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Novelist at Boxed – Quann
Novelist at BoxedPhotography by Quann

Grime heads Boxed mark second birthday with an explosive mix

Slackk mixes all the collective’s classics, while he and co-founders Mr Mitch, Oil Gang and Logos reflect on two years of gunfingers and chaos

Next week, London-based instrumental grime heads Boxed hit Bloc to celebrate their second birthday. That's two years of Slackk, Mr Mitch, Logos and Oil Gang making sweat-steamed venues like Dalston's Birthdays and Manchester's Chow Down go off with their arsenal of instrumental weaponry. Together, they've opened up a crucial space for the scene to grow while boosting the names of producers like Inkke, Finn, Strict Face and Milktray as well as MCs like Novelist; and more importantly, they've put on some of the wildest parties to be had in London in the last two years. That's not to mention the essential compilations they've also unleashed on the world in that time, running the gamut from Lolingo's Amerie refixes to Rabit's spooky, choral brushstrokes.

As one of London's most essential young club nights hits the two year mark, Slackk looks back on the highlights with this all-encompassing, bangers-only mix (take in the tracklist at the bottom of this page, and weep). Meanwhile, read on to see the four founders reminisce on times bouncers had to stop their CDJs to force them to leave the club, and times members of the crowd told them that Boxed had made them "re-address their lives."

Photography by Quann via Wot Do You Call It

After two years of Boxed compilations and club nights around the UK, what's been...

...the most memorable set you've played?

Slackk: To be honest, I've been quite pissed for a lot of the sets that seem to go off the most so they might not seem too memorable but are probably the best. I do vividly remember the set at the first birthday rave, which was just chaos really. Everything about that night was mental but there were people trying to rewind tunes and jumping up towards the decks on that one (the booth in Birthdays is elevated). We'd never had a reaction like that before.

Logos: Probably my semi-chaotic first ever live show, which was a great baptism of fire in front of a small audience, who I think enjoyed it. 

Mr Mitch: The first Boxed x Chow Down in Manchester was pretty good. My album stream had just gone live and people were really up for hearing that kind of stuff in the set. Had a lot of people come up to me and say I made them re-address their life when I played "Don’t Leave" mid-set, which is nice, I think.

...the track you've had on rotation the most?

Oil Gang: JT The Goon - “50 Days of May” taken from his forthcoming LP on my label. One of the best grime tunes ever written.

Slackk: Probably a toss-up between Hi5 Ghost - “Kung Fu Kick (JL Sanders Remix)” and Milktray - “Hotel”. They were the first tunes that really felt like proper Boxed tunes to me, they grew organically in the rave.

Mr Mitch: The track I've probably played the most at Boxed as it’s a really good DJ tool is Mike Midnight - “Adjustment Process,” it’s a really good transition song to either speed up or slow the pace.

Logos: “Floor Lock” by Sudanim or “All Ends” by Fraxinus.

...the main thing you've learned?

Slackk: Patience! The first couple were kind of quiet, and if this was me five years ago I'd have been a lot more negative about it. But we kept grafting and it just grew and grew. It's been nice seeing a crowd develop, never had that happen to me before.

Mr Mitch: How to structure a good set and weave the weird stuff into the hype and also not to assume what people want to hear. I’m constantly surprised by what people are receptive to.

Oil Gang: Probably that I don’t have to play banger after banger and its cool to play some melodic tunes, people are still into it.

Logos: It's like a feedback loop - the more you put in, the more you hold fast to your intentions, the more you will be rewarded. 

...the best moment overall?

Slackk: Hard to pin down but I think the couple of times where we were playing with the lights still on at Birthdays, no-one wanting to leave, and the bouncers physically stopping the CDJs themselves. There was a Mr Mitch set like that that ended up with this roar of applause or whatever; felt like we'd arrived.

Mr Mitch: There's been a lot: Boiler Room, joining Rinse, first time playing Fabric...I guess the second birthday will be the next one up there.

Tracklist:

Mr. Mitch – “Don't Leave”
Strict Face – “Taipan Showers VIP”
Impey – “Bangclap”
Mssingno – “124th”
Sharp Veins – “Visit” 
MeKakarot – “Port Harcourt (Shriekin Remix VIP)”
Dark0 – “Sweet Boy Pose"
Fallow – “U Make Me Wanna Flip”
Spooky – “Coolie Joyride (Murlo Remix)”
Spooky – “Coolie Joyride (Murlo VIP)”
Hi5Ghost – “Kung Fu Kick (JLSANDERS Remix)”
Dubbel Dutch – “Load It”
Claves – “Untitled”
Novelist – “Sniper”
Novelist – “Sniper (JT the Goon Remix)”
Shriekin – “Red Beach VIP”
Major Grave – “Loving You”
Finn – “My My”
Lolingo – “Big Mac”
JT The Goon – “Still Stepping”
Spooky – “Playground VIP”
Inkke – “Tenchu Riddim VIP”
Finn – “Keep Calling”
Finn – “Keep Calling (Fallow's Keep Ballin' Mix)”
JT The Goon – “Twin Warriors (Murlo Remix)” 
Shriekin – “Bananas (Finn Remix)” 
JT The Goon – “Ice Pick”
Dullah Beatz – “Riot”
Samename – “Okishima Island”
Inkke – “Choong (Devil Mix)”
Milktray – “Hotel”
Sudanim – “Floor Lock”
Rebound X Murlo BootyTrends – “Hypnotized”
Sirpixalot – “Brazil”
Grandmixxer – “Windrush”
JT The Goon – “Grime Orchestra”
Murlo & Famous Eno – “Ariel (Spooky Remix)”
Mumdance ft Novelist – “Take Time”
Lloyd SB – “X”
OutTrends & JLSANDERS – “Undertaker”
Milktray & Inkke – “848”
Lolingo – “New Cross Gate”
Kahn & Neek – “Percy (OH91's percy)”
TOYC – “Keyframe (Bloom x Gage fukup)”
Edgem – “Secret Garden”
Slackk – “Shogun Assassin (Spooky Remix)”
Logos – “Seawolf/Menace (Slackk Edit)”

Boxed's second birthday rave hits Bloc on Friday March 20; get more info and tickets here