Concerts

Skream Returns to Miami With a Stockpile of New Music and a Forward-Thinking Attitude

Skream
Skream Photo by Shotaway
Sure, Skream could have taken an alias. Perhaps when he wanted to spin techno, he could go by Whisper or under DJ Euphoria for his house endeavors.

But the U.K. DJ/producer's dubstep legacy is not preserved in amber for archeologists to dig up millennia from now.

"I never set out to make a particular kind of music when I was a youngster," Skream (real name Oliver Dene Jones) tells New Times. "For me, my journey is just beginning — everything I do, I work as Skream."

In the early 2010s, anyone in search of dubstep's signature whomps and teeth-shattering drops had juggernauts like Skrillex and Excision to provide relief.


But Skream hit differently.

His U.K. dubstep and garage sounds were less cataclysmic — more gritty and dystopian. It was head-bobbing, not fist-pumping.

Today, Skream is still Skream, but he grew more tentacles during his 24 years on the scene, dominating the techno, house, and disco sounds.

"I grew up working in record stores," Jones says. "I never just listened to one music. If anyone thought I was going to just produce one music, they're crazy."

Jones is back for his first Miami showing since before the pandemic on Friday, October 1, at Le Rouge, where he aims to soar through the soundscapes — the way Skream always intended.

"Miami is literally my favorite place in the world — and that's not bullshit either," Jones says. "I think people can just expect Skream — make them expect to dance, hopefully."

The producer's appreciation for the city is to be expected. He's been traveling to Miami at least three times a year for the last 14 years.

"My first show [in Miami] was 14 years ago [in] 2007," he remembers. "I was at the Laundry Bar — big up to my boy, Juan Basshead. It was me and Mala from Digital Mystikz. I can't believe it was 14 years ago. I was 21."

At age 13, Jones cut his teeth working at Big Apple Records in Croydon. The South London record shop was a place where everyone knew your name and where Jones dove into all kinds of genres. During those formative years, he'd flip through records, expand his mind, make close friends, and refine his palette.

"It was just one huge family," Jones notes. "It was some of the best years of my life working that record store. As a kid, it was all I knew."

Jones executed the pivotal shift from dubstep to the techno and house scenes around 2013. He would play for free just to prove he wasn't a gimmick. The results solidified Skream's legacy, with bookings from techno powerhouse Sven Väth's Cocoon parties and DJs such as Marco Carola and Carl Cox dropping his tracks.
These days techno now has more connective tissue with dubstep than ever before. Fast breaks and garage homages from Germany's Skee Mask to Miami's INVT blur the lines between genre segmentation.

Just be at the right place at the right time, and Jones may surprise you with his kaleidoscopic discography.

"There are some kids in Miami, INVT — I've been supporting them for a few years," he adds. "I would definitely spin shit like that — depending on where I'm playing, of course. I've taken the experiment route with open arms. The more I get to go all over the spectrum is good for me."

During the lockdown, Jones hunkered in his studio — with the occasional disruptions from his children — and experimented.

"It was fucking crazy. There were definitely ups and downs during lockdown," Jones admits. "I was OK myself, but there's only so much bad news you can take."

Early this year, he launched a new record label, I Feel, with the sole purpose of releasing his music regardless of genre. His latest release for the label, Sad Days, is set to drop on October 8. And with a 14-month production stockpile, don't expect the release schedule to slow down any time soon.

He also dropped a release for Steel City Dance Discs, Steel City Dance Discs Volume 23, last week, featuring a steadfast techno rhythm and peak club-hours bliss.

Skream, now uncaged, is making up for the lost time.

"I feel good. It's all I've known for God knows how long," he says. "I'm not taking anything for granted. I'm not spending time backstage. I'm spending most of the time on the dance floor."

Last month, Skream played an empty Royal Albert Hall. The set featured all-new dubstep Jones produced in a month — proving music never dies, it just hibernates.

"As everything does, it goes around in circles," he says. "I think there is an entirely new generation appreciating the original sound."

Jones hints at a new Freeizm release — the ongoing series of free music — by the end of the year.

It's been 15 years since Jones' seminal self-titled album facilitated the rise of U.K. dubstep and sowed diplomatic ties in the U.S. scene.

Still, he spends little time on nostalgia. The Skream of yesterday is different from the Skream today — and different from the Skream of tomorrow.

"I just don't stop. It's how I look forward. I'm seeing how I will be in 15 years from now."

Skream. With Cortes and Andy Martinez. 9 p.m. Friday, October 1, at Le Rouge 318 NW 23rd St., Miami; 786-872-2774; lerougemiami.com.Tickets cost $35.80 to $69.85 via eventbrite.com.
KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Grant Albert is a writer born and raised in Miami. He likes basset hounds, techno, and rock climbing — in that order.
Contact: Grant Albert