Are Magnetic Man dubstep's first supergroup?

23/09/10

Magnetic Man

Two of Magnetic Man's three members sink into a luxurious blue sofa.

From their comfortable vantage point they can see a rooftop swimming pool, waiters clucking around suited lunch guests and a breathtaking panoramic view of London.

It's a manner they've become accustomed to.

As Magnetic Man they've been tagged "dupstep's first supergroup".

Individually the trio of UK producers have all already been highly successful. Skream [aka Ollie Jones] was the beat-master behind La Roux's chart bothering In For The Kill remix last year.

He's just released his debut solo album and is recording with The Prodigy and Example.

Artwork [Arthur Smith] is one of the founding fathers of dubstep.

Benga [Beni Adejumo - he's otherwise engaged today at the passport office] most recently created the beat for Katy B's top five single Katy On A Mission as well as working on his second full-length LP.

'Supergroup' tag

"We didn't call ourselves [a supergroup]," says Artwork, shrugging. "But it's better than being called something else I suppose.

"The three of us have been involved in the music eight or nine years," adds Skream. "Well, since the beginning. I think that's just how they [the press] sew it together."

We're in like a cage - it's the best way to describe it. A cage with the brightest lights I've ever seen
Skream, Magnetic Man

Even though the trio are only just about to release their debut album together Magnetic Man have existed as a unit for three years.

"We first started touring off the back of an art council grant," explains Skream.

Introducing... Katy B

"That sort of progressed and the shows were getting bigger. Next thing you know we were offered an album deal with Columbia."

It was that deal which afforded the three of them the time, space and finance to be able to take a break from their constant global DJing gigs to settle in Cornwall for two months to record.

"The average day was like Groundhog Day," laughs Artwork. "It was, get up…sausage sandwiches on the balcony… maybe a little swim and then get down to work.

"It wasn't healthy at all. There were a lot of box meals and a lot of trips to the sweet shop at the end of the road."

In other words a long way from the murky clubs they ply their trade in night in night out.

'Cage' stage

Those who were at this summer's Wireless or Reading and Leeds festivals might already know the threesome don't cramp around a pair of beer-scented decks when they play live.

Instead, Magnetic Man pilot a massive LED screen which looks like the bow of an oil tanker programmed by Daft Punk - and rumoured to have cost more than half a million pounds.

Magnetic Man
Image caption Magnetic Man release their debut album next month

"Visually amazing!" pipes Skream. "We're in like a cage. It's the best way to describe it. A cage with the brightest lights I've ever seen.

"Our guy Elliot takes songs and turns them into shapes and patterns," adds Artwork. "It's pretty mind-bending."

It is a dazzling production which could easily transfer to bigger stages at next summer's festivals. Or so they hope.

"You always hope to be doing bigger festival slots.

"It's all about the times as well. You want it when it's dark. I hope next year we see some main stage action," smiles Artwork.

And surely those opportunities are going to come. Their debut single I Need Air crashed into the UK singles chart's top 10.

New single, Perfect Stranger, featuring Katy B ["she's a star, she's going to be around for a while," says Skream] looks likely to repeat the formula.

And the plan beyond that? A second album?

"Just chilling by the pool," laughs Artwork. "Nah, we've always just taken things one step at a time. There's no mega plan."

"It's not hard," concludes Skream smiling as a waitress arrives with a drink. "It's probably less work than the solo stuff."

Magnetic Man is released on 11 October.