Ikonika interview

Dubstep has taken the world by storm over the past 12 months


The dubstep genre has taken the world by storm over the past 12 months, and club nights dedicated to this ever-evolving sound are building up a healthy following in Dubai. There’s another dose on the way when London-based band Dub Pistols arrive to play club night See You Next Friday at Trilogy in early February, but, if you’re new to the scene, meet up-and-coming producer and DJ Ikonika. The young Brit had an incredible 2010, releasing her debut album, Contact, Love, Want, Have and being nominated for DJ magazine’s DJ of the Year in the UK. Here’s what you need to know.

Although Ikonika is considered a dubstep artist, Contact… includes R&B and garage, and marks a departure from the genre’s wobbly-bottomed template.
‘Dubstep gave hope to a lot of people; for producers it meant freedom. I remember feeling a part of something special that was unpretentious and didn’t rely on elitism. I don’t think I will ever see a genre quite like dubstep again: we’ve seen it grow and blossom and we also understand that it can mutate into something entirely new. As a whole, my music is something that shares some elements of dubstep, house and garage.’

Like fellow hot producer Labrinth, Ikonika is influenced by old-school video game soundtracks, especially the work of composer Yuzo Koshiro.
‘It started off being a general sonic aesthetic, but the more I started to investigate, it became very clear that I started listening to music the same time I got into games. When I started work on Contact…, I really wanted to look into why I felt so comfortable with the sounds I was using. I was trying to digitally translate all these memories I had about R&B and UK garage, my sisters’ rave experiences, games consoles and stuff like that. It was really important for me to have a debut album like that.’

Before turning her hand to electronic music, she was a drummer in various bands, which influenced her decision to use a deliberately limited sound.
‘When I was a drummer, it was up to me to make use of the kit. Hit things differently, tune bits, use the wrong hand, those kind of things. I wanted that same idea with production. I really wanted to concentrate on
a certain musical palette that meant a lot to me during a particular time. I like to experiment and progress and this year has been very inspiring for me. I’ve been going out to clubs more, hanging with like-minded people and I just want to capture these vibes I’m feeling – kinda sweaty, melancholy stuff.’

Ikonika originally hails from Hounslow, London’s most noise-polluted suburb.
‘Three years ago I moved away from Heston, which was directly under the flight path for Heathrow Airport. It was so loud, every two minutes a plane would go over and would interrupt the Sky TV. I’ve been DJing abroad a lot this year and planes freak me out a bit. It’s weird – they fascinate me, but they do genuinely scare me.’

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