Berlin. How hard is it to produce a feature film on your own? British rapper Mike Skinner has a clear answer to this question: “It was harder than I thought.” The 44-year-old speaks from experience. He shot his first own film – and the soundtrack for it. “The Darker The Shadow The Brighter The Light” is the first regular Streets studio album in twelve years. Skinner presented the film of the same name on Monday in Berlin, previously in Great Britain.
The record with a total of 15 tracks will be released on Friday (October 13th). The songs are a mix of UK garage, bass, house and rap – peppered with Skinner’s unmistakable British accent and dry wordplay.
“It’s actually inevitable that you want to make a film”
Making a film was actually his main idea, as Skinner said in an interview with the German Press Agency in Berlin. “I’ve been writing story songs and making music videos for 20 years. I think it’s actually inevitable that you want to make a film.”
The Brit had his big breakthrough in 2002 with the Streets debut album “Original Pirate Material”; there he rapped about the lives of average English teenagers. Deep, with a British accent and to house and garage beats. After he announced the (temporary) end of The Streets in 2011, the mixtape “None Of Us Are Getting Out Of This Life Alive” followed in 2020.
In recent years, Skinner has been DJing a lot in clubs. His nightlife experiences were also the inspiration for his almost 90-minute crime thriller, which, as he explains, revolves around a DJ in the London club scene. He meets a club owner who, among other things, has to deal with the drug-related death of a visitor.
“I realized why people don’t make films on their own”
He worked on the project for seven years: script, direction, editing, financing, production, music. Skinner even took on the lead role in the film. “Actually, nothing in particular was difficult and I really enjoyed doing everything, but the amount of work was sometimes just overwhelming,” he says. “I realized why people don’t make films on their own.”
The ideas for the songs developed slowly; after all, they should fit thematically with the scenes and locations in the film. “I think these restrictions have given me more. “It makes you more creative,” he says. The result is songs like “Too Much Yayo”. It plays at the beginning of the film during a club scene that shows (intoxicated) people on the dance floor. Appropriately, it says: “Trapped in the nightclub, tiny little minds are alone. Light passes by them, it misses some and then finds them”.
The influence of Skinner’s DJ days can be seen on the new album, many songs sound a bit more clubby. And even if the record is actually related to the film, it should also work as a single work, according to an announcement. She does that too.