Growing up in Longsight, Manchester, Splinter sadly became homeless when he was just 15. He gradually got himself together then went travelling for a few years. These days you can find him in South London, for the time being anyway.
Splinter was making music from an early age. He played drums on pots and pans and whatever else he could find that made a “loud noise”. He always loved the sound of a piano, and amazed him how you could get across so many different emotions on just one instrument. He managed to get a hold of a cheap Casio keyboard from somewhere so he started to learn to play on that.
“I think there’s good in most types of music which is probably why my sounds or selections don’t stick to one style. I don’t like the word genre. It’s limiting and doesn’t reflect life. For me anyway.”
“I’m always trying to add a conscious or positive vibe to my sound. There’s a lot of quality out there but much of it gets drowned out by the disposable shit that gets played unfortunately. Too many egos around too. Self-gratification aint ever cool man. I know there’s underground movements and I hope there will always be, but I think much of our culture has deteriorated big time. So I guess I try to do my bit to help out in my own way. I write stuff almost every day or whenever I get the first chance to. Got 3 new tracks I’m working on which I hope I can get out in the next few weeks. Can take me ages to finish a track. Sometimes it can take me an hour (like the Rokhsan remix), sometimes weeks, sometimes months. Maybe even years with 1 or 2 of them.”
One of the things that drew me into Splinter’s music is the name. Why “Splinter”?
“I’ve always gone by various names. I wanted a name which said something was different. Kinda like ‘splintered’ from the rest of the pack. Sounds pretentious when I say it like that, sorry about that.” (I chuckled, don’t worry.)
“I’ve seen a few people around with the same name since (or were there before him) so I thought about changing it. But that was before I started getting a few hits lately from people digging my sound so I’m not sure I will now. But you never know with me.”
Given Splinter’s tough background, I find it hard to believe he had an easy route into the producing business.
“I did the band thing and we used to use this recording studio over in Greenwich. I knew then I wanted my own set up so I could produce stuff how I wanted and whenever I wanted. Once I got my own place a few years back I got some money together and bought myself an old pc, a synth and got a cracked copy of Cubase off a mate. That was it for me, I was in my element. I’ve probably written a million tracks since. Anyway time passed and I worked hard to gradually buy more stuff/new computer. Nowadays the set up I got is nothing pro but I’m lucky it’s pretty decent. Well, it does the job for me anyway.”
There are a huge number of producers around at this present time. The indie or alternative dance music scene is in huge transition, which firstly came from the dubstep generation which is filling up every dance floor throughout the world. The post-dubstep or whatever you want to label it as, it’s a new wave of elelctronic music, led by the likes of James Blake, SBTRKT, Four Tet, BuriaI and Star Slinger.
The new breed of producers are also a huge force at the moment. The likes of Lancaster duo Bondax spring to mind, as well as Disclosure who are enjoying a lot of attention right now.
“I don’t class anyone as competition because music is no race. Music is there to be heard and felt. The more music out there the better. Not everyone’s the same and not everyone has the same taste in music so the world would be dull if everything sounded the same. I dig Bondax and Disclosure. Those guys got different flex to the standard dubstep/post-dubstep whatever it’s called and I like that. I get a buzz from finding new sounds, you know hearing things being adapted and people putting on their own slant. Then again I love hearing any track whenever I hear emotion and heart’s been put into making it. That’s what music is about to me. I always wanted to play my music out to people. When I was in that band and we played the pubs, the feeling I got from people’s reactions to our sound I just can’t describe it. I’m not famous and I’m not saying I will be, but I don’t like the fame game. It’s just not me. I prefer to let the music do the talking. But it’s every musicians dream to earn a living from what they love to do and I’m no different.”
Splinter is probably most well-known for his breath-taking remix of Rokhsan’s “1000 Yrs”, which he claims she may not even like.
“I’ve been known to spend hours online scouring Youtube, SoundCloud, wherever really, always seeming to look for someone up and coming or unsigned. I guess you could say I favour the underdog. And where I can I try adding my vibe to their sound hopefully to get it sounding where more people would listen to them. I stumbled across Rokhsan during twilight hours a few months ago. Instantly I knew there was something about her voice and her lyrics on her track “1000 Yrs”, it resonated with me big time. Whenever I get that feeling it inspires me to write there and then. So I set about trying to put what I heard in my head into sound. I think I made that remix in a couple of hours, not long anyway. It was rough cut and I sent it off to her hoping she would hear it and maybe like it. I never heard back from her so maybe she hates it! I know there might be some errors on there but I guess I was excited by the sound of the track so I just posted it up and left it at that.”
Having moved around a lot, it’s not always certain where Splinter is. At the moment he’s based in London, near Camden.
“Throughout my life I moved around so sometimes I get this feeling I need to move on, but for the time being I’m staying in London yeah. I love Manchester, it will always be my hometown but I like the London scene too. You can live and breathe life on the street here. Sometimes it can turn around and bite you on the ass though if you’re not careful. But that’s what I like. It’s like being on the edge. There’s this cool looking place in Camden called Inspiral, they asked me to do a set there so if that works out it might be another reason for me to stick around London for longer.”
When I asked Splinter who his biggest influences are, he described it as the “billion dollar question”.
“I grew up listening to all sorts. Literally you name it I probably dig it. These days producers like Burial, Four Tet, SBTRKT, Boards of Canada are all heavyweights and I got massive respect for them.”
There is a certain mystery behind Splinter, which I find very intriguing. From his humble background, it seems he hasn’t lost where he came from and how he got to where he is now. Although he may not be as well known (yet) as other UK electro producers, he gets my vote as one of the most promising talents around at the minute.
This is Splinter’s official SoundCloud.
This is Splinter’s official Facebook page.