Faze Miyake’s career trajectory has been mirrored in the larger successes of grime music. With a predilection for experimentation and a disregard for generic boundaries, the 26-year-old’s versatile approach to beat making is taking the UK music scene by storm.
First breaking out in 2011 with his grime instrumental hit Take Off, Miyake is now one of the most well known producers of his kind, with a Rinse FM residency and a self titled debut album already under his belt.
It’s all about what he calls our “home grown music”. His sound may have been influenced by US hip-hop and trap, but Miyake is recognised as a key player in the grime scene. Arguably the most exciting contemporary genre in Britain, it has seen an explosion in popularity, from the success of artists such as Stormzy to the surge of North American interest in the likes of Skepta. None of this has come as a shock to him, who pins the resurgence of “our answer to hip-hop” down to sheer effort. “If I’m honest it’s something I really envisioned at the start of my career, it’s just a sign of all the work that people have put in”. For Miyake, grime “deserves to be where it is because it’s the biggest thing we’ve had in England for a really long time,” and he’s determined to ride the wave.
While he might be a grime producer, it’s worth noting that (like any artist) he’s keen to avoid being “boxed in” by any one genre. When discussing Faze Miyake – released in October 2015 – he’s quick to point out that “the main elements of it are grime but I don’t necessarily always call it grime music”. Part of Miyake’s appeal is this fluidity, and his monthly Rinse show, where he plays “everything under the ‘electronic’ bracket” is testament to this. He uses this radio show as both a testing ground and platform. “I’m always going to use it as an outlet not only for my own music but for people that want to be heard”.
When questioned about his current favourite artists, Miyake tells me that whilst he’s been listening to a lot of UK grime group 67, he also likes “weird stuff man. I only just got Spotify the other day so I’ve been listening to a lot of old music”. He grew up surrounded by the sounds of funky house and “the jungle [his] old man and cousins were into”, as well as the garage, grime and rap of his teenage years. This diversity is reflected in Miyake’s own productions, which have been well received by DJs across the spectrum. He describes last year’s debut album as “me experimenting and trying to break out of the barrier that I’m just a grime producer. I wanted to show people that my music itself can stretch to other places.”
For Miyake, these “other places” still have their origins in the quintessential British rave scene. When discussing the massive interest in grime over in the US, Miyake reasons that “the thing is with our UK rave culture is it’s different to the rest of the world, there’s nothing else like it… in America they don’t party like we do, they don’t have a music scene like we do… that’s why the grime thing to them is so fascinating, they’re so new to it all, but for us over here it’s kind of normal”. The “normal” Miyake refers to is the bass scene, encompassing “grime, dubstep, funky house, jungle, drum and bass and all of that”, which he calls “UK underground music”. This is precisely how Miyake sees his own music, pinpointing the symbiosis between these sounds as “another reason I don’t like to be boxed into one genre, [as] I want to be part of the whole UK movement”.
Being a part of this whole movement is something Miyake takes literally. Even beyond his own career, he lives and breathes the scene, explaining how “most of the time I’m always out anyway. Before making music professionally I was a raver, and I like to keep that element to me and still have fun”.
When chatting about his upcoming slot at Brighton’s Wild Life festival, Miyake tells me whilst he obviously wants to put on a good show he also really wants to enjoy it. “I’m going to take in the whole festival,” he says. “I want to catch Jorja Smith, I really like her” and Novelist, because “he’s my mate, so I’m looking forward to performing on the same stage as him”.
Miyake’s influence may long have been tangible in the underground, but with grime music itself moving more and more into the mainstream, it feels like he’s on the verge of something big. He’s “definitely been working towards this”, with a US tour coming up and a glitzy video for his upcoming single Ice Cold getting made in collaboration with luxury watchmaking giant Hublot.
It’s clear that Miyake is in a constant state of progression. Work on the next album has already begun – “I keep myself on my toes that way” – and although reluctant to give too much away, he hints “there’ll probably be a few well known artists on there”.
Despite all of this, Miyake’s not the type to let success get to his head. When asked if he’d ever leave a show having only performed his own set, the long-time raver responded with a resolute, “nah. Never”. So Wild Life revellers bear in mind, Faze Miyake will be there somewhere, probably having the best time of all.
Faze Miyake performs at Wild Life festival, at Brighton City Airport on Sat 11 – Sun 12 June.