AbandonSilence was recently given the honour of interviewing the US Bassmaster himself, Starkey, just before he took to the stage at The Magnet in Liverpool. For the purpose of the interview, AS denotes the questions and S denotes Starkey’s responses.
AbandonSilence would like to offer our gratitude to Ben Vale and Ben Thapa who made it possible for us to meet the man himself - and again for Ben as he contributed the picture of Starkey (left) and my ugly mug (on the right) above. Here goes...
AS: As you were growing up and beginning to produce, from where did you find musical influences?
S: Everything you hear influences you; doesn’t matter if it’s good or bad. What got me into music back in general in the day were the Beatles and Michael Jackson. After that, once I started building my own ideas of what music is, I really got into hardcore punk rock and then jazz and classical. After that was all about Bjork and the Trip Hop stuff, Tricky and that plus Mogwai and epic post rock. All of that came to form what I do now.
AS: At what point did you realise that you could begin to make music for a living and not just a hobby?
S: Erm, I knew I wanted to get into production at about 14 or 15. I knew I had to stop kidding myself that I’d make it to the NBA. That’s when I focused on music. I’d always been interested in music, but I got into writing electronic stuff when I was about 20 or 21, that’s when I started to get into it a bit more. It’s been 8 or 9 years now that I’ve been confident about what I do.
AS: When did you discover dubstep? Coming from the US it must have been hard work to find a foothold in the genre?
S: Pretty early on man, pretty early on. I was living in London in 2001, I heard all that garage stuff; So Solid Crew and The Streets had just come out. I moved back to that states and kept in touch with what was going on. Through the pirate radio stations like Rinse I got into grime and I really got into that. Through grime I got into dubstep. I wasn’t as much a big fan of the early 2steppy stuff, but I have grown to appreciate it now. My first love in dubstep was Loefah’s darker style and Vex’d’s Hip Hop influenced stuff.
AS: On your new LP, Ear Drums and Black Holes, you cover Rave, Dubstep, Chilled and many other genres, do you find it easy switching between genres?
S: That’s kind of what I do, I don’t even think about it, whatever happens, happens. I don’t try to please anyone except myself. If a track feels like it’ll get chilled, it gets chilled. If it feels like it’ll be 4/4, it’ll be 4/4. If I wana sing, I sing. I don’t mind switching styles; I have music ADD so I can get bored pretty easily.
AS: In the UK and more so the US, dubstep is really blowing up, even Britney Spears is working with Rusko, what are your thoughts on the growth of the genre and it’s move into the mainstream?
S: I’m all about it. If people are doing what they’re doing and are happy with what they’re doing, then great. I listen to a lot of mainstream R’n’B and Hip Hop. I think the word ‘dubstep’ is the problem. There are so many factions, the sound is splintering. Everything moves faster because of the internet. You split everything into these subgenres. That’s the problem, there’s really not much that holds the sound of ‘dubstep’ together. Just coz songs are round the same BPM doesn’t mean it’s the same style. That word and what people reference it is a problem. If someone hears a Rusko track for the first time and are told that that’s dubstep, then if someone hears one of my tunes they’ll never think that’s dubstep as well.