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Woah...Are Axwell /\ Ingrosso Going Grime?

Forget Kanye - this is the biggest story in grime's break out year.
Photo via Saskilla's Instagram

Most of us wouldn't peg EDM and Grime as natural bedfellows; marrying the former's stadium-sized pyrotechnics with the latter's politically charged and socially motivated adventures through the abrasiveness of sound seems about as happy a solution as Barry and Janine's ill-fated romance. But as sitcoms and romcoms have taught us time and time again, opposites attract.

Thus it came to pass that big room boy Axwell and his mafiso accomplice Sebastian Ingrosso have hooked up with Grime producer and MC, Saskilla, a man known to most of us for his seminal verse on Boya's "Gash By the Hour" - a track we're still trying to vote for on Channel U to this very day. While we're yet to hear the fruits of that unexpected union, the prospect of it is undeniably intriguing.


Being inquisitive sorts, we called Saskilla to work out exactly how two of dance music's biggest stars ended up talking about Bearman in a Bethnal Green studio.

THUMP: How did you end up in the studio with two thirds of the Swedish House Mafia?
Saskilla: It was through Zane Lowe. Me and Zane talk a lot, we're quite tight. We'd been discussing grime for a year together and thinking about the people changing the global perception of grime, industry people. He mentioned Sebastian Ingrosso and Axwell, and he was like "you really need to get at these guys." I'd played a part in the beginning of Tinie Tempah's career and he'd collaborated with Swedish House Mafia. Zane said that if I let them know that, they'll definitely research you.

He interviewed them this week and I got hit up to make my way down, got introduced, and we kicked things off. We talked about what they've got planned for this year and they wanted me to do a grime remix of one of their songs - "Dont You Worry Child". I was like, "Yeah, I'm up for that!" I've been in the grime scene alongside BBK and people and they knew that I could be of importance to them in getting into a different market, and it works for grime too.

I've got a studio in Bethnal Green and they passed through and they started showing me some stuff they've been working on that was like dancy-grime. We're meeting up next month to finish the session!

How well versed do you think they are in grime?
I think they're more versed than you'd think. More than I thought.


How much did they know about the scene?
They know much more than the average music listener. They are where they are because they know so much about so many genres. They showed me songs of theirs from the past that had grime elements. They knew about Wiley, Skepta, everyone.

Do you think we'll see them working with MCs?

Maybe. You've got to remember that they work as Axwell /\ Ingrosso now so they can get away with a lot more than they have previously. Other acts are doing it - think of Kanye - so why not them? You know, they told me they were talking to Tiesto in Miami about grime. This is bigger than we think.

Are they being cynical?

If they just reached out to me I think it would have been false. But because Zane is so respected, and because he doesn't like fakery or forged music, I think it came from the right place. These guys are powerful in the music industry…it's important for us in the grime scene for our reach. But we don't need a co-sign. Grime is just part of our culture now, its like Coronation Street. Everyone's a bit rude these days, a bit naughty, a bit grimey.

If I can be cynical for a second, can you see why they might be looking at it cynically?
From being in the studio with them and showing them what grime's about, they fully understand the energy of the youth. They just get it.

Does that energy transcend genre? Does that go beyond EDM or grime or techno?
In grime that's one of the most important factors in the scene. It might not matter so much in jazz, for example. But with EDM and grime, because they're electronically derived music, youthfulness is so important. It is second to none. People want to hear their generation represented in music. People love that. These guys have made millions, they know when they're on to something.

Is this another example of 2015 being the year that grime fully breaks globally?
Yeah! England has become the 52nd state of America. Where you might have boom bap in New York and 808 kicks in Atlanta, you've got grime in London. People want that on their album.

Can we expect Axwell /\ Ingrosso to drop grime tunes at their big gigs?
I wouldn't be surprised! I really wouldn't be surprised.

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