Formed by three of dubstep’s initial innovators, Artwork, Benga and Skream, the collaboration between the three of them known as Magnetic Man is largely credited with bringing the genre into the mainstream and breaking the likes of Katy B. We caught up with the trio for a Q&a, plus we’ve some special Q25 video interviews you can watch below.
How the Devil are you?
All: “Good thanks, really good.”
As you’re all solo artists, how do you feel about Magnetic Man’s success, it seems you’re stuck with each other?
Scream: “It’s amazing.”
Benga: “Only good things.”
Skream: “I think its still… it just pushes it more and more. I think people feel familiar with us already and I think it does nothing but good for the whole pot.”
Have you decided what we can call you yet? You’re not a band, how about a super group?
Skream: “Electronic collective!!”
Benga: (to Skream) “You thought about that before you came here.”
Skream: “I was just waiting for that question all day to just say that!” (Laughs)
You all helped to pioneered dubstep as a genre, how do you feel about it now it’s entering the mainstream?
Skream: “A lot more people are into it, a lot more people are making it.”
Artwork: “It means more people are open to it, but really there are only two types of music… good or bad. Technology has changed music over the last ten years, especially with electronic music, you can actually make it home. If you hear something, and you get it in, you’ll make a track that’s influenced by it, and then you send it back out and then someone else is influenced by that, it goes so fast and it changes and splits up into so many different things. It keeps it interesting. I have heard people saying that its not the same as blah blah like it should sound exactly like that record. I think its really good.”
Benga: “You want things to progress.”
Artwork: “I’m happy it doesn’t sound like it did three years ago, because that’s when music stagnates and dies and you see it with other genres so I’m not going to go into it. Just as people are starting to get used to this thing that you call dubstep, it changed into something completely different, there’s ten different types of it. It’s great.”
Though is the chart stuff any good though, haven’t they just pinched the sound because it’s popular?
Skream: “That’s awkward to ask because we’re part of it. It’s more of a thing to talk about as someone outside of it. The fact that it’s getting bigger is positive to us, it’s positive to anyone actually involved in it. But people on the outside are going to say no its not. We’re at a bigger platform for something that we’ve pushed and spent a long time doing and we’re not going to be unhappy that more people are hearing it and more people are coming out doing the music. I know that sounds really cheesy but it’ll touch more people.”
Artwork: “That’s the thing, like when we started out doing it we were in [club] Forward, and there was 50 people, 35 of them were producers, at that point you thought This is brilliant, but wouldn’t it be great if there was 100 people here that were just punters! Then when you’ve got 100, it’ll be Wouldn’t it be good if their were 300…”
Skream: “I remember saying 800 tonight would be great. Now it’s 20000 plus.”
Are you still hungry to get bigger crowds?
All: “Yeah ‘course!”
Artwork: “And there’s always that thing were it doesn’t matter what kind of crowd. We did one in [Danish festival] Roskilde, and the first time we walked out three years ago, there was 15,000 people and we were like Whoa! That is amazing. Then when we went back again a few weeks ago there was 20,000 in the tent and 20,000 outside the tent and you go Whoa again. That little rush of Wow I’ve never seen that many people before, your always chasing that.”
Were you disappointed not to get a Mercury Prize nomination?
Skream: “Well, nah nah, cause you got James Blake, Katy B, Tinie Tempah, though really, that’s still contemporary. I thought it was the best list in years, really good, I think everyone deserves to be on their as well!”
Artwork: “I think they got a shock a few years ago when someone [Speech Debelle] sold 1000 records or something and everybody says, Well its shit. They learnt a lesson there. They have to think about it now and they have picked really well. Katy B has sold a lot of records but she’s still an underground act like James Blake, he’s a perfect choice, absolutely brilliant. Our album was probably the first to break that kind of sound and go to number five in the album charts, so it’s been difficult for us. We opened the doors and everyone started coming in. I’m very proud we did that. We did stick our heads up above the parapet and said Lets do this, lets sign up to a record label, were very proud of that.”
Are you all still involved in your own individual projects?
Artwork: “Just wrote an album and I’m nearly finished. It’s coming out in January.”
Skream: “I’ve got a single coming out in… er, well the release date very soon. I’ve been waiting for a release date for ages!”
Do you have like a dream collaboration, anyone dead or alive…
Skream: “Mine’s The Proclaimers and have Frankie Boyle featuring! I think a Magnetic Man vs Prodigy would be amazing.”
Will there be new Magnetic Man material soon?
Benga: “I’m thinking about writing another record definitely, because what’s around now, you know Chase &Status.”
See Magneticman.net for more from the band.