On their debut longplayer The Raw Truth they underpin with some hybrid tracks, that intersperse Dubstep, Hip Hop and R&B with Breakbeats, that Drum and Bass did not reach deadlock. To find out how they managed to brush up a genre, that needed a serious update, we managed to catch them for a chat about their career, their aims and other affairs of the heart.
How long you both work together?
KEMO: We started working together about 3 years ago.
How did you meet?
LYNX: We first met on the Internet. I was really impressed with KEMO’s vocals so I contacted him via MySpace. From there we finished our first track Global Enemies that was released on Soul:r. The production process involved sending parts back and forth via aim. The track was a huge hit and really opened the floodgates to a whole new wave of experimental Drum & Bass.
KEMO: No doubt. We have teamed up with IDJ Magazine to offer anyone with production talent a chance to get their remix of Global Enemies released on the legendary Soul:r label! The parts can be downloaded from our website: The Raw Truth
How important was the Internet for your progress?
KEMO: These days I am based in London and we recorded a lot of the material at the Studio over here. But equal amounts of vocals from other vocalists came from other studios via AIM and some of the production process was done over the internet. Deez Breakz features Henree on the production and we first started working on the beat at Henree’s studio, but after we returned to London finished it up by sending parts back and forth over AIM. While I was still in Germany, I recorded my vocals at Matt Flores “Metaworld Studio” in Düsseldorf.
How did you work on the album – together or via filesharing?
LYNX: The first three tracks we made were Global Enemies, Carnivale and Apocalypse. That one was the most interesting I think, as it was originally a track that KEMO originally made with Bango Collective – a Dubstep crew from Lithuania. It also features Dennis Jones – a folk singer from Manchester. We had never met, but all parts came together by sending files over the Internet. While we were finishing off the track I heard it and added the final flavour and soon after that it was regularly played at clubs around the world including London’s superclub Fabric, where we now hold a residency as part of the soul:ution night.
KEMO, do you see yourself as an MC with an agenda? If yes: what kind of agenda?
KEMO: I wouldn’t say I have an agenda. I would say I have something to say. Sometimes you just wanna forget everything and just party and bullshit and that’s cool. I am all for that, there is enough stress in the world. However, there is so much more to the world than that and so much more to music than the fastest beat and heaviest bassline. It is an honour for me to be allowed to speak my mind in the space that LYNX creates in his beats, it is an honour to have people’s time and attention when they are listening to our music, so I don’t want to waste it talking bullshit. If I can share my thoughts and comfort lost souls, offer understanding and motivate people to dance, think, move… than I have lived up to my responsibility.
The album is anything but not your regular Drum and Bass longplayer. You can feel that you both like Dubstep, Hip Hop or other dance music styles too. How do you filter all these influences?
LYNX: We are both into a lot of different styles of music. Although when writing music we certainly try not to get caught up in trying to sound like them.
KEMO: Both LYNX and I love music. Regardless of tempo, style or whatever. The featured artists on the album come from various genres. I have mentioned the Dubstep crew Bango Collective from Lithuania and Dennis Jones, the Folk singer from Manchester. We also feature Spoonface who is renowned for his gorgeous Soul / Reggae flavours. Mika Doo brings a retro Motown / Gospel vibe. Tali gets quite jazzy on her vocals while Alix Perez and DRS bring the Hip Hop. The Raw Truth LP is a collection of songs with various styles and flavours, that just happen to have Drum & Bass tempo.
Was it an aim to write songs and not just ordinary dance tracks? And if: how did you work on that within the concept of a track?
LYNX: I have always aimed to get more out of a song than just a dancefloor tune. Even if it is a club track it must provide an extra dimension of interest. Whether that is vocals or instrumentation. We both want more out of our music than 2 dimensional club tracks that only sound fresh for a few months.
KEMO: Absolutely. There are more than enough tracks out there that were created to function on a dancefloor. We consciously decided to pay no attention at all to what formulas may lead to a good reaction in a club scenario and instead focussed on each individual track and took it where it needed to go. It’s more like the track led us. We had the listening experience at home, on the headphones in mind and I think you can hear that in the vast amount of detail dedicated to every single sound and every single moment in the tracks.
Your album balances between club and living room – do you want to be multifunctional?
KEMO: We were very focussed on the headphone experience, but have tested our sound in clubs around the world for the last couple of years and quite fortunately for us, these songs happen to also go down extremely well in clubs!
You both always heavily play in clubs – how did the experiences of the night go into the record?
LYNX: We don’t really directly take the club experience into the studio. We have been playing some of the tracks from the album for nearly 2 years now!
We read that Kemo call his MC style Industrial Rap – is it like that and if: what is the definition of this style?
KEMO: Well, I am actually really bad at labeling things. Perhaps I was referring to the griminess of it. The songwriting skills of the likes of Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails) has always impressed me and I feel equally influenced by the rugged urban cities that I grew up in, Chicago, New York and the Rhein Ruhr Area in Germany. The dusty stone walls and metal train tracks, wires, steel, smog… Having roots in a tropical paradise, perhaps growing up in such rugged areas was a bit of a traumatic experience and I therefore reflect that in the imagery my lyrics bring forth.
We also heard that your lyrics are little short stories – about what? Everyday life? And do you see yourself like a storyteller?
KEMO: My lyrics are certainly quite visual. They can be experienced like short stories because they are so rich in imagery. I speak my mind, about politics, relationships, life, really. There isn’t really an agenda; I don’t plan what I am going to say… I listen to the music and speak about the thoughts and images that come to my mind. I am a simple man like Figaro, really.
And do you think you can tell the people something by MCing to music?
KEMO: Balance is the key to life and to music. Vocals and music should be equally strong in full vocal tracks. In songs that use samples of vocals, vocals become instrumentation like a percussive instrument, strings or the bass. There the individual elements need to come together as one.
Is it true that you both have been into Techno before you did Drum and Bass? And if: why did you switch over?
LYNX: I used to write Hardcore music many years ago…the change was gradual. When I was writing Hardcore (1992 to 1996) I was very young and just learning how to write music. Back then Hardcore and Drum and Bass were the same genre. When the genres start splitting I decided to try some different music for a few years. I then came back to Drum and Bass in 2000.
KEMO: *Matt Flores* took me under his wing about 8 years ago and I toured with him, MCing over broken beats and 4/4 business. We did that for a few years, regularly at the legendary Unique Club in Düsseldorf, but also at big Techno events like Nature One. It really taught me a lot about MCing. I have also released a full vocal Techno track with Douglas Greed called “Deadlines”. I didn’t think anyone in Techno would like it, because they are so resistant to full vocals, so when I heard it was being championed by Laurent Garnier, I was super stoked!
A last question about your future: do you plan to continue working together? Are you involved in other projects and if: which one?
LYNX: Yes we will be working together in the future. Personally I haven’t really had much time to do many other projects in the last year as the album has taken all my time! I will be starting my own label detail this year.
Webside LYNX & KEMO
Listen and/or buy The Raw Truth