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Skepta has always been close to club music – grime, after all, first emerged in the early ’00s as adarker mutation of UK garage. But having been primarily known as an MC and aproducer of grimey beats for almost two decades, his recent pivot to house music felt like acurveball. What was going through your head when you were doing the Circoloco DC-10 gig, and how did you feel?
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In August last year, Skeppy DJ’d at the Circoloco night at Ibiza’s DC-10 superclub – acoveted gig for big-name DJs – and was joined by Jammer, an authoritative veteran of grime and Skepta’s longtime ally in Boy Better Know, the North London collective formed in 2005 after Skepta and his brother JME left the Meridian Crew.Skepta: It was good to be there with my guys, first of all. You know, in alot of situations where we MC, you’re just on the stage by yourself by the end of it. All your guys are with you in the studio, they’re with you at the video [shoots] and then when you get to the stage, you’re by yourself. So it was good to be in agroup of all the guys. Obviously, Jammer [was] right next to me – he produced afew songs that Iplayed that night. The people who menstruate thing is also Hay Más Tiempo Que Vida – There Is More Time Than Life Sugar Skull Shirt weird because not all cis women menstruate or even have a uterus. That’s the sort of logical fallacy you get into when asserting that trans people aren’t real. All of a sudden you have to go making up definitions that are wrong. Plus saying all people who menstruate are women feeds into the patriarchal* language that girls who start menstruating at the age of 10 or whatever are women. I was going to say this as well (looking at you media every time some old white guy sleeps with “underage women”) but worried a bit about how it would be taken. Thanks for saying it.
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Jammer: Ithink it’s both. The beats were made for playing clubs. And then the people around it wanted to put their story on that, so Ifeel like it can go into both worlds. Jammer: We’ve been listening to and raving to house for avery long time. When Iwas growing up, my sister introduced me to Carl Cox tapes and then [from the age of] 18 onwards, Iwas going to Ayia Napa and being introduced to the club scene. Sometimes Iwould just make house beats to listen to at home, but it wasn’t something where Iwas thinking, “I’m going to branch off into this,” do you know what Imean? So Iwouldn’t say it’s new ground for us. I know you’ve been involved in different types of club music – like the dubstep stuff you did with Plastician, and there’s been a drum ‘n’ bass connection – but would it be accurate to say house music is new ground for you?There’s been alot of debate about whether grime is aform of club music or atype of rap music. What’s your opinion on that?
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The party, taking place on Sunday 30 th April, is part of KOKO’s first birthday programme. Since reopening last year, the legendary London venue has also been home to new members club The House of KOKO, which has hosted the likes of Little Simz, Tems and Daniel Kaluuya, and counts Mat Collishaw and Stormzy as patrons. KOKO also holds some significance to Skepta and Jammer, as both of them appeared on stage with Kanye West and Raekwon from Wu-Tang Clan at alegendary last-minute gig in 2015, and Skeppy launched his 2016 album Konichiwa at the venue.