Skinny B is a DJ and producer, specialising in the creation of lo-fi hip-hop and skewed electronica. When he’s not in the studio, or spinning tunes at The Rafters and Drakes, he’s scouring the internet for music for his monthly podcast, Scratch the Surface. I joined him in his studio, Da Bomb Factory, to talk about those musical children of the digital revolution, the bedroom producers.
K – So what do you think the difference is between a professional producer and a bedroom producer? Do you think there’s any difference in the quality of the music, or is it purely a difference in the quality of the sound and the kind of noises you have available?
S – From what I’ve heard of other people’s stuff, there’s no difference, really. I mean, you listen to Will.i.am, who’s got untold equipment and money, and his stuff sounds shit. Then you listen to some guy sitting in his bedroom making hip-hop beats with just a sampler and a tape deck and it gets your head nodding.
K –On the radio everything has very professional studio sheen. Do you think people have become accustomed to hearing music with that level of production?
S – Yeah, it’s what the public is accustomed too, and fair enough, if that’s what you want out of music. But if you want to dig a little deeper there’s a lot more interesting stuff out there.
K – Which brings us very nicely to your podcast. What’s the idea behind it?
S –Well, I started hunting for other people out there doing the same thing as me, and I found so much good music out there that people just aren’t hearing. Anyone can make an album and put it up on the internet, and it’s hard to tell what’s good and what’s not without searching and digging for hours and hours. So I thought, “if I do some digging and put what I’d found into a nice thirty minute snippet, then maybe people will go check it out.” Obviously it’s done according to my own personal taste, but I’ve got quiet an eclectic taste so hopefully people will like what they hear.
K – And what interests you about these artists?
S – People can actually be their true selves when they’re putting out music on the internet. They don’t have to get a hair cut, or put on make up or have a boob job. These are people with day jobs, and they’re not doing it for anything other than the fact there’s something in them that makes them do it. There’s something inside that won’t let you sit down and do nothing, you’ve got to create. Those are the people that should be getting airplay but they’re not.
K –And all the all the artists on your podcast release their music for free, right?
S – It’s all free downloads, yeah. When I’m searching the internet I refuse to pay for shit. I’m not saying I support file sharing in any way, I don’t like stealing. But if someone’s put something up for free, I’m fully up for listening to it. If someone’s put something up for a price, there’s something in my mind that just goes, “Ah, fuck you.” I don’t put my stuff up for a price. When you’re small, you just want people to hear it. It’s that thing that we’ve always said, “Just listen and appreciate what I’ve done.”
K – That’s all any bedroom producer wants isn’t it? For someone to actually listen to it.
S – Yeah, listen to it, and give an honest opinion on it. Whether they think it’s good or not, at least they’ve listened properly.
Listen to Scratch the Surface here: soundcloud.com/scratchthesurface-1
Skinny B’s own music can be downloaded for free here: skinnyb.bandcamp.com