Skatman (Aziz Haddad) is a Tunisian-born Berlin-based producer, DJ, and label head of Scatcity Records. His unique signature melodic sound, eclectic DJ sets, and releases on labels like Innervisions, TAU or his own Scatcity Records set him as one of the most exciting DJs and Producers in the underground electronic music scene.
Skatman’s sound has evolved into an ongoing homage to his particular experience between his current home Berlin and his young years in North Africa. It encapsulates its madhouse aura, where everything seems completely under control but intensely anarchic all at once. Four-to-the-floor house, techno, 80’s synth-pop, and cinematic scores have all played into forming his melodic electronic sound.
Following the popularisation of melodic house and techno music, many artists and labels began to treat it as a trend to capitalize on rather than a genre to grow and respect. Skatman believes in the latter and thus has an ambitious goal for the future of the scene. From Scatcity’s vinyl covers to the parties to the music, Skatman wants to redefine melodic electronic music and to bring innovation back into the sound that he loves. This mission is gaining support from the very people that inspired Skatman in the first place.
Skatman’s new release is a masterclass in remolding and reanimating the past. Across ‘Rewarped’, the Tunisian-born producer slams jacking house and melodic techno into old-school hip-hop samples, providing connective tissue between distinct musical eras to deliver six new cuts of pleasure-seeking club music. “Taking familiar elements and giving them a fresh twist,” says Skatman.
“The word “Warp” is a hint at the process of audio warping that I used to stretch the vocals,” he explains. “The prefix “Re” signifies the reuse or repetition of something, while “Warp” suggests the act of reshaping or distorting it, it also gives a futuristic feeling to the title.”
‘Don’t Give a Fuck’ and ‘I Used To’ acquaint the listener with the central theme of Rewarped; “transforming old school vocals into a new, futuristic form”. ‘Don’t Give a Fuck’ splices an Ad-Rock quotable (“Don’t give a fuck about the golden rule”) with pounding industrial synths while ‘I Used To’ pairs Apathy’s ‘00s hip-hop classic, “That Ol’ Boom Bap”—itself a love letter to a golden age—with atmospheric techno that drifts over the vocal like a snowstorm.
Similarly, ‘Funkadelic’, which was released as part of Innervisions’ Secret Weapons Part 15 compilation, takes it back to the old school for a timewarped meeting of old meets new. Here, Haddad combines crisp, cracking drums and punchy deep house elements with cosmic sampladelic energy that pays tribute to one of Funk’s peerless leaders.
Elsewhere, Haddad conjures a melodic techno fever dream on ‘Oldskool’, which unfurls over five minutes of tight minimal grooves and fizzing snares. On ‘Optical Illusion’ and ‘What You Gonna Do’ he reaches for hypnotic kicks and electro-minded machine funk, moving through the decades and through his own musical influences.
Rewarped follows Skatman’s 2022’s Superstitious Thoughts EP, released via his own label Cognitive Prophecy (previously known as Scatcity), and the “Manus in Mano” collaboration with Ikaro Grati. Previous releases for Innervisions include ‘What is Real,’ the Watergate resident’s 2020 track for the compilation Dixon & Âme Present Limbo, and contributions to the past three editions of the label’s Secret Weapons series.
Enjoy this great interview we had with him while listening to his new album ‘Rewarped’.
WWD: Hey Aziz, thanks for taking the time to chat with us here at When We Dip. How are you today?
Hi, thank you for having me. It is sunny today in Berlin and I am feeling quite well 🙂
WWD: For our readers who may be unfamiliar with your music, how would you describe your sound?
I would describe my sound as authentic, raw, intense and often beautiful and dreamy. It is my personal interpretation of my inspirations and influences, a good balance of old school and contemporary sounds.
WWD: You’re about to release your brand new album ‘Rewarped’ on Innervisions — can you talk to us more about the new album and what we can expect when it drops?
“Rewarped” is a concept album that mixes hip-hop samples with my interpretation of house music. It all started as a sampling experiment and ended up in this form. The listeners can expect 6 raw dance-floor-ready tracks with strong grooves and hiphop vocal chops that challenges you not to move.
WWD: You’ve released on Innervisions a number of times over the course of your career. How did the relationship initially come about and what is it about the label that keeps you coming back?
I was and still am a fan of the label since a long time, the first electronic music records that I loved around the end of the 2000s were from the label. Their sound has a big influence on me since the beginning and that influence is subconsciously coming back in my sound. For that reason I think that releasing with them came about pretty naturally.
WWD: Going back to your formative years, what were the first records you can remember being into, the ones that really made an impression on you?
There are a few records that had a big impression on me in my formative years, But if I have to state only one I would go with Laurent Garnier – Back to my roots – 12mins of outstanding grooves and melodies that narrates a story and makes you travel far away.
WWD: Do you remember the moment you decided you were going to make and play records for a living?
I actually don’t remember the exact moment I decided that, but it must be sometime just after I moved to Berlin. The club culture in the city had a big impact on me in the first years I moved there and I quickly wanted to be part of it. That was one of the main reasons why I started to take music production and DJing more than just a hobby.
WWD: Fast forward to today, who are some of the standout producers, live acts and DJs that resonate with you these days?
There are quite a few producers that resonates with me recently, for instance I really love what Tal Fussman is doing at the moment, I also dig music from Sam Goku and Impérieux very much.
WWD: What non-musical projects do you fill your time with when you’re not DJing or in the studio?
I still work full-time as a software developer, I am also a dad, so it doesn’t happen often that I have a lot of free time that I can fill with something else. But if I do I would probably have few drinks or a nice meal with some friends. I also still enjoy clubbing, so I would go whenever I get the chance to.
WWD: What else can we expect from you over the course of this year? Any exciting projects we can look
I have a few releases coming up that I am excited about, one for Correspondent Jennifer Cardini’s label and another EP for Watergate records. I also have a special release on my label with Tal Fussman that I believe many are waiting for.