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The Squatters

Sunday, 07 February 2016 in Q&A

From the word go they were set to be stars… Over the last few years the industry has seen the rising of not just another two guys from the seaside! The game plan was created by Oliver Portamento & Alex Powell, who have been working together for many years not just as DJs but also as successful promoters, event organisers and producers.

Taking influences from old skool hip hop and rave then fusing it with today's modern House, Electro & more experimental genres such as dubstep, d&b and even trance. By cut n' pasting these together, adding chopped vocals & colossal breakdowns they have created a unique big room sound that has closed the ranks between the styles which makes a heavyweight impact on the dance floor.

There productions and remixes have received consistent airing by BBC Radio 1's Judge Jules, Kiss100s The Loose Cannons and Galaxy 105's Riley and Durrant as well as support from a countless list of elite radio & club DJs.

We thought it time to find out more...


Tell us, who are the squatters and what are you about?

Oliver Portamento & Alex Powell, who have been working together for many years not just as budding DJs but also as successful Promoters, Event Organisers & Producers. Taking influences from sources such as Oldskool Hip Hop & Rave then artfully fusing it with today's modern House, Electro & more experimental genres such as Dub Step, Drum n' Bass & even Trance. By cut n' pasting these together, adding chopped vocals & colossal breakdowns they have created a unique 'big room' sound that has closed the ranks between the styles. In which creating the insane heavyweight impact on the dance floor.

Where does the name come from?

The name came from when we first started playing gigs we used to squat at people's houses in between gigs as we lived so far away from the venues.  Hotels are provided now but occasionally we crash on floors still...

What are the pros and cons of being a duo?

The pros about being a duo are: if one of you looses something, maybe cd or headphone jack even things like deodorant the other one will have it. Also you never travel alone so if we drive to events we keep chatting to keep awake at the wheel etc.. and also there has been moments in international countries where having each other has been a great help especially when leaving clubs and walking home sometimes in the craziest hours..

The Cons: The main one would have to be that because there are two of us the promotors have to pay double of everything, flights, hotel ,food etc.. so puts a few promotors off paying when they look into the long haul flights to some places....

How did the hook up with Kissy Sell Out's label come about?

We sent Kissy our latest track monster and instantly he wanted to sign it and asked us to do another track which is On Fire both out on his label san city high records 19th April

What are you working on for them?

The Deal was to do one original track with no further requests then we got asked to do a second track for the mixmag free download release.. and both are great tracks which we are proud of.

How much input does the label have in the final record you make for them?

They either like it or they do not..

Where do your ideas come from for productions?

A lot come inspired from a mixture of experimental and other artists, also our productions evolve from production techniques we have learnt.

What gigs have you got coming up?

2 April - Size with Steve Angello @ mission leeds
24 April - Sessions with Utah Saints
25th April - San City High & Mixmag Event London @ Vibe Bar
30th April - Stonk! @ Thomas's Bar, York
2nd May - Afterparty @ Camel Huddersfield with KraftyKuts
19th May -San City High label party at The Den
25th May - Chinese Laundry Blue Fly York
3rd July - Culture shock Festival Northallerton
10th July - Blockbeats Vs Inside out  Rainbow Warehouse Birmingham

Will you go to any festivals as punters this summer? Which ones would you like to check out and why?

Think this year Exit festival is on the cards as we have never been and would like to check it out!

What else are you working on in the next few months?

We have just finished a track from Bombsquad records, also a nice little track called ping ping which will be revealed soon...

As a duo currently breaking through - what advise would you offer aspiring artists?

The best possible advice we can give is all ways go with your passion on creating music and for the right reasons, The Squatters kicked off by accident when we created a belting remix of Riffin.. and it went from there.. we would never have predicted to be doing what we do now but we fully appreciate every minute we play or get together to make tracks..
"The skys the limit! but if you think more about flying you can forget you need the fuel to get you there"

What's been your biggest challenge in getting where you are?

Honest answer would be trying to get time in the studio.. as we live 20 miles apart and our timetables are so different it can be hard to meet up as much as we like to..

And your proudest moments?

Probably the recent plays on radio 1 as when a track is written you would never expect it to be aired, you would like to think it would be but never expect. So when a lyric and track you wrote gets played normally get text messages through from various friends and other djs in the industry congratulating us..

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