Let’s talk about bassline for a second… Sitting in its own unique musical universe, and often referred to as 4×4, bassline takes root in speed garage, jacks harder than 10 of your favourite house records all melted down into one super record, has huge followings in Sheffield and Birmingham and has done since the turn of the century.
With samples, references and elements from all other genres thrown into the mix, bassline is the manic melting pot sound that’s broad enough to encompass its own Bassline Festival (thanks DJ Q!). It’s dark enough to resonate with jungle, UKG and grime heads. It’s funky enough to maintain the house lovers. It’s the sound of TQD, Wideboys, Mr Virgo or Jamie Duggan slapping you senseless. More recently, it’s the sound of recent genre champion Skepsis, a 21 year old Londoner who’s just given us this incendiary roughhouse sesh…
Already hammered by the likes of DJ Q, My Nu Leng and Holy Goof (as well as Skepsis himself) it’s not just a sharp reflection of bassline’s exciting sound and energy but, much more importantly, a snapshot of how cold Skepsis is. And he’s only just warming up. We called him up to find out more…
You seem to be a bit busy at the moment DJ-wise…
Yeah I have a good team around me, I think that really helps these days. Crucast have been pushing me. I’m actually trying to cut down until I finish my degree but always thankful for the support.
You’ve been on this for around 3/4 years production-wise but much longer as a DJ, right?
Yeah I’ve been DJing since I was 15. Production-wise I’ve been trying things out for a similar amount of time but I didn’t know where my feet were. I went through every style – dubstep, drum & bass, rap and trap beats for a bit. But around 2014/15 I started doing the 4×4 stuff and it picked up a bit.
It started with some pretty big bootlegs of the likes of Wiley and Skepta. Is grime an important cornerstone for you?
Definitely. I was making grime beats before I got on this. Nothing to put up online, but a buzz to make. Especially being from London, the home of it all. I wondered what the grime vocal would sound like with more upbeat 4×4 drums, so got tracks from people like Wiley and Skepta and started experimenting with different patterns and beats on them. Seeing a video of Skepta over Mr V’s Hypnotic on 1Xtra from years ago definitely influenced this. It worked out well and led on to more bassy originals and experiments.
Yeah let’s big up bassline for a second…
Yeah, it’s definitely enjoying it’s time again. It went a bit quiet after various issues around 2008/9 but in the past couple of years it’s come back to the forefront, especially the last 12 months or so. This has obviously helped by DJ Q representing it and championing it in the way he does with his nights and his Bassline Festival. It’s funny though, because the sound is constantly changing and it’s not what you’d call traditional bassline any more… No one knows what to call it now! It’s got more elements in the mix – garage, grime, dubstep, house. We’re just throwing in what we want and not really sticking to any plan. I wouldn’t label my stuff strictly as bassline – most of the time I just try to avoid labeling it.
The best things happen when there’s no plan
Yeah you don’t want to be pigeonholed! It’s healthy and that’s the main thing!
Hard to pigeonhole tracks like It Goes Like
Yeah, I wasn’t sure about it to begin with to be honest. I wasn’t sure if it was a bit too “in your face”, maybe a bit EDM-y! But you’re your own self-critic aren’t you? Hearing it on loop for ages in the studio can kill the vibe for you. I sent it to a few guys around half a year ago as a work in progress, and got some great responses.. DJ Q, Holy Goof & Notion were big supporters. It took me half a year to put those final touches on the track and properly get it out there.
Those final touches are the hardest part. Give me an odd experience in the life of Skepsis….
I don’t know if it’s odd but I successfully played a whole set on one deck once. Was a challenge to say the least!
Yeah that’s odd. How? With a loop sampler or something?
No, just one deck mate! It was five mins before I was meant to go on, and the crowd were hyper as fuck. They barged into the stage, knocked the decks and corrupted one of them. It was too late to replace it and luckily I had an MC who hyped the crowd while I rewound the tune playing and kicked off another one. I was a bit pissed off about it but chatting to people later and most of them didn’t even realise, which was funny.
That’s MC Bru-C, right?
Yeah he’s a mate from Nottingham. We’ve only met recently but we’ve done some cool stuff together. You’ll definitely be hearing more for us soon – Nottingham’s another really sick city for this sound actually, especially with people like Darkzy coming up and the more established veterans like Virgo.
How’s the 4×4 vibe back in your hometown London?
Improving for sure. I used to love Butterz at Fabric, and any My Nu Leng show I would always try and catch. I tend to travel a lot when I play, so it’s always nice to have something in the hometown every now and then. I headlined at The Nest just before Christmas, which was a really cool experience. There’s a few more local shows happening soon though… nothing I can speak about yet, but watch this space!