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Skream at XOYO
© Rob Greig/Time Out

Skream at XOYO: ‘I might as well play fucking Britpop!’

The dubstep pioneer-turned-disco don will be spending 13 whole weeks as the resident DJ at the Shoreditch club. We find out what he’s got up his sleeve

By Tristan Parker
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He’s been tearing up dancefloors around the world for a decade. Now, DJ and producer Skream is coming home. He’s the latest resident DJ at Shoreditch club XOYO, following quarterly residency slots from Eats Everything, The 2 Bears, Jackmaster and Simian Mobile Disco. What this means, is that for the first time in a decade of touring, Skream can base himself in his hometown for three months. Considering how much time he’ll be spending at XOYO, he’d better get comfy behind the decks, too…

How do you feel about the residency?
‘It’s not something you can say “yes” to straight away. It’s a big chunk of time to be here, but London’s my home town. Then there’s the pressure of following the other residents. I’ve got to deliver!’

Will it be difficult to maintain the same standard of DJing for 13 consecutive weekends?
‘It’s really exiting, but at the same time it’s so scary. How do you play a disco set following Dimitri From Paris? I might as well play fucking Britpop!’

Are DJ residencies still relevant?
‘They’re so old-school. If you look back to early raves, it was all about residents. That’s what built a lot of club culture. People trusted the DJ.  [The XOYO residency] is taking it back to the dancefloor. It’s not just about being out, you’re there for the music.’

You’ve said you see yourself primarily as someone who makes music and a DJ after that. Does that make doing the residency a brave decision?
‘I’m not the best DJ in the world. I know that. I’m not a fucking idiot. But I did start out as a DJ. It was the first thing I felt comfortable doing, but then I got bored and started making music.’

What do you want to do with the line-ups you’ve picked?
‘The main thing was getting variation. Every week is based on my history of music, what I’m into, my tastes. All of these 13 weeks is what makes me.’
 
Will it be nice to base yourself in London after so much travelling?
‘I can’t fucking wait! I haven’t been in London for 13 weeks since my career started. I live a 30-minute drive from XOYO, so I can go home [after a show] and wake up in my own bed. And now my mates who I grew up with might actually come and watch me!’

Did you really get death threats from Smiths fans when you remixed ‘This Charming Man’?
‘Yeah, over SoundCloud. I’m a huge fan of The Smiths and Manchester. I did a cover of “There is a Light that Never Goes Out” and it got annihilated by a lot of people, but on the night I played it in Manchester it made a sound engineer cry with joy. He had his hands in the air and he was in tears. That’s what it was for.’

Will there be any Smiths songs or other surprises in your XOYO sets?

‘I’m playing for six hours on the first night. There’ll definitely be some weird shit in there.’

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