In my day as a youth, the only producer I knew was that one that Ronnie Corbett used to use to give his funny stories some credence. And even when I started to take notice of what producers really were, then they were all these fancy American types, that drove huge cars and stood in the background of those rather risqué videos full of large bottomed girls, that so unnerved me as a teenager that I literally couldn’t watch them.
These days producers don’t always have to look like that. Take London’s The Last Skeptik first burst onto the scene with 2004’s 12″ featuring sway, through to 2007’s ‘Broken Window’ album which featured Verb T, Sway and Kyza, The Last Skeptik has been gaining credibility and admirers fast throughout his career. In 2010 saw the release of a collection of remixes he had been asked to do by various artists and labels. Named ‘Same day, different shit’ it featured Marina and the Diamonds, Daniel Merriweather, The Streets and more. On top of all that, he has DJ’ed, toured, and produced for some of the biggest artists, clubs and festivals around the world.
Fast forward to now, and in the last few months The Last Skeptik has had two albums out. The first, ‘How not to make a living’ with Rapper Lewd Adams, came out to much gushing and admiration from critics and audiences alike towards the end of last year, and his new album ‘Thanks for trying’ is out on 6th May. Already its gaining radio support from radio one and Huey Morgan on 6music, and first listens show that it’s a cohesive, funky, moody, flowing look into the scenic mind of a master producer.
We spoke to him, and (to quote Ronnie Corbett) the producer said to me…….
You started young, right – skipping of school to make beats?
Yea..it was either that or get in trouble so I did moderate amounts of both. 11 years old I made my first beat. And that was surprisingly not even that long ago.
Daz Dillinger – All I need
And who influenced you then? Was there an album that sort of soundtracked, or inspired your love of music?
Back then I was a die-hard 2pac fan. So people like DJ Quik, Daz Dillinger, QD3 and Dr Dre inspired a lot of what I was doing. Adding to that all my dad’s prog rock vinyl and that kind of made a sick middle ground of thugged out sounding avant-garde shit.
And was it a long hard slog to where you are now?
Definitely but there’s no point doing anything you love unless there’s a struggle involved. Makes victory sweeter.
Times when you nearly gave up?
It’s been a busy few months, two albums out –a bit of a stress?
Part and parcel of the madness. The stress and hatred inspire better music. The last album came out in June 2012 so there’s been enough of a break til this one…
rewd Adams & The Last Skeptik – Everything’s Ok
You must have been pleased with the critical reaction the ‘how not to make a living’ album received
Definitely. It resonated with people because there was no pretence behind it. Rewd is honest with his lyrics and has impeccable delivery, and I just spazzed on the beats and tried to make the wackiest most earnest shit possible.
And working with Rewd Adams – How was that? Fun?
Standardly – he’s a close friend of mine so doing the project made perfect sense.
A fairly political record – were they your sentiments as well?
So, the new record – can you tell us about that. Was there a vibe/mood/theme you were aiming for?
Cinematic. That was the main vibe for it. Wanted to make something that would take people on some kind of hyper emotional tear inducing journey. And not give a fuck about adhering to any rules of what an album in 2013 should be like.
On a label with a lot of tradition in beats music BBE – was their support important for you
Yea it was huge. Their support on a project as weird and unconventional as this was pivotal.
How long did you work on the record – has it been a long time in the making, or have you worked quite quickly on it?
About 4 years in the making… its my Blue Steel, so it had to be right ..
And its instrumental – did you set out to make it that way, or is that just how it turned out?
Always wanted it to be instrumental from the beginning. I’ve worked with rappers since I started but doing something with musicians opens up a lot of different opportunities with the music to take it to different places.
The Last Skeptik – Pick Your Battles
And the short film is awesome! Was it fun to make? Where did you film it?
Peak District.. and yea it was a lot of fun. My boy Ishola was in the bear suit and made it easy. Jeff Metal smashed it with the vision for it.
What are you plans for the next few months – any big remixes we should keep an eye on?
All is focussed right now on the album, and there’s about 10 more videos to be released..
Or DJ Sets? What’s hot right now?
Catch me at the Hoxton Pony every Thursday with a ton of special guests like Darq E Freaker, DJ Snips, Radi Dadi, etc etc , hosting Livin Proof every month, and a shit ton of others.
Finally, the best record I’ve heard this year is….
James Blake. The new album is sick.
Keep up to date with The Last Skeptik. This producer isn’t any sort of joke, he’s the real deal.