A Tribute To Andy Skopes

A Tribute To Andy Skopes

(Image source: Inperspective)

Drum & bass has lost another true craftsman…

After an 18 month battle with cancer Andy Skopes passed away on January 23. His wife Heidi broke the sad news on social media last night.

The flag is at half-mast once again. Artists across the scene have expressed their love and respect for a man who provided only positive vibes and left positive memories with everyone who worked with him since he commanded the counter of Croydon’s Wax City record store… Into the studio from which he emerged as an artist in the mid 2000s, working on labels such as Jerona Fruits, Inperspective and Immersive and running nights in Croydon’s notorious Black Sheep bar.

Over the years Skopes went on to work with some of the most progressive, thoughtful and innovative labels aligning himself with the closest kindred spirits along the way. One minute whipping up hurricane atmospherics with frequent collaborator Mako on Utopia or Dispatch, the next darking you with some of Mr Joseph’s heaviest collaborations on Fizzy Beats, V or Secret Operations, the next laying down slabs of toxic funk with Denial who is also sadly no longer with us.

Amid collaborations, of course, he was forever building his own precision body of work. Writing as traditionally as his music always suggested; Skopes releases were never a throwaway DJ tool. They were never flung out without serious thought or consideration. We were lucky to see more than two releases a year from Andy, but it means everything in his legacy is stone cold gold and stands the test of time. Right back his very earliest cuts Say My Name on Jerona and Otis Drumfunk / Hear Dis on Immersive; both releases setting the scene for the decade+ of proper Skopes danger in terms of their striking drumcraft, fluid grooves and powerful contrasts.

Andy Skopes understood the emotional power shade and texture implicitly, his tracks had you in the palm of their hand, totally transcending the paltry concept of subgenres. Like all the best craftsmen in this game, he just made pure, uncut drum & bass, and he made it across the board… The lilting pianos and rich emotion of Reading By The White Lake, the straight talking pneumatic steps and bassline grunt of Bullets Over Brixton, the dynamic, detailed drum work on Let Go.

Then there were the singular Skopes specials. Bonafide epics that sound like no one else, take you places you didn’t know existed and punch you so hard in the soul you turn inside out; the bulldozer bliss of Drop The Truth, the 12 minute mindmelting madness of Replicant or the tension so palpable in Speechless it almost pulsates.

There were many more right up to his last full solo releases in 2017, which were some of his best work; the gut wrenching Speechless EP on Metalheadz, an EP that dove into the deepest corners of his soul with incredible cuts like Séance and Heroin Wash. And the chop slapping two track jungle excursion Who Are You / Laterality on Inperspective where he dishes up two lessons of professor level drumfunk. Like everything else he blessed us with, they were galvanised by his own unique take and appreciation of true D&B craft… A culture he invested so much of his soul and personality into.

Our love and thoughts are with Andy’s family, friends and loved ones right now. Please take the time to go back over his work. Play it in your sets. Support it. Share it. Shout about it. Make sure, like other artists who have left us far too soon, Andy Skopes is never forgotten and drum & bass fans will say his name for generations to come.

Rest In Peace.

Drum&BassArena Editor: Dave Jenkins has documented beats for over 15 years working with the likes of UKF, Mixmag, DJ Mag, iDJ, Bandcamp, Resident Advisor, Radio 1 Xtra and many more.