Check out the north London born rapper, producer, journalist and general hip hop head talk on his past and present releases, production methods, who he'd like to work with and what he feels about the UK scene as it stands.
Wassup. Starting things simply, tell everyone who you are and what you do?
Sup people, I'm a producer/beat maker first and foremost, and DJ second. I also write for Undercover Magazine, and host a radio show called The Dusty Crates Show on Monday nights, 9-11pm on gu2.co.uk.
Have you always gone by the name Last Skeptik and how did you come up with it?
I've been making beats and rhyming for about 6 or 7 years, going by a few names I wont mention now! But about 5 years ago I took on Skeptik, as I used to tag it, and added 'The Last' as I felt I was the last one left who was being sceptical about governmental decisions and policies on war, the environment and other issues. I still feel that to a degree today, with the high levels of apathy among the masses on important topics.
Did you have a teenage crush on the fittest sceptic on TV, Scully of The X Files?
Hell yeah! She was way too hot… and apparently she (Gillian Anderson) now lives in West London. I'm there…
What's the five things you're most sceptical of?
1. The Government: For continuing to make decisions based on motives that are kept hidden from the public.
2. The Media: For transmitting these beliefs, values and misnomers to the people, by carefully wording the truth till people follow falsehoods blindly.
3. Shady Critics: Character assassination in the form of reviews, with no constructive criticism.
4. Mobile phone companies: 02 says I'm on the best plan, but the bills say otherwise. hmmmm…
5. People who scapegoat hiphoppers: generally people who have no fucking clue about a) hiphop and b) music in general. These closed minded pop fans need to be slowly eaten by rats.
Where about are you in the UK? I heard you're from North London. Big up Barnet!
I'm from Finsbury Park, North sides…represent! But at uni in the gangsta town of Gullyford, Surrey.
How long have you been into producing beats and what released stuff have you been involved with so far?
I've been making beats for 6 or so years, making demo tracks that had play on pirate stations like Itch. I then had a track called Proper Gander on Disorda's Suspect Files Volume One, with me rhyming as well as on the beat, and Jeff Metal(SplintaData/SpitKingdom) on the cuts. After that, I had my first major release 12? on Netgroove Records with Word Search featuring Squared rapping on the A and my boy Sway on the B Side. Watch out for new music from me with Verb T, Kashmere, Grimlok, Conflix, Baron Samedi and many others.
What studio set up do you have? Should I blow my student loan on an MPC or carry on 'buying' software packages for my PC?
My set up is the most basic out of the all the producers I know haha. I just have two Technics 1210s, a Vestax 06 mixer and my MPC2000XL with no effects and 2mg memory. I find that having a small memory on the MP makes me work harder to be creative and chop things up, rather than just sampling long loops. I personally work better on hardware samplers, but I know eventually I'll give in and do it on computer, but I'm stubborn.
Who'd you love to provide some beats for in the future? Be it artists from this country or else where.
Hiphop wise, I wanna work with emcees I really respect on the mic; Ras Kass, Mos Def, Kyza, Cappo, even grime heads like Donea'o and Kano. Otherwise, I wanna work with people you wouldn't except, like Regina Spektor, Emiliana Torrini or remix punk groups like Q and Not U.
How often do you get on the mic and how does the experience stand in comparison to making the beat?
I rarely jump on the mic nowadays, dropping the odd verse like on the Word Search remix with Sway and Chubby the Alcoholic. I still write a lot, and sometimes that's the best therapy to me when I can't stand producing anymore. But nothing is better than making a fresh beat, for a few hours, and coming back to it. That really de-stresses me.
Can you run us through some of the stuff that we can hear your voice on? I heard your dope track on The Sickness. How did you end up on there?
Stuff that's released that I've rapped on has been Proper Gander, and Word Search Remix, but apart from that I don't really rhyme anymore. As far as The Sickness CD goes, I don't rhyme on that, but have a track with my boy Conflix taken from our forthcoming 12?. The Silent Soundz boys (biggup Bob, Joe and Jimmy) came to me and asked for a track, and as it goes I'm working on another project for them at the moment with Verb T.
How did you link up with Net Groove?
I was mates with Kam (Beyond There) from me basically hanging out in Mr Bongos (R.I.P) in between lectures whilst I was in college in Kings Cross, and when I got to uni I asked him to come on my radio show. When he came on I played a demo version of Word Search with Emcee Squared, the next week he called me up and asked if he could put it out. So I re-recorded it with Jazz T (Diversion Tactics) on the cut, and Sway on the B Side (Prior To The Present). Simple as that really, keep pushing your music, have confidence in it, and you can achieve want you want. Big big shout out to Kam, I owe him a lot for having faith in my music and wanting more people to hear it.
Do you ever get involved with live events?
I DJ whenever people request me to, and I'm a resident at Phylum in Guildford.
What do you ultimatly aspire to be, or do you wanna continue to be a jack of all trades? Journalist, radio host, producer, rapper, super hero?
Definitely a super hero. I want X Ray eyes so I can look in to girl's changing rooms. Hahaha… nah, ultimately, I will always produce, that is where my heart is at. But I have always written, academically and otherwise, and Undercover (biggup Ewan Huzarmi) has provided me with a great chance to get my name about and my voice heard.
I heard you the other night on GU2, the Surrey radio station. Cheers for the shout out. How did you get involved with the show and what time can we catch it at?
It's the radio station here at the university I go to. Mostly its pop crap, and the people at the station don't really like me or the music I play. Its an award winning radio station with an incredible studio, so nearly two years ago when I got here I just blagged my way in to a show. Since then I've had people like Percee P (Stones Throw), Kam, Caramac, Blufoot, Ewan (Undercover) and Diversion Tactics on the show. Check it out for exclusives, random banter and stupidness on Monday nights 9-11pm, www.gu2.co.uk
What up and coming releases are you most checking the calendar off for at the moment?
Any new music from Ras Kass, the new Quasimoto album, and the new Sway mix Cd! Every time I speak to him he says it's nearly finished. He's been saying that since last summer.
How would you rate the past 12 months of the UK scene in comparison to prior years and do you think it's gonna be even bigger in the next year?
I think the quality of hiphop from these shores has always been high. It has it's up and down points, just like the American scene. So last years releases were no exception to that rule, we had amazing music from Harry Love, Kashmere and Verb T, Rodney P, SkinnyMan and Sway. I think the problem is labelling/pigeonholing it UK hiphop, and not just hiphop. Next year, I hope things will change in terms of the increased interest in homegrown music, but only time will tell.
Do you ever feel like the UK scene is quite a studenty sort of culture? What degree are you working on?
Hahaha… no not at all. I think it's a varied and diverse culture, with some members studying amongst the madness! I'm working on getting a Sociology degree, but this music thing keeps getting in the way.
What's the last thing you downloaded off the internet?
Jon Doe's remix of the new Common track The Corner. Biggup to Lawson for sending me that one.
Who do you consider to be the UK scene's equivalent of a spokesperson or head representative like KRS One?
Hmm.. that's a hard question as 'the scene' seems fragmented in terms of shared views. If I had to nominate someone, I'd say Braintax or Rodney P. Both know their shit, and have seen a hell of a lot come and go.
Got any shout out's you wanna mention or anything to plug?
Biggup up to Bob Saltine Halal Beats – my crew with Beat Butcha. Shout to Conflix – watch out for my 12" with him out on Filthy Habits very soon. Biggup Verb Taculous, Chemo the weegrow, Diversion Tactics, Sway, Suze, Silent Soundz, Ewan, cheesecake lovers, Red Veg, and you for reading this. Go buy the 12? still available on Suspect Packages. Lastskeptik.com (updated very soon)