Elijah & Skilliam and their Butterz label have become an immediately identifiable brand in grime over the past few years. Via their DJ sets, the Butterz blog, label, and Rinse FM show, they’ve been posing new questions of the genre, taking the focus away from the MCs and back towards its potential as instrumental dance music. Since starting their Rinse FM show in 2008, they’ve assembled a collective of likeminded producers and DJs around them, from Terror Danjah to newer artists like Royal-T, and they continue the restless search for new music.
“We don’t really play any old tunes in our radio show,” says Skilliam. “Six months is sort of the cut-off – we’re trying to keep it moving, that’s what the radio show is really for. I think with a club set it’s a bit different, but the radio show is about keeping it current.”
The Butterz blog was founded in 2006, when Elijah was becoming increasingly disenchanted with the electro-pop/grime sound that was making its way into the charts. At that point it was uncommon to hear proper new grime tracks played in the clubs – classics like ‘Eskimo’ and ‘Pow’ were finding their way into sets, but “they’d already been out for 5 or 6 years,” remembers Elijah. “So even on that premise, Butterz was going to stand out, just because we were playing something a bit different.”
The Butterz sound has gone on to prove remarkably flexible, its core ingredients of fluorescent synths and garage-tinted beats lending themselves equally to raw club tracks and breezy electronic funk. “We’ve been in the same show, late at night, the whole time we’ve been on Rinse, so we’ve had no pressure to conform to anything,” says Elijah. “We can play one-minute loops, or we can play nine-minute epics, and there’s no constraint on that.”