The Maryland-based solo electronic artist Skai Nine is a lover and creator of all kinds of electro-based music, drawing inspiration from hip-hop to the synth pop of the 80s and yet somehow he manages to sound current. We caught up with Skai to learn some more.
Electronic Beats: What’s your current state of mind?
I’m almost always “chill” and today is no different. I have my health, a lovely family, and music…no worries!
Things to do in Maryland?
I actually live right outside of Washington, DC, so I’m always in the city. Like any other major metropolitan area, there are tons of things to get into: top-notch restaurants, world-class (and free!) museums, various music outlets, etc. The great thing about this part of Maryland is that you don’t have to travel far to be in a totally different environment. Baltimore’s only 40 minutes away, but culturally the two cities are like night and day. And I really like to drive, so it’s cool that I could head west to the more mountainous area or go east to the towns on the Chesapeake Bay. Geographically speaking, there’s a nice mix of everything in this state.
How to spend a day without computer?
Actually, I think that’s a good idea! I would almost certainly be driving around listening to music!
Where did you come up with the name Skai Nine?
I make music not only because I love it, but also because it’s therapeutic for me. So I wanted a name that had an escapist vibe to it. Also, “9” is my favorite number.
Describe your music?
Sample-based, hiphop-tinged, electro chill music.
A process when you’re making music?
I usually like to look for the main sample first and begin to chop up the sounds. The melody would determine what kinds of drum sounds I use. I’ll then mess around with some synths, effects, and other percussive elements until I get a nice groove going. Sometimes I could finish a track in 30 minutes; other times it may take a couple of hours. After that it’s all about mixing and tweaking—that’s the laborious part!
Love them…and wish I could play one!
Artists you’d most like to collaborate with?
Way too many to name! I’m just going to throw some names out: Bjork, Sade, Beth Gibbons, Marie Daulne, Drake, Damien Marley…I could go on and on.
Three influential songs?
Extremely difficult question! There are so many…in no particular order:
“High Noon” by DJ Shadow – I wanted to throw away my MPC after I heard this!
“Brothers’ Gonna Work It Out” by Public Enemy – So many noisy sounds layered to perfection. The Bomb Squad was like Phil Spector with samples!
“Unravel” by Bjork – So beautiful a song that I felt compelled to do my own version (“Reravel”). That entire Homogenic album changed the way I approached music.
EB: The future?
SN: I’ll probably release a digital single later in the summer. The best music comes out of me during the fall and winter months, so you can definitely expect another album then! Other than that I’m just trying to build my brand. One thing I would love to happen is to have my music in film. I have some prospects on the horizon, so we’ll see if that pans out.