Proc Fiskal – 'People love the sound of grime up here'
credit: Stevie Powers
Edinburgh producer and Hyperdub's newest signing discusses Scotland's growing grime scene
There are few labels in the UK today that can boast a reputation as solid as that of Hyperdub. For over a decade, the electronic music label has defined and conquered the underground, becoming purveyors of the odd yet spectacular, disparate yet diverse. From dubstep to grime and everything in between, Hyperdub's history chronicles a long list of artists and releases that have influenced the wider electronic music genre, including the likes of Burial, DJ Rashad and label boss Steve Goodman aka Kode9. Each new signing is not only a welcome addition to the growing Hyperdub family but a reminder of the label's consistently independent and forward-thinking ethos.
For Edinburgh-based producer Proc Fiskal, otherwise known as Joe Powers, this ethos is more than just a sign of an excellent label: it's proof that it cares and prides itself on artistic freedom. As Hyperdub's newest signing, Proc Fiskal slots into the roster seamlessly, with a sound that is as animated as it is interesting, representing the burgeoning grime scene beyond London.
'There have been people in Scotland doing grime for a while,' Powers explains. 'But I think in the past two or three years, names like Rapture 4D and Polonis have got quite big and that probably has a lot to do with the internet. It's definitely helped bring some attention to the fact that people up past England are doing grime and it's not just a hackneyed rip-off. People love the sound up here.'
The internet, or YouTube to be precise, is where Powers was introduced to grime, eventually reaching out to Rapture 4D, Polonis and LVLZ Radio in Glasgow, where he found a welcoming community of producers. 'No one I knew was really into grime and electronic music so I had to go out and find it. It was quite exciting to be able to get into something new.'
From making beats in his bedroom to signing with Hyperdub, Proc Fiskal's journey has been one of swift progression. So how did the mighty force that is Hyperdub come to discover a young grime producer from Edinburgh? 'I just sent them an email with some tunes,' Powers says casually. 'They obviously care a lot about finding new music and are actually paying attention. I have to credit them; I never thought that I would ever be able to do anything with Hyperdub because I always looked up to them as this fucking amazing label.'
Though sending Hyperdub an email 'with some tunes' may sound totally unthinkable, the fact that they're listening is a testament to their brilliance as a label. For Powers, as well as being highly skilled, his interpretation of contemporary grime is fast and forceful, pushing the 160bpm 'ruff sound' facet of grime, and providing a contrast to some of the genre's more commonly heard elements. Nowhere is this more evident than in the energetic melodies and warped basslines of recently released debut EP 'The Highland Mob'.
'I just use a lot of samples; I don't use any synths,' he explains when asked about his approach. 'I'm really into sample digging. Not samples as in finding an old song, but I like finding these weird collections of sounds from early internet days where you used to stockpile sounds. I just like using lots of little odd noises.'
Proc Fiskal may or may not be imminently joining the ranks of the Hyperdub greats, but one thing is abundantly clear from our conversation. As well as being an accomplished producer, Powers is also very humble and willing to allow his music speak for itself. His recent signing with Hyperdub and release of 'The Highland Mob' proves that there is always a reason to keep an eye on what's happening up north.
The Highland Mob EP is out now on Hyperdub.