Skream at Metropolis in Leeds
|Birth name||Oliver Dene Jones|
1 June 1986 |
West Wickham, Bromley, London, England
|Origin||Croydon, South London, England|
|Genres||Dubstep, UK garage, dub, disco, house, drum and bass, jungle|
|Occupation(s)||Record producer, musician|
|Instruments||Music sequencer, samplers, drum machine, personal computer, turntables|
|Labels||Tempa, Tectonic, Disfigured Dubz, Deep Medi Musik, OWSLA, Nonplus|
Oliver Dene Jones (born 1 June 1986), known as Skream, is an English electronic record producer based in Croydon. One of dubstep's first and most prominent producers, he has played an important role in the genre's development. His debut album Skream! was released in 2006, and was followed up by Outside the Box in 2010. Skream is also a member of the dubstep supergroup Magnetic Man, along with fellow producers Benga and Artwork. The group released their self-titled debut album on 8 October 2010.
Jones was born in West Wickham, Bromley, London. As a teenager, he worked at Big Apple Records, a Croydon-based record store that was at the centre of the early dubstep scene; even prior to this, Jones had become acquainted with Hatcha, another dubstep pioneer, because Jones' brother worked on an adjacent floor in Big Apple Records. As a result of this encounter, Hatcha was the first DJ to play Skream dubplates.
Skream began producing music at the age of 15 (using FruityLoops) and claims to now have roughly 800 songs in varying stages of development, including a number of early disco and funk-inspired records. Jones would regularly 'bunk' school and spend the day at Big Apple Records through his teenage years. On various occasions he would also go to FWD, an "underground-sound" club night which was originally held in the Velvet Rooms but later moved to Plastic People in Shoreditch. DJs such as Hatcha would do live shows here. Skream's early productions were often with another alumnus of Big Apple, Benga, and are of a decidedly darker and less melodic nature than later releases.
Rise to prominence
As dubstep gained notice from conventional media such as The Guardian and Pitchfork Media, Jones' music started to take on a more melodic sound: less overtly influenced by the darker, UK garage influenced sounds of early dubstep artists such as Horsepower Productions, with dub, house, and even jazz influences instead. The 2005 Skream track "Midnight Request Line" has been described as "dubstep's most recognizable crossover hit", and has been praised by producers as diverse as grime producer Wiley, and minimal techno producer Ricardo Villalobos. The key change in the chorus, which The Wire has described as "an epic change of key and tempo that recall[s] the classicist mannerisms of Derrick May," has been credited as being a key factor in the evolution of a more melodic sound in the dubstep genre.
Skream has released records on a variety of UK record labels, such as Tempa, Tectonic, and Big Apple Records, including a self-titled album on the Tempa label. He has done a number of tracks with Niall Henshaw, also known as Spectrum. He has performed throughout Europe, the US, Canada, Australia, and Japan, as well as the UK. From 2006, he hosted a weekly Rinse FM show called Stella Sessions. In 2010, Benga joined the broadcast, which was renamed The Skream and Benga Show.
In 2007, "Angry" and "Colourful" from Skream!, as well as an exclusive mix, were featured in the E4 teen drama Skins. This marked the first instance dubstep was featured on television. Skream was also featured on BBC Radio 1's Essential Mix that same year.
On 15 September 2008, Harmless released Watch The Ride, an album mixed by Skream, following on from artists like Scratch Perverts, Zinc and Goldie. On 2 October 2008 Skream featured in a fly-on-the-wall German TV show 'Durch die Nacht mit...' alongside drum and bass artist Goldie. In this, Skream stated that he currently had writer's block, but he was working on music in other genres, also mentioning a possible Skream & Goldie collaboration.
In 2009, he rose to further prominence when his remix of "In for the Kill" by La Roux helped propel the record to number two in the UK charts. Also in 2009, Skream completed further remixes for Bat For Lashes and Toddla T.
In the summer of 2010, Skream released his second full-length album 'Outside the Box', which was also released on the seminal dubstep label, Tempa Records. The record earned a score of 7 out of 10 from SPIN magazine.
Mainstream success and a change in sound
Jones has seen commercial success as part of Magnetic Man, a live electronic music project with fellow dubstep pioneers Benga and Artwork. Their debut album peaked at number 5 on the UK Albums Chart and its lead single, "I Need Air" reached number 10 on the UK Singles Chart.
Jones has worked with many prominent pop artists. In addition to La Roux, he has produced for and collaborated with the likes of Kelis, Miles Kane, and Chromeo, as well as Katy B and John Legend as part of Magnetic Man.
In response to his success, Jones launched his Skreamizm tour to offer himself a change of pace from arena and festival performances, opting to play three-hour sets in small clubs. These shows saw a greater incorporation of disco, house, and techno in his sets. His recent productions have increasingly veered away from dubstep into these various genres, seen in tracks such as songs such as "Sticky," "Bang That" and "Kreepin'". He has addressed the change in direction on his Twitter and in interviews, noting that he was inspired to do more varied sets by the likes of Jackmaster. In March 2013, he contributed a house mix to Pete Tong's All Gone Miami 2013 on Defected Records, a leading house label that releases yearly compilations dedicated to Miami and Ibiza. Resident Advisor wrote that with the release, he gained "entry to one of the most established institutions in house music."
With Magnetic Man
- Magnetic Man (2010)
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- "UK album chart // 2010-10-23". UK Albums Chart. The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2013-05-03.
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- Jones, Oliver (I_Skream) (7 March 2013). "YES I WILL BE PLAYING TECHNO/HOUSE/DISCO AT ALL FUTURE SHOWS.". Twitter. Retrieved 2 May 2013.
- Carter, Dan (1 April 2013). "Skream's changing sounds: "It isn't new to me, but it will shock people."". Beatport. Retrieved 2 May 2013.
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