Last year, we hit up Dj Skrillz to create the vibes to kick off Summer ’17 and it sure didn’t disappoint. This time around, Skrillz, the official DJ for Jhus, is back to help us end Summer ‘18 with a bang. Hailing from East London, by way of Ghana, Skrillz is a 23-year-old DJ that has proved time and time again that his skills and ability makes him one of the most versatile DJ in the U.K.
Check out our interview with him and check out the new End of Summer ’18 mix below!
How did you get started as a DJ?
Well, I’ve always had a love for music and anything to do with music from a young age—to sum it up I’m a music nerd. just like what my close mates call me. I actually started producing almost 10 years before I started Dj’ing thanks to my music teacher (Rowntree) who noticed my love for music and production so he encouraged and pushed me hard in that area of music and taught me a lot of things about producing. He is actually a big producer in the U.K. and has worked with artists such as Bomb squad, J Hus, MoStack, Big H, BigTobz and many more. I never had the equipment to produce at home and definitely couldn’t afford it as a young teenager. I was a little bit inconsistent in terms of my production journey so I gave it a rest for a few years knowing in the back of my mind one day I’ll pick up from where I left off. In late 2011, I thought I’d challenge my self and learn something I wasn’t too familiar with (Dj’ing) and that’s how it all began. After teaching myself the basics of the amazing Dj’ing Art I knew I had to invest in my own equipment…and Young Boss Entertainment (YBE) was born.
What was your first “Big Break”?
My first big break as a DJ…to be honest, I’m still waiting on it. Many will say it has come already, many will say I’m close, however, in my own opinion I don’t think I’m even close and I don’t mean that in a bad way. I just know my potential and what I can bring to the industry and God willing when the time is right I’ll get my big break.
How did YBE start and who’s on the team?
Growing up in East London (Newham) at the time was quite rough as gang violence was on a serious rise and more and more of our peers and fellow classmates were getting dragged into the “gang life” which causes them to inherit the gang culture such as quick money, drug selling, robberies etc. We (YBE) wanted to make money as young teenagers but not in any form that could jeopardise our future or freedom so after having a conversation with DJ Banks he came up with the name Young Boss Entertainment at this point we still didn’t know what our purpose was as an entertainment group, we were just a group of friends who had a cool name. We all listened to the same music as kids and as teenagers, whether it was Afrobeats, Hip/High life, Grime, Rap, Bashment, Reggae the whole lot you name it. I taught DJ Billz and DJ Banks the basics of Djing and with their own practice, they mastered the art of Djing and we realized and purpose as YBE and began the Djing Journey.
What’s your creative process?
I usually aim to try to keep my mixes or playlist very diverse and different. I feel a lot of Dj’s are “playing it safe” way too much. Some DJ’s will make a mix featuring only songs that already have a buzz or are on the verge of becoming a big hit. That takes away the originality and purpose of what DJ’s are supposed to do, which is to break new artists and turn their songs into hits, whether that be on the radio or in their mixes.
Onetribe’s Summer ’18 mix by Dj Skrillz
What do you think of the current Afrobeats scene?
Afrobeats is the “In Thing” right now. You hear a lot of African influences in the music of today. It seems like all of a sudden everyone wants a bit of Afrobeats, it isn’t a bad thing all, it helps the culture grow worldwide. I can literally tune into any radio station and won’t be surprised to hear an Afrobeats track. A few years ago, it would have been a bit strange because it wasn’t really a sound that was stretched in the industry the way it is today. The way I see it, it can only get better.
Do you see a distinct difference between afrobeats artists in the U.K. compared those in Africa?
Afrobeats is Afrobeats to me whether it’s from the UK or from Africa. Yes obviously the musicians from Africa who have been making Afrobeats music will all always have an advantage because they’ve been doing it longer. The U.K. afrobeats scene has played a major part in pushing the sound to the point where new subgenres have been created, such as afroswing/afrobash. The genre as a whole has largely grown and I feel like there’s a thin line between UK Afrobeats and African Afrobeats because we have artist from Africa such as Mr Eazi, Wizkid, Runtown, Stonebwoy, R2bees, and many more have collaborated with UK Afrobeats artists such as Eugy, Afro B, Jaij Hollands, Kwamz N Flava and many more.
How did you link up with J Hus?
I’ve known J for a while and always knew he was talented. Every time he used to spray bars to me and the boys (YBE) we constantly kept telling him “you need to take music seriously”. At the time, Hus never had a producer or a professional studio where he could record his music, So we introduced him to Jae5 who is currently known to be one of the best producers of recent coming out the UK. Jae5 recorded, mix and mastered most of Hus’ early day tracks and quickly realized how talented J Has was. Shortly after, the two became a sensational duo and the rest was history. At the time we were Djing at house parties and local events so we could say we were on a rise. At the same, Hus was emerging into a greater artist and it naturally made sense for us to be his DJ’s. It kind of just happened but at the same time, we all saw it coming so it wasn’t a surprise.
My purpose is to leave a great legacy behind and until that day, I won’t rest. – DJ SKRILLZ
Listen to the “End of Summer ’18” Mix below!