Ahead of joining those Portuguese party starters, Buraka Som Sistem and Jack Beats and Melé in Room One this coming Friday, we asked one of our favourite mixtape specialists, Smutlee, to fire over another one of his notorious half hour blasts of genre-spanning, heavyweight blends so we could suitably ramp up the hype over the next few days. Of course, we knew that as one of London's fiercest selectors and fast emerging beatsmiths he wouldn't disappoint, so when he delivered the goods earlier this week, we responded with a few probing questions to find out about his latest collaboration with Serocee and what he's been up to as of late...
So since you last played here back in July of last year, where are you at in terms of the music you’re playing out? Are you approaching your sets differently from before?
Smutlee: I think I've always approached my sets the same way, as in I don't really know what I'm going to play until I see the crowd and I have no problem mixing up the tempos as long as it flows. I think the sound I am into is coming back so there's a much broader choice of tunes - as the mix I've done for you will hopefully show. I've also been trying to get my head down and produce so I've been testing out a few bits here and there.
Are there any new artists that seem to be in heavy rotation?
Hmm, I am always looking but I don't think I could single anyone out. I have a show on Radar Radio where I play a lot of stuff from up and coming artists as well as regulars. I love all the half time drum & bass stuff coming out of Manchester like Think Tonk, Dub Phizix and Swing Ting, who are currently my favourite record label.
A lot can happen in 10 months or so, has there been any particularly exciting moments or challenges that you feel has helped you progress as an artist?
I had a baby (big up Sid!), who's seven months old now. That was a very big moment and I'm now part of the prestigious 'dancehall dads' club alongside Toddla T and Dre Skull! I'm not sure it's helped me to progress as an artist, it's just made me even more hungry to do well, I guess.
Tell us a bit about this new EP with Serocee. How did the collaboration come about? And what can we expect?
Yeah, the project has had some amazing reactions so far! So it was all quite a natural progression that began with just making some dancehall remixes of grime instrumentals that I could play out exclusively. I wanted to keep the London vs Jamaica feel and I had known Serocee for years so when I decided that I wanted to put a vocal on one, it just made sense. We've always said we should collaborate at some point (plus Vybz Kartel wasn't replying to my emails ;)) so I sent him a folder and within a week he'd voiced five of them. So far it's had loads of support from Toddla T, Heatwave, Seani B and Ras Kwame. It's bashment meets grime.
Other than the EP, what’s next on the agenda?
I've got a couple of other tunes waiting for vocals. Me & Serocee are putting a tour together for the SAS project and Famous Eno and I have a couple of tunes in the pipeline. They sound good in our heads, we've just got to get them done!
And how’s everything going with your design work? Any new projects you’d like to talk about?
Yeah, [the design side is] definitely keeping me busy. Right now it's nearly 3am and I'm designing tees for Major Lazer and have just sent off 16 beer can designs for the Mad Decent Block party. And I'm gonna have Melé on my case in the morning for the cover for his next release on Quadrants! I better get that done before Friday...
Finally, can you briefly talk us through the new and exclusive mix you’ve just delivered to us?
Yeah I hope you like it. I've tried to show my style and sound over 30 mins, mixing up the tempos and genres but keeping a bashy vibe.
Smutlee & Serocee - I Luv U
Maluca - Trigger (Brenmar Remix)
Brackles Ft. Fox - Skank (Famous Eno & Trigganom Remix)
Lamont - Far Away (Zed Bias Remix)
Madd Again - Bad Mind Self
Fingaprint - Night Time
Goon Club Allstars - Buzz Riddim Refix
Kahn & Neek - Backshot (Jus Now Remix)
Walton - Cool It VIP
Swing Ting Ft. Fox - Head Gone (Chimpo Remix)
Smutlee - Cosa Nostra Remix
Frankie Sly - War (Smutlee Dub)
Gage - Freestyle
Vybz Kartel - Man Straight (Smutlee Remix)
Hybrid Theory FT. Trilla & Lady Leshurr - Thats What It Is (Grime Mix)
JME Ft. Giggs - Man Don't Care
H-SIK - Riddeem
NameBrandSound - Bran Dem Riddim
Skepta - Thats Not Me (Smutlee Remix)
Levelz - LVL 07
Fixate - Pum Pum
Hyroglifics - Soundboy VIP
Danny Scrilla - Come Cross
Alix Perez Ft. Riko Dan - Warlord
Think Tonk Ft.Fox - Opposite
Suku Ft. Marvin Binnsi - Crawl OutMurlo Ft. Gemma Dunleavy - Jasmine