Dave & Jack, collectively known as SpectraSoul, have just released one of my favorite albums for this year. Their second studio album, The Mistress is a brilliantly complex work that blends traditional drum & bass tropes with new age production techniques and rhythms. The most beautiful feature of the album is their desire to move past what’s already worked for others and try to develop what will become the future of their sound.
So I’m most interested in the breakaway from traditional DnB tropes in this album. I think it might be a stretch to call this a drum & bass album, even though I would still call Spectrasoul a drum & bass duo. I guess my question is how did you get Shogun to agree to release something so far away from DnB? They obviously must have loved it as much as I do.
Dave – We’ve always written lots of music outside of the traditional D&B tempo. That’s just what we’re about. We love DnB, but we also love lots of other styles of music too. Shogun have always been great at giving us creative freedom to write whatever music we like.
Jack – That’s the great thing about doing an LP – We can really express ourselves as artists. And in our case that manifests itself through varying genres & tempos. Hopefully it will give people a real insight into our musical influences and inspirations, as well as, selfishly, keeping us interested!
Even your first album, Delay No More, wasn’t entirely DnB. I’m curious how longtime fans have reacted to your diversity. I know a lot of junglists are pretty stuck in their ideals of what DnB should be.
Dave – We have an amazing set of fans, spanning hardcore D&B followers, to BBC6 music listeners. It’s great to have such open-minded people following your music. There will always be the people that want you to keep making the same thing over & over again.
Jack – For us, it’s about keeping things fresh and keeping ourselves inspired in the studio. We’ve never set about to make the same track twice and don’t intend to any time soon.
How does this sound translate into your live shows?
Jack – Our DJ Sets have always mimicked our production style. Contrast during a set is really important. Keeping people on their toes, so they’re not quite sure what to expect next.
Dave – So we’ll play anything from 85bpm half-time stuff, through to musical liquid D&B, Bassline rollers, through to the slightly harder edged stuff. Whatever works in the environment we’re in at the time.
Have you gotten any backlash from other producers? I doubt it, but I’m curious.
Dave – Not that we’re aware of haha.
Most producers love to see their friends branch out, and you’ve done an amazing job of keeping your core sound the same while making a unique album. Speaking of albums, I’m not sure if you’ve noticed the resurgence of long form music in the past couple years, as opposed to just pumping out singles. Personally, I really appreciate this, and your album is a perfect example of a cohesive unit of sound. What are your thoughts on the single vs album methods of releasing music?
Dave – We love the LP format. It’s such a good way to express yourself as an artist. As we said before, you can span genres and really take the listener on a journey which is something you can’t really do with the singles/12″ format.
Jack – We study albums like true scholars. Rarely do we listen to a playlist of individual tracks. We usually put on a record and listen to it from start to end. I feel as though this has really helped us to gain an understanding of the what the dynamics of an album should sound and feel like.
Will we see a stop in the US, or even a tour, coming soon?
We’ve actually never played the US (!), so hopefully we can rectify that soon…. We would love to come if you’ll have us!
Be sure to pick up The Mistress from any of the retailers below, and visit their website for more info!