A fearful, uncomfortable but admiring and heartfelt round of applause, please, for Ninja Tune's first (only?) hard man - King Cannibal aka Zilla aka Dylan Richards. Coming through with a razor-edged, utterly uncompromising industrial mash-up of sounds and rhythms from dancehall and drum & bass.
Art school dropout ZILLA (government name Dylan Richards) began working on his own brand of super-evolved mixes towards the latter end of the nineties as a reaction to the glut of uninspiring mix compilations that had began to flood the industry. The first salvo against conformity was A Friendly Game of Chess , a self-funded, hand-sprayed, highly under-the-counter mix project with Lex Records DJ and friend Buddy Peace. The highly stylised conceptual expression of work that combined a rich fusion of textures together with strong themes and motifs began to ignite more than their own imaginations, selling out in just 48 hours and earning high praise on a global scale.
A Friendly Game Of Chess was swiftly followed by solo mixtape strike One Foot In The Fire, One Fist In The Air which earned numerous comparisions to Coldcuts 70 Minutes Of Madness'. Comprised of almost 100 tracks from Autechre to Britney Spears, interviews and spoken word interludes, the CD sold-out in a day, attracted attention from all corners and ended up in many a Best of 2004 list. Among those with their ears to the ground were Trash supremo Erol Alkan, notorious London promoters Wheels Instead of Hooves and the heads of both Ninja Tune and Warp Records.
After 2 appearances on the legendary Solid Steel radio show, the honour of being the first unsigned act to play at Strictly Kev & D.Ks Solid Steel clubnight, 4 sets with Buddy Peace at Dedbeat 04 in the course of one weekend and a number of European dates, Warp Records stepped in and invited Buddy Peace & ZILLA to compile a retrospective of the label. Released late September 2004 as part of the 'WARP VISION The Videos' DVD, the mix entitled 'Watch And Repeat Play' was a startlingly original tour de force, over 70 minutes the two DJs re-worked and re-wired the label's back catalogue, twisting the already twisted into sonic maelstrom.
The Warp Vision Audio Visual / Resfest Tour followed, with appearances alongside artists such as Plaid, Chris Cunningham, Seiji, Mike Paradinas and Funkstorung and invitations to play at the Glade Festival, Trash, The Warp Summer Ball and The Poke Xmas Rave. It was these shows and the experience of playing live that inspired ZILLAs latest mix Grinted Teeth & Brawlsville , a year in the making, it was a more uptempo and aggressive yet challenging body of work that manages to find the link between party starting crunk of Lil' Jon and the dancefloor destroying sonics of The Aphex Twin.
Once again the great and the good were suitably impressed with praise coming from the likes of Kid 606, Knifehandchop and, again, Erol Alkan. The success of Grinted Teeth and 'ZILLA's growing reputation led to Domino Records inviting him to remix the final single from Test-Icicles, 'Biggest Mistake', a remix which has been rapturously received by everyone from Laurent Garnier to Lo Recordings Jon Tye who went on to release 'ZILLA's remix of The Chap's 'Premier At Last'. This was quickly followed by 'ZILLA' and Autechre remixes of Unique 3 's The Theme (Fat! Records), .
2006 saw ‘ZILLA’ going back the lab and perfecting his twisted new sound, an industrial take on dancehall, dubstep & drum n bass. Demos and material started to leak out and with tunes receiving massive support from Amon Tobin (Ninja Tune,) Kid 606, Combat Recordings and Rag And Bone Records. 'ZILLA' was invited to record material for Kid 606's Shockout label, Rag & Bone Records, Combat Records and Uncharted Audio and put together remixes for Black Grass and New Flesh.
2008 saw a BBC Radio 1 Scorn Vs King Cannibal Soundclash Special and Aragami Style receiving HEAVY rotation on Mary Anne Hobb's Experimental show , remixes for The Qemists ft Wiley, Ghislain Poirier, Scorn, and Ebola. 2009 stepped up an extra notch with remixes for 2 Fingers ft Sway & Ce'Cile, Aviv Geffen, Frankmusik, guest slots & mixes on Kiss Fm and Xfm (where his music even inspired a new section for Eddy Temple Morris' The Remix show) and appearances at numerous festivals and a constant stream of gigs all squeezed around the recording and release schedule for King Cannibal's debut LP 'Let The Night Roar' for his proud new home, Ninja Tune.
Selected discography King Cannibal
So... Embrace The Minimum / Dirt ft Daddy Freddy - Ninja Tune
Virgo ft Face-A-Face / Murder Us ft Jahcoozi 12" - Ninja Tune
Aragami Style / Flower Of Flesh & Blood 12" - Ninja Tune