Once the reserve of Chicago’s south side projects, footwork music has become a truly global phenomenon in recent years, and whilst Chi-town is still at the heart of it all, it’s in Europe that the sound has evolved most significantly. From French ghetto generals Booty Call Records to the UK jungle-juke alchemy of Om Unit, Fracture and Addison Groove, the 160bpm blueprint has been turned on its head this side of the pond. Flying the flag for Northern Europe is Marius Mevold, aka Slick Shoota, the Oslo-based DJ and producer whose high-energy take on juke borrows as much from its Chicago lineage as it does from UK bass music. A prolific beatmonger, his tracks and remixes have featured on labels such as Loose Squares, B.YRSLF, Mad Decent, Kitsuné and Hyperboloid, and a busy international DJ schedule has seen him put Scandinavia firmly on the footwork map.
We caught up with Slick Shoota for a chat ahead of his gig at SATTA Festival in Lithuania next weekend, and he was kind enough to put together an exclusive mix for us, delving into a melting pot of styles and tempos. Check the interview and stream the mix below.
You hail from Norway, somewhere most people wouldn’t associate with booty music, so how did you arrive at your sound? Tell us a bit about your early influences as a DJ and producer and what attracted you to juke and footwork.
Yeah it’s pretty funny sometimes. With the music I produce and an artist name like Slick Shoota, Norway isn’t the first thing that springs to mind is it! I grew up on jungle and drum and bass. I guess that’s much of the reason why I was so inspired by the juke and footwork when I first caught on to it – the tempo and sample culture and crazy ideas are pretty similar in juke and jungle. The thing that attracted me the most with juke and footwork though is that there aren’t any given rules, you just get on a vibe and finish a track. It doesn’t have to be super polished – it’s all about good ideas and being creative, not about having the loudest tracks.
Your take on footwork is pretty varied and you also dabble with other strains of bass music – what is it that joins the dots in your music?
Most of my output is around the 160bpm mark, but I’ve also done a Lindstrøm remix at 135bpm, and stuff around 148-150 bpm. I want to do all kinds of bpms, and hopefully people can recognise a Slick Shoota track when they hear it. That’s what I want to achieve. I guess what joins the dots is the energy of my tracks, I always want to keep things moving forward, make people bounce when they hear it. I also don’t want to be associated with one certain type of sound. I like a bit of everything, and I think that shines through when people listen to my releases – it can be ravey, housey or whatever, but always with a dancefloor aim.
It’s interesting to see how quickly footwork has evolved since finding favour outside of Chicago, with its influence now stretching across a broad range of tempos and styles internationally. What do you feel it is about the sound that has grabbed people’s attention and how do you see it evolving?
Like you’re saying the juke and footwork influence has spread across more scenes now. I’m not sure if there’s a particular reason as to why, dance music scenes usually goes in waves like that anyway. DJs and producers catch on to what’s moving and you see certain trends appear. I hope people are thinking the same as me though with juke and footwork – be inspired, but also be original. It feels good to just try new stuff out, weird percussion or beat patterns, vocal chops etc. Not being locked into a certain sound or style, just have fun and see what comes out of it. That’s what grabbed me anyway.
Which producers are you feeling at the top of the footwork game at the moment? And which unsung talents do we need to watch out for?
So many great producers out there I could mention – DJ Rashad & DJ Spinn, Machinedrum, Addison Groove, Dawn Day Night, DJ Earl, Wheez-ie, Deft, Chrissy Murderbot are all top dogs. I love to find new producers around that are doing great and interesting stuff though. Gotta give a shout out to people like Ticklish, Nangdo, Beardus, Broodlings, Raumskaya… I probably forget many too.
Tell us about your new club night Ball ‘Em Up – what inspired you to set it up and what’s the concept behind it?
I moved to Oslo about 8 months ago. I lived in Trondheim before where I also had a clubnight for 3 years, so I’ve been doing it for a while. When I moved to Oslo I wanted a fresh start and create a clubnight pushing the music and culture I’m into. We play everything from jersey club, juke, rap, jungle and all other bass music we are feeling. We’ve had a good start and we’ve already had great parties with Pelican Fly, Salva and Rwina Records to name some.
Ball ‘Em Up consists of me and Emil aka Dj Skawr, and now also Drippin’, my favourite Norwegian producer. So things are looking good, we are expanding and we have some exciting stuff coming up!
How’s your summer been so far? Any highlights gig-wise?
Summer has been nice so far, had a great Ball Em Up party last week, played a Norwegian festival which was fun. I’m playing Solar Festival in Holland August 4th and then it’s all about SATTA Festival, which I’m pretty sure is gonna be amazing – the lineup is crazy good!
Speaking of SATTA in Lithuania next week, what can people expect from your performance? Which artists will you be making an effort to check whilst you’re there?
I’m staying most of the festival so I’m hoping to catch Jets, Dawn Day Night, French Fries, Icicle, Bambounou, Obey City, Om Unit and DJ EZ!
What else is in the pipeline for Slick Shoota over the next few months?
I’ve recently released some remixes on labels like Fine Grains and Activia Benz. I’ve also remixed Beataucue’s new single for Kitsuné, which should be out in all outlets. I’m also wrapping up my next single for Mad Decent which I’m really excited about. It’s a summer-vibey juke track and features Purple, a very talented DJ and singer from Oslo. Looking forward to getting that out there!
Tell us about the mix you’ve put together for us.
The mix starts out at 130bpm and builds up to 160, much like my DJ sets these days. I like to throw in a bit of everything and mix tracks that people might not expect to go together – I get bored if things are too samey for too long. I got a couple of new tracks from myself in there, a bit of jersey club, some jungle and some exclusives thrown in for good measure!
Slick Shoota performs at SATTA Festival, Lithuania, 8-11 August. Head here for event info and tickets.