DJ Vadim, “A Lil Skank In Ya Step Mix”

Blake Gillespie

When you’ve made music for as long as DJ Vadim, every record can be labeled as mature. Active since 1995, DJ Vadim has dipped his hands in waters across the world and with that has come expertise in the electronic arts of hip hop and dub reggae manipulation. He’s been a player in many scenes by proxy and as a pioneer.

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The collaborations run the gamut with Vadim, from membership in The Bug to producing for countless U.S. and international rappers. He’s even explored alias-driven, pet projects like The Isolationist and Andre Gurov. Never too busy to start a new project, Vadim spent seven years collaborating on and off with singer Sena after meeting her at a festival in Budapest. The result of their trading of files across the globe is the aptly titled Grow Slow. Much like Vadim, Sena is a versatile performer which led to the duo exploring a multitude of styles on the record. At the heart of many of the tracks though is dancehall, a terrain Vadim visited recently on his remix project Dubcatcher. Furthering that admiration for reggae, DJ Vadim’s contribution to the Friday Night series, entitled “A Lil Skank In Ya Step Mix”, offers influential tracks alongside his work with Sena.

Keep reading for a brief interview with DJ Vadim on the work that went into creating Grow Slow.

What led to the title Grow Slow and for the two of your what does it mean?

DJ Vadim: Well, it’s kind of apt cos the LP took literally seven years to record cos Sena was busy, had a baby, and we were both so busy with other things. I wanted it to happen so we just had to jiggle diaries.

I also think the music is also grow slow. Just like the food movement. It’s taken time to savour the flavour, marinate etc… those who want an instant McDonalds fix ain’t gonna appreciate it because it ain’t that kind of record. It’s something much deeper, more mature.

This record began seven years ago, did developments in technology make this record easier to complete over time? Did you notice that as time passed, better avenues of international/digital communication opened up your dialogue and creative process?

Well yes, but it didn’t really help us particularly. We had file transfer systems seven years ago and Myspace. Now it’s wetransfer and Facebook. It was more about time than anything else. And for half the year Sena is in Budapest (the other back in Ghana) so it wasn’t about distance so much either.

What was an unforeseen joy that came with working with Sena?

Energy really. I am not sure I was able to capture the power and intensity of Sena. To be honest I want to have another go. I have no idea if this album will be a commercial success and many discover her from this… but one thing for sure I think Sena is one of the most powerful singers I ever worked with. The ability to sing rap, do poetry all with ease, great flow, voice, key… but also with lyrics and depth… I would not be surprised someone snaps her up like rudimental Kaytranada and then she blows up…… lol.

When did you know this album was finished? Was there a song that you felt after completing that you had accomplished what you set out to do?

Yes – when we had 13 songs! I was like, “yes that’s the lucky number. let’s go…”

Really I was in the middle of recording other stuff and same for her and we had to say enough time, let’s just do it. It may not be perfect but we got vibes and we need to move forward and not just keep recording forever. That’s the problem. Some people just spend their whole like recording and not releasing and missing out on that energy so we had to make that decision to go forward.

“A Lil Skank In Ya Step” tracklisting:
01 Matthew Mcanuff, “A Little Different”
02 DJ Vadim & Sena, “There’s A Moment”
03 Danny Red, “Give Jah Praise”
04 Barrington Levy, “Good Luvin”
05 Protoje, “Who Knows”
06 DJ Vadim & Sena, “Boneshaker”
07 Mannesah, “Natural Roots”
08 John Holt, “Closer To Me”
09 Imi Kamoze, “My Girl”
10 Garnet Silk, “It’s Growing”
11 Eek A Mouse, “Borderpatrol”
12 Mungoes Hifi, “For Me You Are” (feat: Hollie Cook)
13 Cheville, “No Push Over”
14 Hempolics, “Me Lov To Sing” (DJ Vadim rmx)

DJ Vadim & Sena’s Slow Grow is out now on BBE Music.

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