The biggest dubstep stars on planet Earth. DMC gets another major exclusive…
Saul, welcome to DMCWORLD Magazine – long overdue young man! Well, you have cracked the UK, now it’s time to smash America. ‘No More Idols’ was released in the States this week coming off a full band performance at the Ultra Music Festival in Miami. You are no stranger to American shores, Liam Underwood’s splendid documentary summed up life on the road over here. How are you finding America’s crowds compared to the rest of the world? We have dancefloor ancestry, the Americans are just learning the ropes on the whole ‘how to go clubbing’ vibe…
“It’s a really strong time for dance music in the States – the last two years have shown how popular it is becoming and the reception to Dubstep there is electric. We’ve been playing in America since around 2005/6 but it was incomparable to how it is now. The buzz in the venues reminds me of how I felt when I was raving to jungle in the 90’s.”
Back in 2009 you said that America finds dubstep “very exciting, and now it could form the template for future varieties of hip hop.” Three years on, what is the philosophy of cracking America’s Great Dream now…
“I think exactly that is happening – Dubstep is everywhere and you’re hearing it with lots of big name rappers and singers over it. I don’t know how much of it will be a permanent feature on American daytime radio but the kids want to hear stuff that’s exciting and fresh and they go out in their masses to experience this.”
You have been signed to the newly relaunched Casablanca Records in the USA, a label steeped in heritage with the likes of Parliament, Donna Summer and Kiss. How did the deal happen, you are the apple of the eye of the music world over here, it must have been quite a chase to bag your signature…
“We liked their vibe and they seemed genuinely into what we do and excited by our music. You listed some great names there Dan and all very different to what we do! The label has been diverse and cool and we’re looking forward to the future.”
The likes of Deadmau5 and Skrillex have seriously raised the bar and profile for EDM in America, at last they have artists to hand their disco boots on. Why do you think it has taken so long for the US to embrace our music?
“I think that for a long time the dance music scenes were predominantly east or west coast, but it seems now that these guys have united the whole country by basically playing all over the States and showing people dance music for the first time. America is a big place and rock and hip hop have ruled it for years, today – with the vast coverage the internet has – the kids can hear the newest tunes from around the world instantly. It’s changed the face of American music and artists like Skrillex understand the importance of the internet and use it very well.”
What has been the strangest request from a US clubber you’ve had at a gig?
“To take a photo of them and MC Rage.”
What are the big 10 you are currently spinning?
Noisia – ‘Imperial’
Die Antwoord – ‘Fok Julie Naaiers’ (DNB BOOTLEG)
Odd Future – ‘Oldie’
Killsonik – ‘Blood Lust’
TC – ‘Tap Ho’ 140 EDIT
Knife Party – ‘Centipede’
Noisia – ‘My World’ (Posj RMX)
Chase & Status – Untitled
Disclosure – ‘Boiling’
Killsonik – ‘Girly’
You met in London through a love of drum n’ bass and soon started producing together. Where did you meet and how did the whole idea of recording together happen?
“We first met in Will’s house in West London in 1997. A friend of mine said he was cool, had a nice Vestax mixer and you could smoke in his room. I turned up with a carrier bag of vinyl and here we are now. We began making music together in about 2000 when we were in Manchester and packed in Uni to do this.”
What is each other’s strengths in the studio, who excels where?
“We both produce so are coming up with individual ideas as well as together. Will is very organised and I am not – it works somehow.”
What are the plans for your label MTA this year…
“We’ve some exciting new artists at MTA and are currently working on their material. We have an amazing singer songwriter and an incredible rapper so it’s not just dance music. We’re also releasing Killsonik music and gearing up to the debut 16bit album as well as Nero’s second record.”
Your album ‘No More Idols’ is one of those albums that will sit pretty on our dance shelves for years to come alongside the likes of Massive Attack’s ‘Blue Lines’, The Beastie Boys’ ‘Paul’s Boutique’, Goldie’s ‘Timeless’ and The Prodigy’s ‘The Fat Of The Land’. You relied heavily on British flare on the record, were the selected guest artists such as Dizzee Rascal, Cee Lo Green and Plan B purely your choices or did the record label bring these artists to the table?
“Wow – that’s an amazing list to be in, very humbling. Every single artist we ever work with is chosen 100% by Will and myself. We could only really work with a label that lets us A&R our own record and let’s us decide who we work with and Mercury let us do exactly that.”
You were nominated in the Best UK Group category at the BRIT AWARDS this year, shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Coldplay and Kasabian. In years gone by dance bands have shown a lot of disrespect for these award ceremonies – yet you turned up looking dashing and very proud to represent our music, even with no socks on. As artists, do you think dance music is starting to get taking seriously by the suits who hand out these gongs? And should you have won?
“Dance music is definitely being taken more seriously by everyone and rightly so. We don’t make music for awards but it was a great feeling being nominated for a BRIT coming from the world we’re from. We never stood a chance next to Coldplay!”
Your feet are firmly cemented in the whole early RAM/UK drum n’bass scene – what were the early clubs and DJs that first hooked you onto the big bad sound of bass?
“So many, Telepathy, Roast, One Nation, Slammin Vinyl etc. – venues like The End, Bluenote, Bagleys etc. Andy C, Goldie, Konflict, Shy FX, EZ. The list goes on…”
What album would you never sell?
“This changes daily, today it’s Angus & Julia Stone ‘Down The Way’.”
What is the proudest moment of your career to date?
“Hard to choose but I think actually delivering our first album was the most satisfying feeling and the same when we finished the second! Signing to RAM really felt like we had arrived and it was amazing to sign a major deal with Mercury when we did.”
What are the festival and Ibiza plans for the summer?
“Lots of shows at Amnesia in Ibiza where we have a residency and also playing for Ibiza & Majorca Rocks. We’ve loads of festival appearances in the UK & Europe, all the info is at www.chaseandstatus.co.uk
How is the next album coming along, rumours of it being more on the darkside, what if any collabs are involved this time around?
“Some of it may be darker for sure, we’re currently just making ideas and we have around 25/30 shells so far. We’re in a good creative space. Some collabs have begun and some we’re working on – I can’t name any names though.”
And finally, who would you say are the real musical influences behind this whole, incredible Chase and Status explosion?
“Too many to mention really, a snippet would be The Prodigy, New Order, Biggie Smalls, Capleton, Sizzla, Nirvana, Stevie Wonder, Andy C. J Dilla…”