As well as writing his own tracks and producing others, he's remixed the queen of quirky electropop Grimes and has been featured on Radio 1 and 1Xtra. Though I'd like to think this blog a potential taste maker, regardless of that Great Skies is definitely a name you can expect to hear more of in thefuture. Clwb Cardiff caught up with him to get his opinions on the demise of 'brostep', which American 80's Hip Hop artist he's got the number for and getting an answer on the definitive question, 'Steak or Bacon?'
Great Skies - The Music
How do you go about writing your tracks? Do you build everything from the drums up or structure it around a little melody idea you’ve had or something else entirely?I actually usually add the drums last! For me, it’s all about vocal samples. 90% of my songs will start from a vocal sample that I’ll make and the other 10% will start from a little melody idea or some kind ambient sound! So it’s quite strange to work with other producers face to face because they’ll do it completely differently.
Your recent track, Don’t Want U has been premiered by UKF, is that an incentive for you to go on to greater things? Anything big in the pipeline?Ah yeah that was really awesome of them to take a chance on me like that! For UKF to put up a song like Don’t Want U when it’s so different to their other uploads, I really owe them a massive thank you. I’ve got a few things lined up that should be cool. In particular, I’ve produced some more songs for Context so hopefully those will see the light of day at some point, I’ve got a song I’m doing with Saturday Night Gym Club (who I’m a big fan of) which is exciting and I’ve got a ton of songs to get out there that are just sitting in my iTunes. So I’ve got a bit to look forward to!
What makes ambient music so good?That’s a tough question! I guess it’s just a bit more soulful and dreamy than a lot of other music. It really creates an atmosphere and I find it’s a bit more of a journey than just listening to straight Dance music.
Do you reckon that there’s an emerging shift in dance music away from the loud, noisy, ‘brostep’ style tracks in favour of a more chilled out approach? Yeah, there definitely is. Half of the producers who made Dubstep have moved onto other things because they don’t really know where to go with it now. It’s kind of a shame because I’m actually a fan of loud, noisy Dubstep tracks, which is probably hard to believe when you hear my songs haha. But if you listen back to Dubstep songs from a couple of years back like‘Nothings Wrong’ by Subscape or ‘Cockney Thug’ by Rusko, they’re still so great, so it’s a shame.
If you could collaborate with one artist, who would it be?I’d love to do a song with Bjork. She’s just so original, there’s no one else out there like her.
Are there any strange genres you’d like to write in? I reckon a Great Skies track influenced by reggae might be great! Haha I actually had a go at a reggae track a little while ago but it just wasn’t that good so I scrapped it in the end. I’m actually surprised at how much of an audience there is for Reggae and Dancehall at the moment, I always hear people blasting it out their cars! But something I’ve been looking into is Trap music. I find a lot of the songs really interesting so I’ve been incorporating elements into some my most recent songs.
What makes a great piece of dance music?Umm…I guess for me, a good piece of dance music would be catchy, creative and atmospheric.
How hot do you like your Nandos? Haha I’m such a wimp, I have the mildest one. Sometimes I’ll go Medium though!
Where is your favourite place in London for a drink? To be honest, I don’t actually know London that well! I’ve been drinking at various places but I don’t think I could name them haha. There’s a nice pub around where I live that I go to on the odd occasion.
Who's the most famous person in your phonebook? Haha the most famous? Umm…I have number of one of the Jungle Brothers? If tht counts?haha. They’re an American Hip Hop group from the late 80’s/90’s.
If you had the chance to rewrite the score for any film past or present, what would it be? That’s a good question! I loved The Social Network soundtrack so I probably wouldn’t rewrite it but I would have loved to see how it was made! I wouldn’t mind doing the score for A Nightmare On Elm Street.
1. Bloc Party - Where Is Home? (Burial Remix)
2. Grimes – My Wait It Is U
3. Bjork – Cocoon
4. Fresh Prince & Dj Jazzy Jeff – Summertime
5. The Streets – Has It Come To This?
If you weren’t a making music, what would you be doing? If I wasn’t making music I’d be doing something in film or tv probably. I still kind of want to do that. I studied Film Production at university and I’m a massive Horror film nerd so it’s something I’d really like to get involved in at some point.
Croydon or Chelsea? Believe it or not, I’ve never actually been to Croydon haha. I’m not originally from London so I’ve only been here a few years. So I’m gonna have to say Chelsea (shamefully).
Where did the name ‘Great Skies’ come from? Ah I was hoping you wouldn’t ask this..haha. I was signing up for a Soundcloud profile and someone else had taken each name I wanted so I started looking through my iTunes at song names to use as an artist name. I looked through my favourite albums and eventually arrived at this album by a band called Smoosh. They’re 3 sisters from Seattle and were quite well known for being really young but really talented. They’d recently had an album out called‘Withershins’ which I really loved and on the album, low and behold was a song called ‘Great Skies’. It turned out to be quite embarrassing later on when I got in touch with them about doing a remix and my name was one of their songs….haha.