yeah, they do actually. They’re not forced.
Like those collaborations with Mefjus eh? Spill the beans…
We need to sit down and work out plans. We both want to get the music out, so we have to work out when to do it and how to do it.
You’re both detailed obsessed men who work tracks continuously so I’m wondering if they’re actually finished?
Oh there’s always work to be done but I think Runway is pretty much finished and a few others are nearly there. Maybe another day or 2 of tinkering but they’re close.
Sick. I hope they’re out this year…
So finally, if I gave you a musket right now who would you go out and shoot and why?
Boris Johnson! No one wants a man in power who rugby tackles kids.
Skeptical images: Khali Ackford