British deep house DJ and producer pair Somn3um are about to unveil their newest release, a double-sided single for Somn'thing Records, a label that they run together. Having worked together for a little over a year, the duo's sound is smooth and crisp, and they have already played a huge number of high profile shows out as Somn3um.
The two tracks landing this Friday are "Doolally" and "Chasing Bass," and we have the premiere of the latter. Featuring vocals from London artist Dan Bowskill, "Chasing Bass" is a slick blend of groove and musicality. Somn3um say of the partnership with Bowskill: “Working with an artist with such a rich and varied musical history as Dan was a dream come true for us. We’re constantly looking at new ways to enhance and produce our music to break the house music mould. His inimitable vocal style really pushed us to create something completely unique and I’m really proud of the results.”
Check out the premiere of "Chasing Bass" below.
We got in touch with the talented creators to find out more about what makes them tick, and how they work as team. Read on below in our exclusive interview with one half of the duo, David.
You juggle making music with running Somn’thing Records. How do you divide your time so you can work on both?
Somn3um (David): On top of making music and running Somn’thing I also have a couple of other businesses which are not dance music-related. I’m a resident DJ at Zero Gravity, Dubai and The Gallery @ Ministry of Sound, London; plus I have a radio show that goes out across Dubai and the UAE on Channel 4 104.8fm and 15 other stations around the world… It’s not really that difficult if you really enjoy what you do. Instead of doing 9 to 5, five days a week, you don’t realise that you end up working all day every day - but it doesn’t feel like it. If I could give one bit of advice it would be, do what you love, never chase money and you’ll find you’ll make more money and it doesn’t even feel like you’re working hard.
What would you say have been your biggest musical successes so far in your career?
Hard to say, as "Insane" was probably the one that I thought was my favourite, and I was more proud of… but because it contained lots of swearing it didn’t get any radio play, so was always a bit limited in how well it would do. It still managed to get up to No. 22 in the Beatport House chart, however "Never" last year did well and was played on a load of the Kiss FM and Capital Extra shows.
What do you each bring to the table individually as producers?
Scott, the other half of Somn3um, is definitely the better producer out of the two of us. But being so technically astute, he procrastinates and can spend 3 hours tuning a kick drum for example. The average person can’t even tell the difference that it’s changed from 3 hours ago… I tend to be more interested in the big elements like the chord structure and melody and the feeling of the track. Scott then makes it all better and sounding lovely.
Your next release is a double and is up for grabs on Somn’thing – can you tell us a little bit about the making of each track?
When Dan (Bowskill, vocalist on the track) sent his vocals to us, we made a track which was meant to be "Chasing Bass." We kept thinking, "these vocals don’t make any sense," and couldn’t work out the order the stems were meant to go in, or why it just sounded odd. It sounded like two sets of vocals. After many hours of this, it turned out it was "Doolally" and "Chasing Bass" - two tracks in the same file. Haha!
As both tracks were in the same key they worked with the music but being the idiots we are, we couldn’t work out why the lyrics made no sense. We thought Dan had sent us only one song. So once we extracted "Doolally" from "Chasing Bass," we decided to make something a bit different - going down the tech house route. Apart from that, the production process was fairly standard. We play more accessible deep house and house but sometimes we like to go tech-y, so thought we would do both styles for this release and make one of each style.
Do you have a favourite? If so, why?
I really like "Chasing Bass," I’ve played it out a few times now. It seems to work really well on the dance floor and has a Groove Armada meets E-Samba meets Reggae vibe. It just has a nice fun energy about it, so that’s why I like it. Scott prefers "Doolally" though and that works on the more tech-y dance floors.
How did you come to collaborate with Dan Bowskill? Were you already fans of his work?
It was actually Matt Darey we were working on the tracks with originally, we were going to do a collaboration. Matt sent us the vocals that he had recorded with Dan Bowskill and we started the two tracks. We sent some rough ideas to Matt for him to add his ideas to, then all of us got tied up with doing other things and we never got round to finishing them. Matt started working on his new album that he had deadlines for, then eventually he sent us an email saying if we wanted to take the vocals and do them as a solo project with Dan, we could. So really we have Matt Darey to thank for the introduction and two tracks. To be perfectly honest, I hadn’t heard of Dan before, (sorry Dan!), but after a quick Google I did recognise a couple of his songs - including one he did with the Dub Pistols. Dan isn’t the style of vocalist that we would normally work with, so it’s really great to do something different.
Have you had the chance to test them out on fans yet? If so, how are they taking to them?
I was sent a tweet that they sounded like the noises a fat bloke in the toilet makes the morning after a curry, that he washed down with 10 pints of lager. Ok that’s not true, they’ve gone down surprisingly well. I actually played "Doolally" and "Chasing Bass" at my gig last Friday at Ministry of Sound. "Doolally" at the beginning of my set and "Chasing Bass" at the end. They are very different tracks - one tech house with more of a groove, and the other big, bassy and bouncy with a wicked drum track. Both go down well, obviously "Chasing Bass" is higher energy and more peak-time though.
What inspires you to keep making music, day to day?
I find this question really tough to ask because I always feel like I should come up with something profound like saying, “So I can save children from evil care bears” or something like that. But in reality, it’s just because house music makes me happy, and it’s a positive type of music compared to other genres. I’m not sure if that’s due to the chemical intake at dance events, but generally people in house music seem positive and accepting, so it’s just something that makes me feel good - and that’s a pretty big inspiration. I’ve been obsessed with house music for over 20 years, so the obsession doesn’t seem to be wearing off.
What are your plans throughout the rest of 2017?
Because we like different types of house music, we often make different stuff with each release: from tech to big room and even commercial house. We’re planning on getting more releases out from us and make sure we start to really work on what Somn3um is, but I know what we’re like we’ll be saying the same thing this time next year. As for the label, we’ve have got some excellent releases coming up. And a lot more of them; last year we released about 20 records, this year that’s moving up to about 35-40 as we’re starting to grow and get more support, and people liking what we’re doing.
What do you want to achieve in terms of DJing and shows?
We’re lucky that we’re residents at two of the world’s biggest clubs. First is Zero Gravity, Dubai where each week we welcome huge names like Martin Solveig, Tiesto, Example, Lost Frequencies, Sigala, Jonas Blue, plus many more. When the club is fully open it can hold 8000 people so is an awesome place to play, with amazing production. We are also residents at The Gallery @ Ministry of Sound, London which I don’t think I need to explain anything about. I’ve known the guys at The Gallery for about 17 years and it’s always a privilege and honor to play there each time, as it’s awesome with such an amazing history.
I absolutely love DJing and have been doing it for 19 years, so we would like to start travelling a bit more, however as we both have so many projects on the go, it’s hard to find time, what with our residencies…. But if there was one goal, it would be to have a residency in Ibiza, as we haven’t really done anything there and we probably should have.