We speak to the instrumental grime producer about his first LP.
Slackk has outlined full details of his debut album, Palm Tree Fire, due out September 1st.
The producer, real name Paul Lynch, is at the forefront of the current wave of instrumental grime. (A tweet he published in 2012 signalled the new era: "Your scene's boring, so we're starting a new one.") Palm Tree Fire will come out on Local Action, a label Lynch joined in 2012 with the Raw Missions EP. He's also pushed the scene forward with Boxed, his London-based club night that also features Logos, Mr. Mitch and Oil Gang as residents.
"It feels a bit like a mood piece in a way," says Lynch of Palm Tree Fire. "There is a certain vibe there but it wasn't written with that intent—it's just a load of bits that I've made over the last year that seem to hang together in a certain way." The album will come out digitally and on vinyl. The vinyl edition comes with a free download code.
We caught up with Lynch via email this week to discuss the album in a bit more depth:
When you started releasing music, instrumental grime was still an outlier—now it (and its influence) is seemingly everywhere. Are you surprised by how things have turned out?
You can listen to album cut "Ancient Dolphin" in full below:
Yeah, it's all gone a bit weird to be honest. I think a lot of what's going on at the moment is just down to really strong timing. Things are especially good at the minute, and I think it's certainly a bit weirder in places than it has been in a while. I don't really think it's as "new" as everyone's on about—you only need to look at some older Spyro, Spooky and Score 5 (he was so underrated) radio shows to know that there were always mad tunes about. My old show with Oil Gang, too, although we were nobodies at the time.
It really does catch me off guard though a bit, the internet side of things is what I never get my head round. There was someone writing about Boxed in Brazil the other day and you just sit there thinking, how do you even know what this night we do is?
Your music has a classic grime influence but rarely feels retro. How important is it to you to be mindful of the genre's history while exploring new sounds?
I don't know really, I just write things and throw drums on the screen and see what happens. I try not to reuse sounds too often and do get bored of VSTs and sounds quite easily, which might account for different or new sounds in a lot of tunes. In terms of being mindful of a history, I don't think about that at all when I'm making music, I just try and make some stuff I haven't heard before.
I've got a deep respect for all the original grime producers and the people who actually started it, but I definitely didn't have anything to do with that so the last thing I'd want to do is copy it/them. I always viewed grime as the most forward-thinking music, you know, so I just try and make stuff with that idea in mind. I don't think I'm brilliant or anything but that's what it is to me.
Did you approach the writing process for the album differently than you have for your past work, which was all EPs? Is there any theme or inspiration binding these tracks together?
I don't necessarily view it as some big grandiose statement in the way that some albums can be, but there is a definite tone to it. Maybe a bit more space to it in comparison to some of the other stuff I've put out? It feels a bit like the desert when I listen to it, but I think I might be in a bit too deep. I called it Palm Tree Fire because of that, and then found all these mad YouTube videos from LA with trees on fire afterwards, which really seemed to fit in to me for some reason.
What inspired you to start Boxed last year? Do you still think the UK scene is boring?
Man so much of the stuff I've said on Twitter makes me sound proper miserable. I deleted loads because I just thought, "Christ, I sound like a tit rabbiting on here." But yeah after UK funky things did seem to get a bit dull for me—in terms of what most of the nights and line-ups about were. Loads of stuff went really house for a bit as well, and that's sound for other people obviously but for a good two years I'd go out and mostly just stand in the smoking area. I think the last year or so has been good though, loads more interesting stuff.
There wasn't really any grand masterplan behind Boxed or anything, just that the four of us were all around grime in our own ways and we just wanted to put on a night because there weren't many places playing it out at the time. Also it was just that we wanted to hear a load of these tunes on a massive system, in a completely selfish way. Didn't really think many people would turn up, thought we were probably going to lose a bit of money on it. Once we did a few, people actually started to come though and that was good.
01. Palm Tree Fire
05. Crafty Tiger
06. Burnt Ends
08. Wash Your Face In My Sink
09. Three Kingdoms
11. T-Shirt & Knickers
12. Hope You Got A
13. Puma Walk
15. Ancient Dolphin
16. Kit & Holly
Local Action will release Palm Tree Fire on September 1st, 2014.