Star Slinger talks to SB.TV about how he broke out in the US and went from the remixes he was making in his bedroom to sold out shows around the world…
Whilst still pretty rare, it’s becoming more and more possible now to break through internationally, before even breaking you’re homeland, and this is what has happened to Star Slinger; an up-and-coming producer who hails from Nottinghamshire and having produced tracks for the likes of Juicy J, Project Pat and Lil B and had his music remixed by Diplo is a big name in the US however over here he is still considered a newcomer.
Is it safe to say that you’re bigger in the US than over here?
Yeah totally man. I didn’t think that initially, but I guess Pitchfork picked up on me sooner than most people. Also I just think the stuff that I make is influenced by Three Six Mafia and a lot of stuff that’s huge in the US. But I’m experimenting more and the next album should have a little bit of house on there as well.
It’s interesting that you mention Three Six Mafia, they seem to finally be getting big over in the UK as well; Juicy J is huge all of a sudden. Why do you think that this happened?
I think what happened was he fell off when they got the Oscar, moved to Hollywood and did that reality show, and then after that I remember they started putting out those low budget videos for the first time, you know like they’re still doing I guess. And it was just Juicy J and Project Pat mainly, and then occasionally (DJ) Paul would have a shitty video as well. And I don’t know, there was something that was so ridiculous about that, that I still loved it, and I kept watching these videos. Then I left it for about two years and they started working with Lex Luger and that’s when it took off again. Lex Luger’s just making everybody hot at the minute!
Which other producers do you take influence from?
Apart from obviously Three Six, back in the day a lot of people used to compare my early stuff to Dilla, and I guess it was a little bit more soulful, but now I guess I don’t want to sample so much, I want to make stuff from scratch. I want people to think, “This dude’s not just a one trick pony.” That’s the worst thing that could happen.
So you started making a name for yourself remixing acapellas?
It was mainly chopping up soul records more than acapellas. If I was using a vocal then it was either because I was chopping it up, or because I’m remixing a track. A lot of people think I get the acapellas, but I just chopped up the original, and put my own instruments over it, filtered out the bass…
Do you still spend a lot of time remixing tracks like that?
I still like doing that for my live show and I still put it up on SoundCloud, but it’s just not my main goal anymore.
My main goal is to produce, and to become a respected producer from different angles, not just from a hip hop angle. I want to produce a big pop record and stuff like that.
You’ve already produced for the likes of Juicy J and Lil B, how did those collaborations come about?
I guess with the Juicy J one it was kind of easy. It was definitely a goal of mine, and also one of my biggest dreams was to have Juicy and Project on a track. But I actually met up with Mountain Dew who wanted to put out a single, so we put out the single with another guy called Reggie B and then they asked who I wanted to remix the track, and I said I really want Diplo to remix it, and I really want Juicy J and Project Pat to rap on it, so they kind of hooked it up and paid for it to happen. So it’s not as cool as a lot of people think, but I was just honoured that they said yes and that they loved the track, so yeah it was good!
And how about Lil B?
The Lil B one was just down to Stunnaman from the Pack, who reached out and was like “I’ve been rapping over a bunch of your shit.” And he rapped over some other stuff, so I said, “Why don’t we do something together, something different.” And so he did that and he asked Lil B to do it as well. It was pretty organic, it wasn’t planned or anything.
So how do you think you took this from something you were doing in your bedroom to breaking through in the US and touring overseas?
It’s just happened I guess. I did Europe for quite a bit, and then I think it’s always had more momentum on the net, like in the US. Apart from a lot more people being there, it’s always been that way. And I think especially after the first tour I did, I was already selling out shows there, and I don’t think I’ve sold out a (headlining) show in the UK yet.
I think people are still discovering my sound out here, I think people just need to see me at the right show. Because for a while I was opening up for people like Washed Out, and it’s like people were not getting it so much. But now I’m playing for A$AP Rocky, it’s like everyone instantly gets what I’m about all of a sudden.
And how did you get to touring with A$AP Rocky?
I’ve actually been doing stuff with A$AP Ferg, and Gino manages both Ferg and Rocky. So Ferg put a good word in, and I didn’t even know they were touring, but they asked me, so yeah, it feels good!
So were you DJing shows and making remixes throughout uni also?
At that point I was a nerd. I was putting songs out on the net, like super low key, and I was a super-nerd, I was never lucky enough to get any DJ shows. I was going clubbing, like wishing to DJ, and giving out CDs but nobody wanted to know about it. But fast forward a couple of years and I’ve not asked for any of these shows, so you know…
What do you think made the switch happen?
I think that happened definitely when Pitchfork started talking about it. I know I keep mentioning that, but there’s no denying. They picked up on it as well, I never had a press contact at that point, not for a year or something. So they picked it up from other blogs that I’d passed it to. So yeah, it was pretty cool.
What is the next step for Star Slinger?
Just putting out more stuff. More collaborations. I’ve got an album coming out. There’s no title yet.
Any guest features you can talk about?
Teki Latex from France, Buraka Som Sistema from Portugal. And then I think the Juicy J track will be on there. Miguel has reached out, we’re still working on stuff, A$AP Ferg of course. There’ll be a few instrumentals as well. And also Paris Grey who used to sing in a band called Inner City, they had a song called ‘Big Fun’ and a song called ‘Good Life,’ and she’s singing on one track.
I’ve started this club night called Jet Jam, and it’s all about just being eclectic. There’s too many DJ’s I know who play the same stuff, like stick to bass music or whatever, or specifically like future garage or whatever, and it gets kind of boring. And there’s a lot of cool DJs who aren’t doing that you know, so I want to promote eclectic DJs. It’s not one sort of place, we’re just taking it to different cities, so the first show was in Slovenia, we got a lighting crew over there and we had contacts with the club already, then the second one will be in France at Paris Social Club, and then after that there’s a possibility of a showcase with Decibel festival in Seattle. So we’re trying to play everywhere we can basically, and everywhere where there’s a demand.
Build following etc?
The DJs will change, but there will be certain residents, like I’ll always play, there’s a DJ duo from Lancaster called Bondax who are slowly blowing up right now, but they’re actually residents as well, and then a guy called Blacksmith from Camden, he’s also on the bill and getting a lot of love from Mary Anne Hobbs and stuff like that. So we’re the residents basically and then on top of that we’re looking at getting guest DJ’s at every event, so if we play the US we’ve got schlomo in mind and a few other people as well.
Words by Grant Brydon
Edited by Natalia