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Gold Artist 014: Spectrasoul

The Shogun Audio duo are back with a killer second album, 'The Mistress'

  • Words: Dave Turner / Photos: Hana Makovcova
  • 2 June 2015

Three years since their brilliant debut album, 'Delay No More', Spectrasoul - Jack Stevens and Dave Kennett - are returning to Shogun Audio with follow-up 'The Mistress'. Breaking free from the drum 'n' bass blueprint, the London duo have put together a sublime LP of varied musicality, dropping the tempo and moving into song-focused territory in places, proving exactly why they're two of the best in the business.

One thing you notice looking at the tracklist for 'The Mistress' is the amount of vocalists, some lesser known than others, they've got on board. There are six in total, including Pedestrian on the sleepy 'Hot Head Rock', Keysound Recordings affiliate Joshua Idehen on 'Kutchi', Harleighblu, Dan Moss, Tamara Blessa and South Londoner Lily McKenzie, the latter who belts out vocals on the soul-drenched 'Shelter'. All delicate guitar riffs and slow-smashing drums, it's this one that's a clear representation of the breadth of styles on the record.

Since starting out on Shogun sub-label SGN:LTD back in 2006, they've marked a tick next to just about every big d'n'b label around. On top of their long-lasting ties with Shogun, releases have come on Exit Records, Metalheadz and Kasra's Critical Recordings. Along the way they've produced rock solid rumblers like 'Melodies' and beauties like 'Memento' and 'Sometimes We Lie', remixed Above & Beyond and Rudimental and collaborated with dBridge, Icicle, Rockwell and Alix Perez. Not bad, eh?

It's been a long wait, but with album number two landing in just under two weeks, we've got the exclusive of 'More To Give' featuring Tamara Blessa. Gritty but shining, this'll give you another idea of what to expect from 'The Mistress'.

Your new album, 'The Mistress', is a lot more varied than the last. What made you want to work with so many vocalists?

Jack: It's always something we've wanted to do. Since our first album, we've moved away from working with sample vocals to having control. We got as many varied people as we could and we were really lucky to end up working with a group of really talented people with a broad strain of voices, backgrounds and styles.

Dave: The other thing for us was using vocalists that not many other people had used before. So trying to find people that are interesting and in a slightly different field to us. People we can work with and create something unique rather than the same, typical kind of dance-y tune. It's just about incorporating our wide taste in music into the music we make.

Would you say it was to prove you can move away from the drum 'n' bass blueprint and work within a slower tempo song structure?

J: I don't think it was a conscious decision to try and prove anything. We're quite self-indulgent with our music. I know it sounds really selfish, but it's not really made for anyone else. When we're in the studio we make such a wide breadth of stuff that it made sense to incorporate that into an album format. If we made those sort of tracks ['Shelter', 'I'm Real Good', 'Hot Head Rock'] as standalone singles, there would probably be serious uproar. I think it's just a signature of what we've always done, which is write varied styles of music. I guess the easy thing to do would be to make a purely d'n'b or club album, but Dave and I have never really been interested in solely club music.

D: Sometimes it's good to keep it divisive and not just doing what's expected of you. We want to keep it interesting ideas wise and creatively when it comes to being in the studio for however many hours in the week.

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