Coveted by the Guardian as “the best new act this year by miles,” Manchester beat smith Star Slinger seems to operate at a frightening pace. Much in the same way that his music has shot into the lives and minds of many in such a short space of time, he seems wholly intent on keeping up that barrage of material, all the time forging new beats and uploading fresh remixes to his blossoming soundcloud. Along with people like Gold Panda, Star Slinger is pushing a brand new breed of UK beat music. Sitting somewhere between the hyper rich technicolour glory of Hudson Mohawke and the 808 heavy hip hop thump of Montreal producer Lunice, Star Slinger’s music is totally deserving of the heavy praise it receives.
Evidently a fan of southern rap, and super sharp lyricists, he channels an attention deficit heavy menagerie of styles and melodies into his music, flicking from chimes and pan pipes to massive bass swells and micro chopped, glitch led sample explosions. With ‘Volume 1,’ a self released LP of sorts - at 11 tracks an over a half hour in length its more than just an EP - available on iTunes, assorted remixes floating around online and an collaborative EP with Teams on the New York based Mexican Summer label, Star Slinger is reportedly hard at work on another full length album – a impressive task considering his incredibly fruitful hit rate and bustling touring schedule.
Ahead of his debut performance here at fabric on Easter Thursday for Adventures in the Beetroot Field we’re overjoyed to be able to present an exclusive mixtape from Star Slinger to you; so here’s 60 minutes in the company of one of the most in demand producers at the moment...
How did you get into making music? When speaking to Pitchfork back in October, you mentioned a love of sampling...
I guess first time I heard sampling on a record and fell in love was on the De La Soul ‘3 Feet High & Rising’ LP. I love how I could turn on some Dad radio station and hear what they sampled. For instance in ‘Eye Know,’ I didn’t know it contained a sample till I heard Steely Dan’s ‘Peg.’ This was when I was like 12, and then a couple years later I started listening to Danny Rampling and Pete Tong playing big house records with samples in too. Radio 1 every weekend made me want to be older so I could go clubbing, but I’d just try and re-create stuff on my keyboard or play video games to it. Pete Heller’s ‘Big Love’ is one of the ones that really clicked with me. That short sample looped and stretched out on a 10 minute house record, yet the melody is still mad relevant to me even today.
You push a heavy hip hop, almost Lunice kind of sound but with a vocal led edge. Are people like that an influence do you think? Who would you say are your contemporaries?
Lunice e-mailed me a while ago after we both remixed Deerhunter’s ‘Helicopter’ record. He really dug my sample technique and said we should collaborate sometime. So we met up when he played at Manchester’s Hoya Hoya night. He’s a solid guy who likes his Captain Morgan. We share some opinions on production techniques and love that Trap style hip-hop, and we like straight rap beats. I’ve always pushed his records in my DJ sets too. I saw we were both in the last Dazed magazine, so yes I guess you could say we are contemporaries.
You are something of a remix virtuoso, there seems to be a new one out all the time. What do you enjoy about remixing in particular?
Remixing is amazing because you have so much freedom. For instance I can chop the hell out of some instruments a band has recorded and make something mental and more typical of me out of it. I just like to be ridiculous with them, and go in an opposite direction to what people might expect. I treat every remix different from the last. Sometimes I won’t even use stems. I’ll chop it up like a Rogue. Like with a soul record, you don’t have stems – so sometimes I’m just like fuck it – I’ll be a G and chop it up rogue style.
There’s a load of justified hype about you and your music. How do you think you’ve achieved that? Do you think the remixes helped?
The next full length will have more synthesis like my remixes, less sampling and some featured artists. I think the remixes have helped a lot because people know my sound is not just samples now and it’s eased them into how broad my style can be. So hopefully they’ll love the album!
When you play live, what are you doing? Do you use Ableton etc? I see the Launchpad etc...
I use my launchpad with Max MSP in the production process. I use it like a huge MPC w/ 64 pads via the Monome MLR program – but live I use an AKAI MPD32 w/ Ableton. I am splitting my tracks into stems and then manipulating each one – making the whole thing more improvised/glitchy and rhythmic for the live setting. I also have some vocal drops from people like Diplo and Donald Glover reppin me assigned to the pads.
It’s just more chaotic than the records.
You seem to have an incredibly busy schedule in terms of gigs. Do you enjoy performing live and all the travelling?
I do! I love travelling so much, soaking in all the culture and with performing I feel like I’m getting better with every show so I want to stay on the road for sure.
What else is coming up for you?
More tinkering in the EU, Some festivals incl. Bestival, Hultsfred, Electric Elephant... an album before September and a big US Tour end of Sept – November. Then some more remixes, mixtapes etc.
Catch Star Slinger performing live ad Adventures in the Beetroot Field next Thursday night. Tickets and information here.
Photo: Tonje Thilesen
Star Slinger – AITBF x fabric Mix
1. Blank & Kytt "Sun Shy" w/ shout out from Donald Glover
2. R. Kelly " R&B Thug"
3. Three 6 Mafia "Stay Fly"
4. Jamie XX x Gil Scot Heron "Running"
5. Gucci Mane "Party Animal" (Hudson Mohawke Remix)
6. Da Vinci & 2 Lettaz "Get Her High" (prod. by Lunice)
7. Tyler the Creator "Yonkers"
8. J Dilla "Waves"
9. The Neptunes "Light Your Ass On Fire" (feat. Busta Rhymes)
10. ODB "Shimmy Shimmy Ya"
11. Slum Village "What Its All About" (feat. Busta Rhymes)
12. Onra "High Hopes" (feat. Reggie B)
13. Gyptian "Hold Yuh"
14. Extra T's "ET Boogie"
15. Advance "Take Me To The Top"
16. Beat Connection "Silver Screen" (Young Montana? Remix)
17. The Go! Team “Appollo Throwdown” (Star Slinger Remix)
18. Fonda Rae "Touch Me (All Night Long)”
19. Krystal Klear "Tried For Your Love" (Hudson Mohawke Remix)
20. Drake "Houstonatlantavegas"