Status Update - Chase And Status Interview

Dancefloor smash-and-grab duo
Status Update - Chase And Status Interview
Hip-hop. Pop. Reggae. Techno. Drum and bass. Dancehall. Dubstep. Trance. There’s few places to hear all of these things concurrently except in the seething, often whimsical but always explosive songs of Chase And Status.

Love them or hate them, Will Kennard and Saul Milton’s smash-and-grab technique of simultaneously assimilating dance culture and spitting it back onto a writhing dancefloor is a massive hit with fun-loving minds who don’t have the luxury of having lived forty years of musical genres in real time.

Their aptly-titled second album ‘No More Idols’ stuffs fourteen collaborations over fifteen pop styled tracks into an hour as they swerve from dubstep to alt-pop, hip-hop and back to drum and bass heaven. Tinie Tempah, Maverick Sabre, Plan B, Claire Maguire, White Lies, Dizzee Rascal, Sub Focus and Cee Lo Green are just some of the characters who jump in for the joyride.

We tackled the duo on their departure from the underground, the future of their beloved drum and bass and how they’ve managed to join the exclusive old skool rave elite on our summer stages.

You’ve managed to leap onto daytime radio, the charts and the main stages at festivals in just five years. How tactical has this been?
Will: It’s definitely not a conscious decision to break into any mainstream really. The more songs and instruments, vocals and traditional stuff you bring in means you then start to open yourself up to a bigger market.

‘No More Idols’ seems very contemporary. Did you specifically want a guest on every single track?
Saul: No, not really.
Will: But it just sort of worked out like that.

You do a song called ‘Fire In Your Eyes’ with Maverick Sabre. Tell us a bit about him.
Saul: He is a wicked guy; a twenty-year-old Irish lad who was raised in Hackney. He’s brilliant, really exciting, really soulful, but contemporary as well. Along with doing the acoustic guitar stuff, he’s kind of got this whole new, sort of dubsteppy song sound with him on it as well, and his voice, it’s this really big sound, really distinct.

And then Claire Maguire and White Lies, they’re obviously a different territory; were these collaborations more tactical to try and get a bit of crossover?
Saul: No, not at all. The first people we wanted to work with were White Lies, we’re massive fans. So we started to make quite an ’80s-like dubstep track with like huge, bellowing vocals, and I think that was the first feature we wanted to do for this album.

Knowing how dubstep’s exploding, a White Lies collaboration could really shift ground.
Saul: We never actually thought about that. If it happens, we’d be flattered. I think it’s all about unification right now in this country, which is why our music is translating around the world.
Will: It’s hard to make something new these days. It’s fun just to throw completely different genres in. A sort of rocky guitar track and then a White Lies vocal and then some dubstep too. For us it’s the only way to find some exciting new angle that hasn’t been rinsed the past ten years.

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You do have a massive explosion of influences, often four different genres from different generations in one song. Are you trying to appeal to a younger person that’s not experienced it all?
Will: We’ve grown up with all of those influences, so yeah. I guess if you can make the track exciting enough to bring those young people into your world then you start making seventeen-year-olds get into that ravey sound. We’ve hit on everything from like UK garage to hip-hop to reggae, yeah, everything.

Dance music on festivals’ main stages is dominated by the original acts like Prodigy, Chemical Brothers, Underworld, and there’s hardly anyone beneath them that have made it out. Why do you think you’re one of the few that have?
Will: The only other people would be probably someone like Pendulum.
Saul: Dance music really was predominately faceless and that’s what kept it such like a cool club thing. I guess now incorporating big songs with vocalists and being a band kind of opens you up.
Will: I think that you need some songs, you need people, because obviously it is a more mainstream audience on the main stage, you get more families and stuff as well, so you do need a few more songs that people can connect to maybe and sort of sing along or whatever. We’ve played after Biffy Clyro, just standard kind of big rock bands and it hasn’t been too out of place really.

How would you describe the changes in the dance scene between your albums?
Saul: Dubstep has really blown up.
Will: There’s definitely less of an underground than there was when we were writing the album. I think definitely record sales are falling more and more, even when we were writing our first album, vinyl was still selling really well, pretty healthy. And that’s naturally just declining I guess.
Saul: But it’s just a different era. The way we do things, just the charts as well; Magnetic Man getting in the charts, us getting in the charts, that didn’t happen. Radio is supporting slightly less formulaic music. Sub-genres are a mish-mash of everything and there’s a bit of that on our album. Definitely kids are more open-minded, they don’t come to nights just to hear one type of music now.

It seems like dubstep infected people’s record collections and made people pull out all these jungle and drum and bass records that hadn’t been played for years.
Will: It’s been going fifteen, sixteen years. It’s pretty hardcore music to keep around for so long. It’s always been its own industry and it’s never really become mainstream and never really been too tied into mainstream sort of labels and stuff.

How do you think drum bass as a genre is going to unfold over next decade?
Saul: Andy C will still be DJing! (Laughs) I think jungle’s going to go back to its roots, to progress again. I think everyone’s looking for that vibe again, more stripped back, thinner drums, less emphasis on super production and massive snares, and just more vibrant. People will always want to hear drum and bass at the end of the night. That always reminds us why we got into it, and what it’s about in the first place.

Words by Matthew Bennett
Photo by Phil Sharp


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