Glasgow has always been something of a hotbed for underground music. From the roots and culture sounds of Mungo’s Hi-Fi and their Scotch Bonnet imprint, through the afro-centric rhythms of the Huntley & Palmers label to the maximimalist hip-hop inspired bangers of Hudson Mowhawke’s LuckyMe there really is no shortage of innovative and original sounds.
A new name certainly worth adding to that list of Glasgow innovators is Inkke, who recently released the Crystal Children EP on Local Action (which we reviewed last month) and was previously featued on the Joe Muggs compiled Grime 2.0 compilation for Big Dada.
Redbull Studios, London invited Inkke down to produce a pair of tunes and then gave artists who are part of the Floodit Collective the chance to generate visual responses which were then printed and sold on t-shirts and limited run vinyl whilst Inkke played a (majority vinyl) set. GetDarker sent Bayfield down to chat to Inkke, check out the printing and fill his rucksack with complimentary booze.
So whereabouts in Glasgow are you from?
Kelvinbridge, which is in the west of Glasgow. I grew up just between Kelvingrove Park and Maryhill, which was good; there was a lot of activity there, interesting place to be a kid, I stayed right next to one of Glasgow’s early graffiti walls.
What sort of music scenes were in the Glasgow area growing up?
Going to the Art School was my main thing, before I was really legally allowed. When we were about fifteen we’d just go up there and jump over the wall or whatever to avoid the bouncers. The big ones for me were nights like Fortified who were supporting early dubstep producers and Baller’s Social Club, which was another great one. Numbers nights at Stereo were always really good too… This was all taking place when I was still at school and I wasn’t really allowed to be at them but yeah, we had a brilliant time. That’s the sort of club music I got into early and then I started getting more into experimental stuff, early Adaadat records from the likes of Joe Germlin and Gay Against You.
I reckon that was the sort of stuff that made me want to start making music. I know early Germlin albums made me want to start producing music. It’s just that kind of out there music, it doesn’t really reference what I make at all but it’s still what influenced me.
How did you first get hooked up with Local Action for the Crystal Children EP then?
When I first started making actual finished tunes I would send them to Slackk who was using them in his monthly mixes, from that Joe Muggs got in contact and the Big Dada thing came about.
Then Tom from Local Action hit me up so I sent him some stuff and we just started talking about an EP, so really since then. That must have been over a year ago, maybe even close to two years ago. I started producing in about 2012 so yeah, it’s not really all that long ago.
With people like Huntley’s & Palmers, Numbers and Mungo’s Hi-fi and also places like the Art School reopening as a venue there’s plenty of interesting stuff in Glasgow right now.
Yeah it’s great at the moment. I think the Art School is currently my favourite venue. They put on such varied nights and book so many different people. The musical input is just so varied. Vitamins are really pushing the boat out with stuff too, every night they do is at a different location and they book some really interesting artists, people you really want to see but rarely get the chance to. They always really do up whatever venue they use too; the production is off the scale for every show.
Sounds a little bit like Soup Kitchen in Sheffield, not sure if they still run but they had that same sort of ethos.
I remember one time Vitamins, in fact is was one I played at, they held it in an abandoned tunnel deep in the Glasgow subway system. They’d lit a path of tea lights for about two miles leading you from the entrance to the way to the sound system, and to get in you had to scramble through this massive chopped open gate. It was proper crazy.
Maybe it’s just me getting all arty farty, but tracks like Daisy Chain and Paradise, they have a really beautiful element to them, but there’s something brutally cold underneath. It genuinely reminds me of Glasgow weather; when it looks really pleasant and bright but the minute you step outside you’re freezing your tits off. Do you ever think about the feel of something going in to producing or just experiment?
I don’t really start with any ideas, it’s just a case of sitting down and seeing what comes out. With the Paradise tune I did with Julia Juban, (track vocalist) she’s from America but lived in Glasgow about five years ago, I met her through friends and we stayed in touch online. I’d heard some recordings of her singing so I sent over a load of tunes to see if she was interested in working on something together. I think that beat was called Cave Rocks before it was Paradise, but I sent it over and within an hour she had wrote the lyrics, recorded the vocals and sent the stems back to me. It fit perfectly so we just went with the first draft. It was a really quick process, it all just worked.
So how did you get involved with the artists who are printing up your vinyl sleeves and t-shirts tonight?
Emma from Red Bull just hit me up out of the blue with the idea for the project and asked if I wanted to come down and get involved at the event, the whole project is right up my street.
So are the tracks on the vinyl made specifically for tonight?
Yeah, well I was here at Red Bull studios last month for three days just working on music and these were two of the tracks I produced. Over the past month the artists have been working on their cover designs which were printed on the record sleeves tonight.
You were dropping some old school hip-hop and grime when you were DJ’ing earlier this evening, is that what you started in production wise?
Production wise? Errr, I’m not really sure, I did produce a bit of hip-hop at the start but then I still do now, and I’ve always been into my grime so I suppose it’s just a mix of influences from grime to hip-hop, rap and whatever. I just like to try and come up with that weird “other” shit.
Yeah you can certainly hear the grime influence in your style, but it’s laced with a lot more melody. It’s not just a bunch of shitty 8 bar loops.
Yeah it’s certainly not classic grime emulation, I try and take influence from all of the things I’m really into and use them in my tracks but fuse it to sound whole, not fragmented into different parts. But I do have a real love for 8 bar grime, I have always been a fan of that stuff. It’s weird to look at it from a different point of view, I get how it could be seen as boring to some but I like the switches and the simplicity.
Yeah it’s definitely function music more than form. Not really the sort of thing you’d sit down and listen to at home.
Yeah, I guess it’s not the sort of thing to just sit and listen to through, like an album or whatever. But I wouldn’t say that’s what they’re built for anyway. When I’m listening to old 8 bar stuff I’m reminded of the pirate radio broadcasts, with emcees riding over the tracks and everything, there’s just a certain energy that comes from that, for me anyway. I’ve met plenty people that don’t understand why I get so hyped off an 8 bar switch.
I noticed you were playing both old school hip-hop and grime primarily on vinyl tonight, do you always playing vinyl or was that just for the occasion of the vinyl printing?
Erm up until today, pretty much yes. Unless I’ve been playing with someone who uses Serato, in which case I’d maybe bring a USB to play some of my own unreleased stuff. But yeah, It’s been almost 100% vinyl up until today. My friend just sent me a Serato box so tonight was the first time I’d used it on my own. Initially I was a bit nervous and was like “shit am I even plugging it in right?” but from now on I’m going to try and make an effort to use it more and keep the special records at home, ‘cause they often get pretty damaged at shows. But I know I’ll still be buying just as much records as I do now as I’m a bit of a collector at heart. Using only vinyl can be a bit limiting too as less and less music is getting a physical release these days… and it’s heavy. I’ve just come from Scotland to London carrying two huge boxes full, and kicking about the subway during rush hour and trying to cross London Bridge with all the tourists while carrying about two hundred records in a wheel-less suitcase is not the easiest way to travel!
You can pick up Inkke’s ‘Crystal Children’ EP direct (get the vinyl) from the Local Action store HERE
Follow Inkke on Twitter @inkke_
Follow Local Action on Twitter @LocalActionRec