"It's a perfect collaboration, I think that it's right for me to do this."
Next month sees the result one of the most exciting collaborations the Red Bull Catwalk Studio has put together yet. One of Britain's most ground-breaking young designers, Nasir Mazhar and grime statesman and Boy Better Know founder, Skepta have been working together to create the soundtrack of Mazhar's SS15 London Collection: Men catwalk show on June 17th. The show, at Victoria House will be followed by a banger of an after party, curated by the pair at east London's Metropolis stripclub. We caught them when they were working on the music in the Red Bull Studios to chat about the collaboration and where grime is headed.
- First up, congratulations Skepta on getting the Radio 1 Track of the Day for That's Not Me.
Skepta: Thank you man. Like I was saying to Nasir earlier, for a long time I've been making music and I'll clean up a song so the radio will play it and then the radio will never really play it. It's funny that we made this song, just a freestyle song and this is the song that they've loved and they're playing it all over. It's good though, I like it.
Nasir: It sticks. It's in my head all day. It's a sticker! [laughing]
- How have you two worked together - weren't you in the studio all hours discussing this collaboration?
Skepta: That was the first day we ever met, we were here 'til like two in the morning, going through songs. It's cool - I normally make music on my on my own, in my own headspace, but it's good having Nas, like when he was playing stuff on the keyboard, I was feeling, 'Rah, this is not something that someone who can make music would play.' But this is his feeling on the keyboard and that's sometimes how you get new things. Like with the clothing side of things, that's his forté but I might say something that's really raw or that he hasn't thought of as he's in the industry. It's nice, I do think that music and fashion are both a result of pain and the love for something at the same time. That's why they go together so well. It's a perfect collaboration, I think that it's right for me to do this.
- I heard that you started writing the track while watching videos of Nasir's past catwalk shows?
Skepta: We had it playing on YouTube on mute, just to have it in the background. It was a vibe, all of it just goes together. So for me, learning about it and watching people on the catwalk, it's like a music video and I'm making the soundtrack to it. As a producer I know that a bass sounds really good here or a kick drum sounds really nice there, but for this kind of thing it's more of a feeling, some people are going to be sitting and watching people walk out with clothes so we're looking for noises, sounds that are fresh to people's ears, something that sounds new. We've got clips of old grime footage of Dizzy and Crazy Titch just shouting and going sick on each other. It's all about the atmosphere, we're not trying to make the biggest festival song of the year, we're trying to create the sickest atmosphere for the sickest clothes that are gonna come out on the runway.
Nasir: For me it's the first time I've been able to work with someone who cares so much about the sound. "What does that sound evoke? How does that sound make you feel?'
We were talking about the seating music earlier. There's going to be about 45 minutes where the doors open, people are just seated and nothing really happens. Those 45 minutes are really, really important because you're setting people up for what they're about to expect. You can either hype them up or chill them out for what's about to come. Then we've got the beginning, the middle and the after party.
- What about the after party? Are you going to be creating something totally different to the catwalk or a continuation of it?
Nasir: Well a party's a party. A party should be there for people to dance and sweat and to go away having heard songs they'd never heard before. There are certain messages that we want to carry on through to the after party from the catwalk show, but ultimately it is a party. In terms of the line up - the names we're getting - that's going to connect the two. It's not just us making a tune, it is a promotion of grime and underground music and there are certain people that we'd like to get in the line up that come from the past, present and maybe even future sounds, so everything will be connected in that way.