Newcastle-born RAM representer skantia has owned 2020

Artists like skantia are why my passion for drum & bass is at an all-time high. In 2020 alone, three of his tunes—”Bones”, “Jubilant”, and “Power Line”—have stayed in rotation. skantia’s only been signed with RAM Records since April of 2019, and is already that impactful? Andy C wins again.

It was skantia’s remix of LoKo’s “Bassline Secret” that I’d heard first (big up Bailey). That was the tune that forced me to check for new skantia material. The way he married the experimental with the darker funk was impressive. The way he continued to improve upon those themes was remarkable. By the time “Bones” hit the streets, it was time to get a vibe check with the Newcastle-born producer.

In this conversation, skantia opens up about how he got into drum & bass, dream collaborations, what may have inspired his name, and much more.

HRDNZ: When did you first get into dnb? Were there any tunes or DJs in particular that you latched on to early on?
skantia: I got into drum & bass around 2014. I remember distinctively the first dnb tune I ever listened to was Noisia’s “Friendly Intentions”, but that was around 2012 or something, I didn’t really take any notice of the genre until about 2014 when someone I know showed me a Mefjus tune called “Distantia” and I guess you could say that’s where some inspiration came from to create my name.

What was it about drum & bass that made you want to start producing dnb?
I don’t really know to be honest; I loved the high energy it brought. A lot of my friends were about going to raves a lot so I joined in because it seemed like a lot of fun. From then on I actually fell in love with the genre and its huge diversity.

Since signing with RAM in 2019, you’ve really been on a roll. Talk about the sound found in tunes like “Power Line” and “Bones”. I’m personally not sure if “Power Line” has a particular “style” but everyone is going for this more minimal sounding disgusting bass thing.
Yeah I get that 100% for “Power Line”, it was the same as everything else really, just on the vibe that I was feeling at the time, I was playing a few shows around then as well so I wanted something I could drop in.

I guess I’m not really making tunes to have the load out or for clout; I’m just kind of trying to make my sound more precise and think about it more. I feel every single week there’s lots of new things I’m picking up on, and to be honest I don’t know if that will ever end. As the saying goes, you never stop learning! But I hope to keep the production quality improvement up so I can progress to the level I ultimately want to be at.

You recently released “Jubilant,” which feels like a departure even from the darker, more intricate sounds you’ve been releasing. Talk about the creation of this tune—are there more tunes in this vein on the way?
I’ve always had the musical element that this song brings, but I could never execute the sound properly for me to release it and be happy with it. But I have got my head around the more musical element to music production recently and I feel freer, I’m not going to lie.

One million percent I’m going to continue putting out music like this as I want to ultimately be at the point [where] your mum and dad can listen to it but also some production heads can listen and appreciate the production. I feel I’m manifesting my way there. There will still be the darker side to my music; it isn’t out the window.

When RAM first approached you, I believe it was for you to work on an EP, but in a year that’s seen you drop such diverse tunes, one has to wonder: What’s your goal as a producer now? Do you have plans on a Skantia LP?
Yes, there will be an album coming at some point in the next year. We are looking at details, logistics, etc., but its 100% coming.

What’s been the best advice you’ve received from Andy C since signing to RAM?
Probably to remember that DJing is a job and NOT A PARTY! My agent also tells me this every time I tell him how hanging I am, but we move. When gigs first started picking up, it’s very easy to get excited and have a “couple” of drinks but that passes, and you start to look at it as trying to make yourself professional.

If you could collaborate on one tune with one dream producer, who would it be and why?
I mean for a skantia collab it would have to be Phace or Culprate, those guys are just sonic geniuses and I admire what they do so much. I one day hope to have an alias that makes bits of everything like Mura Masa vibes, etc. so my DREAM collab would be Skepta and A$AP FERG.

What else do you get into when you’re not locked down in the studio?
Socializing with my friends, have a couple cans, see family and plan different routes other than music for my life.

For more information on skantia, check out his page over on RAM, as well as his SoundCloud and Facebook accounts.