Lil Silva is setting dance music alight

From underground bass kid to any BPM killer, Lil Silva is the Bedford boy who has found his voice and is stamping his authentic sound all over dance music.

by i-D Team
12 August 2014, 3:55pm

Photography Laura Coulson

His 'Distance' EP released last summer, did just that, representing the development of the producer from his previous hard hitting sound (and with some assistance from fellow artists Sampha and Jamie Woon), Mr Carter was able to express himself further; laying down vocals and getting even more melodic.

The Good Years signee also helped label mate Banks catapult onto the scene, sculpting the LA singer's breakout hit 'This Is What It Feels Like', not to mention remixing Storm Queen's anthem, 'Look Right Through'. Topping 2013 would be kind of hard although the recently released Mabel EP seems to have done the job.

The Distance EP saw you embracing a new style and now Mabel sees you exploring it further, but you still always keep a grime element in there?
It's just a balance. You don't want to lose your sound, its just introducing new things. I've opened up to my emotions and writing songs and just naturally listening to more music. Back in the day I was just catering to that brand of hard heavy music, but there is another side where I do more than just a heavy bassline. I didn't want to stick to one specific thing amd I've never really been about a dance tempo, I kind of just want to give them a journey and what I'm into like across the board.

Judging by the Mabel EP you're definitely going in the right direction with your sound, talk us through the EP.
It's mad, having the Vogue premiere, it's just crazy and overwhelming. I was speaking to Banks about it, and it's just so mad but I'm really excited. I didn't write it in one place and that's one thing, it started here in London and then when I went back to LA it was a natural progression. When I was working with Banks on the album I felt it was just like this is more what I wanna do, so the feeling was 'OK start using your voice more'. It's like; you write music man, so I feel you should just kind of let them in on the journey and what's going on. 

Are you more comfortable and confident with the singing side of things then now?
I'm working on it, it's definitely something that I'll have to do. I'm working on the live show, too, you just want it to be good but I don't think I've sung in front of people since church and that was a very long time ago. 

Maybe you should go back and give them an exclusive?
I was just about to say that, I might have to go to church on Sunday just like get the vibes of it. That's actually a pretty cool idea, I'm not joking. 

Mabel has pulled on the heartstrings of quite a few people, who is the track about?
Mabel was my Nan who passed away years ago, that song is about her; even though she's gone, her love doesn't fade away. It's kind of really dedicated to her in a weird way, she was a massive inspiration for me back in the day when I was quite young, but she left me some funds for when I turned 21 which helped me to progress my music career. I bought all my equipment so it was like although she'd gone she had still left her presence here so I thought I should dedicate something back to her and made that track. 

Kimmy was kinda how I build my tracks, it's my vocals which I loop up when I play live, and I just get melodies and ideas from, that's how Don't You Love and a lot of projects came into play. First Mark, I mean that's a part of me; whatever I do is mixing the darkness and the soul together, so you can pull out the best of both worlds. I feel a lot of music has got that in so it's like all the stuff I'm influenced by turning into one, if you can bring harmonies and then bring a gritty bassline a lot of people are gonna relate to it, make yourself cool and interesting I guess.

You've collaborated with Banks on this EP, but are you still working with Jamie Woon and Sampha?
Yeah Sampha is in the middle of his album; should I be saying anything about it? It's going to blow peoples' minds! A lot of the material I've heard is amazing. There are a few things I've just kind of helped him out with but it's more him… it's developing amazingly. 

What songs are sound tracking your summer?
Klapp Klapp by Little Dragon. I've been writing a lot, so what's shaping my summer is the new Banks stuff that's coming up, to be honest I don't have time, it's been sleepless nights that's all. 

What about one song that you can't stand listening to?
I won't say what the name of is but I'll tell you what drives me mad, and it's that a lot of this music coming out isn't really credible, it's just very similar and it's not thought about. I know people love simplicity but when you've got five tracks that sound exactly the same and you're just changing one note at a time that shit kinda drives me a bit crazy. Because there's not a great deal of art put into it, for me, I really wanna hear music so okay you've done that, now try create something that's gonna make me feel something and not fucking go crazy and just make me take time out like it doesn't do anything for me, it's like why I never wanted to get caught up in one world with one specific music, I prefer to have a sound where some of these other people don't have or they're lacking in it because their sound is just similar. There are a lot of people in the scene back where I developed that had such a strong sound but now you listen to their newer stuff and they're trying to be something else, like you're trying too hard. 



Text Nardene Scott
Photography Laura Coulson

Lil Silva
jamie woon
laura coulson
music interviews
distance ep
nardene scott
mabel ep