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Southampton’s own Royal-T has had an intense couple of years since getting his first tracks played and supported on Elijah & Skilliam’s Rinse FM show, and has since gone on to have released on the Butterz label and become a mainstay for them. His seminal hits such ‘Orangeade’ and his work with the likes of P.Money, Yasmin and Katy B have solidified his place in the wave of new Grime producers. His style is both upfront and refined which has allowed him to carve out his niche within the scene as his club ready tracks have shown that Grime producers don’t have to imitate Dubstep to keep the dancefloor interested. We got a chance to speak with the rising start as he discussed collaborations and his vision for his career. He’s also recorded a mix full of his best tracks and remixes from 2011 so let that be a mere taster of what’s to come when he plays at We Fear Silence present Butterz & Hardrive on 24th March.

So Royal-T 2011 was a big year for Butterz as a collective, but what were your individual highlights?

A lot of big things happened last year to count but remixing for big artists was definitely a privilege and working with non-Grime tracks was cool. I had my first gig abroad which led to me playing in places like Prague, Amsterdam and eventually touring Australia and all around the UK. I featured on a Boy Better Know release which was a big moment too because before I started producing I was a huge fan.

You mention a big moment featuring on a Boy Better Know release what kind of other dreams do you have as a Grime producer that you think you can make happen in 2012?

There's still artists involved in the scene I want to work so that would be a step I’d want to take. But Grime as a genre, I’d eventually like to take to festivals and more nights alongside DJs from other genres to represent and cement it back into the clubs. I've said it many times before but I want people to view Grime for its sound again and not the image that people from outside the scene think it is, I think that's vital in the genre's progression.

You released the Orangeade EP last year, now what can we expect from your new stuff? Has the touring influenced your music at all?

Yeah playing out has just made me more aware of what people like in the clubs and how I should cater to that. Not in a sense where I'm selling myself out by making Dubstep orientated stuff or anything like that but just in a way I’d enjoy if I was to hear it in a club. Sound wise just stuff that's a lot more polished and as crazy as before. Everything on the Orangeade EP is about two years old now so I’ve had a lot of time to really test myself. Doing all the remixes in 2011 helped out a lot so I could experiment and see what works and what doesn't.

Your set at the last Butterz & Hardrive night at Cable was one of the most well received, what are you going to bring to it this time?

A lot of unexpected stuff just to keep it moving and fun like always. I'm gonna go in with some new one-away bootlegs and catch people off guard again.

You were a newcomer in 2010 now going into 2012 you have firmly established yourself, do you now feel the pressure to deliver more this year than you did last year?

It would be easy to think that way but I’ve learned so much I’m just taking the last two years as like a dress rehearsal for the bigger things to come. I used 2011 to build up the artillery for 2012 and it's gonna stay that way, would be stupid not to.

So now that you aren't the newcomer, who are the people we have to be listening for in 2012?

Preditah had a huge 2011 and he's bound to bring a lot more fire in 2012 along with Faze Miyake. I know that J Beatz is waiting in the wings with some of his material. Also a guy called OH91 from Bristol, he produces some sick stuff.

What about MC-wise, you hardly do any vocal tracks. Will that change this year?

It might do, I feel like a lot of MCs are scared of my tunes because of its club style, which is fine and up to them because I’m not really aiming to cater to them. I've found that the ones that do well over my tunes are the ones who can actually hold it up on a set and in a club. I'm happy with working with the guys I’ve worked with before really. When vocal tracks do get done though I want it to be with singers too. I suppose I’m just being strict, there's plenty of producers that make big MC orientated tracks but my eyes are focused in a different direction, it's up to the MCs if they want to join me or not.

What other kind of stuff are you listening to at the moment, what impact is that having on your production or is that completely independent?

I been listening back to loads of N*E*R*D again lately. That is all I’d listen to for a while when I was younger. Also, a lot of Alicia Keys for some reason. My listening habits go in circles sometimes, especially with old stuff. I listen to The Streets all the time. Thinking about it, a lot of my iTunes purchases lately have been old school hip hop like Common and stuff. Some stuff I listen to might influence my production sometimes because I find I don't really listen to a lot of current Grime, that's why my stuff sounds a lot different to everyone else. While everyone is trying to make the next ‘Spartan’ I’m on the other side making some other shit.

2011 has seen a lot more Grime acts from outside of London breaking the scene, what advice would you give to someone?

Be persistent and confident in your craft. We're at a time where your music is more easily heard so use it to your advantage, accept criticism and build upon it. If you have faith in yourself and your ability then there shouldn't be reason why you're not willing to make sure everybody know this.

What have we got to look out for coming from you in the near future?

Right now I’m working on a solo project for release very soon. I've taken a backseat remix wise and have focused on this for a while. More will become clear soon.

Royal-T will be playing alongside JME, Terror Danjah, Elijah & Skilliam, Swindle, Champion and more at We Fear Silence present Butterz & Hardrive on 24th March.
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