ELIJAH & SKILLIAM
After meeting at university back in 2007, Elijah & Skilliam stumbled over a kinship that lasted. It’s not only a relationship that’s taken them all around the world numerous times over and led to them working with pretty much every one of their musical heroes; it’s also a fantastic DJ partnership that has so far been epitomised on two mix albums (2011’s Rinse:17 and 2014’s FABRICLIVE75) and birthed a new annual compilation series that’s succinctly called Grime.
From their humble beginnings doing late night sets together on the then pirate radio station, Rinse FM, Elijah & Skilliam started their label, Butterz, in 2010 to help release some of the music they were being sent from artists that later became their core roster: Swindle, Royal-T & Flava D. Their operation seemed to make a mark instantly and as a unit Butterz stood out, mainly because of the duo’s relatability and the open-minded honesty of Elijah & Skilliam. The pair were never afraid to speak out about their goals or their changing focus and by embracing all aspects of modern communication from radio broadcasts and podcasts to social media, blogging and hosting IRL social gatherings they spoke to their fans more as peers, creating a tangible relationship that has lasted through a few marked shifts in focus.
Finding a night club to call home in London Elijah & Skiliam began their Butterz residency at the now closed Cable in 2011 creating a club format that would take them all around the globe and land them a residency at Fabric just a few short years later. The same surefire energy was channelled into the duo’s more intimate party series Jamz, which ran from 2013 to 2016 with residencies in Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool and Berlin. Their club nights may have seen sets from every heavyweight grime MC with artists like Skepta, Wiley, JME, Kano and the Newham Generals all blessing the dance, but Elijah & Skilliam were also the first DJs to do a set in Japanese with a slew of MCs in Tokyo, proving just how far the tendrils of their east London based project has reached.
Currently working on label projects with their core group of Butterz artists Elijah & Skilliam are also presenting a radio show called LOCKED for Red Bull Music Academy that delves deep into the history of grime as a genre. One gets the impression that exploring the cultural circumstance that surrounded the creation of music from Dizzee Rascal, Stormzy and Wiley isn’t really back breaking work for two mega fans such as them, but in piloting pioneering broadcasts like this Elijah & Skilliam really have proven themselves time and again to be excited ambassadors for grime music.