Magnetic Man: The Hadron collision of dubstep

Skream, Benga and Artwork give the inside track on their meteoric rise at the Volvo Snowbombing festival in Austria.

It's a year since dubstep had the musical equivalent of a Hadron collision when Skream, Benga and Artwork, aka Magnetic Man, were signed. The three have been making tracks together before Skream and Benga - or Ollie and Beni as they were known back then - had even hit puberty. They'd heard about each other's enthusiasm for mixing tracks on their PlayStations, and started off by exchanging tracks over the phone. Nine years older than the boys, Artwork (Arthur) had slightly more advanced equipment, and after meeting them at Big Apple records in Croydon, respected their clear passion and became a mentor to them.

It's not just apparent that these guys are friends, but as they laugh their way through the interview it's obvious there's no clashing of egos here. It's two o'clock in the afternoon on a Tuesday at Snowbombing and the boys haven't been to bed since they arrived in Austria yesterday. Skream hasn't made it down. They have a reputation of liking to party and they're not showing any signs of slowing down. I ask Benga and Artwork if they think fame has changed them or affected their friendships in any way, and they both laugh as if the concept of is completely ridiculous.



"We take the piss out of each other all the time saying that. ‘Get me a drink.’ ‘No, I can't.’ ‘You've changed,’” jokes Artwork, as Benga laughs and interjects that the fame hasn't affected them at all. It's easy to see that they don't take themselves too seriously, despite the commercial success and critical recognition they've received in the last year. Even though the group is at the top of their game, they're still losing money when they do shows. Artwork informs me that 80 per cent of those who have downloaded the Magnetic Man album did it for free. But with genuine conviction adds, "It ain't about money; we're making music, that's all we wanna do." I had expected the boys to have something to say about the commercialisation of the genre they've made huge, but they aren't concerned by it.



"It's just, like, as soon as music gets popular it becomes attached to the word commercial. But people are starting to like the music, so whatever." Artwork then agrees with Benga "That's the thing, you've got a track like "I Need Air" that can still smash up clubs now, everytime. And because it was, like, where'd it go? Like five in the charts, people are like "Ah, it's commercial". No it's not. It smashes up clubs to this day."



As I agree a little too emphatically, they ask if I like the song and I admit that I was listening to it before I came to the interview. Benga comments "Ah, that was you on the balcony earlier? Now we know where you are as well, lovely. I'm coming to check you later." They're not shy.



At points it was a little difficult to ascertain which bits were genuine answers and which were purely jokes. I asked what might be the next musical style to take off in the industry and they elaborate on a story about a man called Jack Masters who, reliant on Ketamine, is at the forefront of the up and coming "Wonky Step" movement in Scotland. Sadly, I nod along and am no more aware that they were pulling my leg until I Googled it.



Having brought up the tranquiliser du Jour, I feel I should ask for their opinion on drug use: "I love it," replies Artwork. But Benga hastily adds: "Actually we don't support it. We're not gonna say don't use them, we'll just say we don't support you using them." "Just be safe out there. Have fun. Don't kill yourself," adds Artwork.



Joking aside, the dubstep pioneers are grateful for the funding they received from the Arts Council which started them off, and say that when they actually start making a bit of money they'd like to give something back to other struggling artists. If it hadn't been for the funding, Benga said he'd probably have been a footballer. Artwork agrees that he was actually really good at the sport and says if he wasn't in music, he could've just been his manager.



So, what are they working on at the moment? "We really cannot say what we're up to at the moment. I'm so sorry." states Artwork. There will be a huge amount of pressure on the group to offer something big so perhaps this explains their reticence to give away anything too soon. After working with John Legend, I was curious to see if this was a deliberate move to crack The States, but they explain they've never actually met him and that the collaboration was all back and forth over the internet. Cracking America was never on their minds "We never plan anything, we just do it," asserts Benga.



As Paul Harding from Pendulum is becoming the first drum 'n' bass resident at Space in Ibiza, I ask if there are any plans to do the same for dubstep. They exclusively reveal that they're playing the closing party at Space this year; this massive achievement for the group will be sure to end the clubbing season in style.



With some elements of fashion and music regurgitating styles from former, more memorable decades, I was concerned the Noughties might slip by as an amalgamation of re-hashed ideas. Fortunately it had a new musical genre to mark its name: dubstep.

Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
art
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to American media group
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidate on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
Arts and Entertainment
Kate Bush: 'I'm going to miss everyone so much'
music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Laura Wood, winner of the Montegrappa Scholastic Prize for New Children’s Writing
books

Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search

Arts and Entertainment
Pulling the strings: Spira Mirabilis

music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Neville's Island at Duke of York's theatre
musicReview: The production has been cleverly cast with a quartet of comic performers best known for the work on television
Arts and Entertainment
Banksy's 'The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' in Bristol

art
Arts and Entertainment
Lynda Bellingham stars in her last Oxo advert with on-screen husband Michael Redfern

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman

film
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Minchin portrait
For a no-holds-barred performer who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, Tim Minchin is surprisingly gentle
Arts and Entertainment
Clara takes the lead in 'Flatline' while the Doctor remains in the Tardis
tvReview: The 'Impossible Girl' earns some companion stripes... but she’s still annoying in 'Dr Who, Flatline'
Arts and Entertainment
Joy Division photographed around Waterloo Road, Stockport, near Strawberry Studios. The band are Bernard Sumner (guitar and keyboards), Stephen Morris (drums and percussion), Ian Curtis (vocals and occasional guitar), Peter Hook (bass guitar and backing vocals).
books
Arts and Entertainment
Sean Harris in 'The Goob' film photocall, at the Venice International Film Festival 2014
filmThe Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Streisand is his true inspiration
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor contestant Fleur East
tvReview: Some lacklustre performances - but the usual frontrunners continue to excel
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Tuttle's installation in the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern
artAs two major London galleries put textiles in the spotlight, the poor relation of the creative world is getting recognition it deserves
Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman
film
Arts and Entertainment
On top of the world: Actress Cate Blanchett and author Richard Flanagan
artsRichard Flanagan's Man Booker win has put paid to the myth that antipodean artists lack culture
Arts and Entertainment
The Everyman, revamped by Haworth Tompkins
architectureIt beats strong shortlist that included the Shard, the Library of Birmingham, and the London Aquatics Centre
Arts and Entertainment
Justice is served: Robert Downey Jr, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong and Robert Duvall in ‘The Judge’

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Clive Owen (centre) in 'The Knick'

TV

Arts and Entertainment
J.K. Simmons , left, and Miles Teller in a scene from

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Team Tenacity pitch their fetching solar powered, mobile phone charging, heated, flashy jacket
tvReview: No one was safe as Lord Sugar shook things up
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

    Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

    Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
    Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

    Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

    The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
    New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

    New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

    Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
    Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

    Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

    The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
    The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

    Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

    The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
    11 best sonic skincare brushes

    11 best sonic skincare brushes

    Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

    A crime that reveals London's dark heart

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
    Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

    Lost in translation: Western monikers

    Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
    Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

    Handy hacks that make life easier

    New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
    KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

    KidZania: It's a small world

    The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
    Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

    'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

    The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
    From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

    Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

    From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
    Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

    Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

    A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
    The 10 best smartphone accessories

    Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

    Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

    Liverpool v Real Madrid

    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?