Wednesday, 27 July 2011


It's now just over a year since Roska released his much anticipated self-titled debut album and to satisfy fans' growing demand for more music, he's provided us with the 'Jackpot' EP. Released on July 18th, this 6-track digital offering ( 3-track on 12") sees Roska move away from his more traditional sound, instead combining far more sub bass than we're used to with a series of punchy kicks that run consistently throughout. Could a return to his grimey beginnings be on the cards? I caught up with him briefly on the thinking behind the EP and what the future could hold for Roska:

"The EP is more of a little interval between albums if I'm honest; a little summary of what I've been testing out over the last year or so basically. My album was originally due to come out around now but I ended up doing the mix CD for Rinse so that kinda took over. I decided that I should push an EP alongside the Rinse mix before hopefully putting my album out in the next 6 months or so. The tracks I chose for the Jackpot EP were essentially album demo tracks that I'd been working on so I thought it'd be a good idea to put them out for the heads really! I'm actually hoping to make some more Grime tunes over the next few months because thats where it all started for me back in the day before I lost all my music. I want to get back in touch with the scene and I think you can hear that in some of the tracks on the EP, especially 'Roskallion'."
Roska making Grime again? You heard it here first!

Uncle Albert recommends: 'Roskallion'


Roska Kicks & Snares:

Buy the 'Jackpot' EP via Juno Records:


After bursting onto the UK Funky scene back in early 2010, Champion has gone on to establish himself as one of bass music's finest up and coming producers. Despite his Funky credentials, Champion's potential was recognised and subsequently harnessed by Terror Danjah after an unlikely phone call saw the two come together to release his debut EP 'Motherboard' on Terror's 'Hardrive' imprint. Since then, Champion has also formed unlikely ties with the all-conquiering Butterz label and is set to play alongside the likes of Swindle and Royal-T as well as Elijah & Skilliam at Cable in August. With plans for his own label firmly in place and a whole host of new material in the pipeline, I managed to catch up with him on everything from first hearing Wiley's 'Eskimo' to refusing to embrace Serato:

"It all started with 'Bad Girl' really - that was arguably the tune out in 'Napa in 2010, everywhere you went you were guaranteed to hear it. I actually went out there and shot the video for it and released it on ITunes when I got back - it got a really good reception and the video even made it to number 7 on the MTV Base video chart, as well as the tune itself getting play-listed on Kiss and 1Xtra. I was with NVA management at the time but ended up parting ways in the end - no particular reason for it, I just had a different view of where I wanted to take my music and that was it. About that time, the whole Terror Danjah / Butterz thing came together - I knew Terror was a fan of my stuff but it came about when Pioneer said I should phone him and see what he's saying. From there, we just got talking and soon I had an EP ready and that was that - the 'Motherboard' EP came out in May and did quite well so I was pleased. 
Besides all that, i've been thinking about setting up my own label for ages now and I've finally started to put things in place for 'Formula Records' which I'm hoping to launch in the not too distant future. I've also done quite a few remixes this year - I've done an official remix for the Sugababes, remixed a Chipmunk & Tre Songz track and a few bits for a new group signed to Universal called Encore. I've worked with Ruby Lee Ryder on 'Sensitivity' as well which has got really good feedback so that might get a release at some point. I've been hitting up the bookings too - Fabric's been treating me quite nicely and I only got back from a booking in Sweden a few weeks back. Hoping to get over to Outlook festival to support the team as well!"

Despite the variation in his production, the vast majority of Champion's work is heavily bass-driven, a key component of what he calls the 'Champion sound':

"It might sound a bit cliche but I make the Champion sound (laughs). In all seriousness though, that is near enough everything summed up in two words. I never really have a market in my head when I sit down to make a tune, I just gather whatever inspirations I have at the time and whatever is in me comes out via the program I'm using - that's literally it! A lot of my tracks are bass line driven which says a lot about my taste but influence wise, I guess you might notice a subtle Jamaican element to some of my tracks. I actually tend to favour a good slow-jam vocal over a hard-hitting, gritty instrumental - I just fuse the two things I love! Can't beat a sweet, female voice over a really energetic, punchy bass line." 
Musically, Champion explains he draws inspiration from all over the place but accredits Garage and early Grime for really capturing his imagination:

"I take inspiration from everywhere but the key time for me was late Garage / early Grime. I loved Sticky and Wiley and guys like Jon E Cash - they were the people that made me think, 'Shit, I've gotta make my own music'. I loved the whole vibe of the time you know? I remember hearing 'Eskimo' for the first time and I just thought, 'Nah, fuck off' - it was just nuts. I'd never heard anything like it and to this day, I still don't think I have. Jon E Cash's 'War' was another one too. I was actually already deejaying at the time but they were the tracks that made me want to produce, although I didn't actually take to it until Lethal B released 'Forward' back in 2004."

With regards to contemporary electronic music, Champion is an advocate of everyone coming together to make music that knows no conceivable boundaries:

"I like the way things are at the moment - there are no boundaries on what people can or can't make anymore. Everything merging together allows for a lot more creative freedom, which is only ever gonna be good for the producer. I could literally wake up tomorrow and make a tune at 80 BPM and no one would think anything of it. Bookings wise it makes a difference too - one day I could be on a Dubstep bill and the next, I'm playing alongside Butterz!"
Although he admits it took him by surprise, Champion sees his involvement with the Butterz imprint as more about sharing a common interest in good music:

"The Butterz link up was in no way forced or anything like that - I'd not actually heard of them and didn't know what they were about until we started to work together. It came about through working with Terror and all just fitted together nicely. I actually found out that they knew of me before Terror did, back in 2009 when 'Tribal Affair' had just kicked off but they chose to just watch from the sidelines for a bit. It all started with them stocking some of my test presses on the Butterz Boutique and it hasn't stopped since. I consider us all as just guys who share a common interest and common goal with regards to good music though - its not a forced movement or anything like that. As a label though, they're doing big things for the Grime scene - they've taken the scene and moulded it to how they think it should be. In a word, sick."
As a deejay, Champion admits he takes an old-fashioned viewpoint when it comes to deciphering exactly what it is that constitutes a good night:

"I've got quite an old school view on raves - for me, the deejay has to be the fuel of the rave regardless of where it is or who's in the crowd. In saying that, the best nights for me have been in the smaller venues. I've played Alibi in Shoreditch three times now I think and every one has been a complete shut down. The vibe in places like that is just next level - i can play certain tunes there that don't get the same reaction anywhere else. I remember dropping Mosca's remix of T Williams' 'Heartbeats' tune with Terri Walker on the vocals and everyone went absolutely sick - I swear I've never seen anything like it!You can't beat that house party vibe for me. I find in bigger clubs you're more removed from your audience so you don't feel as in touch. For me, Cable is probably my favourite club - it's like a cross between Fabric and Alibi. It's got the size and prestige of Fabric, but that mad vibe that Alibi has."

Although he began deejaying solely on vinyl, Champion admits that it faces an uncertain future in the clubs:

"I started deejaying strictly on vinyl so I'll always have love for it - convenience wise though, it's just not the one. You can turn up to a booking with thousands of tunes just in one CD case where as with vinyl, you're carrying boxes and boxes of the stuff and it can't conceivably be done anymore. I refuse to take to Serato though - I'm a CD man and that's that! Having said all that, vinyl does sell so but I think that's more to do with people wanting to collect it as opposed to playing it out. Big at home but dying out in the clubs I reckon. It can never be replaced but it can't compete with CDs and MP3. "
With high hopes for the launch of 'Formula Records' and various projects on the go,  Champion is keen to push the sound as far as he can over the coming months:

"I've got a few surprise EPs on the go that I can't really talk about at the moment that will be revealed soon and there are some interesting collaborations on the cards too. Bookings are a big priority though - I want to take the sound as far and wide as I can and let people know what's killing the raves here in London. That's my main aim I guess, to take the scene and share it with as many people as possible. Obviously it'd be nice to make a good living off of it but for me, it's more about the music and sharing the experience. I've obviously also put quite a bit into my label which I'm hoping in time, can be the home of underground UK Bass music, a real outlet for people wanting to here what our scene is getting up to. The first release is gonna be the 'Lighter' EP which will be out in the coming months. My next EP for release though is actually a joint project with Andy J and ST - its got DJ Q on the flip and also a Terror Danjah remix but I can't say when that's due out just yet! 'Sensitivity' with Ruby Lee Ryder is also crying out for a release so hopefully that'll happen. Besides that, I guess you can expect some interesting stuff! Ah and I can't forget that I got drafted by Coda about 3 weeks ago too, all of the back of the work I've done this year. I'm quite proud of that!"


Catch Champion at Butterz & Hardrive @ Cable on August 13th too:

Tuesday, 26 July 2011


Since first producing D Double E's 'Signal' back in 2004, Mizz Beats has gone on to establish herself as one of the most versatile producers in the UK. From first producing a series of hard-hitting grime instrumentals, her sound has grown to incorporate Hip Hop, Dubstep and even New Jazz over the last 7 years. Now working with Universal alongside a number of their artists as well as continuing to put out tracks via 'Deep Medi' and 'Eglo Records', I caught up with her on everything from 70's psychedelic rock to live performances:

"I don't make much Grime anymore to be honest but that's not because I don't love it - I just tend to sit down and make whatever I feel like at the time these days! I've had two releases out on Deep Medi over the last year ('My World' and 'The Jester') and my EP, 'Are We The Dictators?', came out on Eglo Records earlier this year. At the moment, I'm currently putting an album together but the majority of my time has been spent doing mainstream stuff for Universal. I've been working with lots of people on their label but obviously I can't say too much! 

(Brief pause whilst she looks up some of her release information / what she's actually been doing on Google*)

"(Laughs) Ahh yeah i've been working on quite a few collaborations too - I've got new stuff forthcoming with Silkie, Ron D, Shy One and Quest and I've been talking to Foreign Beggars so something could happen there. The other thing I've taken to over the last 3 months or so is playing out - its more of a live performance than a deejay set to be honest because I don't really deejay and i can't use vinyl. I use my laptop and a lot of midi controllers with a program I wrote myself to essentially remix and make beats live."

Like a number of producers I've spoken to, Mizz Beats struggles to define her sound but tells me it knows now specific genre:

"I couldn't fit my sound into one genre box at all. If you look back across my releases, they've gone from Hip Hop to Dubstep to Grime - I'm a bit of a production whore aren't I really?! Whenever I sit down to make a track, I know that my mood is gonna dictate how the tune's gonna sound. My music has always been really emotionally driven so I'll just go with how I'm feeling and take it out on the keys!"
Despite first taking to producing Grime, it was her parents' love of Jazz that Mizz Beats credits with fueling her passion for music:

"I come from a very musical family - my Mum's Dad was in a psychedelic 70's rock band called 'African People' so as soon as I could walk and talk, I remember being surrounded by music and often spending time at my Grandad's studio. My Mum and Dad were massive music fans too and in my house it was always Jazz - my Dad especially never stopped playing it! Today I spend most of my time listening to Hip Hop and RnB - the 90's stuff right up to present day. I don't really listen to much of the stuff I make to be honest (laughs). 
In terms of influences, I can't look much further than Rodney Jerkins, Timbaland, The Neptunes - if you look at their discographies, you can see they don't fit into any one box either and I think that's why I respect them. They're not only talented but versatile and that's what works for me!"

Had to throw this in - Uncle Albert favourite
Despite never encountering any issues over her career so far, Mizz Beats acknowledges that the scene remains predominantly 'male' although she is pleased to see more females taking to the buttons:

"Compared to when I first came onto the scene back in 2004, there are a lot more females about which is good to see. The fact still remains that it is a very male-dominated scene but from my personal experiences, its never really been a problem for me. I guess all I want to do is encourage more females to take to it and make an impact."
She's also pleased to see people starting to embrace music for what it is, regardless of genre or influence:

"Everything just seems to be in one big melting pot now and its all just music. I have to say I really like the how everything's mixing together, I really do. Over here we've always had a habit of waiting for one thing to die out before moving on to something else - we went from Garage to 2 Step to Grime without any of the genres actually existing together at the same time. Now, genres are starting to come together and people are embracing the music that's coming out of that union, which is really good to see."
With her work alongside Universal set to continue, consistency is definitely the key as Mizz Beats looks to the future:

"The plan is to just continue working with as many artists as possible and the whole thing with Universal has been great for that. I'm just gonna keep making music and hopefully take my live performance stuff as far as I can too. As far as releases goes, I've got a track called 'Pimpin' doing the rounds at the moment which is out on 'Eglo Records'. Ah and I can't really say much but I've been speaking to a few people in the Grime scene about putting a few things together so look out for that!"


Buy Pimpin' on vinyl via Boomkat:

Saturday, 23 July 2011


Following on from the success of P Money and Blacks' 'Boo You' and news of their next release, Trim's 'I Am', Butterz have put together their most comprehensive line-up to date. Saturday, August 13th sees Butterz join forces with Terror Danjah's 'Hardrive' imprint to present the very best in upfront, forward-thinking Grime at Cable, London. The flyer does the majority of the talking although such is the magnitude of the line-up, there are a few things to get people in the mood!

Terror Danjah has put together an excellent 35 minute promo mix just for the night which is available for download FREE via: 

Terror's 'Full Attention' featuring Ruby Lee Ryder will also be available from August 15th via all the usual spots. Arguably the biggest instrumental track of the summer.

... and next up for Butterz is the release of Trim's 'I Am', also available as of August 15th, complete with two exquisite remixes courtesy of Preditah and Mr Mitch.

On a final note, Uncle Albert will be in attendance celebrating his birthday. Come and say hello!

Sunday, 10 July 2011


After first coming to Uncle Albert's attention earlier on in the year, Debian Blak has continued to enhance his ever-growing reputation as one of bass music's most promising talents. Currently touring the festival circuit with his band, East Park Reggae Collective, Blak's first EP, 'A Hint of Menace' is now available FREE via First World Records, a label already represented by the likes of Kidkanevil and Eliphino. Intricately put together and technically superb, 'A Hint Of Menace' is a superb debut offering that should please fans of the Mount Kimbie / James Blake stable, although such is its craft, it should appeal across the board. Truly one of the most promising debut releases I've heard in months. 

You can download 'A Hint Of Menace' via Debian Blak's bandcamp here:

+ don't forget to keep an eye of for East Park Reggae Collective on your festival travels this summer.

PS - you can also read Uncle Albert's exclusive interview with Blak here:

Monday, 4 July 2011


With a debut release from Wiley on the label's back catalogue, expectation levels at Launchpad Records have remained understandably high over the past 12 months. Their latest release, a punchy re-work of Dexplicit's 2004 track 'Pull Up', features a host of the scenes big hitters including Durrty Goodz, Big H, Dot Rotten, Black the Ripper, Shizzle and Big Narstie, all of whom contribute to what is arguably Launchpad's hardest hitting release to date. Dexplicit's production is typically on-point with weighty bass lines galore evoking memories of Grime at it's rawest, an energy that Grime had appeared to have lost along the way until the release of Spooky's 'Spartan' late last year. 

All in all, 'Pull Up' is yet another smart release to add to a growingly impressive back catalogue. Props to Launchpad. 

'Pull Up' is available for download from the usual online spots and physicals are available from Launchpad's store as of July 4th:

+ also 'Once Upon A Grime':