As we all know in the clubbing world one of the most iconic clubs in one of the world’s most iconic electronic music cities, Fabric in London, closed its doors after the Islington committee ruled that its license would be revoked. While there have been many commentators, tweets and Facebook rants on the topic, each culminating into an otherworldly groan of disappointment at the committee’s decision, I caught up with London’s own fiery DJ S.K.T., someone who bluntly voiced his opinion on the subject via Facebook. As one of the most exciting and fast-growing Producers/DJs coming out of London his opinion on the conversely declining nightlife in the city is about as insightful as it gets.
How’re you getting on?
All good, I put up a rant a couple of days ago on Facebook and it’s gone absolutely crazy. There’s so many people that have hit me up, media companies, hackers, Anonymous, loads of different people. If we’re going to do it [host a rave outside fabric] we’re going to need to get legal advice, because it could backfire, especially if the mainstream media paints it as ‘thousands of crazy kids’. It could actually jeopardise it, so we have to be that bit careful when we do it and how we do it and stuff like that. I’m going to get legal advice and then go from there.
Do you think that these controversies have allowed the DJing/Clubbing scene to become savvier as to how the establishment thinks/perceives them?
I’m fully aware of the government agenda on a wider scale. Ten years ago I would go to my local area and there would be bars, clubs and you wouldn’t have to really go out of your area to go to the local bar or pub. Now the nearest place for me in terms of nightlife, to go to a bar or on a night out, is Camden or Shorditch, which is like 20/40 minutes away. I’ve seen where I live, and in all the different areas, all of the clubs shut down. 15/20 clubs have shut down, pubs have shut down and I can see it as the more they try to break up the community, the better. The more divided people are, the less likely they are to come together, so that creates a good power structure.
When you first heard that fabric was going under review what were your immediate thoughts?
In terms of the review, a lot of information has come out. I was shocked initially and I started to read a lot of the council’s and the police’s undercover operations. They had an operation called Operation Lenor where they sent undercover officers in [Targeting the club rather than any drug users/dealers]. They’ve had an agenda to shut that place down for a while and they’ve managed to do it now. I think they’ll continue to do it to as many clubs as possible. There will be people who’ll profit massively because of this, as to who they are I think that’ll come out.
When fabric was open, what did it represent to you, and to DJs on a wider scale, particularly in London?
fabric was one of the first places I went to as a clubber. When I was 18 I saw some of my favourite acts as a kid growing up in London, at Fabric. It’s always been an iconic venue in London and a very prestigious venue as well. As a DJ you have ambitions or an aim as a young up and coming producer or DJ, you definitely have a dream to play at fabric. Losing such an iconic venue has such a knock on effect.
Do you think that because it’s such a high profile case and so public rather than being swept under the rug, that the clubbing community will be honed in on standing up for themselves as a unit?
I think so, at some point people are going to get pissed off. People are always going to want to party, it’s almost like what happened in the 1980s when there were mass demonstrations. It works against the government, all it’s going to do is push everything into more illegal territory. Illegal raves, illegal warehouse raves and it will kind of go back to those secret parties, when you have to wait till the actual day to find out where exactly it’s on. There’s nothing forward thinking about trying to restrict, especially when using drugs as a reason. I don’t condone drug use, but I think the whole UK policy towards drugs is not right. It’s kind of backwards thinking, a lot of the time in terms of drugs there are so many statistics that contradict what the mainstream media put out. Addiction in the UK is treated as a crime. There isn’t enough support for the minority that fall into habits and addictions in regards to drugs. Addiction is seen medically by the WHO as an illness, a medical condition. In the UK if you’re an addict and you’re trying to feed your habit, you’re criminalised for it rather than supported in a controlled way.
A number of traditional media outlets have supported the clubbing industry throughout this controversy, do you think that’s because it’s represented itself so well?
I think the mainstream media always have their own agenda. The same newspaper that’s saying ‘let’s save fabric’ is also saying you should also vote for this political party. They’re all playing into it at an angle where it looks good for them to be in with the kids and the young people. It’s a way for them to get kids to engage and go and vote, it’s all smoke and mirrors. They’re capitalising on this situation to play to their own advantage.
As it’s getting harder to make money from solely producing, is it frustrating for you that clubs in your own area are getting shut down?
Definitely. I had a booking at fabric scheduled in that now obviously might not happen. That’s obviously caused me a financial loss, it has affected me operating as not only a DJ but as a business too. I’m going to lose money over this whole thing.
While it’s incredibly easy to get caught up in the mess that’s currently unfolding, let’s not forget that DJ S.K.T. is coming off the back of an incredibly busy and productive summer where he not only played all over the world, but released his latest banger ‘Poison’ which a caught the attention of one BBC Radio DJ.
How was the summer for you gigging-wise?
Amazing man, I’ve played all over the place this summer, all of the major festivals, Creamfields, We Are festival, EDC. I’ve also played for Cream in Amnesia with Fatboy Slim which was amazing. It’s been mad, even looking forward into next year as well, things are looking really crazy, it seems that definitely within the stuff that I’m doing it’s becoming more appealing to the State side as well. There’s some really interesting opportunities and interests coming from that side of the world as well. It looks like everything’s going to grow, but the UK market isn’t.
Did you expect your last track ‘Poison’ to blow up as much as it did?
Not really. As a producer I like all aspects of House and I think that comes across in my live sets, I’ll go back to 80s House, anything from vocal, soulful to minimal or industrial. With Poison, it was something that I while I was working on something else and I was in a really bad mood. I decided that I didn’t want to work on what I was working on, I just wanted make something really angry and really driving. As I got through it and my mood changed, I came across the sample, I thought it could work really well. It balanced it out from really dark and moody and gave it a different dynamic. I made it on Wednesday. I bounced it on my room with my manager and he said he’d drop an email to Annie Mac. On Thursday I was DJing in Dubai. Just before I started my manager got back and said he’d just heard back from Annie Mac. She wants to make it the hottest record in the world you need to get back to the UK ASAP and go live on BBC Radio 1 to do the interview. It was kind of crazy, because I was going to put it out on the Monday. On Friday it went out on broadcast on by that Monday we’d had about 7 offers from major labels. It literally blew up. Everyone seems to have fell in love with it. That’s the beauty of music, if you do stuff you want to do, it adds a depth to the music and people pick up on that, especially in comparison to other tracks that are made as intentional crossover tracks.
Listen to his mix for Kiss FM below.