DA Exclusive Interview: Delta Heavy
Ben Hall and Simon James make up Delta Heavy, one of the most exciting names in bass music at the moment. You might know them from their awesome remixes of Nero’s “Must Be The Feeling” and Maverick Sabre’s “Used To Have It All.” They have a brand new EP, titled Down The Rabbit Hole, out on Ram Records next week. We had the chance to sit down with Delta Heavy and ask them a few questions about their music career to date and what they have planned for the future. Click after the break to read our full, exclusive interview.
DA: Can you tell us a little bit about your musical background. How long have you both been DJing/Producing for? Are either of you classically trained in any musical instruments?
Si – I began DJing when I was 18 just before I went to university. I spent most of my time at uni mixing in my bedroom rather than going to lectures doing a completely unrelated course. I began playing around on Cubase after I finished Uni and pretty soon Ben & I realised that we wanted to both produce music professionally. I played in bands as a teen and taught myself to play guitar pretty well before I got into DJing. I still have a beautiful 1952 re-issue Telecaster gathering dust under the studio desk which is very occasionally brought out to stretch it’s legs, but most of our work is now done using software and samples.
Ben – I’ve been DJing since I was 14 years old. Production was the natural progression as soon as I realised it was a necessary part of turning a hobby into a career.
DA: What sparked your interest in making electronic music?
DJing was a passion of ours and we both separately realised that if we wanted to do it professionally, the only was to achieve this was to make our own music.
DA: What have been your biggest musical influences in EDM? Outside of EDM?
There are absolutely loads – some obvious names would include Kavinsky, Sub Focus, Skrillex, Noisia, Hans Zimmer, Giorgio Moroder, Brian Eno.
DA: Tell us about starting out. When did you both know this was something you wanted to do professionally? When did that first big break come?
After Uni the idea of working in an office was terrifying enough to encourage us to pursue our love of music and this could only be achieved by making our own. It was a goal that we both worked hard to achieve rather than just falling into it. The big break came when we signed to RAM. Our debut release Space Time drew a lot of attention and it propelled us into the scene very quickly.
DA: A lot of DJs have stories about nightmare gigs that just went terribly, terribly wrong. What is the weirdest/funniest/worst thing that has ever happened to you two at a gig?
Equipment breaking is probably the scariest thing we have to face when DJing. Using Traktor is great but it does occasionally mean we run into technical problems that require 3 minutes of panic trying to fix it before the last tune of the previous DJ ends. Si’s computer completely lost the plot at a recent gig and we ended up having to burn a load of CDs while we started to DJ on the few CDs that we had with us.
DA: What is an ultimate goal or something you’d consider a milestone that you’ve yet to achieve or accomplish?
Releasing an album is the immediate goal and that is definitely the first milestone we would consider worth reaching. From there on there are a variety of goals that are on the list including producing albums for other artists
DA: In the past 12-18 months, Dubstep has exploded in the United States. Do you see this as a passing fad? Or a sign that the music scene in the US has fundamentally changed?
It’s very hard to tell. It feels like the first major peak is now being reached where it can’t get that much bigger, so it’s a question of how it is going to evolve.
DA: Do you think that Drum & Bass has similar potential in the US? Or do you think that is going to remain somewhat of a lesser-exposed genre here?
Drum & Bass has been around for a long time now and the US has never really picked up on it. Artists like Pendulum and Chase & Status have propelled it to the most popular level it has ever but it still hasn’t broken through as a genre that commercial music has picked up on.
DA: We’re always interested in finding out about the next best thing. In your view, who do you think is the most exciting up & coming talent in Dubstep or Drum & Bass?
The likes of Disclosure, Dismantle, Kill The Noise and Dillon Francis have been making some really exciting music of late.
DA: You have a new EP dropping this month. The EP is titled Down the Rabbit Hole. We assume this title is an allusion to the first chapter in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Why did you choose this as the title of your EP?
We like the rabbit hole metaphor as a concept; a pathway to a place where things aren’t quite what they seem. We like to build twists into our music that take the listener by surprise and we like to combine influences and styles that you might not expect to work. We aren’t the biggest fan of ‘genres’ as it divides music styles and can be restrictive when creating. We have been exploring many different sides of ‘Bass’ music and beyond and find it keeps us inspired to keep delving deeper in to how we can merge and blur existing sounds to create fresh sounding music.
DA: Which track are you most excited about from this upcoming EP?
‘Get By’ is the tune we are most proud of. It was carefully nurtured for quite a long time and was a product of our nostalgia for late 90’s UK garage music that we grew up with towards the end of our school days.
DA: What is next for Delta Heavy?
Essentially everything we do at the moment is now contributing towards our album. We will be putting out another release before the album push begins but we want to write as much as possible and keep the cream of the crop for the LP. We are also starting to tour a lot more extensively and are looking to develop a fresh way of performing our music.