New Noise: Darq E Freaker

Wonderland meets grime producer, Darq E Freaker.

Photo by Mehdi Lacoste.

Photo by Mehdi Lacoste.

Green haired Darq E Freaker is one of grime’s most experimental producers, known for his assertive tunes, merging genres and forging unlikely collaborations. In his own words, he makes rave music ‘fused with grime and hip-hop groovers, drops, drum patterns and basslines’. 1st April sees his latest release of a five track EP appropriately entitled ADHD, via Big Dada records. To give you an indication of just quite how boisterous his latest work is, he was the production behind Tempa T’s much celebrated Next Hype.

The south Londoner caught the attention of beat-heads internationally after collaborating with Danny Brown on the widely acclaimed Blueberry (Pills and Cocaine), which saw his British grime-infused sounds mixing with American trap into something quite unique. However, the ADHD EP comes back to London in a full circle, with a set of aggressively unruly instrumentals fit for a south-of-the-river soundscape. The vibe of the record is dancier than grime, but more testosterone-fuelled than euphoric and uplifting like most tunes made to hit the dancefloor these days. “Its me pushing some of the musical influence of my adolescence into my adulthood.” he says. “It’s nostalgic in the most progressive way.”

Listen to the lead track 2C-I from the forthcoming EP, here:

From a musician’s perspective, describe the London you know, in sounds.

Peckham sounds like a melting pot of several different coexisting immigrant cultures ranging from West African and Caribbean to East Asian, all within a noisy urban soundscape. Growing up, I would hear lots of dub and drum ‘n’ bass coming out of old school BMW M5 boomboxes.

Growing up in London, what did you do to get your kicks?

I grew up spitting grime and making beats on fruity loops, like a lot of kids. At, like, sixteen, I was leaving Peckham to go out to raves in the east and became exposed to different types of electronic music. Pirate radio also exposed me to a LOT of different genres when I was growing up.

How do you think this had an effect on the music you create today?

Well, being from London, in a more general sense, has really shaped my music, but those experiences gave me reference points and parameters for the musical landscape as a whole. That awareness influenced my work.

I know that you you collaborated with Danny Brown, and the outcome was like a merging of British grime and American trap. You’re also playing Brooklyn Palisades on March 25 with D Double E. How does America react to grime? Is it well received, do they get it?

I know that America is alright with certain popular grime tracks and definitely get certain crossover moments, you know, like with Danny Brown. But I’m not sure if they grasp the entire genre as a whole. I mean, it’s cool that there is a genuine excitement about grime over there, because thats what motivates people to delve beyond those popular crossover tracks.

Do you think somebody who’s absorbed a completely different environment (like in America) can pick up an understanding of London via music and vice versa?

I think that there can definitely be a superficially understanding of the music and even the context it exists in but I don’t think you can really pick up London solely off music, especially not only Grime. Same thing with American rap from Atlanta or Chicago for listeners in the UK.

What is the meaning of the title 2CI…

The song is my perception of what the experience of tripping on 2CI might be like…

We want to raid your record collection, but that’s not physically possible right now. Give us your top five tracks!

Here are five records that I’m walking around with and listening to on my phone right now:

Desiigner – Panda
This song has been on my phone for time, prior to the blow up. But I’m still listening.

Baauer – Day Ones ft. Novelist + Leikeli47
This track reminds me of home!

Jace – TheJacetape
The entire thing is sick. Not just one song.

TunjiIge – On My Grind
Tunji is sick, he’s coming in a very real way. Super talented.

Tame Impala – New Person, Same Place
Not going to act like I was listening to this before the Rihanna cover, but her version brought me to their music. Really happy to have found the original.

Lizzy Nicholson
New Noise: Darq E Freaker

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