Baddadan wasn’t intended to be a commercial record, yet it’s sitting in the top 10 right now. Rough, gritty and full of the life of the street the track is pure hedonism. That song circles you from above then enters your very being. It’s inescapable. Whether you know Chase & Status for their 2011 classic Blind Faith or recent Disconnect with Becky Hill - also in the top 10 not long ago– one thing you will know is they are synonymous with party heaven. They create fiercely forward facing DnB that also melts in and out of rap and dance.
Will and Saul are the best friends and brains behind Chase & Status – we spoke to Will (Chase) whilst Saul had just touched down in Ibiza. Calling us from a vast open living room or office in London Will was easy going, humble and down to earth. In a nutshell he was real. Apart from the lovely zoom setting, he’s just a lad who made it onto the decks, exactly where he’d dreamed of being. Chase & Status credit their rise to Radio 1 play of their debut album More Than A lot. But it was more than just radio play that got them where they are today. They blur the lines between mainstream and the underground in terms of sound. Plus, they put on a damn good show – sweaty, euphoric, and intimate feeling. The guys pivoted from being DJs to performing a live act at Radio 1 Big Weekend in Swindon in 2009. “We were following in the footsteps of The Prodigy and people at that time like Pendulum who had broken it open doing Drum and Bass live.” They explained of the experience. Now, they’re just about ready to take over the world.

2Ruff Vol.1
features nine tracks that are all fiery earworms. Opening with Selecta feat. Stefflon Don we are blasted with huge beats that are club ready layered with rapping that oozes cool and confidence. It’s a bass heavy track that produces tingles in the face and an urge to move with bouncing, circling, gyrating resolve. Chase & Status are advocates for women in music so getting things started with a female rapper recalls that. Another highlight is Liquor and Cigarettes with Hedex feat. ArrDee, which has vital delivery that drives us forward. It has already seen commercial success, to a lesser extent than Baddadan feat Bou, IRAH, Trigga, Flowdan, Takura. Baddadan is impactful to the point of being overwhelming and is very embodied. Of the song, Will shared that the process of selecting the baseline came from within the group’s bodily impulses, when he played those four notes “everyone immediately started moving, without saying anything, and then he was like, ‘Okay, this is it then. Right?”. Crushing mind-body dualism with their infectious beats and highly progressive production. Chase & Status say bye to incompleteness of the body, hello liberated and fully-realised self. Not only are these tracks that make you want to shake your hips, but they are a philosophical triumph for the prioritisation of bodily needs. These songs can be guttural, powerful and confrontational and persistent. Nagging at you to play again and again. What more could you want? A sit down the one of the men behind it, so here we go.
You just played at Boiler Room last month. Do you have any pre-show rituals?
Pre-show rituals? No, not really, nothing. We kind of have a bit of a team huddle. But that's more with a live show where there's way more people involved. There's all the band members and the different performing artists, featured artists, we have - the singers and rappers and stuff. There's a way bigger crew involved as well. We'll often do just a cheesy team huddle before a live show, but not for a DJ thing. Yeah, there's not really a ritual as such.
Okay, no cheeky final cigarette or raiding the free food?
Yeah. I mean, a few drinks, Saul’s a big smoker. But nothing too wild. And Boiler Room, you know, it's a big moment that, so we definitely took it seriously. We were super prepped. It wasn't a ‘turn up and see what happens’ jobby. It was real, ‘let's make this amazing’, hopefully.
Yeah, I heard it was really special. On the topic of shows you shared to DJ Mag, that one of the highlights of your career was playing The End nightclub in London for RAM records back in the 2000s. Can you tell us more about that experience?
Yeah. When you're trying to make it, as a young artist, or young DJ or whatever. That's kind of where we grew up as fans, that nightclub. All our epiphany moments happened there. The way it was designed was with the DJ in the middle of the room, a bit like the way that Boiler Room now do it. And you know, the 360 events, it was really ahead of its time. So, you were in this small tunnel, archway, club, and the DJs were in the middle. You could literally stand and watch the DJ half a metre away. Obviously, when you're a young kid looking at your idol DJing, tearing the place down. You feel, even though you're physically very close to them, like it's a million miles away to get to that point of being able to be the DJ. And so, the day we actually did [that show at RAM] was this sort of feeling like, ‘wow, we've achieved what we always dreamed of doing’. Basically, it was pretty much our only dream just to DJ in this nightclub, at a respected night. It was surreal and nerve wracking. And I think there was lots of clanging in the mixing, we kind of over ordered a little bit. And Andy C who was, you know, our hero back then. Had just played before us. And the whole thing was like a weird kind of dream, out of body. And we were just shitting it basically. And you know, because the club was set up so everyone was so close. People could peer over and see what you're playing and see what you're doing. You had a real trainspotter crew at the front who knew everything. In one way, it was great, because if you did something really cool, you played some really cool, interesting music, you would get proper praise, from these real committed scenesters. But on the flip side, if you're a bit shit or you play some whack tune, or you did a messy mix, they really also let you know about it. So, it's such an intense environment to DJ in as a new DJ, but yeah, just dreams coming true. And it was it was a wonderful night.
Before then did you get any practice in at any free parties?
Yeah. I mean, on one hand, we grew up going to places like The End which was a nice West End nightclub with proper club staff, a bar, tickets, entry queues. But a lot of the time we were going to squat parties, free parties just like illegal events held in the kind of places that squatters would often live: abandoned buildings, we would go into old cinemas that were disused, or weird industrial parks, or, we once played in an abandoned underground London Underground station. Then when we started to come through as DJs we were still very much friends with the people in that world. And obviously, we were no-ones and we were just desperate to DJ anywhere, we would literally pay people to DJ to like, 10 people. I remember carrying my decks, not even the records, the decks on the tube, to the depths of South South London, to some random, weird squat party, and setting up the decks. And, as I said, just playing to like, 50 people just out of their brains, weird, and then taking the decks back. It was wild. We really grew up in that environment. And we learned a lot about working in difficult environments. So, by the time we were playing in nightclubs, it was a bit easier in that sense.
So how do you unwind or relax after you've been playing or touring?
It definitely does take a few hours after you’ve come off stage. We've tried to do the whole zip off stage, go straight to bed, which obviously never works. Your brain is just flying around 100 miles an hour. So, to be honest, usually, we're just travelling so much you come off the decks, and you’re either travelling straight away somewhere else or you have a long drive home. In that sense, you’re kind of unwinding just by the boringness of travelling around. But we've both got quite young families at home now. We’ve both got kids and I actually recon it's less relaxing when we get home. There's more noise at home than there is in a club actually for both of us these days. Nothing that interesting. Nothing that’s not fairly normal for just trying to get your head out the music basically.
To Clash, you spoke about samples being easier to access online and tapping into Drum and Bass and jungle for new producers being more possible than ever. You don't mention any worry about there being an oversaturation of music. Why is that?
Oversaturation of music. I just think the more music being made, the better. I mean, the more people trying to make music, and being involved in our scene, or just generally making music can only be a good thing, because then just by chance, just by the numbers, the quality will go up. If you have more people doing stuff, better things will inevitably come out of that. And, in a way, the music scenes, always feel saturated. It feels saturated, particularly when you're trying to make it as an artist, because you've got so many people you're competing with and trying to rise above. The harder it is to do; it means in some ways the people that do manage to do that are really obviously doing something quite incredible and amazing. That, as fans, we all benefit from that. So, yeah, I love the accessibility to making music and like what technology does and I think you know, the cream always rises to the top anyway. So there's always lots of kind of rubbish stuff out there. Also, making music back in the day was more expensive, you had to buy actual equipment. And that was quite hard to do. So, in some ways, it is much less elitist. Now, you really don't need much, there's so much free resources out there. And that's important as well to just make sure that the type of people making our music and other types of music and dance music and stuff are coming from a really diverse background and it's not just for the privileged few that can afford studios and stuff like that. I love it. I love the way technology is moving super-fast. It constantly shapes the way music is made, which is brilliant.
That's great. Is your collaboration with up and coming talent, your way of staying connected to the underground?
Yeah, it is. I mean, it's just a way of staying inspired, really, which I guess is kind of the same thing. We're really aware of having been around for a while. We've had a really long career already and music people generally don't have that long careers, it's almost like working in sports, it's a young industry, particularly our type of music. And the fans are young. And like I just said, things change and trends change all the time, faster than ever. So, we're really aware of that. And I think as you get older, you can go one of two ways: you can feel a bit threatened by new kids coming through and new music being made, that might sound different to the type of music you grew up listening to. And I think it's really easy to slip into that world of not really getting what's happening. And then getting a bit defensive about that.
The comment I hate the most is, ‘it's not the same as the old days’. And, ‘things used to be better in the old days’, me and Saul hate that actually.
Because that's just someone saying that, that doesn't understand what's happening now. And though young people now are having the same experiences we were having back then maybe even better, but just in a different way, not necessarily a worse way. So, we're always striving to learn about new movements and new scenes and new sounds and stuff. And then, really trying to understand them. Of course, actually physically connecting with young producers and young artists to collaborate with is a brilliant way of – well, A) We're fans in the first place so, why wouldn't we try? and B) We learn so much. We could work with a young bedroom producer that hasn't really had any success, but we love what they do. And just from the way they work, you sort of learn a few little things. So yeah, we really embrace that whole new thing. We have for a long time. It's always a real privilege to be able to work alongside sick young people. Because that is where the energy is at, ultimately, and that's what we're always looking for.
Amazing. So, I'd say that you make big party sounds. What's your favourite thing to add to a party? What's your favourite ingredient?
Ah, wow. I mean, yeah, I guess we don't make chilled music, really, for relaxing to. So, what’s my favourite thing to add to a party? Well, obviously, great music, right? It's back to thinking about us as kids in those clubs, or those parties, looking at the DJ – or in a massive rave or wherever - we were just like, dreaming of being the person that can craft and create those moments in the party. Saying to ourselves, what would we do if you had the chance to play that one song? What would you play? What's the most amazing moment you could create through tune selection or making music? How could we get this room more engaged than ever? Those big moments that you see on big streams, or in footage, or when you're at a club, when some DJ does one thing, and the place just absolutely erupts. That is what we're still so excited to do when we're making tunes. And that's all we're thinking about in our rooms, in our studios, and on our laptops, wherever we are, and we just met messing around with silly weird noises. In our heads, we're just thinking about creating that moment where the place just absolutely erupts. I think that's what we try and do with every single song. And that's probably why the songs sound like they do. That's probably like the consistent thing is just trying to get the biggest reaction possible out of people. So that's what we bring, or we try and bring to the party anyway.
I'd say that music is a form of art. How would you describe your taste in art and what kind of visual art do you hang in your home?
I don't have much art in my home at the moment. Because if I did, it would probably get destroyed by the kids we’ve got but I mean, I love photography. So, I probably would have been a photographer maybe if I didn't do music. I don't know, I'm a real sucker for photography. My favourite is Gerhard Richter, who isn't just a photographer, he's obviously like, one of the most amazing multimedia artists in the world. But I love photography that uses a lot of technologies. So, a lot of editing and post, so manipulation of photography as well. I think it's the sort of intersection where technology meets traditional art and the things you can do with that. I remember when I was at school, I was really interested in what you could do with - that was a long time ago - the early days of Photoshop and stuff. I would spend a lot of time scanning and re scanning and editing photos that I was taking, which no one else in my school was actually doing, because no one even really knew how to use a scanner. And it was all like, analogue back then it was like actual analogue film and stuff. So yeah, I love anyone that messes around with technology. But yeah, I'm a big photography fan.
Moving towards the album, there's quite a cinematic quality to it. It feels like it's telling a story. What film or story would you say fits the vibe of 2Ruff Vol.1?
Thank you for saying that. We didn't have that cinematic thing in mind. When making it, you know, but it was very much meant to feel like an underground project, that’s just trying to be a bit unapologetic, be very kind of hard and not trying to be a commercial crowd-pleasing record, you know. And ironically, the songs have actually become quite commercial. Compared to when we've tried to make commercial songs and they're not commercial at all.
The whole aesthetic [of the album] was all about the grittiness of London tag culture. So not so much graffiti, in the big sense of amazing pieces, but the dinginess of tag culture. At the back of a bus stop, on a train compartment, back of an alleyway - the dingy places, the gritty places that you find a lot of messy tags and stuff. We wanted to try and capture that kind of culture. That grittiness in the music, but a very urban, very concrete underground feel. A movie that I love that paints that picture really well is a French movie called La Haine, which is a wonderful black and white movie set in Paris. And it follows these three guys from a big estate in the suburbs of Paris, going through like 24 hours in a day, and it's wild. There's much more of a focus, I guess, on the underground hip hop street culture there. But it's really raw. It's a really raw movie, and it's shot incredibly beautifully, but with a real grittiness to it. I’ve always thought of that movie as one of my favourite movies of all time, and I thought of that movie when making this record, I think a little bit.
I’d say that Baddadan is very embodied and you can sense a right in your bones, it makes you want to move no matter where you are. And there's a contemporary school of thought that we need to move more towards following our bodily instincts rather than separating intelligence from the body, how do body movements and Baddadan come together?
(Laughs) Yeah. So, what's the theory, you're saying?
That we need to focus more on our body and its needs and impulses, rather than separating intelligence from it, because there are other schools of thought that kind of subjugate the body to knowledge and knowledge being the separate higher thing, when actually, it’s together or maybe the body is even more important.
That song wasn't made for any other reason than wanting to make people dance. Sometimes we make songs for slightly different reasons. Like, you know, we'll be trying to make a song for someone else. And we'll be thinking about their audience and their fan base, and what people expect from that. And you start to get quite overanalytical when you make music. Whereas this whole project, and specifically that song was just like, let's just write something that is undeniably fun to dance to, and fun to play in a club as a DJ, and fun to experience. So, it was really instinctual. And I remember, we did all the vocals, before we wrote the baseline. So, we had the vocals all recorded, and we had this kind of really nothing, baseline that didn't really do anything. So, we were working together, all on Zoom, during the session me Bou and Saul were all in different spaces. And I was playing literally baselines, while everyone was there listening and just endless kind of weird shit things that didn't really work. And suddenly, literally just sort of instinctively played those four notes or whatever. And everyone immediately started moving, without saying anything, and then he was like, ‘Okay, this is it then. Right?’ And I was like ‘that’s it’. We spend our lives doing that, just trying to zone into what is naturally making us move rather than thinking about the analysis behind it and you know, what it means and all that. It is very much about instinct. That runs through our bones, quite naturally, as I guess, probably do most people making music. That's what we do day in, day out.
And the importance of the body to intelligence is relevant to AI. Without a body it’s maybe impossible to think in a profound way. How do you feel about AI being used in music production?
Obviously, people are really worried about AI in music, because it's a bit confusing, firstly, people faking, AI faking people's voices and style is quite mad, and kind of useful, but also there's issues around integrity, and copyright and who owns what the AI is making. That's quite confusing. If you're thinking about music as a business, and it is our business, that's a worry. I'm lucky that there's other smarter people out there that will probably figure out how to manage the rise of AI and music. I know there's a lot of talks already between the big record labels. But I have to say, it's kind of an inevitability, the rise of AI. So, I just try and go back to my attitude and Saul’s attitude of not getting too scared of change and trying to embrace it and trying to see it for positive and thinking about ways that it can actually do really good stuff. We haven't used AI much really, or hardly at all making music that we're not really experienced in that world yet. But I mean, we're very closely watching that space. And for me, it is exciting, and I think what AI is generally doing in terms of sort of revolutionising the world is crazy exciting. And I am confident good stuff will come from it.
Yeah. What do you predict for the future of DnB music?
Of DnB? It is quite cyclical. It’s been around for a long time now Drum and Bass, I feel it's not a fad that's going to die out. You see a lot of genres come and go. And I feel DnB is certainly very embedded in music culture around the world now. But what happens is, it comes in and out of favour over the commercial music world, of major labels, and the major platforms. And because obviously, everyone's always looking for a new sound and a fresh sound and stuff. Literally every sort of five to ten years, everyone goes, ‘Oh, Drum and Bass. Oh, yeah, that's bubbling away’, it's always underground, really strong. There’s always amazing stuff happening in Drum and Bass all over the world. And every now and again, it kind of rears its head up into the commercial world. And everyone then wants to be part of it, who's not part of it normally. And then you get these few years it becomes saturated, and everyone's making commercial music. And the labels suddenly making it quite pop-y. And you hear a lot of pop variations of it. And it's like, is this even Drum and Bass anymore.
And as that goes on, and on, there's always like a bit of a revolution in the underground and the actual DJs and the actual scene, move more and more away from… you get this split, always. And then that kind of commercial end, people get bored of that, that just dissipates. And it goes underground again, and it just, it does that. And I think you know, right now it feels like it's on an upward trend in terms of commercial reality. People hearing it all the time on Radio 1 and daytime radio, and lots of random artists are jumping on Drum and Bass tracks, which is cool, and it's great for the industry. But that will probably fade off again, I reckon. Drum and Bass will go underground again. And I mean, out of all the music in the world, it's probably the most influenced by cutting edge technology. It's always pushing the boundaries of what's possible sonically, for example, young producers talk about Drum and Bass being one of the hardest music genres to make, from a technical point of view. Because it's always trying to push how music is made and using the latest plugins, and the latest this and that. So, I think, if there is new technology influencing music, Drum and Bass will certainly be right at the forefront of that. Whether it's commercial, or as I said, going back into the sort of underground world. And that's really exciting. I love that about the music.