Skilf's career has been progressing dynamically since his warm up sets for So Solid's Asher D in London. His first 12" came out in 2005 – '9 Months EP' was a signpost for a whole new learning curve which saw him becoming resident at Brighton's biggest hip hop night – Blaze. Performing alongside Ghostface Killah, Tim Westwood, Task Force, Killa Kella and the rest of the Spit Kingdom crew.
Only a few months on from releasing his debut album 'Original Visions', Skilf has rocked performances at Café De Paris, The Hope and Anchor, Joogleberry Playhouse, Concorde 2, Love Music Hate Racism Brighton, The Grassroots festival in Hull, The Contact Theatre in Manchester and a support slot for Pendulum at Coventry University. Somehow, between all that, Nino managed to drop a few questions for a man who is vigorously becoming a slice of British pride.
Nino: Could you describe what first made you want to be involved in music, and what has motivated you to continue?
Skilf: When I started it was just a bit of a laugh me and my mates used to make garage mixtapes, but we were just messing about. It was only when I moved to Brighton in 2003 that it became a serious thing for me.
Nino: Brighton hip hop then… what’s that like?
Skilf: Brighton’s got a great hip hop scene, better than a lot of places. We’ve got Rising Styles each summer, the biggest hip hop festival in the UK. I was on the bill this year but sadly couldn’t play it ‘cos I’d already bought a ticket for Exit festival, really missed out (but Exit was sic!).
Nino: So what have you been up to this year?
Skilf: Damn where do I start! I’ve been doing a lot shows around the country with my band (Astro-Physics) which has been well good fun, recording my second album, had my first single released ‘Slow Me Down’ (which is out now on iTunes), and generally just keeping myself busy!
Nino: Why is it hip hop still caters for some quite abrasive forms of fascism? I don’t if you’ve heard Beau Sia’s spoken word piece – Hip hop… but its a good grounding on this one.
Skilf: I can’t say I’ve come across a lot of facism in hip hop, I don’t know one hip hop fan who’d wanna buy a record that’s putting out those sort of messages.
Nino: Is hip hop alone strong enough to bring solid positivity into our communities especially our young people?
Skilf: Alone it’s not strong enough, it takes a lot more than hip hop to change a community, but undoubtedly it brings people together for a positive cause.
Nino: You’ve been involved in some Love Music Hate Racism events before right? Could you describe to those who don’t know, what makes LMHR nights different to an average hip hop gig from the artist’s point of view?
Skilf: It wasn’t actually a hip hop event, there were lots of different bands when I played. It was really good you know, everyone was down for the cause and very receptive.
Nino: Does hip hop need more cause worthy events?
Skilf: More charity events or organisations like LMHR have got to be a good thing.
Nino: How serious a problem do you think racism is in Brighton?
Skilf: Not as bigger problem as a lot of places, it’s generally a very accepting and multi cultural place.
Nino: If you had to pick three tracks of yours for people who haven’t heard your work yet to listen to, which ones would you pick and why?
Skilf: 1) Slow Me Down – because it’s my single and it’s a banger! 2) Dead Ender – because it’s so relevant to modern day life and things that effect our generation 3) Light Amusement – because it’s a comical dig at the music industry’s hierarchy and at the shitty songs that get drilled into your head by radio DJ’s.
Nino: How would you describe your MCing style?
Skilf: Conceptual lyrics, energetic delivery and a big emphasis on rhyme patterns.
Nino: Do you like to flit about with producers or do you have a few you keep coming back to?
Skilf: I’ve got some that I work with more than others, but I go through phases depending on what projects are on the go.
Nino: Dangermouse (the DJ – not the mouse) or DJ Shadow?
Skilf: DJ Shadow.
Nino: James Bond or Jehst?
Skilf: James Bond.
Nino: Latino or Reggae?
Nino: Have you / would you ever rap in Hebrew?
Skilf: Hahaha! if I could talk Hebrew then maybe.
Nino: Spoken word or scantily clad girls?
Skilf: Depends what mood I’m in but 9 times out of 10 scantily clad girls.
Nino: Gordon Brown or David Cameron?
Skilf: They’ve both twats.
Nino: McCain or Michael Jackson?
Skilf: It’s gotta be MJ all day.
Nino: What do you make of this whole Eminem second comeback shizzle? Do people just need to give up while the goings good and once they’ve lost their respect?
Skilf: I’d love for him to make a big comeback and drop the sickest album ever, and we all know he’s still got it in him.
Nino: Who would you like to see make a blazin comeback?
Skilf: So Solid Crew (jokes) dunno, maybe the prodigy.
Nino: Could you tell us something about yourself we could never have guessed?
Skilf: When I was a kid I wanted to be a lumberjack.
Nino: Why the name Skilf?
Skilf: It’s short for Skilful G, which is the name I went by back in my garage / dnb days.
Nino: Could you drop us a few of your favourite own lines? (don’t be modest)
Skilf: “I’m sweeter than a lyche even vegans wanna bite me” – “I don’t know where to turn, I’m bored of playing hide and seek my life is in reverse, I’m fast awake and wide asleep” – “My name’s Skilf that’s short for Skilful G you must be under anaesthetic if you ain’t feeling me!”
Nino: What have you got planned for next year, can we see you live anywhere?
Skilf: Next year me and Astro-Physics will be dropping our debut EP (Big Bang Theory). My second single will be coming out followed by my second album (neither of which I have names for yet!) You can catch me in London, Brighton and many other parts of the UK check http://www.myspace.com/skilf for gig dates.
Nino: Any final shout outs / pieces of advice?
Skilf: Yea big up Astro-Physics, The Connection (DJ Downlow, Gwilo, Baraka), Anatomy Act, the Dub Pressure crew (DOM, Unlikely, Kion), DJ Dan Hills, TJ Chill and Steve Whitely (Life FM), Ace and Vis, Jabba The Kut, DJ Excalibah, Beardyman and Syllabus music.