Delta Heavy Talks The Difference In US & UK Bass Scene in iEDM Interview
A Delta Heavy show takes you through a bass journey touching many sub genres like drum and bass to future. Their set at EDC was an energy fueled b2b with Dirtyphonics at the bassPod and we couldn't get enough.
iEDM got to sit down with Delta Heavy's Ben Hall to chat about tour life, new music and the difference between the US and UK's bass scenes. Here's what he had to say.
iEDM: You just rocked EDC, tell me about that.
Delta Heavy: It was great, it is always great to play at EDC. It is one of the highlights of the year, for sure. We played back-to-back with Dirtyphonics who are good friends of ours. It is the second time we have played back-to-back with them. We have known them for years, we are really good friends. We did our first back-to-back at Coachella last year, we are doing another one at Paradiso in a couple of weeks so, it was really cool. They are one of the only other acts, maybe, I think, the only act who play... make drum and bass as well as dubstep and other stuff. So it is a natural fit for us to go back-to-back. We know each other so, super fun.
Delta Heavy: The bass pod was still absolutely packed when we went on. We closed it out and the crowd was insane. We went on and... You know, people always leave at the end of a festival to jump, beat the traffic but still, it was still really packed at the end. As always, an amazing experience. Just a little cold... for EDC. Not what we are used to. It is just the production and everything is just incredible.
iEDM: Next level right? How did you guys first meet and become Delta Heavy?
Delta Heavy: We were at different university but we were at the same town. Place called Nottingham which is in the Midlands of the UK, it is two hours from London, and we were both there studying. Met through mutual friends and we were both kind of DJs at the local clubs in the town. And it was like, you know, we would just play house parties and then we both moved to London and I think we realized, independently, that this is what we wanted to do: make music, be DJs in our careers. I think we found out that we were both making music and we were like, you know, let us give it a try together because we both learned by sight from scratch and the rest is history.
iEDM: So you live here in the US?
Delta Heavy: Yes. And Simon lives in London.
iEDM: So what made you guys split up in that way?
Delta Heavy: Well, it was nothing to do with Delta Heavy. Simon has got a young family. And I decided to move. I moved, to LA for four months with my girlfriend three years ago and just ended up staying. Not really for music reasons, just because I was like, I want to live somewhere else. We always played a lot in America and we had a lot of tours so I was like, let us give it a try. See if we can make this work. We had actually been splitting up to tour for several years before that, just because we made the decision it worked better for us to cover more ground and because we play in so many different parts of the world it enables us to cover more ground.
We do just as good of a performance individually as we do back-to-back. That's why we developed our production show with our big visual stuff to give an enhanced experience.
iEDM: Excellent. So what were you guys doing before music full-time?
Delta Heavy: School then students and for several years we just worked part time just to pay the rent and live while we were literally trying to make music in every other waking hour.
iEDM: What made you decide to become a duo?
Delta Heavy: It was this shared... goal to make our careers out of music and also it was a point... We had moved out of home, we were living on our own without much money, an income. And it was after uni, reality hit. All of our friends were getting proper jobs so it was like, shit, we need to make this work otherwise what were we going to do? We can't be in our late 20s having not made a success of this and then try and get jobs five years after everyone else. So it was like, we have to make this work, otherwise, we would have been fucked.
It was kind of like, we were driven by that goal. We have to make this our careers because otherwise, what are we going to do. And we both want it desperately so, we were in the same position. Had the same love of drum and bass, grew up with drum and bass and also dubstep, because that is when dubstep really started growing and evolving as a genre. So yeah, we love DJing, we love music. We both grew up going to the same clubs and house parties and raves and clubs in London, to drum and bass.
iEDM: Okay. With your main genre being drum and bass, but you definitely have produced a variety of tracks, who are your musical inspirations.
Delta Heavy: Probably for a lot of... so many people... we love soundtracks, film soundtracks. So Hans Zimmer would be one. I like, obviously, Game of Thrones would be one of course. Without the music of Ramin Djwadi who also does Westworld and so many other TV shows. So, I mean, obviously I'm a big Game of Thrones fan.
Delta Heavy: You know so, his music, I think is absolutely incredible and I don't think he gets enough followers with how big those shows are. So we are influenced by stuff like that. Film soundtracks, 80s stuff. Older composers like Frank Geddes, Brian Eno and then you know, we are influenced by a lot of rock. I used to... We were both really into stuff like Blur, Britpop.
Now we both love bands like The Fold, even bands like that. Classic producers like Quincy Jones, old Micheal Jackson. Other dance music, house and techno, electronica. We love stuff like Bonobo, Caribou, M83. So much stuff, we take influences from so many different genres.
I guess big influences were people like, Pendulum, Sub Focus, Noisia. We were really into Trentemøller, he was a massive influence when we were looking beyond drum and bass but I guess Noisia, Sub Focus, Pendulum.
We are getting into dubstep as well so, Skream, Benga, Rasco, Gearer as well so we were trying to incorporate that and then you know, 2012, Skrillex blew up and Skrillex is one of the biggest influences of ours.
iEDM: Yeah, Skrillex's surprise set was crazy at EDC.
Delta Heavy: I was at a wedding in Denver. I was not there on Saturday unfortunately. So I think one from recently is Skrillex. Recently we have been really listening to people like Boombox Cartel, Arnold Bryant. Yeah.
iEDM: You guys have a busy tour schedule. What dates are you most excited that are coming up?
Delta Heavy: I get excited about every show. Obviously, EDC that has just passed, Paradiso because I have never played the Gorge Amphitheater.
iEDM: Oh, the Gorge, that will be great.
Delta Heavy: One of those amazing venues like Red Rocks, an incredible natural venue.
IEDM: Wow, yes, yes.
Delta Heavy: I am pretty pumped about that and then obviously we get to festival season. We're playing Let It Roll main stage, Tomorrowland, and so many other outdoor ones.
iEDM: What cool projects are you working on right now?
Delta Heavy: Yeah, we have got a lot. I mean, as we have just had the album out, we had a bit of a break from writing original stuff which we are going to start on soon. We are actually working on a bunch of VIPs of the album stuff and we are commissioning loads of remixes.
We have got a real mixed pack of Here With Me, which is latest single from the album. Then we have got this huge remix pack of about ten, twelve remixes of Lift You Up collab. That is going to be dropping at Dead Beats in the Summer and then we are working on a remix LP which is going to feature some re-works that we have done, some collab remixes we were thinking about and then we are getting a bunch of artists and especially up-coming artists that we really admire, to get involved.
The other big thing, we have got this collab with Kayzo that we are just trying to finish off at the moment which we want to get out soon because, we have both been playing it for about six months now. Yeah, we are both really excited about it. Kayzo is using it as his intro for his big, massive tour recently. It is not really like any other track that has been made. It is like, three or four genres in one and it sounds like Kayzo. So, yeah it is a really good collab that feels like real fresh representation for those acts. It is a banger as well which is always fun. So that is our next single, that will be our original.
iEDM: You have a new song with Mimosa we really love.
Delta Heavy: It was a track from my album, kind of a different track. It is 150bpm, I guess like future bass. A kind of musical track, whatever you want to choose. We wrote the instrumental, we wanted to do something a bit different. Something that had a kind of... Something quite bassy but uplifting... Kind of combo dubstep sounds with uplifting synths. The chords in the first drop and then the second drop is really, very euphoric and we were listening to some early Paul Robinson and Rusty. Getting a few of those influences in there.
So we wrote this instrumental and we really wanted to get a Mimosa vocal in. We kind of wrote the instrumental with Josh's vocals in mind and so we sent it to him, they agreed to it, we were talking about a collab. He laid down the vocals, we had a few back and fourths. He just nailed it, sent us the vocals and it just works perfectly. We did a tour together in Australia and New Zealand around the time the album got released. Actually, on the day of the release, we did a show and we performed the track every single show because Josh was opening and doing most of the playing before us, so he jumped on the mic every single show. It was one of the first times we actually performed the track live. And because it is quite a euphoric track, it was a real moment so, that was super cool.
iEDM: What is the difference between the UK bass scene and the US bass scene?
Delta Heavy: Well one thing, drum and bass is a lot more popular in the UK and I guess, dubstep, here. So, it is actually very different at the moment. It used to be quite a bit more similar but it is very different. I don't know, the US seems... it is all about headbanging. Almost exclusively, whereas in the UK, people just dance and stuff. So you can actually... I don't know, it is like... It has become very focused on headbanging in America which means that a lot of people are just playing heavy dubstep, whereas a few years ago, other people's sets were a bit more varied. In the UK, people dance more so, I don't know, that is why you get dubstep artists doing really well in America and drum and bass people playing Europe.
It is quite different at the moment. We tend to try and play the same sets everywhere. I don't mind if people aren't headbanging for 90 minutes because I like my sets to be a bit more of a journey. But that is us, I like being different.
Thank you, Delta Heavy for taking the time to chat with us!