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City Views: Dirty Freud – “The whole vibe of Sheffield was incredible”

Danni Skerritt (AKA Dirty Freud) tells us about his musical pilgrimage to Sheffield and why he decided to stick around…

Sheffield, for me, has a lot to answer for. Being originally from North London, for a long time I was obsessed with garage and dubstep, but then there was this new sound being talked about, coming out of a mythical city situated up past the Watford Gap. Back then, I was only hearing stories and getting the odd mixtape at Camden Market from people who had seen it and lived it. 

People like Dr Cryptic and other DJs from Sheffield were really taking the genre of niche somewhere. I wanted to come and experience it for myself, and not long later I heard Dizzee Rascal announce on Pirate Radio that he was heading there to freestyle on some bassline. 

Image credit: Dirty Freud planetary science fiction photoshoot, photography by Daniel Allison photography, art direction by Ben Tallon, video by Jake Powell.

Image credit: Dirty Freud planetary science fiction photoshoot, photography by Daniel Allison photography, art direction by Ben Tallon, video by Jake Powell.

Well, with that my mind was made up. I collared four other mates, all whom had been hit with the same affliction, and we made excuses to our respective guardians before heading up the M1 to Sheffield with a wish and prayer.

It was everything I hoped for our small group, aged just 16 and 17 years old, arriving in the city and trying to see what the fuss was about. The whole vibe of Sheffield was incredible. We had no idea where we were going in the banged-up Ford Escort, so we pulled over and asked someone who looked in the know. You could tell she was excited to learn we were from down south and here for a night at Niche nightclub, so she told us to park up near her house, and we were even invited to tag along with her crew! This wasn’t what we were used to…

Sheffield was already showing us a welcoming embrace; there was no front here, no ego. We were all there for the same thing, all coming together for one reason. That night changed everything for me, and I knew I’d have to get back to Sheffield again. Musically, it blew my mind seeing it all in the flesh: Dizzee MCing over those gnarly beats, vibing with people who had no idea who I was but were proud to call this sound their own. I wanted in on it. 

As time went on that sort of music was all I was writing, but back home in London people didn’t understand. So I ended up travelling and DJing loads of bassline nights for The Night Kitchen and The Harley, each combining my sweaty love for Bassline and Dubstep. The scene up here was blossoming and I was playing my small part. Even when I went to university in Lancashire, I was still doing the odd set and going to the nights, just to keep my toe in.

it blew my mind seeing it all in the flesh: Dizzee MCing over those gnarly beats, vibing with people who had no idea who I was but were proud to call this sound their own. I wanted in on it.

Experimenting with these sounds and meeting like-minded people, often at places like SADDACA Studios on the Wicker or Plot 22, just helped things to take on a new level. We were lucky enough to form our band Dirty Freud, which is rooted in Bassline and the city’s sounds, so in some way there would be no Dirty Freud without Sheffield. That blows my mind a bit, to be honest. 

Image credit: Dirty Freud planetary science fiction photoshoot, photography by Daniel Allison photography, art direction by Ben Tallon, video by Jake Powell.

Image credit: Dirty Freud planetary science fiction photoshoot, photography by Daniel Allison photography, art direction by Ben Tallon, video by Jake Powell.

Then Sheffield gave me more: two beautiful children and a partner who showed a new way to fall in love with the place again. Up until this point, my views of the city were primarily music-based, but seeing the way people have come together, actually having ‘real’ neighbours and enjoying all the independent businesses during their highs and lows has always helped to inspire my faith in being here. I hope it continues to give me the happy ending it has been teasing so far.

Well, that and more Hendo’s – there can be no substitute. 

Danni Skerritt (@DirtyFreud) is a Sheffield-based musician, DJ and producer




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