The colour purple has a lot of connotations in pop music. For fans of a certain generation, it’s the hue of Prince, for others it’s the sound of a new wave of electro-influenced RnB musicians, but for those who grew up in the UK in the mid to late 2000s it’s the sound of one man, Joker.
Joker is a British icon, albeit a deeply under appreciated one. Holed up in Bristol he pioneered the space-age, glass shattering form of dubstep that would come to dominate the scene at its height. He called it purple. Characterised by sky-scraping peaks and earth-shattering lows, Joker’s sound is unmistakably dynamic, constantly flitting between the serene and the catastrophic. His influence can be heard in everything from TNGHT’s speaker-busting trap to Jammz’ grime beats as well as the aforementioned new breed of RnB.
For the last two years, he’s been refocusing on his original sound and building his own label, Kapsize. To launch it he’s been busy crafting a series of EPs that showcase his work at its most unfiltered. His next release Kapsize 021 is set to be the purest yet; three tracks of back to back chaos that incorporate his earliest dubstep roots, his flirtations with RnB and as ever, look firmly towards the future of electronic music. He’s already shared the EP’s opener ‘Mad Night’, a wildly unpredictable mix of synthetic string stabs, hazy RnB melodies and gut-punching basslines, and now he’s sharing its follow-up ‘Medium Core.’
Premiering on Notion today, ‘Medium Core’ builds slowly, dreamy synths stretching out into distorted pangs of bass and blunt drums. It’s an ouroboros of a track, constantly stripping back and reintroducing layers and motifs, eating its own tail as it evolves. Moments of calm emerge among constant hits of bass and clattering drums, opening up the auditory assault, creating all the more contrast within the track. Ahead of the EP’s release next week, we caught up with Joker to talk about his legacy and return to his roots. Listen to ‘Medium Core’ below and catch our chat with him after the jump.
Your new EP is a return to your earlier, dubstep-leaning sound, what prompted the move?
I can’t really answer that one because I wasn’t fully aware I was actually returning to it (ha), but I’m glad that’s how you’ve taken it in.
Have you taken a different approach to the Kapsize EPs vs your last album?
Yeah, well the album was made to be one thing where as with EPs, I’ll write a bunch of tracks, pick my favourite and most cohesive ones and boom! Most of the time when I’m writing music, I’ll be in some sort of cohesive realm of ideas, a particular space, and the tracks I put down during that time will usually fit together. I might have a month writing one particular type or flavour and then the next month I’ll switch it up and make angry music, and then maybe for a week, I’ll write video-game inspired stuff and so on.
Will you make another full-length album?
Yeah, one hundred percent! I’m not sure when but it’s going to happen. With albums, you have to feel it, you know, and it always takes up a lot of mental CPU.
Now that grime has ‘come back’ should we expect a dubstep renaissance as well?
I do feel like the world is recycling a lot of stuff from around from 10 years ago or so at the moment, and that’s not just music — then again, that could just be my take on it. Maybe we do need a renaissance, but then again was it really ever gone?
What’s your plan for the label – are you going to keep self-releasing or try and sign more artists?
I will definitely still be putting out my own music and hopefully more new artists in the future. It’s quite hard to keep up on it by myself, but I’m confident that Kapsize will really start to grow.
It feels like we haven’t heard that much from Bristol lately – who should we be looking out for?
You know what, there’s always a lot of music coming out of Bristol! A lot of it, I don’t get to hear because I’m so stuck in my own world (ha) and I don’t wanna be too bait and give you a list of all my pals, so get stuck in and see what you can find.
Kapsize 021 is out on September 8.