Last week I traveled to the London ‘burb of Bromley to visit musician, remixer, and vintage keyboard collector Steve.

Although he’s only 16 years young and in the first year of his A levels, Steve has already amassed a pretty impressive CV. His own individual brand of authentic synth-heavy electro has won him admirers both at home and abroad, while artists such as Marina and the Diamonds, Turbo label boss Tiga, and Platform favourites Gaggle have already commissioned him to remix their work and, in his own words ‘give their b-sides the Steve factor’.

Arriving at Bromley South train station to meet Steve (which, by the way isn’t his real name) reminded me of that old Douglas Adam’s quote; the most remarkable thing about the place was that it was remarkable unremarkable. That said I was fondly reminded of my own hometown of Leicester, a land of retail chains and high street franchises. But location aside, hanging out with Steve was a real pleasure.

We wandered around talking about Bromley and music, then we hiked across town to his house where I nosed around his bedroom/studio, which was jam pack with vintage Casio keyboards, countless CDs, and objects from his childhood - cuddly toys to train sets. After that Steve’s mum was kind enough to give us a lift back to the centre of bustling Bromley.

It was a charming experience and a real pleasure to meet a kid with his head so clearly screwed on. Steve proves that if you want to make music all you really need is drive and ambition, the rest will sort itself out. From his small bedroom in Bromley he has started to make a name for himself and it’s all of his own doing.

Here’s what we chatted about.

So Steve, how would you describe your sound?
It’s described on my Myspace as ‘disco-pop-rave-electro-techno-rock-disco’ or something, but truth be told if my tracks did sound like that they’d be horrible. I think it’s ultimately a weird amalgam of some pretty unlikely influences, from 90s rave trash to the Style Council.

What did you listen to when you were growing up?
When I was growing up my dad’s electro records and massive Studio One collection would have been subjecting me to the power of bass, while a lack of internet/sport/a social life meant I spent most of my free time playing the SNES and N64, which had some wicked soundtracks.

I had the CD single of the Artful Dodger’s ‘Re-Re-Wind‘ too, what a record that was. As it happens not a lot has changed…

Tiga - Shoes (Steve’s Midnight Rolands Edition)

Tiga - Shoes (Steve remix)


I hear Steve is massive in Europe! Tell me about that?
Well, not massive massive, but possibly bigger than in most of Britain. Belgium and recently Holland have had a thing for it, I guess they just dig it more. Brussels for example has a looser atmosphere and a history of hardcore/new beat/etc - i.e. a slightly ”harder” background - and my live set isn’t exactly shuffly scarf tweaking! I think by the end of next month I’ll have played more gigs on the continent than in London, which is strange.

I first heard of Steve thanks to the Turbo podcast, how did that come about?
Basically I sent them a demo of some ambient tracks and they got back to me, and before long we were thinking of a release and I was asked to do that podcast. It was an odd find for them - I remember that when me and Thomas Von Party, who’s Turbo’s main A&R man, first met in person he freaked when I hadn’t heard of Crookers before!

In my opinion, the fewer people who have heard of Crookers the better. But they flew you out to Montreal to mess around in their studio?
Indeed, that was a fun and pretty valuable experience. Being plucked from Bromley and absolute obscurity to record in a studio in Montreal with literally every notable Roland machine and anything else you can think of sounds like a metaphor for something, but it genuinely happened like that. As soon as I got there, I was whisked to Tiga’s house and met his dog. It was like something out of Cribs.

Sid Loves Turbo - Podcast Vol 43. STEVE

Podcast vol.43

(Downloadable via iTunes store)

Click next page to learn about the highs and lows of Bromley and Steve’s keyboard collection.