Birmingham based producer Emalkay, Martin Knowles to his friends, has been building a name for himself for a number of years now pushing the heavier, darker side of the dubstep spectrum.
Now, having signed to Caspa's Dub Police label, and with one of the biggest tracks of the year in the form of When I Look At You, he is quickly joining the ranks of the biggest players in the scene right now.
Things are really starting to pay off for Emalkay, who has done things on his own terms since the very beginning. His first releases came on his own Morphic Sounds label back in 2005.
"It was basically just a promotional tool more than anything", he explains, "because where I am from, in Brum, not many people were doing this kind of thing and I was finding it hard to get any recognition. I didn't have any sort of foot in the door, so I decided to do it myself."
Off the back of these releases – "mad experimental grime things" – he linked up with Boka, and they signed his track Gut Feeling. After a string of releases for them, earlier this year saw his debut release on Dub Police: Explicit / Heroics. He has since found a good home at the label: "The guys that run Dub Police work really hard to push and promote their artists, and if you are loyal to them, they are really loyal to you."
Now, his latest 12", When I Look At You / AGS, is currently a mainstay in the record bag of just about every big DJ around and has been one of the most anticipated releases this year.
"It has just synchronised well and all come together nicely," explains Knowles. "When you work at your music for so long, to get a successful release like that is just a really good feeling. It just leads me to try and go on to make better things and to try to continue to develop my sound, to make a bigger hit. It's good to know that people are into what I am doing, and at the end of the day I'm making what I like as well. I don't have to force anything or restrict myself to one sound."
Emalkay's willingness to experiment is audible on his new 12" for Dub Police. The warm, garage inflected 4x4 of AGS provides a nice counterpoint to the hard-hitting halfstep of When I Look At You. "I have always tried to do something a bit different, something a bit more leftfield. I have just taken the dubstep sound and done my own thing with it. I've just tried to experiment really."
He is keen to continue experimenting and diversifying too. "I am really into this dubstep scene and it has taken over a bit, but I don't let it influence me too much", he muses. "I have always tried to be a bit of an outsider and to try and bring something different to the table. I only make what I want, I don't try and force anything, I don't try and think what I have got to make, it just comes out naturally."
When I Look At You / AGS is out now on Dub Police.
Watch out for his forthcoming Solid State / Battle Suit release on Storming Productions, a sister label to Dub Police, which is in the process of being mastered now and should be out soon.
Words: Sam Collenette
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