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Enigmatic Grime Duo ISLAND Share Their Song "Cypher," Become Slightly Less Enigmatic Via Answering Some Questions

Grime label Crazylegs is on a killing spree right now, and it's about to continue with 'NOKIA,' the debut album from ISLAND.
April 1, 2015, 1:45pm

Artwork by Brendan Bennett

Grime label Crazylegs is on a killing spree right now, coming off Gage’s recent stunner “Bad Bitch” with Philadelphia vogue MC Kevin JZ Prodigy. Now the Bristol-based label is gearing up to release NOKIA, the debut album from ISLAND.

Two Welshmen known only as Robbie and J comprise the enigmatic ISLAND. Last year they introduced themselves with their "ISLAND JOINTS" mix, a barrage of garish 80s synths spliced with kinetic grime percussion.


Besides modern touchpoints like Girl Unit's "Club Rez" or Inkke, ISLAND’s work recalls the films of legendary animator Satoshi Kon (Paprika, Perfect Blue), in which every time characters close their eyes they’re liable to open them somewhere new and unexpected. Case in point, their latest single off of NOKIA, “Cypher”: One moment it's a tropical sky streaked with pastel chemtrails, the next a battlefield ruptured with blistering square-wave smart-bombs. “Cypher” whips between these modes with no room for dispute.

Check out our track premiere below, and read a Q+A from J and Robbie (with a little help from his brother Teifi). NOKIA comes out April 6th; look for it here.

Noisey: First rule you broke?
Teifi: Robbie's not here at the moment, so here's his younger brother Teifi. I pretty much am Robbie. We are one. First rule we broke and got in trouble is when I came into year seven and he was in year nine, we just did graffiti in the toilets, and we both got suspended for it.

First song that changed your life?
Robbie: Tiesto – "Adagio For Strings"
Teifi: DJ Rashad – "I Dont Give A Fuck"
J: Darude – "Sandstorm"

Favorite accomplishment that you're proud of:
Robbie: Serving the king of Jordan once at work and having no idea.

Favorite dream luxury purchase:
Robbie: Tetsuo's bike.

Favorite slang word:
J: Skeet / Clapped / Par / Styll.

First club experience:
J: Hookers, gabs.

Favorite dark corner of the internet?
Teifi: I just read that, and this girl popped into my head called Sabrina Ratte. She makes visuals. But I don't think it's a dark corner of the internet. I dunno. She is wicked. Her work is so cool.

Favorite sound?
J: Closing a car door.
Teifi: Skateboards, like when someone does a powerslide or something, and it screeches really loud. I love it LOL, only reason why I skate.

Favorite diva?
J: Lara Croft / DJ Magical, my pregnant girlfriend.

Ezra Marcus is riding Tetsuo's bike through the internet. Follow him on Twitter.