What’s that Roska up to?


06 Monday 06th September 2010

“I was watching the TV and thought, ‘what is actually in that girl’s handbag’”, laughs Roska, funky-house producer and Rinse FM DJ, recounting the first time he put his vocals on track. It started as a bedroom production, with tracks like Squark where grime, funky and garage got put into one track just to “see what happened”. Now the Londoner is working on his second album, to be released on his own label Roska Kicks & Snares. With thirty-seven completed tracks he’s “trying to work out what to take out.” Just out is a simmering collaboration with Untold but we’re catching up ahead of the Rinse’s sixteenth birthday celebration. It’s the ‘one big family’ crew that have got a lot to celebrate with Katy B’s On a Mission and Roska’s remix heading up in the charts.  

You’ve just back from Sonar festival?
Yeah it was a good experience. It’s defiantly the biggest festival I’ve played at. Flying Lotus was playing just before me and Joy Orbison was playing before him.
Are you a fan?
I was there for the whole day, the sound check and everything. I hadn’t really listened to Flying Lotus before but when Sonar was coming up I decided to buy the album. His sound is really abstract but it’s nice I like what he’s doing especially with the garage stuff.
Did you change your set for such a big crowd?
When I play my stuff a lot of people relate to the music as well. They listen to House music or Dub-step or Garage, Grime. I’m kind of absorbing everything from those categories so they won’t know the music but they can relate to the genre if you know what I mean.
Where did your broken beats style come from?
I used to listen to a lot of broken beats a long time ago. My uncle used to go to the Blue Note Jazz cafe where he did some sound engineering for some artists. So I got involved in that a little bit but I was more into MCing at the time. In 2006 I got more conscious of broken stuff and started to listen to more and more house.
Are we going to see the African tribal elements come into Roska?
Yeah that’s what the plan is. Once Bakongo’s album is out next year on RKS I’m going to stop Bakongo’s stuff and incorporate that stuff into my own stuff. My next Roska album, that’ll be pretty much a mixture of all my projects but up to date.
Do you feel what happens in a club set and what happens on a radio set is different?
With radio you can play whatever you like. You’re forcing listeners to listen to your sounds. Whereas with what I play a bit of the time not even a bit a lot of the time when you’re in a club you have to play what they know. Radio is more of an education for listeners and clubs are the time to play it and sort of get that feedback and stuff. I used to feel more comfortable on radio but now I like doing both. 
When you started on radio was it awkward MCing, without a crowd?
It was more of a hobby than doing it like I’ll go out and do that as a career. I’ve being doing music on off for a few years now but it’s only recently it’s been serious enough for me to consider it as performing. I’d go over to my cousin’s house it would be just like just fun and games. When I got to 2010 I realised I’m going somewhere with this and I quit my job and started to do this full time.
Do you work in person with vocalists?
Jamie George on Wonderful Day lives far way from me but because of the internet it’s easy to bounce stuff off each other. We spend a lot of time on Twitter reading off each other’s ideas. Mostly I like to work on my own with vocals. But Energy was done in the studio, I recorded that with Nikki.
Is there anybody’s album that you’d swap your own album for just so you could listen to it?
I’ve actually got Mount Kimbie’s album, that’s a pretty cool album. There are two of them I think James Blake’s involved. They do sets using live instruments. If there was one person I’d swap my album for it would be them.
You did one set where you did Wonderful Day but you changed the lyrics to ‘stop copying Roska’.
Oh yeah, that was mainly a joke. It’s because there are a lot of people who’ve started to take my drum sounds and they overdo it. It will sound too jumbled up. That’s why some of the tunes that I get I don’t even play. I don’t like tunes that have the same style as mine but the same kind of feel. They’re not overdone they’re simple. Personally I don’t get mixed up with what’s happening outside. So I will just keep my sound undiluted.
Roska plays at Rinse FM’s 16th birthday, at FWD>> on Friday September 10 at Fabric.
Get your tickets from www.fabriclondon.com. Also on the bill are: Skream, Benga, Geeneus + Katy B & Tippa, Heartless Crew, Plastician, Youngsta, Zinc, Joker and many more.


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