Magnetic Man

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Biography

There is no more influential or ambitious band in Britain today than Magnetic Man. From the deep underground roots of record shops and pirate stations, through clubnights, self-funded tours, enormous festival shows – their crowd-surfing skills are second to none – and now an album packed tight with brilliantly realised songs, these three are pioneers, ground-breakers, scene-changers and move-makers. These three were there at the very start of dubstep and it’s these three who are poised to take the music they love, the music they helped to create, to people and places that not even they ... Read more

There is no more influential or ambitious band in Britain today than Magnetic Man. From the deep underground roots of record shops and pirate stations, through clubnights, self-funded tours, enormous festival shows – their crowd-surfing skills are second to none – and now an album packed tight with brilliantly realised songs, these three are pioneers, ground-breakers, scene-changers and move-makers. These three were there at the very start of dubstep and it’s these three who are poised to take the music they love, the music they helped to create, to people and places that not even they would have once imagined possible. This is evolution in action, creativity on a roll. When way-out-in-front pirate station Rinse recently won its longed-for FM license, it was Magnetic Man who they chose to headline their celebratory event after having played home and incubator to the live show since inception. This band’s stated aim is to shock people. This seems an entirely likely outcome.

So the three members of Magnetic Man are sat in a restaurant in their hometown of Croydon. They’re having lunch, talking all over each other, encouraging each other to say whatever’s on their mind.

“Dubstep is the biggest progression in music in the last five years,” says Skream (Oliver Jones). “But too many people think it’s that noisy, mid-range stuff. Magnetic Man is about a lot more than that, Magnetic Man is about proper songs, not just tracks or tunes. These songs have a vibe, a heaviness - and until we started recording them we didn’t even know we could write a song!”

“You know, I’m really excited to see what this record does,” says Benga (Benga Adejumo). “I want to see what people in the bigger world think – not just in our little dubstep community.”

Artwork – that’s Arthur Smith, the man Benga and Skream call their “mentor” – just smiles and takes a sip of his beer. “To us dubstep is an everyday thing, so it’s odd to sort of step out of it.” He’s been following the comments their new band has attracted on various forums. He sees people writing about how they didn’t know what dubstep was, but now they like it, while noticing how other people argue over whether Magnetic Man even are dubstep now there are songs and vocals. “But as soon as someone does that ten other people will immediately say, ‘Just open your mind! Magnetic Man are doing something new!’”

They’re certainly doing that. Skream, Benga and Artwork have been making music together – and separately – for the past ten years. Back in 2003 Artwork was running his Big Apple record store in Croydon and making garage and techno in a room upstairs before penning the dubstep anthem ‘Red’ so ahead of its time the genre didn’t yet have a name. Skream and Benga were just schoolboys, a pair who spent six months hammering their Playstation-made tunes down the phone to each other before they even met. “It was like the internet before the internet,” says Skream.

When Benga had a week’s work experience come up through school Artwork made sure he could spend it in the studio. Soon both boys were recording for Big Apple. Skream even ended up working there. Artwork saw that he had not one but two “total geniuses” on his hands. And that, really, is where all this started. Soon, both Skream and Benga would go on to write anthems of their own which would be played on influential station Rinse FM. Since then, Benga has released two albums, including the seminal “Diary Of An Afro Warrior” and co-write the smash hit ‘Night.’ Skream’s ‘06 anthem ‘Midnight Request Line’ took the dubstep sound and brought it to the nation while his ’09 remix of La Roux’s ‘In For The Kill’ sent it global and earned him his first gold disc with the remix itself achieving over 60,000 sales in the UK alone.

The idea of magnetic Man first surfaced in 2007 and at first it was devilishly simple. “We wanted to smash up FWD>>,” Artwork says, referring to the legendary London clubnight which started at The Velvet Rooms in 2001 and then at Plastic People since 2002. “We wanted them to freak out!”

And they did. Playing behind a white sheet, the three remained entirely anonymous. “People were going mad for it from the start,” says Benga. Having done that, the three thought, let’s take it on tour, a thought that coincided with the Arts Council looking for a new young live project to get involved with. And who better than these three? The funding was spent on new computers and a very short while later Magnetic Man were playing a 10-date run around the country as well as selling out Cargo. A few months later they appeared at the Roskilde festival in front of 8000 people. There is clearly no lack of imagination or ambition here.

Magnetic Man want to make massive records and play huge shows. As Skream says, “It’s hard to come up with groundbreaking music,” but their mix of dubstep and rave, techno and soul manages to do just that. “It’s been a natural progression rather than a massive initial splash,” Benga says. “It was really only when we got started that we saw what we could really do.”

When they signed an album deal with Columbia they had to decide what sort of album to make. “We could have just made bangers,” Artwork says. “But we wanted to make songs.” To do so the three decamped to a £5m mansion over looking the Camel estuary in Rock, Cornwall. All three found the quiet a shock. There was nothing to do – nothing. So they worked. And worked. And worked. In two weeks they’d made most of the beats that ended up on the album.

The first song completed was ‘Boiling Water’ with lyrics by Sam Frank. The three were so enthused by the piece that the whole atmosphere of what they wanted to do changed. Frank came down to stay and a few days later they’d written the very brilliant ‘The Bug.’ “That is the whole Magnetic Man thing on one track,” Benga says. “Without an outsider’s input we’d never have done that. He turned a club banger into a song – it’s amazing.”

The single ‘I Need Air’ came about when Angela Hunte, who co-wrote ‘Empire State Of Mind,’ flew over to see the band in London and they recorded it right there. The opening track ‘Flying Into Tokyo’ is a beautifully pitched slice of delicate African thumb piano, while ‘Anthem’ is just that, a huge great chunk of crowd moving propulsion.

“We’ve said from the start we’re not doing straight up dubstep,” Skream says. “And what’s the problem with pop music? We’re so used to hearing shit on the radio that we think pop music is shit and cheesy, but it doesn’t have to be. Pop music can be an amazing thing. We’re trying to put real emotion into this music.”

So the record proves Magnetic Man weren’t mucking about when they said they wanted to make a serious album. This is a total, complete piece that draws on a broad history of electronic music.

“It’s songs that make albums,” says Benga “not bangers.” And now it’s time to take those songs to the people. A summer of festivals will be followed by a proper UK tour in the Autumn. Each gig will be an event, a Night with Magnetic Man where the three will play inside an LED stage set that Benga calls “our Cube Of Lights.”

“It will be next level,” promises Artwork. “Even if it does cost us more money than we’re getting paid!”

For Skream the picture is clear. “We’ve seen a chance and we’ve grabbed it,” he says. “We’re making great music and taking it to the masses. This is not some anonymous instrumental – Magnetic Man is way beyond that. We’re not about club smashers or just for dubstep fans, Magnetic Man is for a much broader crowd, in fact Magnetic Man is for everyone.”

This biography was provided by the artist or their representative.

There is no more influential or ambitious band in Britain today than Magnetic Man. From the deep underground roots of record shops and pirate stations, through clubnights, self-funded tours, enormous festival shows – their crowd-surfing skills are second to none – and now an album packed tight with brilliantly realised songs, these three are pioneers, ground-breakers, scene-changers and move-makers. These three were there at the very start of dubstep and it’s these three who are poised to take the music they love, the music they helped to create, to people and places that not even they would have once imagined possible. This is evolution in action, creativity on a roll. When way-out-in-front pirate station Rinse recently won its longed-for FM license, it was Magnetic Man who they chose to headline their celebratory event after having played home and incubator to the live show since inception. This band’s stated aim is to shock people. This seems an entirely likely outcome.

So the three members of Magnetic Man are sat in a restaurant in their hometown of Croydon. They’re having lunch, talking all over each other, encouraging each other to say whatever’s on their mind.

“Dubstep is the biggest progression in music in the last five years,” says Skream (Oliver Jones). “But too many people think it’s that noisy, mid-range stuff. Magnetic Man is about a lot more than that, Magnetic Man is about proper songs, not just tracks or tunes. These songs have a vibe, a heaviness - and until we started recording them we didn’t even know we could write a song!”

“You know, I’m really excited to see what this record does,” says Benga (Benga Adejumo). “I want to see what people in the bigger world think – not just in our little dubstep community.”

Artwork – that’s Arthur Smith, the man Benga and Skream call their “mentor” – just smiles and takes a sip of his beer. “To us dubstep is an everyday thing, so it’s odd to sort of step out of it.” He’s been following the comments their new band has attracted on various forums. He sees people writing about how they didn’t know what dubstep was, but now they like it, while noticing how other people argue over whether Magnetic Man even are dubstep now there are songs and vocals. “But as soon as someone does that ten other people will immediately say, ‘Just open your mind! Magnetic Man are doing something new!’”

They’re certainly doing that. Skream, Benga and Artwork have been making music together – and separately – for the past ten years. Back in 2003 Artwork was running his Big Apple record store in Croydon and making garage and techno in a room upstairs before penning the dubstep anthem ‘Red’ so ahead of its time the genre didn’t yet have a name. Skream and Benga were just schoolboys, a pair who spent six months hammering their Playstation-made tunes down the phone to each other before they even met. “It was like the internet before the internet,” says Skream.

When Benga had a week’s work experience come up through school Artwork made sure he could spend it in the studio. Soon both boys were recording for Big Apple. Skream even ended up working there. Artwork saw that he had not one but two “total geniuses” on his hands. And that, really, is where all this started. Soon, both Skream and Benga would go on to write anthems of their own which would be played on influential station Rinse FM. Since then, Benga has released two albums, including the seminal “Diary Of An Afro Warrior” and co-write the smash hit ‘Night.’ Skream’s ‘06 anthem ‘Midnight Request Line’ took the dubstep sound and brought it to the nation while his ’09 remix of La Roux’s ‘In For The Kill’ sent it global and earned him his first gold disc with the remix itself achieving over 60,000 sales in the UK alone.

The idea of magnetic Man first surfaced in 2007 and at first it was devilishly simple. “We wanted to smash up FWD>>,” Artwork says, referring to the legendary London clubnight which started at The Velvet Rooms in 2001 and then at Plastic People since 2002. “We wanted them to freak out!”

And they did. Playing behind a white sheet, the three remained entirely anonymous. “People were going mad for it from the start,” says Benga. Having done that, the three thought, let’s take it on tour, a thought that coincided with the Arts Council looking for a new young live project to get involved with. And who better than these three? The funding was spent on new computers and a very short while later Magnetic Man were playing a 10-date run around the country as well as selling out Cargo. A few months later they appeared at the Roskilde festival in front of 8000 people. There is clearly no lack of imagination or ambition here.

Magnetic Man want to make massive records and play huge shows. As Skream says, “It’s hard to come up with groundbreaking music,” but their mix of dubstep and rave, techno and soul manages to do just that. “It’s been a natural progression rather than a massive initial splash,” Benga says. “It was really only when we got started that we saw what we could really do.”

When they signed an album deal with Columbia they had to decide what sort of album to make. “We could have just made bangers,” Artwork says. “But we wanted to make songs.” To do so the three decamped to a £5m mansion over looking the Camel estuary in Rock, Cornwall. All three found the quiet a shock. There was nothing to do – nothing. So they worked. And worked. And worked. In two weeks they’d made most of the beats that ended up on the album.

The first song completed was ‘Boiling Water’ with lyrics by Sam Frank. The three were so enthused by the piece that the whole atmosphere of what they wanted to do changed. Frank came down to stay and a few days later they’d written the very brilliant ‘The Bug.’ “That is the whole Magnetic Man thing on one track,” Benga says. “Without an outsider’s input we’d never have done that. He turned a club banger into a song – it’s amazing.”

The single ‘I Need Air’ came about when Angela Hunte, who co-wrote ‘Empire State Of Mind,’ flew over to see the band in London and they recorded it right there. The opening track ‘Flying Into Tokyo’ is a beautifully pitched slice of delicate African thumb piano, while ‘Anthem’ is just that, a huge great chunk of crowd moving propulsion.

“We’ve said from the start we’re not doing straight up dubstep,” Skream says. “And what’s the problem with pop music? We’re so used to hearing shit on the radio that we think pop music is shit and cheesy, but it doesn’t have to be. Pop music can be an amazing thing. We’re trying to put real emotion into this music.”

So the record proves Magnetic Man weren’t mucking about when they said they wanted to make a serious album. This is a total, complete piece that draws on a broad history of electronic music.

“It’s songs that make albums,” says Benga “not bangers.” And now it’s time to take those songs to the people. A summer of festivals will be followed by a proper UK tour in the Autumn. Each gig will be an event, a Night with Magnetic Man where the three will play inside an LED stage set that Benga calls “our Cube Of Lights.”

“It will be next level,” promises Artwork. “Even if it does cost us more money than we’re getting paid!”

For Skream the picture is clear. “We’ve seen a chance and we’ve grabbed it,” he says. “We’re making great music and taking it to the masses. This is not some anonymous instrumental – Magnetic Man is way beyond that. We’re not about club smashers or just for dubstep fans, Magnetic Man is for a much broader crowd, in fact Magnetic Man is for everyone.”

This biography was provided by the artist or their representative.

There is no more influential or ambitious band in Britain today than Magnetic Man. From the deep underground roots of record shops and pirate stations, through clubnights, self-funded tours, enormous festival shows – their crowd-surfing skills are second to none – and now an album packed tight with brilliantly realised songs, these three are pioneers, ground-breakers, scene-changers and move-makers. These three were there at the very start of dubstep and it’s these three who are poised to take the music they love, the music they helped to create, to people and places that not even they would have once imagined possible. This is evolution in action, creativity on a roll. When way-out-in-front pirate station Rinse recently won its longed-for FM license, it was Magnetic Man who they chose to headline their celebratory event after having played home and incubator to the live show since inception. This band’s stated aim is to shock people. This seems an entirely likely outcome.

So the three members of Magnetic Man are sat in a restaurant in their hometown of Croydon. They’re having lunch, talking all over each other, encouraging each other to say whatever’s on their mind.

“Dubstep is the biggest progression in music in the last five years,” says Skream (Oliver Jones). “But too many people think it’s that noisy, mid-range stuff. Magnetic Man is about a lot more than that, Magnetic Man is about proper songs, not just tracks or tunes. These songs have a vibe, a heaviness - and until we started recording them we didn’t even know we could write a song!”

“You know, I’m really excited to see what this record does,” says Benga (Benga Adejumo). “I want to see what people in the bigger world think – not just in our little dubstep community.”

Artwork – that’s Arthur Smith, the man Benga and Skream call their “mentor” – just smiles and takes a sip of his beer. “To us dubstep is an everyday thing, so it’s odd to sort of step out of it.” He’s been following the comments their new band has attracted on various forums. He sees people writing about how they didn’t know what dubstep was, but now they like it, while noticing how other people argue over whether Magnetic Man even are dubstep now there are songs and vocals. “But as soon as someone does that ten other people will immediately say, ‘Just open your mind! Magnetic Man are doing something new!’”

They’re certainly doing that. Skream, Benga and Artwork have been making music together – and separately – for the past ten years. Back in 2003 Artwork was running his Big Apple record store in Croydon and making garage and techno in a room upstairs before penning the dubstep anthem ‘Red’ so ahead of its time the genre didn’t yet have a name. Skream and Benga were just schoolboys, a pair who spent six months hammering their Playstation-made tunes down the phone to each other before they even met. “It was like the internet before the internet,” says Skream.

When Benga had a week’s work experience come up through school Artwork made sure he could spend it in the studio. Soon both boys were recording for Big Apple. Skream even ended up working there. Artwork saw that he had not one but two “total geniuses” on his hands. And that, really, is where all this started. Soon, both Skream and Benga would go on to write anthems of their own which would be played on influential station Rinse FM. Since then, Benga has released two albums, including the seminal “Diary Of An Afro Warrior” and co-write the smash hit ‘Night.’ Skream’s ‘06 anthem ‘Midnight Request Line’ took the dubstep sound and brought it to the nation while his ’09 remix of La Roux’s ‘In For The Kill’ sent it global and earned him his first gold disc with the remix itself achieving over 60,000 sales in the UK alone.

The idea of magnetic Man first surfaced in 2007 and at first it was devilishly simple. “We wanted to smash up FWD>>,” Artwork says, referring to the legendary London clubnight which started at The Velvet Rooms in 2001 and then at Plastic People since 2002. “We wanted them to freak out!”

And they did. Playing behind a white sheet, the three remained entirely anonymous. “People were going mad for it from the start,” says Benga. Having done that, the three thought, let’s take it on tour, a thought that coincided with the Arts Council looking for a new young live project to get involved with. And who better than these three? The funding was spent on new computers and a very short while later Magnetic Man were playing a 10-date run around the country as well as selling out Cargo. A few months later they appeared at the Roskilde festival in front of 8000 people. There is clearly no lack of imagination or ambition here.

Magnetic Man want to make massive records and play huge shows. As Skream says, “It’s hard to come up with groundbreaking music,” but their mix of dubstep and rave, techno and soul manages to do just that. “It’s been a natural progression rather than a massive initial splash,” Benga says. “It was really only when we got started that we saw what we could really do.”

When they signed an album deal with Columbia they had to decide what sort of album to make. “We could have just made bangers,” Artwork says. “But we wanted to make songs.” To do so the three decamped to a £5m mansion over looking the Camel estuary in Rock, Cornwall. All three found the quiet a shock. There was nothing to do – nothing. So they worked. And worked. And worked. In two weeks they’d made most of the beats that ended up on the album.

The first song completed was ‘Boiling Water’ with lyrics by Sam Frank. The three were so enthused by the piece that the whole atmosphere of what they wanted to do changed. Frank came down to stay and a few days later they’d written the very brilliant ‘The Bug.’ “That is the whole Magnetic Man thing on one track,” Benga says. “Without an outsider’s input we’d never have done that. He turned a club banger into a song – it’s amazing.”

The single ‘I Need Air’ came about when Angela Hunte, who co-wrote ‘Empire State Of Mind,’ flew over to see the band in London and they recorded it right there. The opening track ‘Flying Into Tokyo’ is a beautifully pitched slice of delicate African thumb piano, while ‘Anthem’ is just that, a huge great chunk of crowd moving propulsion.

“We’ve said from the start we’re not doing straight up dubstep,” Skream says. “And what’s the problem with pop music? We’re so used to hearing shit on the radio that we think pop music is shit and cheesy, but it doesn’t have to be. Pop music can be an amazing thing. We’re trying to put real emotion into this music.”

So the record proves Magnetic Man weren’t mucking about when they said they wanted to make a serious album. This is a total, complete piece that draws on a broad history of electronic music.

“It’s songs that make albums,” says Benga “not bangers.” And now it’s time to take those songs to the people. A summer of festivals will be followed by a proper UK tour in the Autumn. Each gig will be an event, a Night with Magnetic Man where the three will play inside an LED stage set that Benga calls “our Cube Of Lights.”

“It will be next level,” promises Artwork. “Even if it does cost us more money than we’re getting paid!”

For Skream the picture is clear. “We’ve seen a chance and we’ve grabbed it,” he says. “We’re making great music and taking it to the masses. This is not some anonymous instrumental – Magnetic Man is way beyond that. We’re not about club smashers or just for dubstep fans, Magnetic Man is for a much broader crowd, in fact Magnetic Man is for everyone.”

This biography was provided by the artist or their representative.

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