Group V and Despot are extensive explorations in industrialised textures, dusted with a good dose of noise and grounded in the dance aesthetic with big percussive assaults that ring around your ears for some time after it has gone. It’s concurrent with the brand of techno that arrived after the demise of Dubstep in the UK, through the likes of Tessela and Blawan, with Slewis the newest addition to this roll call, making a remarkable impression on his debut. The 12” found its way on to friend Braiden’s new off/out label only two releases in and makes quite a statement in the young label’s catalogue. Using only a handful of elements Slewis manages to create a dense sound that takes little away from each part and keeps a clear focus on the dance floor. His productions occupy the darker end of the tonal spectrum, soliciting macabre adventures in club land. Not much is known about this new artist, so we were given the opportunity to find out more about the artist, his music and Braiden’s influences. Without further adieu, may we introduce Slewis…
“Hi, I’m a producer and dj from London, I’ve been making tracks for quite a few years now, through various different styles. “
What is your earliest memory of music having an affect on you?
Probably around 9 or 10, my Mum would be listening to Michael Jackson in the car. That was probably the first thing I really got into, also my sisters listening to jungle or Nine Inch Nails. Odd combination. Apparently my reports from nursery say that I loved singing…I can’t sing.
What is your instrument of choice and when and how did you discover your talent for it?
The first instrument I really got into was the guitar. I played in a few different bands during my teens and early twenties. I just found one hanging around the house and set about trying to work out what the hell to do with it. My brother-in-law had gotten me into Led Zeppelin, so I decided I wanted to learn to play like that.
What were your first explorations in music in the role of composer/producer?
I started off making dubstep around 2007. Going to FWD had become a regular thing, and I was hooked on D1’s sound mainly, along with DMZ and Skream and Benga. It was an amazing time.
How did those explorations eventually evolve into your music as Slewis?
When the dubstep scene started to blow up I lost my place in it. It felt like there were fewer really exciting tracks coming out, and I sort of fell out of love with making music. Around that point Braiden had started sending me more techno and electro bits, all sorts of stuff and I kind of started to see how it actually suited some of my ideas a little better. It felt like I could actually express myself better working around the kick drum driven patterns. I still took a while after that to really get the conviction I wanted in my own productions, to make stuff which had my own character in there.
How did this relationship with Braiden and his label Off Out happen?
We’ve been good friends for years now, he got me into Djing. He’s always been a big supporter of what I have been making. It was just great timing that I made something that I was happy with and he wanted to put out just as he had decided to start the label.
How did your environment play a role in shaping the music, especially since you are from London?
It’s played a major part I would say. There is such a pace and tension to London, it demands a lot from you, everyone is getting on with something, and you can feel it when you’re in the club. Some of the best experiences I have had in clubs have been in London, in places that can make you feel a bit on edge. I love trying to get that sense of pressure into tracks, like they are almost a bit too much to handle.
How would you describe your music to an unfamiliar audience?
Oppressive, but with a pay-off.
Where do you find inspiration for Slewis and how did it infect your debut?
There are a couple of tracks that had a big influence on Group V, first is Fortress by A Made Up Sound. That’s a monster, it blew me away when I first listened to it, it’s raw energy. The second is Leech2 by DJ Richard, it’s a banger but it’s so interesting as well, all the sound design is brilliant and it also makes me want to dance about like a maniac. Despot was heavily inspired by seeing Traxx at Dekmantel 2014, just go listen to it, it’s incredible.
What disposition or emotion do you hope to elicit in your listener most through this release?
Fear and excitement. I hope they feel like something is actually happening when they hear it.
Did the label or Braiden influence the result of Group V / Despot?
For sure, we talked a lot about both tracks, especially with some arrangement stuff. We share a certain amount of vision for tracks, so his input is always extremely useful.
What have you taken away from this experience and how will it affect your future output?
The best thing to do is just make something that really feels like you, and don’t worry about whether people will like it. That took a while to realise, but it has resulted in some music that I’m excited about.
What’s in the immediate future of Slewis?
I have a studio mix that will be out sometime in the next couple of months, and i’m working on some new music as well as playing out a bit in London and Berlin. After that I’ll probably have a little lie down I reckon.