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We chat with grime rock band Deadwax frontman Jake Milburn about their new track #northernbehaviour and crossing genres.

Photo Kelly Spiller

Photogroupie: Your latest track is 'Northern Behaviour' Tell us a bit about it

Jake Milburn: The song came about from the chorus riff that Sol (bassist) recorded early last year. We all immediately jumped on it, and had the track all written pretty quickly. The lyrics are about me and Sol working on a building site in our hometown when we were 17/18, and is a kinda homage to our upbringing. I focused on some of the less glamorous aspects of it in a way to say “yeah it might suck sometimes, but it's ours n' we wouldn’t change it”.

The band has been described as alternative grime rock... but how would you sum up your style and sound?

I think it suits us pretty well honestly, as it's a term we’ve coined ourselves as a way to describe our sound. It’s a ferocious fusion of UK Grime and hip hop, mixed with everything from Limp Bizkit to Led Zeppelin.

Who have your biggest influences been?

We all grew up playing rock together, then found our individual tastes. Rage Against The Machine were a huge early influence, then getting more into the early Nu-Metal bands like Snot and Limp Bizkit. Dance music has had a big influence in its intensity and bounce, mostly UK Dubstep and Drum & Bass. Plus all the Hip Hop we love. Grime was something I felt passionately about, and bands like Astroid Boys showed me that the grime metal fusion could work. I started MCing at raves over dubstep and bassline, and really wanted to incorporate that energy into the DeadWax.

Where did the name Deadwax come from?

Pretty sure my Dad came up with it years ago… It's the centre of a vinyl record, so it's got some musical relevance, plus it sounds pretty sick!

The track 'Disconnect' was inspired by lockdown and how many people turned to their phones, obviously to keep a connection with friends and family, but there was a habit of endless doom scrolling that seemed to take over and became bad for mental health. How has switching off to some degree been helpful?

I found the escapism of social media ended up making me less happy and unfulfilled, especially during the pandemic. Life just feels a bit easier when you don’t have a phone to think about. I love getting up in the mountains and just being present with my surroundings.

Which song would you say sums up the Deadwax attitude and sound the best?

I think Northern Behaviour does a pretty good job conveying what we’re about. We have a massive sound, huge energy, and we’re proud of who we are. We’ve got a lot of bravado and we back it up on stage, but we're also nice guys just having a laugh.

Your live shows have been described as pretty energetic and raucous, can you describe them to the uninitiated?

We go hard from start to finish. By the first chorus the room’s bouncing, and when a crowd wanna go, it can't be beaten. I get to run the show like a MC hosting a DJ, except it's a next-level grime metal band. Trust, you should come to our next one.

How do you see your sound developing in the future?

We’ve spent 10 years together developing this sound into a tangible style, and we’ve certainly struck a chord. I could see us integrating some more electronic sounds into the band, maybe leaning more into Grime and Dubstep, but we’re just gonna keep writing songs that make us wanna bounce.

What do you think would be the coolest Deadwax collaboration project?

We’d love to get some other rappers featured in our tracks. There are some really cool guys coming out in our local scenes, and some proper London grime rappers would be sick too.

Are you working on a new album and can you tell us anything about it?

We’ve got a couple more singles on the way, but can't say much else… keep your eyes open.


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