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It’s hard to find many people with the encyclopaedic knowledge of UK bass music that Spooky has, spanning jungle, UK garage, dubstep, and of course, grime. He’s one of the true OGs in the scene, with releases dating back to ‘05, as part of the legendary underground Slew Dem crew. Since those early days, the man has championed grime as a producer and DJ on countless stations, including Rinse FM, NTS, and guest mixes for BBC Radio 1.
Spooky began DJing on pirate radio from the age of 15, during the initial peaks of grime’s popularity in the early 2000s, but his first big break into the wider music scene came about in 2005, with the release of ‘Joyride’. Sampling the seminal dancehall track ‘Joy Ride Riddim’ by Dave Kelly, the bouncy grime instrumental was released on Slewdem Productions, featuring MCs including Jammer, Chronix, and Shorty Smalls.
Spooky continued to produce and DJ for Slewdem, and on a number of stations, such as Deja Vu and Rinse. During this period many of his tunes didn’t see wide releases, but gained mythical status as dubs in the scene – one of these being ‘Snow Forest’, which was recorded in 2006 and became a Slew Dem anthem. Head’s up: this big tune is finally getting released in March, on the Oil Gang imprint.
In the years that followed, Spooky perfected his own sound and musical aesthetic, whether sample heavy productions like Joyride, or his more bassy synth-based productions like Snow Forest. It wasn’t until 2010 that Spooky made his second major splash, with the iconic Spartan, released on No Hats No Hoods. The tune, that samples the film ‘300’ in a hyper-aggressive crunch, is a staple in grime sets to this day.
We’ve only covered Spooky’s official releases. In reality, Spooky as a producer can be best defined by his massive collections of remixes and unreleased dubs. He’s a master at putting his own distinct choppy spin on tunes that are built for his sets alone. The wider public got a peek into just a section of this world of unreleased music, when he dropped a zip of 72 previously unreleased tunes for free online, back in 2012. This ranged from completely original productions to mash ups and unofficial remixes. This release is still seeing major play today – Brentford’s most famous garage crew Kurupt FM vocaled Spooky’s Cheque 1-2 remix on Radio 1Xtra towards the end of last year.
– Written by Joe Innes –
Keep Hush run loads of grime nights, including one coming up on Thursday 1st March, a Mean Streets takeover with Trends. Spooky’s playing, so if you want to hear more heaters like these, spun by the legend himself, become a member for free here, and go grab a ticket here.
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