Chase and Status Full Interview

From the November edition
Words by Jessica Dawson

'Brand New Machine' “is everything that has inspired us to make music... It's a big step back in time.”

No one can question the success and importance of the London duo, Chase and Status; their ability to intertwine heavy, gritty drum 'n' bass with more accessible house tunes has brought an otherwise underground music scene to the masses over the ten years they've been in the industry. So with the release of their third studio album, 'Brand New Machine', we caught up with Saul Milton (Chase) to hear all about how their new album is shaping up to be their best yet. Saul explains his feelings about the album being released:

“Anxious. But relieved. It's such a good feeling because it's the biggest stress getting it in for the deadline, so actually having it out there is just a relief.”

Such stress is expected when their new album is filled with a mammoth fourteen tracks painting the electronic/drum 'n' bass spectrum with every colour. There are dark, dense moments like 'Gun Metal Grey' but, placed alongside are radio-friendly, house tunes like 'Count On Me' and mellow emotive numbers like 'What Is Right'. They're all stamped with the Chase and Status trademark that they've become known for, and yet the record is incredibly eclectic. “If you listen to some of our stuff from ten years ago, you'd hear me break that shit all the time. I think we've always been eclectic. But, on this album, we just got it all out: house tunes, working with Major Laser, and, as a first, we've released an original garage tune with ‘Blk & Blu.’”

The album represents ten years in music; it’s a collection of every root of electronic music they've ever explored. How, then, will 'Brand New Machine' stand up to their last album?

“When we did 'No More Idols,' we didn’t think we'd do anything - and then it just did really well. It was a bit of a career changing album. It all happened without much thought."

“This album is stronger, the production's better, the song writing is better. It's where we're at. It's everything that's inspired us to make music.

“It's inspired by 1998 with the raves and all that shit. It's all those memories from when we were DJ's. It's why I'm sitting here now, talking to you; it's why we're doing this shit. With everything we do on the record, we've really gone back in time and remembered all of why we're here. The whole spectrum of the album is very 1990s - the album is a big step back in time.” 

Being drum and bass producers, Chase and Status have worked with a lot of incredible artists as collaborators, Nile Rodgers being one of them. On the newest album he helped create the tune 'What Is Right': “He basically played guitar non-stop - he's a machine. He's incredible. We were really pleased with the outcome.”

Chase and Status aren't strangers to massive names. Their last album had an abundance of established artists like Plan B and Dizzie Rascal. Although this outing does have big stars like Nile and Skrillex, it seems that the record is coated with a bunch of new names, strangers to the masses yet very promising talents:

“We love working with new talent. It's inspiring, it's exciting. All they want to do is make music and perform. It's an incredible state to be in. It's also an incredible feeling to be part of someone's journey. Elli Ingram did one of her first performances with us, headlining The Other Stage at Glastonbury and she just took it in her stride. I guess working with new people is a big part of us and we like people who don't sound like anyone else, who are on their own wave.”

It's true. The vocals on many tracks of ‘Brand New Machine’ are beautifully unique. MOKO starring on 'Count on Me' and 'Like That' has a flawless, chillingly high pitched voice, and it's not surprising that Saul would speak so highly of Elli Ingram as her vocals on 'Heaven Knows' reach climatic, moving heights. Moving on from the album, it seems fitting to talk of their massive summer – and their even bigger next couple of months.

“It's amazing - one of the best summers we've had of all time. It's sort of built up to our first arena tour, which we're really excited about as it's a lot of tickets for a lot of people. Where we're from, as house DJs, and we're now headlining huge festivals and doing arena tours - it's fucking nuts.

“We're going in with brand-new stage production, incredible lights, great visuals. It's just going to be much, much bigger.”

This is the scale that a drum 'n' bass duo have come to and, from their background, it's pretty much unheard of to reach such success. They've played massive shows, they’re about to embark on a monster arena tour, got a double platinum album with 'No More Idols' and they’re about to release another incredible record... What else is left, what other goals can the Chase and Status lads be aiming for?

“We've evolved, lots changes on a daily basis. We try and see our families as much as possible, that's very important to us. Musically, we're going to carry on making music, do more albums as Chase and Status, work with more people. MTA, our label, we're very passionate about. There are a lot of artists on there who we look after, who we nurture and help them be successful, to pursue their dreams. It's just always on the go.”

The passion is still bubbling under their otherwise calm and composed demeanour, their talent is still fresh and exciting, and they've even started taking on new artists to reach success. Chase and Status, despite their longevity in the industry, have not even started going stale. Upturning old memories and inspirations have made their new sound massively varied but, all in all, interesting. There's no doubt that this album will score well with fans and newcomers alike.

‘Brand New Machine’ is out now.