There was a time in music not too long ago when Roska’s signature percussion helped define what the guttural blend of grime attitude and house tempo known as UK funky was, but along with people like Lil Silva and Hardhouse Banton, the Londoner has moved on and out of that box framed genre. Roska just put out his second album on Rinse, Rinse Presents: Roska 2 and it’s evident that he’s evolved a touch. If you listen to old tracks like ‘Squark’ now, they still sound relevant, rounded and completely Roska, but what he’s done on his new album is cultivate a slightly darker edge to his music. Moving away from the shoulder touting jams of yore he’s reapplying that same production nous and penchant for percussion to tracks that show a bit more of a rugged attitude and the results are just as potent – see ‘The Oracle’, ‘Badman’ or ’You Dun Kno’.
He’s also quite the judge of musical character - his Kicks & Snares label has housed work from people like Champion, J Kenzo and DJ Naughty and he’s programmed rooms here under the label's banner before - so we asked him if he’d be up for curating a series of lineups for FABRICLIVE that revel in the kind of sound set and focus he’s so adept at delivering. The first installment is a week on Friday with Raf Daddy (The 2 Bears), Seiji, Foamo, Brackles, Doc Daneeka, Shox and Jamie George all joining Roska in Room Two. To mark the occasion he answered a few of our questions and he’s kindly let us give away a bonus track from the album called ‘Grand Theft Audio’, which you can grab from our official.fm account.
Hey man, sup? How are you? What you up to today?
I'm good just working on a remix for a big, big artist and its going very well. Also treated myself to a new bit of equipment for the studio.
How do you feel your second album has been received? Are you happy with the response it’s got so far?
The response for my second album has been great. I'm really happy with this release and Rinse have been such a great label to work with over the last 4 years.
Do you have a favourite track on it? Or one that you feel is indicative of the project?
I have 2 favourites on the album I feel both of these tracks have opened my production skills wider my first one is ‘Memories ft Ruby Goe’ and the second is ‘You Dun Kno’.
I know you started off in grime, albeit as an emcee, but it seems like there’s almost a bit more of a grime like attitude to the heaviness on tracks like ‘The Oracle’ and ‘Spanner In The Works’. Is that something you’ve been listening to at all?
I listen to grime now and then plus it’s in my musical genetics so It's definitely played a part in this current project.
Out of interest, are you still into the notion of funky? I mean music in general seems to have moved on at such a rapid rate since then... would you still refer to the music you make as ‘funky’?
Funky seems to be an easy way to describe my music but I feel it’s more than that right now - I have releases for Rinse plus Tectonic which is predominantly a dubstep label. Plus the tempos of my tracks are varied. I feel I have moved on from that genre as there is not much of a scene anymore. It’s a shame it didn't last but things move on…
You say in the PR for Rinse Presents 2 that the album is pure club tracks. A lot of producers make a lot about the influence of making tracks for the club but how have your production methods changed?
I have changed my method of creating music only slightly. It's a part of me and my evolving path. It's so easy to stick to one route so I like to change things around me to keep it all exciting for me as a musician.
You’ve kindly let us give away ‘Grand Theft Audio’ ahead of the Roska presents Room Two next week. Did it come from the same sessions?
This was a bonus track I decided to give free to the supporters of fabric and Roska.
Can you take us through the lineup, explain why you’ve selected the people you have for it?
It’s a selection of my favourite producer/DJs for the first of many ‘Roska Presents’ shows at fabric. Shox & Brackles I have worked with via the Kicks & Snares avenue and other projects including Rinse. Seiji, Raf Daddy & Foamo have been all dropping some of the biggest tunes I play in my sets so I’m a big fan of them all. Also Doc Daneeka who has just released a big EP called Murdah Strings on my label so I brought in to the mix!