Bone Slim: “The dance with the mask, a story of the night and early morning “

The title [Danse Macabre] comes from an art movement which I’ve always been inspired by, the idea of dancing with death has always been a fascination of mine cause of contrast of the words dancing and death.”

Over the past few years, UK rapper Bone Slim has been producing and performing some of the most exciting soundtracks to date, blending a range of instrumentals alongside his compelling lyricism. A key member of the Nine8 collective, a group constantly pushing the boundaries of sound and art, Bone Slim has been building an underground fanbase over the 2010’s after releasing a slew of collaborations via Soundcloud under different alias’ including Phantom Bonehead and OG Slim. Not long after in 2018 did the young Londoner amalgamate his various pseudonyms to form ‘Bone Slim’, leading to his collaborative work BoneChilledMilk alongside fellow artist Dropped Milk.

A year later he dropped his second official EP ifiwas2015 which was a concept project set in 2015, almost functioning as a prequel in an era which he had a variety of coming of age experiences and memories. Noticeably, the project shifts his soundscapes from the classic boombap sample style instrumentals that he established in his debut to more alternative sounds yet still keeping the common theme of “compelling story-telling and no holds barred style of rap“.

In the recent lockdown Slim started focussing on and writing more electronic music, leading to his joint EP Tokyo Drift with producer Dutta which landed at number 1 on Beatport. Following this, the youngster has been working on a brand new solo project which sees him venturing into the 90s/ early 00s UK electronic dance music sound, citing Chemical Brothers, Heartless Crew and Audio Bullys as key influences. Entitled Danse Macabre, Slim serves up a plethora of intricately inter-woven soundtracks relaying a story of the night and early morning with a contemporary spin. Dropping September 17th on Stogey Records, the second single from the release “Let It Ride” is out now featuring the funka hop pop poet Ric Wilson and can be found here. We caught up with Bone Slim about his career so far, creative influences and his brand new sounds.

‘Danse Macabre’ is out September 17th via Stogey Records.

First of all, how are you? And what have you been getting up to recently?

Now that the British public have been granted “freedom” I’ve been spending quite a bit of time out and about and catching up with people I haven’t seen in a year and a half or only met on the internet through lockdown. That and a lot of rehearsals for upcoming shows.

From a musical point of view, how have you found the last year and a half in lockdown and in general what has kept you motivated?

I was worried at first cause I just started getting quite a few bookings for live shows and last year was going to be a leap for me, looking back I’m now thankful cause I’ve been able to prove myself in different sounds and start to tailor my sets to suit crowds wherever and whenever.

To our readers who may not have heard about you, please can you tell us a bit about Bone Slim and how it all started? What were your early influences?

Bone Slim started as more of a scapegoat, it was a place to tell the stories I wasn’t allowed to tell and a canvas I could present the feelings and traits of myself that some would think irrational or emphatic – My earliest influences were Roll Deep, Shy Fx, Bashy, the Streets and MF DOOM

It was just a couple of years ago in 2019 that you dropped your first project BoneChilledMilk. What was the inspiration behind this record and looking back, how important was this record in terms of growth as an artist?

I wrote this record as my ideal conclusion to the book of Bone Slim, the record itself was about the time I was living in and my feelings of being content with what I had but I wrote it from the angle of “going clear”. I had the intention of making it seem like chasing ones tale in the stories of the song. 

The lead single and visuals to “Cassius Non-Fiction” were a huge hit. You’ve also released a string of captivating music videos with your music. What does the visual aspect mean to you and do you tend to know what the visuals are going to be whilst producing the track?

To be honest the visual was never important to me when making music until i worked on the project, I always said I’d make it for the blind and allow my listeners to envision their own scape but after working on BCM 1 I knew the visual side would be awesome, since I’ve wanted to make music for the deaf and ensure my visual side is just as strong as my musical side by constantly pushing creative my boundaries.

Also possessing a strong back catalogue with Nine8, including hits “Pusha” and “Ignant”, can you tell us about the collective and how you inspire and push each other to be the best you can?

We work in the same currents, Nine8 is the family that will always be there to support but it’s a movement of energy, what you put in you will get back for example. 

As a solo artist you are renowned for producing unique and dynamic soundtracks, how important is it to keep pushing yourself and experimenting with different sounds?

Without experimenting we wouldn’t be where we are at today, I think it’s the fear of how people perceive you and our own self consciousness that holds most of the world back which I try and spin on itself in order to get to where I want to be. Our greatest weakness can be our greatest strengths.  

On this topic, we must talk about your amazing forthcoming project Danse Macabre, again showcasing your talent as a multi-faceted artist. Can you explain how this record came about and the story behind it?

So I was churning out song after song and I was really missing partying, I had started to work with Dutta on our drum and bass tape Tokyo Drift EP and I was getting into making more uptempo styles. So it just evolved into this and it felt natural. I was working on another tape in conjunction with this project but this naturally took the forefront and we landed on this. The title comes from an art movement which I’ve always been inspired by, the idea of dancing with death has always been a fascination of mine cause of contrast of the words dancing and death. For years I wanted to make an ode to this movement and now I’m gassed to say I can finally present it to the world. 

Taking influence from the 90s / early 00s UK electronic dance sounds, can you explain the creative and productive process behind it and how it differs from your usual methods?

It differed in the sense of we were a lot more picky about where the sounds were coming from, we wanted to use legit synths and hardware from that time. We actually started to get the foundations of the ideas down as raw and basic as possible to keep quickly working then the team sat down and we brought the tracks to life in the mixes. As long as my raws slapped we knew this was one for the tape.

Do you listen to a lot of electronic music? If so, what do you normally dig?

I’ve always been into mount Kimble, in particular the track “before I move off” cause of the memories I hold close to my heart. I recently got into DjRum whilst making the first few tracks of the tape, in particular “Waters Rising”. Lenzman has influenced a lot of my DnB side and LSBs work with DRS was inspirational from the moment I heard Space Age Volume 3. “Trentemollers Moan Remix” has been on constant rotation in our studio for a couple of reasons: because it a sick track and also because it’s an amazing mix to reference. Audio Bully’s are forever legends in my eyes, their album Ego War was so before it’s time

If you had to pick just one track from the project, which is your favourite and why?

This is a hard question and it’s like picking a favourite kid, while I write this on the 152 bus it’s probably “Dancing on my Own” cause that’s how I’m feeling right now.

Is Danse Macabre a sign of things to come for Bone Slim? What direction do you see yourself heading in over the next couple of years?

I’d like to think so, only direction I want to go is up at the moment, fighting for highs till I die.

With everything continuing to open up, what do you have planned? Any live shows lined up?

Yes I’ve got quite a few with Nine8 lined up and some others across Europe.

Quick! If you had to save one record from your collection, which would it be and why? 

All unreleased st.illwell stuff, if you haven’t heard of him go rinse his music…

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001: Andy Kas