Saul Milton and Will Kennard, otherwise known as Chase & Status, are the producers behind the single-generating juggernaut No More Idols. With End Credits, Let You Go, Blind Faith and Flashing Lights all lifted from the album thus far, it would seem that the lads from London had little to worry about when they recently arrived in Australia as part of this year’s Future Music Festival. But as Will Kennard (Status) explained, there’s always a little stress when bringing your latest work to new audiences.
“You’re never really quite sure, we never think anyone knows who we are let alone what the record is… We’ve done the first two shows already in Brisbane and Perth. I was a bit nervous but… everyone seemed to know what was going on and the songs got a great reaction and they’ve been fantastic events for us.”
“A song that has really worked well has been Blind Faith, which featured Liam Bailey, and we’ve been fortunate enough to have him come and tour with us and perform the track. He’s such a colourful character and he’s such a great performer, he’s so infectious. It’s a perfect track for this kind of atmosphere… it’s a really euphoric kind of festival moment and that’s kind of why we wrote it.”
Blind Faith may be the biggest hit so far from the 2011 sophomore record. Reaching number #1 on the UK Dance charts and spawning a video clip that appeared so authentic viewers wondered if it actually contained genuine footage from a late 80s, early 90s warehouse rave. A runaway success now, Kennard was at one time doubtful Blind Faith would ever see the light of day.
“The problem is when we’re making music we spend so long going back and forth and being perfectionists that by the time the track’s finished we don’t actually know if it’s good or not; and generally we just tend to hate everything we ever do until we see it performed, and then you realise, ‘Ok, maybe it’s not so bad’”
“We spent a long time trying to get it (Blind Faith) right and probably went through 40 different versions, different singers, different everything and by the time we finished it we literally hated it. We thought it was the worst piece of music in the world and that it was going to ruin our career… We lost all perspective and our manager, thank the lord, was there to keep us straight and say, ‘Guys, please, this is actually a good record, let’s release it.’ And he was right, luckily.”
Of course when it came to No More Idols, Milton and Kennard were rarely alone during the creating process. With a plethora of featured artists from hip hop soul singer Plan B to indie band White Lies, Chase & Status were able to meld their own skills with those of their fellow musicians.
“We decided especially on the last album to work with singers because it’s hard with dance music to really find a new angle. It feels really like everything’s been done and the one thing that we thought hadn’t been done that much was trying to combine traditional songwriting skills with electronic bass driven music.”
“So it was just a way of taking different people from different worlds and trying to combine them in what we do and trying to create something new. It’s been fun to do, definitely.”
With an obvious fondness for collaborations, appearing alongside like-minded artists on this year’s Future Music line-up could yield some fascinating results for Chase & Status’s next album.
“I’ve got to say we’re big fans of Die Antwoord, the South African crew… Seeing them in Perth, they’re amazing performers… I think we’re going to try and approach them and maybe get something done with them.”
“We got a studio out here in Sydney actually and we’ll hopefully get in there with people like Skrillex… it’s quite fun to collaborate while you’re abroad really.”
As for now, Chase & Status continue to enjoy their success, currently touring around Australia while delivering their particular brand of drum and bass and dubstep to readily accepting fans. With so much adulation and exposure, can the rising duo truly claim there are No More Idols?
“That name, it meant something different to everyone in the band. To (MC) Rage, our frontman, it meant we’re like our fans, we’re not trying to be above you, we’re a band of the people sort of thing.”
“To me it was more of a question, ‘Are there any more idols? And does the word idol still apply to people now?’ I sometimes feel that the music industry might be watered down a little bit because there’s less… rebellious characters now and everyone’s sort of a bit more P.C… It was just a question, ‘Are idols the same now as they used to be?’ It felt like there were a lot more sort of mad characters that rebelled against the industry. I think more people conform now. So it was just opening up that debate really for me.”
No More Idols Australian Edition (Includes a DVD featuring a full live show filmed at London’s famed Brixton Academy) is now available.
Remaining Chase & Status Australian Tour Dates
March 10 – Future Music Festival – Sydney
March 11 – Future Music Festival – Melbourne
March 13 – Future Music Festival – Adelaide