Introducing : Ikonika
Hyperdub’s habit of unearthing new talent has thrown up some choice names in the last 18 months – none more so than Ikonika, the Londoner whose bleep-fuelled, percussive bass adventures have pushed her to the top of the pile.
How long did it take from sending Hyperdub a demo to getting it released?
I started sending tunes to Kode9 in early 2007 through dubstepforum. He’d recognised my name from a documentary I made while I was a film student. I sent him ‘Please’ later that year and he loved it. He started playing it out and it seemed it was getting the right attention so we decided to release it.
How is your sound evolving?
I made the last two releases in Fruity Loops 6 on a dodgy laptop. I’ve recently switched to Logic and I’m making most of my album on it. I’ve still got a lot of learning to do so I’m hoping that each song I make will be better than the last, this is how I think I’ll be evolving. I’m just trying to grow really and I want people to see that.
Are you conscious of the various labels and scenes that continually crop up and mutate around dubstep?
Do you care about them?
Only the ones that are good.
When you are in the studio, do you think, ‘Right, tonight I’m going to make something for people who like funky’ or whatever else?
Whenever I think like that nothing comes out.
So how does a track come about?
When I was on FL I did find it hard to zone out and put pressure on myself. I was just knocking quick melodies out then starting a new project etc, whereas now I’m working a lot better. I’m using some hardware synthesisers now and experimenting with the different sounds I can get out of them.
There’s something very moving the chords that are present in your tracks – it brings an interesting element, a contrast, to the almost bleep-y-style production. Speaking of which, is that bleep/Sheffield/Warp sound an influence?
Not really, only because I’m influenced by other stuff. I grew up listening to RnB, hip-hop and garage. But the reason I use a lot bleeps is because I simply like the sound and the way I can use a bleep sample millions of ways.
Your mix of ‘Township Funk’ is excellent – there is a similarity between your sound and the original, the rawness…
I think we share a similar idea of what we want from our melodies. It was an honour to do the remix and I remember whilst working on it how fluid it all felt. It was very natural and I just completely zoned out. It was one of those ones were I worked on it fast with no hassle or blocks or anything like that.
I read that you used to drum in hardcore bands, and you list the likes of Glassjaw as an influence. How did you end up making this kind of music?
From the age of 14 I knew I wanted to be a producer or a DJ. I was always intrigued by beats, where they came from and how they were made. I think drumming was a natural way of me exploring those ideas I had when I was younger. When my band broke up I wanted to keep active in music so I downloaded a cracked copy of FL4 and started making some hip-hop or R'n'B stuff. I found out about dubstep around 2005 and knew I could do something like that, but with a different kind style. I wanted to combine all my influences in the 140bpm range. Again it just felt like a natural way forward, another new thing for me to explore.
Do you still play drums with any bands? Both are such different worlds…
I haven’t played on my kit for over a year. It’s sitting in my loft. I just don’t have the space because of my studio equipment. I don’t think I was ever that good though.
On ‘Millie’, I can hear the occasional live (or sampled?) break – will you attempt to pursue that direction further?
It’s a sample. I just felt I needed to use a bit of double bass pedal-ness in one of my tunes. Hopefully If I find a decent place to set-up my kit, I will no doubt attempt to sample some hits and fills
Who is your favourite producer?
Overall its people like J-Dilla, Rich Harrison, Neptunes, Burial, Kode9 and Skream
And favourite DJ?
Right now I’m love with guys like Ben UFO, Braiden, Brackles and Oneman but also I love hearing Kode9 play out. He creates this weird and crazy mood that makes me forget where I am.
Aside from DJing, do you go to nightclubs often? If not where do you hear new music? Or is that essential?
I think FWD is the only place I really truly love going to. I love how relaxed it’s gotten by switching to a Sunday. I can always just chill and listen.
Why do so many dubstep producers want to be techno producers?!
I don’t know.
Hyperdub is one of the most interesting labels around right now – it feels like something of a close family. Will you look at releasing anywhere else?
Because I’m working on this album, I don’t know if there’s gonna be time releasing on another label, but we will see.