The UK drum & bass duo will release their debut album in July.
Active in the drum & bass scene for six years now, the Brighton-based duo of Jack Stevens and Dave Kennett have yet to release an album after numerous singles and EPs on labels like Subtitles, Exit, Critical, and Metalheadz. That will change in July, when the duo will drop Delay No More on Friction's Shogun Audio imprint, which gave the duo their very first release back in 2006 on subsidiary SGN:LTD.
The album sees the pair returning to their dynamic drum & bass sound, a more subdued take on the genre than many of their popular contemporaries. In addition to a number of tracks at the regular 170 BPM drum & bass tempo, the album also sees dips into slower territory hinting at dubstep and garage. "We have experimented with tempo, sound palette, and arrangement, to provide the listener with what we think is a well rounded and coherent piece of music," say the duo in a press release. "Drawing influences from our broad spectrum of musical taste, we aimed to find a happy medium between writing functional and self-indulgent music."
In addition to a number of tracks heavy on sampled vocals, Delay No More features several guests vocalists, including UK songstresses Terri Walker (of "Twilight" and "Heartbeat" fame) and Tamara Blessa, alongside Skream associate Echo Park and MC Fox. The album will also be released in a "digital deluxe edition" featuring a few extra tracks and remixes by Calibre and Kito.
RA spoke to the duo via e-mail to discuss their new album:
Did you approach making the tunes for the album differently than you would your single or EP productions?Tracklist
Absolutely. It's a completely different kind of animal. We felt that the tracks had to work well together as a coherent and cohesive body of work—that was actually one of our top priorities. Given that we had presupposed that ethos, we approached collating the tracks very differently than we would for a single or EP. The actual writing and process was considered in much the same way as usual: using a mixture of samples, synths and breaks. The only real difference was that we had a lot more freedom in terms of tempo and arrangement, and we also were lucky enough to have access to some incredible vocalists, some of whom appear on the album.
The album has some moves away from drum & bass. What inspired those, and are you nervous at all about that experimentation?
We have always written music at other tempos, but not always had an appropriate outlet for it. Nervous? No. To be honest, this album has been an exercise in self indulgence. We have to be happy with what we're doing, and excited by the music that we write and the way that we write it. Therefore, while we do have some functional drum & bass music on the album, we were adamant that we should push ourselves to try new things and explore new territory. The opportunity to write a first album only comes once, and we really wanted it to be something that we could look back on and be proud of.
There's lots of vocals on the album that give it quite a poppy feel overall; was this intentional? Why did you choose those particular vocalists, and who wrote the lyrics? Do you see yourselves doing more pop-oriented work like that in the future?
"Poppy" is actually the perfect word to describe it; one which we use ourselves. It's a word that most underground musicians seem to be scared of because of its connotations. From our perspective, the term "poppy" implies that a piece of music is arranged in a certain way: verse-chorus structure. It would be fair to say that a lot of our tracks are put to together and formulated in that way. Drum & bass really lends itself to that format, but it seems that not many people have latched on to it! The early Reprazent stuff is a great example of "poppy," drum & bass music, although not many drum & bass fans would turn their noses up at it in the same way they would do "mainstream" pop!
Where does the title come from?
It has taken us a long time to come up with an album so it bears some reference to that. We have both had other important commitments over the past three years that have had an impact on the amount of time and energy we could dedicate to the project. When we actually buckled down and started getting stuck into the writing process, we had a mentality of "we cannot waste any more time. This is our time to get this done, and we must do it well."
The phrase "Delay No More" has a sense of poeticism which we both liked. It was almost as simple as, "how can we make the title relate to anything, and how poetic can we make it?" That sounds really stupid, but we didn't place too much importance on the title. The only thing we knew was that we didn't want to do a self-titled album.
It seems as though people think that an album title is the be all and end all, and that it somehow encapsulates all that it represents, i.e. the music—which it clearly can not and does not. We see the music as a far more valuable vessel of expression than the banner under which it sits. (A lot of people have picked up on the fact that it is an offensive Cantonese phrase, but it actually doesn't have any relation to that!)
01. No Doubt
02. Light In The Dark feat. Terri Walker
03. Ish Chat
04. Sometimes We Lie
05. The Curb
06. Knuckle Waltz
07. Away With Me feat. Tamara Blessa
08. Fool’s Paradise
10. S.O.U.R. feat. Echo Park
12. Shackles feat. Fox
Shogun Audio will release Delay No More on July 23rd, 2012.