The Brighton-based boys known as SpectraSoul kick-start the New Year with the release of their massive Second Chance EP. Having already earned a reputation as a tastemaking label within its relatively short life span, SpectraSoul’s Ish Chat Music imprint continues to provide the perfect foundation for the duo to continue to refine their already diverse and rich sound.
With early support for the EP hailing in from the likes of Friction, Alix Perez, dBridge, Noisia, Goldie, Mefjus, Lenzman, Technimatic, and Kasra, you immediately get a feel for the broad and expansive range that the duo are capable of achieving. From dark and haunting to leftfield-leaning dreamscapes all the way through to heart-wrenching liquid soul designed to crush you with subtle ease, SpectraSoul deliver some of their best work to date.
With the full EP dropping on February 24, be sure to lock in your preorder here before checking the exclusive premiere of “Fade Away” below. We sat with SpectraSoul to discuss how the entire EP came together, and why drum & bass will continue to be a magical genre for generations to come.
Hard to believe how far you’ve come in such a short time with the imprint. Looking back, what was your vision when you guys were putting it together and how do you see this latest EP as part of that ongoing evolution and vision?
We really wanted to have a platform to present our music. We didn’t want to be tied to anyone else’s schedule. It’s great to be able to choose what music we want to release and when. We’ve always been very hands-on with [all aspects of] our releases: artwork, videos, merchandise, and overall stylings. And so, with the way things have panned out, it’s been a bonus to be able to really take control of all those elements too. Musically, we decided that we wanted to kick off with a bunch of EPs that show off the diversity of our music. We’ve always made many different styles within the drum & bass tempo, and this new EP is an example of that. It keeps things interesting for us in the studio—from a selfish perspective!
Diversity and genre-blurring tunes seem to be the trend these days, but you guys are doing it all your own way. Talk about your approach to music in general and how the writing process unfolds in the studio. Are you conscious of doing something “different” or is it more of an instinctual process?
It differs from day to day. Some days we go in with a specific concept that we want to try out, and some days we just naturally allow the process to unfold. We’re often trying to find the best way to allow happy accidents to happen. If you were to ask us how specific tunes came about, it’s unlikely we’d be able to tell you! It’s really important to keep evolving and keep learning; otherwise things get stale and boring!
What is it about drum & bass in particular that seems to be the frame that continues to allow you and plenty of other artists to flex on so many different fronts? I’m always amazed at how much flexibility it can have as a form and yet still maintain something that is uniquely and distinctly all its own. I imagine that’s what keeps you guys coming back for more and staying inspired as well.
For sure. The tempo is so versatile. You can roll a very simple tune out for six minutes or more if its strong and hypnotizing, or you can write a very technical and evolving track that is short and succinct. Add to that the grooves that can be achieved at 170ish and you have a template that can continue to grow and evolve. You can choose to have a very energetic groove, or a marching groove, or an erratic groove or half-speed groove. The flexibility within the tempo and within the genre is huge. Worldwide, drum & bass has such a solid following. There is something about the music that absolutely captivates people. Genres and scenes have been and gone in the time that D&B has been around. There is a magic about it, and despite what the wider public seem to think, it’s a genre from which new ideas and innovations arise really frequently.
We’re excited to be premiering this sweet cut, “Fade Away.” Tell us about this one and how it came together.
I remember wanting to make a big, room-filling riff. We’d just gotten a new synth—a Synapse Dune 2, it’s awesome—and I was messing with it for ages to work out the basics. I managed to make a whole heap of great sounds with it and they all came together in this tune. That’s where all the bass and pad sounds came from! We had an off-cut vocal from a session we’d done with Terri Walker a while back and it just fit the vibe perfect so we got it straight in there.
For those who haven’t heard the rest of the EP, how do you see “Fade Away” fitting into the vibe of the EP as a whole? The other tunes are siblings but just like children they have their own personalities don’t they?
Absolutely. It’s always been our goal to put together cohesive bodies of music. This EP is kinda in that vein, too. “Second Chance” is deep, rolling and hypnotic. “On & On” is a throwback musical vibe that we’re kinda known for! “Beat Keeps” was made on an experimental day; big bass sounds and flickering breaks. Yeah, they all have personalities and, again, they show off our diversity.