Interview: Terror Danjah

Photo by Matt Benson


Often considered (and rightly so) the quintessential grime producer, the legendary Terror Danjah’s latest releases have him exploring a freer, genre-transcending sound, set to be just as mythical as his unparalleled grime output in the last decade. The grime god himself has blessed us with an exclusive interview.

onethirtybpm: You’re often called a grime producer above all else; is that what you consider yourself?

Terror Danjah: I’m a producer thats known for producing Grime, but I actually started producing Jungle music!

onethirtybpm: How do you feel about the sort of constant collision between grime and dubstep lately? Do you feel like dubstep is overshadowing grime? Do you even care at this point?

TDJ: It doesn’t really matter to me, it’s kinda the same thing to me. Grime is more MC/artist orientated, whilst Dubstep more concentrated on the beats. I don’t think Dubstep is overshadowing Grime either, they both have their own lanes, but theres not much in it.

onethirtybpm: Who or what would you say is the biggest influence on your sound?

TDJ: That’s a hard one, my influnces come from different places, Soul, Reggae, a little Hip Hop and a much slice of Jungle Drum & Bass, and Minimal Tech!!!

onethirtybpm: You released the Gremlinz compilation on Planet Mu last year; what was the experience of going over the last six years of your work like? Did it rejuvenate you? I feel like there’s a new sense of urgency and purpose in these new singles.

TDJ: It was a good look for me, I’ve always been working hard on my tunes, but I guess there wasn’t much of an avenue in the are where I was pushing my music within the Grime scene. Releasing the album on Planet Mu opened a new set doors to me and the dubstep scene. Kode 9 was one of the deejays that been playing my material where others had started playing Old School garage, instead of playing new Grime!!!

onethirtybpm: The gremlin cackle has been such a signature sound in your music; have you ever considered changing it?

TDJ: Not really, Just slightly manipulate it, because I want people to recognise “oh that’s Terror Danjah” loool. The Gremlin laugh was actually put in there just for jokes, then when I stoped using it for a while people like “nah bruv, put that back in, I like it, it suits your character.”

onethirtybpm: I’ve noticed you’re using strings less now; what is inspiring your current sound and why did you move in that direction?

TDJ: Yeah, what happened, I’ve noticed everyone was using strings in Grime, it was became boring. So I went more electronic and synth-y, I’ve always used synths, I love them!!

onethirtybpm: You’re releasing on Hyperdub and brand new label Butterz this month — how is it working with a brand new label, and how involved are you with the inner workings of Butterz?

TDJ: Its brilliant working with a new label. I’m not really Involved that much, but because they’re my mates, I give them advice and help them because I used to run my own label ‘Aftershock’ and I know the inner workings with the vinyl side of things.

onethirtybpm: Why did you choose to work with Butterz, or how did it come about?

TDJ: Well it was a normal progression. I met Elijah from Butterz through a mutual friend Loudmouth Melvin, Me and Elijah use to talk about music almost everyday and the Grime and Dubstep. So when said he wanted to release vinyl, I showed him the right people to go to and I provided him with his first release and it’s an honour to be a part of a big label.

onethirtybpm: On the same note, how did you end up working with Hyperdub?

TDJ: I’ve known Kode 9, who owns Hyperdub, for a while, he’s one of the main reasons why everyone started to take note. So I had to pay back the respect.

onethirtybpm: It seems like you have a lot of upcoming material. Are there any plans for a Terror Danjah album?

TDJ: Well I don’t wanna expose to much, but I got a six tracker EP with Planet Mu coming soon, another single with Hyperdub, EP with Dutch label Rwina and keep your eyes peeled in September.

onethirtybpm: Are there any producers out there right now, new producers, who are really exciting you?

TDJ: I’m feeling D.O.K, Swindle. Joker, Rude Kid, Hudson Mohawke, Wizzy Wow and Dj Silencer. There’s a few new ones I wanna hear more from like S.R.C, Royal T, Mr Mitch, Teeza, Goose and few others before I pass judgment!

onethirtybpm: If there was any one producer you could collaborate with in the near future, who would it be?

TDJ: Most definitely WOOKIE!!!!

onethirtybpm: What’s your favourite single of this year so far?.

TDJ: It’s actually a tune I’ve done with Wiley’s A List which features Sadie Ama, Shola Ama, J2k, Brazen, Mz Bratt and Wiley himself.

onethirtybpm: Favourite remix?

TDJ: My remix of a new female singer called Rox who’s getting heavy rotation on Radio One and 1xtra, and the track entitled ‘My Baby Left Me’

Terror Danjah currently has two releases out, “Acid” / “Pro Plus” on Hyperdub and the Bipolar EP on Butterz. He recently did a fantastic mix for Mista Jam’s BBC 1Xtra show profiling the current and future scene of grime, an essential half an hour of amazing music set to rule 2010.