Union Transfer


Skream & Benga

Skream & Benga

Hijak, Plastician, Sgt Pokes, Jackmaster

Tue, March 27, 2012

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 8:30 pm

Union Transfer

Philadelphia, PA


This event is all ages

Skream & Benga
Skream & Benga

Meet Skream: Croydon’s musical wonderkid. At 15 he discovered making music. Five years later he’s changed the course of UK urban music, having helped build the foundations of London’s most exciting new musical style, dubstep. But he’s barely started yet: because right now, Skream is an artist on fire.

Skream’s story begins in Croydon, in secondary school year 11. He wasn’t getting on with teachers and they weren’t getting on with him: but he was getting on with his music. But two friendships cemented then would start him onto the path to musical success.

First he met Benga, another talented Croydon kid who was starting to make music. Then he met Hatcha, soon to be one of the most influential and pioneering DJs in urban music. Around 2000 Benga and Skream set about building on the early dark garage flavours that were to be found on the pirate airwaves around Croydon. Through Hatcha’s sets at club Forward» and releases on the seminal Big Apple label, they were about to create a new phase of dubstep.

At first Skream specialised in one flavour of dubstep: dark. His clipped, techy minimal style became a trademark sound. Long before grime existed, it reflected dark murky streets and sinister nights, the sound of decaying London and its frustrated communities, stuck out in satellite towns and sink estates with nothing but a PC and freely available software to channel their frustration into. Stuck in front of a PC for days on end, that’s exactly what Skream did.

Then two years ago Digital Mystikz burst onto the dubstep scene, expanding the sound with new flavours and vivid colours. Skream became even more inspired. It not like he wasn’t prolific already – rumour has it he’s made over 1500 tracks – but out poured a host of bright new tracks from the wonderkid. “Indian remix” took him into trippy Asian territories, “Cheeky…” into Arabia, his unreleased mixes of Sunship fused Jamaican dancehall smut with hooky Kraftwerk melodies. “Smiling Face” broke out cheerful reggae skanks on dancefloors.

But his biggest tune was yet to come. Enter “Midnight Request Line” – on Tempa records – an anthemic explosion of electro arpeggios and dub sub-bass. It’s a tune you can sing along to: Skream has it as his own ringtone. When it got dropped by DJ Youngsta at club Forward» grime dons Wiley, Jammer and the rest of Roll Deep began to shock out, flashing their lighters out of hard earned respect. The flip of this mighty release is bassline boomer “I,” an excursion into deep dub basslines and shifting cinematic textures.

Since the huge success of “Midnight Request Line” UK & International DJ gigs have been coming thick and fast, with Skream getting a rapturous response at New York’s rammed Dub War event, as well as at shows in Leeds, Belgium, Bristol & Germany. He’s also been busy releasing classic after classic on the popular Skreamizm EPs, now into the second volume. From the Amen heavy rinse out of ‘Lightning Dub’, to the masterclass in LFO-wobbling sub-bass ‘Blipstream’, these tracks are rewound at every dubstep rave, have received glowing reviews and are appearing in sets by DJs as diverse as Mr Scruff, Freq Nasty & Ricardo Villalobos.

It shouldn’t come as any surprise he likes sub-bass, Skream has grown up around it. His older brother was a member of Croydon’s notorious jungle hell-raising raving outfit Intanatty Crew, which featured Radio 1’s Grooverider and Bailey’s 1Xtra as members. Ollie, Skream’s real name, is no stranger to a bit of hell raising himself, famous for his up-for-it behaviour at parties or out on the town. In fact he’s the only known music artist with a subdued alter-ego. Most rock stars are quiet by day with flamboyant alter-egos. Our wonderkid is the other way around. But then that’s wonderkids like Skream for you: unique.

magine the first club you ever get into is, as you step inside, in the process of changing the face of urban music? Imagine you’re only 14 at the time, yet you’re already a producer. Well, Croydon dubstep star Benga doesn’t have to imagine: that is his life.

Age 14 the afro-haired producer went to his first club, Forward>> at London’s now defunct Velvet Rooms, the night widely acknowledged for founding the bassy UK garage hybrid, dubstep.

Having put in years of graft, Benga, now age 21, is a leading light in the rising global dubstep movement alongside his childhood friend, Skream. In 2008 he dropped his debut album proper for Tempa, entitled “Diary of an Afro Warrior,” after the mighty mane that sprouts from his head. “If I cut my afro off, I’d have to start again musically,” laughs Benga.

Aside from the best haircut in dubstep, Benga has a lot to be happy about. At 15 he released his debut 12” “Skank/Dose” on one of dubstep’s founding imprints, Big Apple. A&Red by one of the most influential DJs in dubstep, DJ Hatcha, the label was run out of the Croydon shop of the same name, the hangout for much of the early pioneers and future stars such as Artwork, Horsepower, Hatcha, Chef, Plastician and Skream.

For years Benga, alongside first Skream, then Loefah, Coki and Mala Digital Mystikz, built exclusive musical ammunition for DJ Hatcha. It was this material, aired by Hatcha alone at Forward>>, that propelled dubstep from UK garage offshoot to innovative genre in its own right

After early mentoring by Arthur from Artwork, Benga refined his trade working for a professional studio, linked to the biggest labels in the world. He produced for grime MCs such as Crazy Titch and Ghetto, before concentrating his output on dubstep in 2005.

Since then he’s had releases on electronic stables Planet Mu and Hotflush, self released his own CD and become a highly respected DJ in his own right, playing throughout Europe, Australasia and America.
Congratulations to Jackmaster who won DJ Magazine's "Best breakthrough DJ award" 2010.
Venue Information:
Union Transfer
1026 Spring Garden St.
Philadelphia, PA, 19123