More commonly known for his out of control partying skills and supreme dubstep turned house productions Oliver 'Skream' Jones chats to i-D about his hip-hop loving baby boy and why he's team Nigella.
Hot, sweaty, messy and monumental, Bugged Out is the dance music movement founded by the safest ravers in the game. Having it for twenty years straight, we celebrate the integral DJ's who have been bringing the bass, straight for 20 years. Strolling into i-D HQ straight from Croydon, necking a Red Stripe and offering out Ferrero Rochers, Oliver ‘Skream’ Jones arrives one week late for his interview. 6ft tall, massively skilled and notoriously wily, Skreamizm curator Oliver is a staple character in British dance music. DJ’ing garage when he was 11, working in record shops, experimenting with production via borrowed PlayStation beats and Fruityloops, majoring on Dubstep but now playing predominately house, Skream is one third of the critically acclaimed Magnetic Man, along with Benga and Artwork. Unbound to one genre, Skream does not understand the concept behind bedtime; his energy is unrivalled. Celebrated as part of integral Bugged out crew, he explains the story behind his music.
Where do you go when you want to party not play?
Really? Is that where you’ve just come from?
I had a fun time. l was out with my friend and we ended up having a grime battles.
Is there going to be a return to magnetic man for a second album?
Yeah. We really can’t say, if it doesn’t happen, I’ll look like a right idiot.
What was the initial moment of inspiration behind Rollercoaster?
I made the record a while ago, it's two years old and l sent the beat to my mate Sam Frank and asked him if there was anything he could do with it. I remember l was in Belgium and he sent me the rendered track back and the header was ‘we’ve got a hit’ and then 2 years later it finally got finished. l wish i’d finished it earlier because the Daft Punk record hadn’t even blown up by this point, had it gone out the same time as Get Lucky it would have been massive. It’s a wicked tune, l didn’t ever actually want it to be a big record, l just wanted it to be good and just get released quietly, but for some reason everything l do just gets so pumped up.
How do you feel when you hear remixes of your work, especially that song?
I love it, like Dimitri from Paris, he hit me up on DM on twitter, like "can I remix your record?".
You don’t feel precious over it?
No, l love hearing remixes and a lot of my career has been based on remixes, hearing some body else’s interpretation of the work is what makes artists exciting. l enjoy doing remixes so when you hear someone else’s take, its wicked, l hate the kiss fm dance album remixes, when everything is just sped up.
How do you feel when you listen back to the first Magnetic Man album?
Its a classic!
Who’s the crew that keep you in inner circle?
Jackmaster, l’m good friends with. Benga obviously, Krystal Klear, Scott, Dave, all my management .
Why did you decide to stay living in Croydon?
My son lives there, it’s where I’m from. I was going to move to Manchester a few years ago. On the weekends when l’m not DJ’ing, that’s where all my friends are, the kids l grew up with, who if l’ m going to the pub l’ll get ripped the shit out of for the first hour because they haven’t seen me for ages, they’re the best friends.
Does your little boy listen to your music?
No, he’s obsessed with disco and hip hop, he likes A$AP Rocky and he’s obsessed with Todd Terje, good mix aye?
I’m a massive Artic Monkeys fan and I play stuff in the car when he’s in the back and he’s not into it but if i play Todd Terje he’s like “yeah!” I don’t actually listen to A$AP, but his mum does.
What would you do if he turned around and told you he wanted to be a DJ when he was older?
I’d say crack on, my parents worried, they didn’t not want me to be a DJ but they wanted me to have a back up plan, but what can you do, crack on.
What would have been the back up plan?
I didn’t really go to school, I was part of a school but they didn’t want me there, they told me I was a loser, they actually told me I wouldn’t make it in music. That was the last thing they said to me and then a year later I posted them my first album, true story.
I got kicked out of uni studying journalism.
I got kicked out of two colleges doing a music course.
Was that because you were truant or bad?
Initially it was because they put me on the wrong course, I was meant to do a music course not a media course and they said "it would be better if you left otherwise we will kick you out" but it was their fuck up. The second one was because I didn’t do the paper work, l didn’t do all the written work but l had distinction on all my music.
Why didn’t you do coursework?
I just didn’t, I used to argue that I could just play the tutors my music. I didn’t need to put it into an essay about 2000 words on compression. I am not a geek. My argument was l don’t need to put it down to 1500 words, but l blagged it, their argument was l didn’t have the grades to get into the course, but l turned up with like 2 CD’s worth of music, a double page spread in a magazine, my first photo shoot, 3 magazines covers and like 160 minutes worth of music. You were required to have A-C grades for the course but l turned up with music and reviews and photo shoots.
Who introduced you to music?
My brothers. I used to break into my brothers room and play records and then l began to really love music, so l taught myself all the different techniques for production. I’ve been DJing since I was 11. I used to go to people's houses, there would be other people DJing and l realised l was better than them. I realised this was my calling.
What music were you making when you were 11?
I was just DJing garage, but when l started producing beats it was on my Playstation. I still have that music, somewhere there is a box of mini disks.
You are team Nigella, Oliver?
Yes l love her, she’s hot as well, she looks like she'd give you a nice cuddle and make a cracking breakfast.