Premiere: the next generation of drum ‘n’ bass, Something Something and Kleu team up to deliver ‘All My Life’ [Q&A]
Steffi Schulz, David Webster, and Kirk Mills are products of the robust UK drum ‘n’ bass underground scene. All ones to watch in their own right, the three producers are rapidly carving out their places in drum ‘n’ bass history.
Having just begun her music career in 2019, Schulz—known by her moniker, Something Something—is a breakout talent, recently taking first place at Croatia’s Hospitality on the Beach DJ competition. Webster and Mills, who comprise Kleu, boast several of their own accomplishments, including a feature on the debut Problem Central mixtape and a slew of releases on notable drum ‘n’ bass labels.
Though both parties are relative newcomers to the production side of things, they have certainly done their due diligence as members of the drum ‘n’ bass community. Schulz, Webster, and Mills were each raised on drum ‘n’ bass, dancing and raving their way into the scene before trying their luck behind the decks. Their chemistry with one another, both through their friendly banter and obvious musical synergy, is a testament to the tight-knit community formed through a steady tradition of drum ‘n’ bass in the UK.
Now, Something Something and Kleu share their debut collaboration, “All My Life” in an exclusive for Dancing Astronaut. The single is set for a September 18 release via René LaVice’s imprint, Device, but listeners can stream it one day early only on Dancing Astronaut. Below, drum ‘n’ bass fans can learn more about the cast of collaborators’ love for the drum ‘n’ bass scene and the whirlwind of events that precipitated their collaboration.
Pre-save Something Something and Kleu’s “All My Life” here.
How would you each describe your respective sounds, and how do your sonic signatures shine through in “All My Life?”
David Webster (Kleu): “As Kleu, our ethos has always been to start with a big element of melody and emotion in our intros. Then, we like to just switch that into filth, basically. That’s always been our contrast with the tracks we make, and I think with the piece that Steffi sent over, it was just that kind of perfect Kleu style. The intro is very musical, very emotional, and then we just switch it up into some dirty beats and dirty bass. It just fit really well. At the end of the day, we have styles that definitely complement each other.”
Steffi Schulz (Something Something): “What Kleu is all about, with being melodic but also really gritty at the same time, is exactly where I see myself. I’m quite melodic, I suppose. I love to use loads of melody but I’m struggling a bit with the filthy kind of side of things, which I want to have but I don’t really know how [to integrate]. I started the song, basically, and Kleu finished it off.”
What are your origins as musicians and what prompted you to go all-in and pursue careers as DJ/producers?
Webster: “The Kleu story starts in 2016. I’ve been an MC for the past 20 years. Unfortunately, I left the agency that I was on and I found myself at a crossroads. It just so happened that Kirk had hit me up at the same time and asked me to do some projects with him. Out of all the people I’ve tried to work with in the past, it never really clicked like it did with Kirk, so it just seemed natural to continue something with him. As an MC, I’d always dabbled a little bit in production but never took it seriously, so we basically both learned at the same time. We set ourself a year or two to learn the trade, learn how to produce properly, and then start sending stuff out when we were ready. We took it seriously. It wasn’t a hobby; it was do or die, make or break.”
Kirk Mills (Kleu): “Before [Kleu] I was DJing, but kind of just doing it as a hobby, really. I used to go to the local record shop and [they would] link me with some promoters and I started getting some bookings. I was enjoying it quite a bit, but there’s only so far you can get with just DJing, so I decided to start making some music myself.”
Schulz: “I’m fairly new to this. I only started DJing last year in March, but I’ve been into drum ‘n’ bass my whole life. I don’t really listen to anything else. I went out one night, and was really upset that I couldn’t find a job. I was talking to somebody and they were like, ‘Why don’t you start DJing?’ and I was like, ‘I couldn’t do that.’ Drum ‘n’ bass especially is very male-dominated. You don’t ever see girls DJing, so it kind of just seems like a distant dream. I started DJing literally the day after [that conversation]. I had two vinyl decks and I played two songs so many times. I just mixed them into each other until I was good at it. Then, I got decks for my birthday and I was off. I won the Hospitality on the Beach DJ competition after only playing for three months. That was my third gig in public. [The competition] was me, one other girl, and like 38 guys.”
Today’s drum ‘n’ bass scene comes from a long UK-based tradition. How were each of you introduced to drum ‘n’ bass and how does it feel to be part of the next generation, continuing this musical legacy?
Mills: “I liked happy hardcore first, but then I found a drum ‘n’ bass tape in my dad’s car, so that’s how I was introduced to it. I’d go to the record shops and get flyers. I wasn’t old enough to get into clubs, so I would sneak in. Drum ‘n’ bass is like a family. There are so many good people who want to help you out. It’s nice to know that all our mates now are from music, really.”
Webster: “I was brought up on reggae and when I first heard jungle— which is essentially reggae with a drum ‘n’ bass beat—it just piqued my interest. It really developed from there, and I got more of a taste of drum ‘n’ bass and just fell in love. It’s literally all I’ve listened to for so long. It’s an absolute honor [to carry on the tradition]. It’s stuff that I’ve dreamed about since I was young. It’s where my heart is. To be able to make a difference and have our stamp on the scene is just unreal.”
Schulz: “I’m from Germany, and back in Germany, there isn’t much drum ‘n’ bass. I think the first time I heard it I was 17- or 18-years-old. A friend of mine brought a friend over and he was very heavy into drum ‘n’ bass. He was sitting on my bed and playing this tune and I was like, ‘What the fuck is this?’ It was Danny Byrd’s ‘Ill Behavior.’ That was what converted me. Now, all of my best friends I’ve met through drum ‘n’ bass. They’re just like family. It’s such a community. It’s so much more that just music. It brings people together.”