Insomniac’s Metronome series features mixes from some of today’s fastest-rising electronic stars, as well as championed legends. It takes listeners deep across a wide range of genres, movements, cultures, producers, artists and sounds that make up the diverse world of electronic music.
Alex Calver is an aural adventurist by nature, seeing as the UK stalwart has scaled every musical mountain he has put his mind to—not just dabbling, either, but dominating them with abiding brio. Whether looking at his work as Calvertron or the damage he reaped as Twocker alongside Will Bailey (Low Steppa), the man can only be described as a jack-of-all-genres with a packed portfolio most producers couldn’t even fake.
But his past, impressive as it may be, doesn’t even live up to the rave ripples he is making under his new alias, Skapes. With the lower-living frequencies serving as his home base, his new project sees him skillfully straying into bass house, garage, tech house or any other style with enough groove for him to wring out. He’s only a year deep into the project, and yet I wouldn’t doubt that he is barely beginning to stretch his studio legs.
If you’re the type who could do without all the festival fads, this Metronome mix from Skapes will be right up your alley.
You recently launched your own label, Eskape Musik, with the first four releases being your own material. Is the imprint, first and foremost, a space for Skapes records?
I definitely started this new label with the intent of releasing my own stuff. I got a little impatient waiting for months on end for stuff to come out, by which time I’d gotten bored of the tracks. So it’s a cool way to get stuff out whilst it’s still fresh (to me).
Do you intend on bringing other artists into the fold?
I am 100 percent on the lookout for music from other artists also (send me your demos!). I’ve just not been sent much suitable stuff yet. I do have a release coming up with remixes from Mark Radford, Dub Pistols, Rico Tubbs, Golf Clap and Bossgroove very soon. Also, a single release from Bossgroove, with a remix from me.
Who is on your hit list?
It doesn’t need to be anyone established; it’s the music that’s important.
What are your primary goals for Eskape come next year?
Just to grow the label and get the music out to more people. Would be awesome to have lots of releases from other artists, but my main focus is to get a single out every couple of weeks and keep it consistent.
Bass house is quickly becoming all the craze. Do you think there’s harm in a genre garnering too much popularity?
Music genres can blow up, get really popular, and then the bubble bursts. We’ve seen it happen many times. Music follows fashion and culture, so it’s only natural for things to evolve and change and sometimes run their course. I’ve been releasing records since 2002, and I’ve changed genres many times. Some people might wanna call it bandwagon-jumping; I just make whatever I’m into at anytime. The motivation isn’t money or popularity—just what excites me.
Do you find any aspects of dance music, in its current state, alarming or worrisome?
Everyone has the right to like what he or she likes. I just concentrate on what I’m doing.
Are there any elements of bass house currently being under/overplayed at the moment? What areas, if any, could use more inventiveness from its producers?
There’s a ton of awesome music about, if you look for it. Plenty inspires me. If I’m not into it, I hit stop and move on.
In what ways would you say your previous work as Calvertron and one-half of Twocker has bled over into your Skapes project?
It’s a very similar format, with the skippy house beats and speed garage/jungle-inspired basslines—especially from Twocker and some of the earlier Calvertron fidget stuff. I’ve slowed it down a bit, which would be the main difference. I had fun making dubstep, but it all started to sound a bit noisy to me. My left ear is a bit wacked out from all the DJing!
What legacy do you hope to leave behind as an artist?
I have a lot more music to create and am determined to get this project to a successful place. So, hopefully in a few years, I can look back and feel satisfied with what I’ve achieved. It’s a nice feeling looking at all the vinyl releases I made in the noughties, and remembering all the touring I’ve already done. Music is a great career to pursue!
Do any of the tracks or transitions from your mix really stand out to you?
I’m quite happy with my remake of Armand Van Helden’s Nuyorican Soul remix. I hope people dig it!
- Track List:
Andy Lee “The Groove” (Truth Be Told Remix)
Low Steppa “Meatfeast”
Skapes “Beat on the Drums”
86 Deep “Reach for Something”
Skapes “Let It Move”
Tensnake “Coma Cat” (Low Steppa’s Ibiza Redlight Edit)
Dub Pistols “Killa Sound” (Skapes Remix)
Andy Lee “Alright” (Twenty2s Chests N Vests Re-Fix)
Nuyorican Soul “Runaway” (Armand Van Helden Mix) (Skapes ReRun)
Skapes & Ke-An “Feel It”
Todd Terry & Loop Da Loop “Something Goin’ On” (Skapes & SPX Refix)
Redlight ft. Melisa Whiskey “Threshold” (Fast Flamingo Eddie Mix)
Blonde “Feel Good” (Low Steppa Remix)
Buurman & Buurman “Everybody” (Mark Radford Remix)
2nd Protocol “Basslick “(VIP Remix)