Interview: Inkke Talks Dirty South Hip-Hop, Happy Hardcore And The EU Referendum

Think of the bangers...


Introducing Inkke, the man from Glasgow responsible for the Faded With Da Kittens cassette on Astral Black, the Crystal Children EP for Local Action, and his dirty south hip-hop night FWDK. With his FWDK nights in Glasgow—and occasionally Edinburgh—a batch of tracks from Houston, Memphis, etc. are mixed together by the man himself onto cassette and given out on the night. As with everything Inkke does, it's these extra lengths, the desire to go above and beyond just to capture a feeling, that set him apart from the competition. Not that he's an isolationist in any way; Inkke is often associated with the LuckyMe crew and yet, surprisingly, his new EP Secret Palace is only his debut for the label. Citing the Glaswegian party-starters as a key influence, Complex caught up with the producer/DJ to talk happy hardcore, grime, politics and the tantalising cache of unreleased productions he's currently sitting on.

Interview by James Keith

You've just released the Secret Palace EP on LuckyMe. Before we get into that, I just want to ask you about the referendum. From your perspective, how's it going to affect you?
Waking up to that was like a nightmare. It was strange; there was a proper weird atmosphere from everyone. The whole country was like a different place. I can imagine travel's going to be a proper nightmare now and doing shows will be a headache! It's something I would never have imagined happening. It seems impossible, but it happened and it's crazy.

As a guy from England, when we had the Scottish referendum I was really strongly in favour of Scotland staying. Now I feel really guilty because Scotland voted almost unanimously to stay in the EU.
Literally no one in Scotland wanted to leave the EU, but it happened anyway. It's really frustrating.

So I assume, if there was a second Scottish independence referendum, that you'd vote for independence?
Yeah, definitely. Even just to shrink our government—we need more of a say in what's happening where we live. Stuff in Scotland is mainly ruled by what's going on in London. We don't really have much of a say.

Have you noticed any effects of the referendum? Any EU bookings falling through or anything?
Not yet. I don't think it's been long enough to see any of that just yet. I can imagine it's going to be pretty problematic, though. Promoters especially are going to be thinking twice about booking me; it's going to raise a lot of questions for them about whether they can pull it off with prices going up. Even just generally, I'm searching things online and seeing price differences on eBay and little question marks next to the price saying "based on current economic conditions" and stuff like that. It's crazy, man. I think it's going to change everyone's lives, more than they can understand at the moment.

So, Secret Palace. It's sounding pretty different from your other releases—there's even a few DJ tools tracks on there. What's changed between this and the last release (2014's Crystal Children on Local Action)?
I don't think I've been listening to anything particularly different. Basically, I make so much different music, I don't really want to be stuck in one genre. The stuff that comes out is just a fraction of what I'm making; I either keep it to myself or maybe send it to DJs. So the stuff I've released in the past is actually just the stuff that worked best with that label at that time. It was always just a case of them liking a track and wanting to put it out. I guess people can form an opinion of what I'm doing from that but, in my opinion, that's just what that label was interested in putting out. I'd be really up for putting out loads of stuff. So I wouldn't say I've changed my sound, it's just a different style of what I've always been doing. I tried to keep it varied on the record and show my influences from a lot of different stuff. I also tried to keep it flowing from the Crystal Children. It's all got the same sort of vibe but it's completely different styles and genres in there.

What kind of stuff have you got in the archives?
I've got a tonne of dancehall stuff. I've got a lot of ambient, beatless stuff. I've got some stuff I might put out with Mumdance and Logos that would fit with their weightless vibe. I've also got some ravey, happy hardcore-influenced stuff. I don't really want to just sit down in front of a computer and think I'm going to make 'X' genre. I just start messing about and see what happens and then follow it. I listen to a lot of different music so I want to make whatever I feel like... I don't want to be pigeon-holed so I'm trying to keep it open. 

I'm pleased to hear you've got some happy hardcore stuff in there. I know you, S-Type, HudMo and the rest are back in to you happy hardcore. Is that still a thriving scene in Glasgow?
There's still occasional nights for it but they're all in Sterling or smaller places. It's still about—there's a lot of nostalgia for people and stuff like that. Especially for me, I'm more into the older stuff because it brings back memories of school or what my cousin was listening to. It was such high energy music, it's really easy to take influence from it. It's proper influential.

You've worked with Novelist in the pastdo you have any plans to work with more MCs in the future?
Well, I'm hoping this record will open up some doors for that. It's something I really want to do, but it has to be the right people. I've got people in my mind that I'd really like to work with, but I don't know... We'll see what happens. It's an instrumental record with the club in mind, but it's also got a lot of space for vocals to work on it. The past year or so, 50% of my time has been spent working on instrumental tracks with the idea being to have a vocal on them. So I'll have a version that’s fully instrumental and then another version that's got different elements that could work as a single track for the club or whatever. 

More generally, what else have you got coming up?
I've got a bunch of instrumental stuff ready so I'm going to hit some artists up who I want to work with and keep doors open for other people if they want to hit me up. I'm working on the next record as well at the moment so that things are flowing nicely. I've got a couple of remixes out soon as well some tracks coming out on white label compilations. So I'll be posting them when they're happening... I just want to keep it moving so I can put it out as soon as possible. That'll be on LuckyMe again.

Did you guys just meet the LuckyMe crew growing up in Glasgow and going to the same parties and club nights?
I guess I was a fan of the label and Bobby S-Type's a good friend of mine. When he moved over here from Edinburgh, we got to hanging out and we're really good pals now. I just met everyone else from sending them tracks. I used to send tracks out to them a lot and then I ended up playing some of their parties. When I was at school—and this is a long time ago [laughs]—they were always a big influence for me. I guess that's why we came together because we all had the same ideas and we're into the same stuff. It's cool how it's all worked out.

So what kind of stuff is popping off in Glasgow? They always seem to hop on stuff really early, like trap for example.
There's a lot, man. It's a really small city but there's a lot of creative stuff going on. There's a lot of different club nights with people focusing on different genres, which is cool. There's a bunch of stuff. I've started putting on a night called FWDK which is focused on southern rap from Memphis and Houston and stuff, a lot of old stuff. Basically, we just play that stuff all night, which has been a lot of fun.

You did a couple of mixes for it on cassette that I really enjoyed.
Aye, we do a show on Radar every now and again for it as well. We give mixtapes out on cassette at the shows just to keep with the vibe, so we've been doing that a lot. We'll be organising the next one very soon. They started in Glasgow but, recently, me and Martin from LuckyMe put one on in Edinburgh so maybe we'll do one in Edinburgh every now and again. We're looking to do one in London as well, but we shall see.

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