It's a bit of a clichéd thing to note that a new year marks a time for new incarnations but with what we feel is an exciting year ahead for our Friday night programming, we've set an objective to bring fresh blood to our platform - from already credible artists not yet a part of our programme to upcoming talent. Sebastian Weingartshofer falls under the latter. DJing under his Skankandbass guise - a name that is more notably affiliated with his fledgling drum & bass focused brand and Youtube Channel - Seb is beginning to make his way onto some pretty solid lineups. He's also something of an A&R extraordinaire for musical powerhouse MTA records, with whom he'll be playing as part of their club takeover in a few weeks.
Though the afore mentioned night is not his Farringdon debut - Seb played in Room Two for UKF's mammoth Christmas party last month - we felt the forthcoming date appropriate to officially introduce him to you by probing him with a few introductory questions. He also fired over an exclusive promo mix so he could give us some insight about how he'll be setting the tone come Friday 29th January.
Hey Seb, so how was your New Year? What kind of aspirations have you laid out for yourself for 2016?
Skankandbass: It was a good one thanks! I’m determined to finally put on some intimate Skankandbass events in 2016. Watch this space.
So... what exactly is Skankandbass?
Skankandbass is a brand dedicated to towards official promotion of drum & bass music (please forgive me for the name, it’s stuck now). I set up the YouTube channel around 6 years ago for the love of the genre. Around the time of it's inception, YouTube channels such as UKF were setting a trend for promoting new music on the platform, mainly featuring well known and popular songs within certain genres of bass music. I adopted this great idea and intended to use Skankandbass as a source for new music in the world of underground drum & bass - not many people were doing it at the time. I think this ethos has been a point of difference that has allowed the brand to build a strong and engaged fanbase, whilst remaining strictly underground, strictly for heads - that's ultiamtely the mission statement.
Although Skankandbass has always been a hobby and will remain a hobby for the foreseeable future, it’s opened the door for me to work in the music industry and also allowed me to, on a small scale, pursue a career as a DJ.
Is Skankandbass representative of the kind of music you were brought up on? Or is it totally different? If so, how did you move to the place you are now in the world of electronic music?
Absolutely not. As a teenager I was really in to my rock and heavy metal, perhaps the aggression and energy from that music translated to drum & bass further down the line. There was a tipping point where I started to get in to my electronic music, and it’s not very sophisticated - at the age of 13 I was in an Austrian night club and had heard Safri Duo's 'Played-A-Live’ - the rest is history.
To be honest, I was pretty late on getting in to drum & bass. When I was at college a friend of mine continually played new episodes of the Hospital Records podcast which eased me in to the genre, this was around 2007 and it got me hooked. Mistabishi deserves a shout for his album Drop - that body of work really cemented my passion. Over the years I educated myself with the history of the genre and when I was at university, a close friend of mine Neal (who now helps run Skankandbass and is one of the biggest d&b heads I've ever met) was another important figure in teaching me the history and help me mould the Skankandbass sound.
It’s also worth mentioning that in 2010, Dimension and myself started up a drum & bass label together called Regal Records - I’ve known him for a while now and we’re close mates. The label is now defunct but at the time it taught us a lot about the industry and helped us grow our network.
Other than Skankandbass, what else do you do?
As mentioned, Skankandbass has opened the door for me to work in the music industry. Whilst at university in 2012 I decided to take up an internship at MTA Records over the Summer and I then got offered a full time job at MTA and consequently dropped out of uni. I’m still at MTA to this day.
My job role is A&R, sourcing new music for the label as well as working with signed artists, such as Dimension, to develop their music as well as product & events manager and a load of other things.
I’m also training to be a Michelin starred chef.
You’re warming up for MTA later this month. How do you like to execute your sets? Do you mould your sets around the vibe of the lineup you’re playing or just go with what feels right on the night?
I think I’m actually doing the graveyard set! I think it goes without saying that most DJs prepare part of their sets as there’s always special mixes you find that you want to test out in the rave. I’ll have a few mixes prepared, most likely the intro and outro, but I’ll always have a folder of weapons that will get deployed depending on the vibe of the crowd.
What I like to do with my sets is to incorporate understated tracks that are usually overlooked, as well as keeping the mixes original and fresh.
And so is the mix you’ve delivered for us an indication of the kind of stuff you’ll be playing?
This mix is a true representation of the Skankandbass sound. It’s a taste of a set I’d play after the warm up DJ and before the headliner, condensed into 30 or so minutes. My set will be a similar vibe to this mix, but as I'm doing the graveyard set no doubt I’ll have to drop some dancefloor bangers and bring the energy. With this mix I’ve had the chance to go in a little deeper. Oh yeah, there’s a few hefty dubs in there for good measure! Hurters.