Music producer and DJ, Ryan Roberts, known on the streets as DJ Skoli, is back at it with his colorful mixtapes inspired by Chicago’s L train system. So far he’s featured mixtapes for the Red, Blue, Yellow, and this November dropped the Orange line. He also has plans to finish up with the rest of the train lines and has forthcoming projects for the Purple, Brown and Pink, and a “best of” project, tentatively called, L(ines).
Through his mixtape projects, he says he tries to channel the pulse of the city. “I’ve always looked at the map of Chicago Trains, and been inspired by what it represents in the different cultures, grinds, and grittiness of the city,” Skoli says. “I partnered with some city workers a few years ago, that put together a show called Octopus Graveyard, where they did a crazy installation and DJ booth for me under a Brown line stop, which is kind of what gave me a little inspiration to do projects inspired by each line,” he said.
The mixtapes have been released under his production label and collective, Kinky Elevator Music, which houses other artists like Milly Mango, Sun BLVD, and Harmonic Sapien. Each mixtape has it’s own vibe inspired by the landscape —his most recent Orange Line mix has a hint of grime, and experimental electronic notes layered over hip-hop classics with some of his self-produced instrumentals.
He hopes the mixtapes grow into something further down the line. “When I’m done I definitely want to do some campaigns surrounding each one and potentially an event that represents my inspiration behind all the mixes,” he says. “Maybe also shoot me playing the tracks on each train, I’m open to how it will turn out,” he said.
Check out the new Orange Line mixtape below, and make sure you stay up on DJ Skoli and his future projects so you don’t miss the train!