The year was 1987 and Nathan Vinall (soon to be known as Skynet) found himself in the midst of the UK acid house movement, the catalyst for the dance music revolution still ahead! Skynet recalls how early acid house changed his life forever, “I was totally transformed overnight. I remember going to the local clubs like Savannah and Zap and was like, what the hell is this? A few weeks later I found myself going out Thursday, Friday, and the whole weekend. At the age of 17 I was ready to blast, so I did and never looked back!”
After a couple years of soaking it all in on the dancefloor, Skynet felt the growing desire to DJ and produce his own tunes. In the clubs he found himself gravitating to the more straightforward techno sounds being pounded by the likes of Lenny Dee and Loftgroover. With his love of the music and his appreciation of its intricacies, Skynet felt that it was time to create his own sound and put it out there for others to enjoy. With that, Skynet purchased some studio equipment despite knowing nothing about music apart from what he loved and turned him on. Whilst discovering and learning about the production of music he was exposed to a new sound that was evolving in the electronic music scene; it was called “Jungle”. It wasn’t long before Skynet’s talents in the studio began to unfold parallel to the increasing sophistication of the Jungle sound he loved so much.
After spending time refining his sound and meeting other up-and-coming producers in his hometown of Brighton, England, Skynet was introduced to Shaun Morris, aka Stakka. Shaun had been producing for a few years and had already released a few records. Shortly after their introduction, a natural partnership began to take shape. “We started working together more and more. We found ourselves at a point where we had a couple of tracks that were really different from anything on any other labels, so we decided to start our own imprints, Audio Blueprint and Underfire.” After years of hard work the duos releases began receiving recognition from many of the major players in the scene, including Fabio, Grooverider, Andy C, Randall, and Ray Keith. But it was Skynet & Stakka’s “Voyager” LP on Audio Blueprint that would forever alter the landscape of drum & bass history. The LP received rave reviews and is still regarded by many as a seminal work for the evolving sci-fi futuristic tech-driven sound of drum & bass. The due soon followed up with “Blazin,” an LP released on their sister label Underfire and once again set a new musical standard for the scene with its next level production and innovative sound. Most notably, this LP contained the tune “Side Effects” which Grooverider called “one of the biggest tunes of Glastonbury” and is still considered an anthem to drum and bass enthusiasts around the globe..
Not content with two killer LPs, the duo went on to produce one final LP together, entitled “Clockwork”. The “Clockwork” LP, loaded with dance floor anthems, became an all-time drum and bass classic. The album gained the duo worldwide recognition and respect while continuing to solidify Skynet’s stronghold as one of the hottest and most innovative producers in the drum and bass music scene.
Despite its success, “Clockwork” marked the end of the partnership responsible for releasing a total of 40 twelve inch singles, three albums and five compilation CD’s.“We had moved to Seattle for a year after the ‘Clockwork’ LP,” Skynet recalls, “and during that time we discovered that we were on different pages.” Five years in the studio can take its toll on even the best partnerships: “It was like a marriage without the love. I felt restricted and needed to move on.”
After returning to the UK, Skynet spent much of his time touring in order to showcase his sounds and skills as a solo artist. Alone for the first time Skynet hit Australia, Europe, and the US. He also spent a lot of time in the studio, creating an arsenal of new work and making plans for a new way to expose the public to his paramount sound. Alone in the studio, Skynet began to feel more inspired by the work he was writing. “It was just me now. I loved the freedom and it showed in the music I was creating.”
Back in the studio having crafted a nice cache of music Skynet decided to launch two imprints: Skynet and Discrete Recordings. “These were both labels for me really. I needed them both because of the sheer volume of tracks I was producing.” While the more heavy dance-floor oriented bits went to Skynet Recordings, the deeper, more soulful bits found their outlet on Discrete. After many months of hard work, Skynet’s hard-line solo career began to raise eyebrows in the global drum & bass community. The releases on the new labels led to a steady stream of tour dates all over Europe, America, South Africa and Australia alongside a continual high demand for original and remix work.
With a bombardment of demos pouring in from around the world, it wasn’t long until Skynet recognized the need to create an outlet for other artists’ music. “With all the demos coming in there were quite a few good tunes with serious potential” and with that – Nvision was born.
Since that time Skynet’s career has showed no sign of slowing down. After taking the U.S. by storm with a series of forays into breaks, house, and hip-hop, Brighton’s finest has returned to the where it all started in the UK and is prepared to launch into the next phase of his career. With a recently revamped website, sample pack, and series of heavy-duty singles lined up already getting caned by all the heavy-hitters in the scene, you can definitely count on a Skynet takeover for 2015 and beyond.