The year is 2004 and dubstep hasn’t yet broken beyond a core following, mostly around London’s FWD>>.
While the scene has already attracted its share of eccentrics, from Kode9 to Kevin Martin, the sound is still perceived as grime’s weird cousin, created by moody, skunk-smoking lads in hoodies. Move closer to Plastic People’s DJ booth on a Thursday however, and you’re likely to see a couple of odd-looking misfits flailing to the rhythms in complete abandon, completely subverting the stereotype of the moody, urban raver. So begins the Skull Disco story.
Shackleton and Appleblim were among the first to bring an outside perspective to the rapidly growing dubstep scene. Appleblim was a musical omnivore who’d both attended Metalheadz’ seminal D&B nights at Blue Note and played bass in a post-rock band. Shackleton emerged from a DIY scene with roots in punk and anarchist politics, launching Skull Disco as a semi-legal party in Hackney before deciding to self-release an early production, with an Appleblim track on the B-flip.