On the heels of Laurel Halo's Behind The Green Door EP and Kode9's deliciously off-kilter Xingfu Lu 12-inch, the ever-eclectic Hyperdub label is readying a collaborative single from grime pioneer Terror Danjah and experimentally minded, up-and-coming producer, Champion. "Sons of Anarchy" isn't out until June 3rd, but to tide us over, the London beatsmiths have cooked us up a "back 2 back" mix of some of their favorite bangers from the grime vault. Download the mix below and read a short interview with the guys.
Terror—tell me about the birth of grime as a sound. Where were you and what was the scene like? TERROR DANJAH: I just slowed down my beats from 174 to 136 to 140 bpm. At the time everyone jumped off Jungle/Drum & Bass for UK Garage. Other people like Ruff Sqwad, Dizzee Rascal, Wiley and Jammer were making their own spin of UK Garage, and that was the birth of Grime. The scene was young, and everyone was either in a crew or had a slot on pirate radio to be heard. Grime was the true voice of youth at the time. First time lyrics were actually conveying what's going on. Where before, in Garage, MCs were just toasting to Hype the audience over UK Garage and Drum & Bass.
Champion—can you describe your first experience with a grime sound? What struck you about it? CHAMPION: For me, it was when Wiley's “Eskimo” came out. I remember, on my dad's sound back in 2000, 2001...him and Serious were playing somewhere and I managed to tag along to play a few tracks. Near to the end, Serious drops this tune from the top, and I’m looking around and people were already singing the bass line before it even dropped. So I'm standing there almost thinking, Okay, lets see where this goes, and when "Eskimo" dropped, I swear in my head I was screaming, Yes! This is me!. It was the first tune I felt connected to. In a way, I was kinda waiting for a tune like that to come around and then a whole scene did so I was in love. The way the grime heads done the dark reggae or oriental sounding or bass lines with the D&B mid-basses was what blew me away. I like to think my whole style came from the early days.
In broad terms, how would you say the music has evolved over the years? TERROR DANJAH: The Internet has helped spread it from being a localized sound to a worldwide platform. Now more and more people discover it and enjoy it day by day. From back in the day, from pirate radio shows that have been recorded on tapes to raves like [defunct London party] Sidewinder recorded on CD and uploaded and distributed on the net. Classic videos from Bruza, Crazy Titch, Lethal B, Wiley from Channel U—now known as Channel AKA—are all now on YouTube. DVDs like Lord Of The Mics, Practice Hours, Conflict, etc., are all accessible too. People now see all the history of Grime and want be a part of the culture and it's still going strong.
Champion—how did your label, Formula, come about? CHAMPION: I'd always wanted to do one but it was all about timing. It got to a point were I was getting sent a lot of good UK Funky or Bass or whatever and no one was really paying attention to them because they weren't seeing releases and knowing what that felt like. I wanted to provide a platform for all likeminded people to release on. Brainstormed on the name, got the Lighter EP ready as it was quite big at the time and [I] took it from there. With what I choose to release, I just want people to be able to go mad in a club and to let people know that house doesn't have to sound conventional.
How did this collaborative record come about? TERROR DANJAH: I liked Champion's early production, his track called “Tribal Affair.” It doesn't sound like Funky House to me. It reminds me of my earlier productions I was doing in 2001. I've helped him with his mix-downs till where he can now mix down my tunes the way I like them. Cause we have similar but different contrasts; we compliment each other. CHAMPION: The excitement from the collaboration, for me came from the fact that I was actually now creating music with someone that I grew up listening to and that influenced me. Also, I was excited to hear our two styles merged & I can say, I'm not disappointed with the turnout!
What do you hope that people will take away from the music on this record? CHAMPION: That it is dance music for the ravers in the clubs! That there’s pure energy and lots and lots of bassline! TERROR DANJAH: Just makes them wanna go out and have a good time. Uplifting music.
Champion - Friday 13th
Helix - Stacks Riddim
Roska - Penetration Test
Champion - Cannon
Kry Wolf - Concrete
Champion - Hydra Island
Jamie Hustle - Pleasure Dome
Hannah Wants & Lorenzo - What I Want
Jamie Hustle - New Day
Champion - Prince Jammy
Hannah Wants & Lorenzo - Dappy
Breach - Jack
Dj Sdoko - World On Fire
Hayfever - Ground Collapse
Dr Jeep - Sphinx (Champion Remix)
Dark Sky - Tremor
Champion - Bowzer's Castle
Terror Danjah - Fruit Punch
Terror Danjah vs P-Jam - Anger Management vs Morph (Next Hype Vocal)
Terror Danjah - Sam Cro
Terror Danjah - Breakdance
Champion vs Terror Danjah - Stone Island
Terror Danjah ft DOK - Dark Gremlins VIP
DOK - Jumble Sale
Terror Danjah - Glide
Champion vs Terror Danjah - Explode
Terror Danjah ft Riko - Dark Crawler
Champion - Slap
Spyro - Silo Grass
Terror Danjah - Jax Teller