Silk Road Assassins, the production outfit that consists of Tom E. Vercetti, Chemist and Lovedr0id, have been a mainstay in the vanguard of exciting club music coming out of the UK. Though they've drawn comparisons to Yung Lean (or at least his producer Yung Gud) and fellow club experimentalist Visionist, but that's a little reductive. Though clearly inspired by grime, theirs is a more expansive, farther-reaching sound. Just as rewarding in a club as it is through some nice expensive headphones, the trio's productions sit outside any real classification. And that makes it all the more exciting that A) they've linked up with iconic weirdos Planet Mu and B) they've got their debut EP, Reflection Spaces, on the way (Apr. 15). We spoke to them via email to talk creativity and their plans for the future.
Talk us through your creative process. How do you balance the differing tastes and styles of each member?
The process tends to vary from track to track. Sometimes one of us will write most of a track by themselves and we will all get together to finish it. Other times, we'll all work on beats together. We always have Smash Bros set-up so one person can work on the beat while the others get a break. Usually, by time the person working on the beat is running out of ideas, there will be someone ready to take over. We don't have a lot of time to work on beats together at the minute so we find when we do get together we are all pretty focused and generally have a solid idea of what we are trying to achieve. The process evolves constantly but we all have our strengths/weaknesses when it comes to writing and producing music. It took a while to get to know these but now it feels like we can balance and take advantage them during the writing process. We all listen to similar music generally but everyone has their own style of writing. When we first started the project, it was more difficult to finish music as we didn't really have a collective idea of what SRA was at the time. But since writing more music together we slowly worked out what the SRA sound is and our collective direction is a lot clearer now.
What inspired this track in particular?
“Vectors” was the first SRA track we finished and it was at a time when there was a lot interesting developments in instrumental grime music. There was also loads of cool US-influenced music from artists such as Bine, Glocque and Gregar etc which was a bit slower. The concept of combining the slow, leaned out vibe of those artists with the production style of grime was the main influence behind the track.
You've been described in some quarters as “grime disciples” and the word “grime” is never far from descriptions of your music. Does this bother you?
It's not something which bothers us in particular as the music is definitely influenced by grime and there are clear sonic parallels between what we are doing and the current instrumental grime continuum. We don't really aim to be part of the grime scene, but we want our work to be relatable to fans of that music. Perhaps just using the word 'grime' to describe us is a bit lazy though.
It's great to see you releasing this via Planet Mu. Are there any plans to release more on the label?
Yeah, it's cool being part of a label that has been so important in pushing obscure sounds from around the world into the public consciousness. There aren't any plans to release anything else currently but Mu would definitely be an ideal home for our future projects.
What are your long term plans for SRA? An album? Tour?
An album is definitely something we are all keen on doing. That could be a while off though, as we'd ideally like to write it as a cohesive album rather than gathering together loads of odds and ends. We've also discussed working on a live set but, once again, that could take a while as we need to write a whole set's worth of material for that. We've also stepped into producing for vocalists and that's something we're all really keen on pursuing. Mostly, we just want to keep working on our craft and earning paper.