We were obsessed by it. We were slaves to it. We both loved and hated it. All we did was think about it. We worked tirelessly to fulfill it. And we did so in relative secrecy... Spectrasoul, 2015
Squirrelled away in an industrial London hideout (with limited lunching options) Jack and Dave, the lads behind Shogun backed dnb outfit Spectrasoul, knuckled down for three years of solid graft. At first, they teased us with a set of addictive releases, real beauties such as 'Always' and 'I Don't Mind', before catapulting a cracking follow up to their debut album ‘Delay No More’ into our sweaty, eager palms. And finally, there she was - ‘The Mistress’. A heady mix of Lana Del Rey lovin', whiskey and table tennis were all poured into this LP, which is every bit as sublime, slippery and audibly delicious as you might have imagined. Magnetic were lucky enough to snaffle some insight into the magic that went towards making this stomper. A stomper, which in true Spectra style, effortlessly spans both the soft and spikier spectrums of drum and bass.
In honor of the album, please name a personal mistress - what vices are you each slave to?
Dave– Whiskey, such a good friend.
Jack– Good food, beer, or wine. I’m a sucker.
Any names that were tossed around for the album before settling down on 'The Mistress'?
Quite a lot of terrible ideas, most of which will stay confined to the pages of a notebook for eternity.
You had to switch up the workspace mid-album, where were you initially and where did you end up?
We wrote our first album at a studio in Brighton, had a bit of time off then decided to find our own space in London. We just wanted somewhere that we could call our own and as well as a new environment to create in. Our new studio is in quite an industrial area of London, with not much around...
The isolation is good for creative focus, but bad for when you want a decent lunch.
The album blurb says, ‘We made a decision to limit our editing capabilities, forcing us to focus on the creative side of songwriting rather than the technical.”
– what limitations did you impose on the process and what came out as creatively as a result?
When you’re making music predominantly digitally, it’s so easy to constantly tweak and adjust, just because you can. So with our music post ‘Delay No More’, we really wanted to go back to basics and use more equipment and methods that were not easily editable, forcing us to commit and make decisions and work with what we had there in front of us. Creatively, we find it means we’re more experimental, and try to make the most of very little, rather than throwing everything into the pot and hoping for the best.
What’s the story behind the album artwork? I hear all the covers are going to join up into something kick ass…
The artwork is an actual painting by Harry & Nick over @ Utile Creative. Each single cover and the LP art is a section of the piece, with the full design on the inside of the gatefold vinyl. We’re really happy with how it turned out, especially printing on the reverse board which really brings out the detail of the hand drawn qualities.
There are so many subsets of drum and bass it’s impossible to bloody keep up. If you had to make up a name for your particular style of dnb – what would you dub it?
Personal faves off the album?
Dave– I’m not sure we’ve had enough time away from it yet to comment on a definitive favourite, although "Kutchi" with Joshua Idehen could be a contender.
Jack – Hot Head, Rock Bed for me.
You guys have hooked up with a bunch of wicked vocalists for this album – anyone in particular you’re dying to work with? Wet dream team up?
Dave– Lana Del Rey
"The Mistress" took three years to perfect – what did you do or where did you go when you wanted to have a breather from it all?
Yeah, it took a little while to regroup after ‘Delay No More’. We just wanted this album to be a progression and not a rehash. We spent a lot of time in the interim period playing table tennis and enjoying London for a few months between albums. When we got the new studio we pretty much lived in there. It just took time to get used to it and for us to start building again.
There’s not enough reputation damaging stuff about you two on the internet – what do you listen to when you’re not balls deep in dnb? I’ll start, I still listen to Aaron Carter…
Dave– We’ve both got a pretty diverse taste in music. Current faves include Nao, Flume, First Aid Kit, Chet Faker, Jamie XX and I’m an absolute sucker for Lana Del Rey.
Jack– Sza, Hendrix, Frank Ocean, Bon Iver, Warpaint, Child Of Lov, James Blake, Lewis Taylor, D’Angelo.
Fave venue in London?
Is/was The End. No club has come close since. The warehouse parties in London have been amazing over the last few years too!
To wrap up – are you taking the Mistress on tour? Where are you boys heading to this year and where are you most ramped up for?
Yeah, so we just finished our Summer tour of the UK, Europe and Canada. It’s been incredible. We made sure that we only picked our favourite venues in the major UK cities and played extended, 3 hour sets so that we could really get expressive and take people on the proverbial journey. We’ll be heading out on tour again in the autumn after festival season, and you may even see a small live tour too!
I was lucky enough to catch Spectra at Shogun Audio's Basslaced night back in March...enjoy my absolutely shocking camerawork and their epic levels of quality below:
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