By Jeremy Hallock
By James Khubiar
By Observer Staff
By Kelly Dearmore
By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
Eventually, mash-up artists grow up. They tire of seeking out familiar samples, chopping them up and laying other singers' and rappers' vocals on top of them. There are other reasons, too, of course.
"Well," admits Manchester, England's Darren Williams, the 25-year-old behind the Star Slinger moniker, "obviously I don't want to get sued, either."
To that end, the Hype Machine-hyped Star Slinger is trying something different on his latest release: His Rogue Cho Pa EP is barely sample-based at all.
"I'm pro-change," he says. "I don't like things staying the same for too long."
Sample-based or not, Star Slinger does have a definite aesthetic, one that combines hip-hop and electronic elements with the more chilled-out genres of shoegaze and soul. Perhaps the best example of this can be heard in what may be his most popular song release to date, a track called "Elizabeth Fraser" that combines Kanye West and Lupe Fiasco's "Touch the Sky" with Cocteau Twins' "Heaven or Las Vegas." The song reached its popularity zenith during the Turntable.fm boom earlier this year — ironic, in a way, since that site is still not available for use in Williams' native U.K. Now, on his longest-ever string of performance dates and in his first ever tour of the U.S., Williams hopes to capitalize on his growing popularity here.
"I like to create an atmosphere and slowly make it feel more frantic," the former DJ says of his live performance.
Just don't expect him to go the popular chillwave route of starting off as a one-man band and then slowly adding backing members to his outfit: "I don't want to be one of these one-trick ponies," he says, "but I'm a one-man show. I don't want to ruin my sound."