Five Minutes With: Survival & Silent Witness

Five Minutes With: Survival & Silent Witness

Let’s face it, 2012 was an absolute belter for D&B albums. Audio, Mindscape, S.P.Y, Calyx & TeeBee, Octane & DLR, Enei… The list goes on.

It was such a strong year, in fact, there was worry that 2013 couldn’t possibly top it. Well worry no more; if Survival & Silent Witness’s In From The Wild is anything to by then this year is going to continue the rich vein of long-player form we’ve been enjoying of late. We gave them a call last week, this is how it went down…

It’s a proper album! 19 tracks long, interludes… The works!

Survival: “We wanted to do it properly. Something you can listen to throughout and not just a bunch of singles. We’ve shortened the songs down so they’re more of an album style. It’s got be a listening experience before anything else.”

Agreed. And something that shows off your range…

Survival: “Yeah. Well Dan (Silent Witness) is into the darker, techier stuff while I’ve always been more into the deeper, melodic approach. Between us we do cover a lot of ground and it’s great to be able to work like that in the studio. If one of us takes things in another direction and it’s working then we go with that. We’re confident with each other’s approach and skills and have been for a while now.”

Do you learn techniques from each other when you’re working together?

Survival: “Definitely. I love working with Dan and he’s taught me loads. I hope the feeling’s mutual. These days you have to program the bass and synths a lot more than you used to. I’ve always used 808s and subs and been a lot more musical so when I started working with Dan it was whole schooling in bass and synth programming.”

Nice. How long did the album take? And how much time was spent on arrangement? Arrangements can make or break an album.

Survival: “Yeah they can. We spent about nine months on the whole body of work. Once we had an idea of what we had we sat down with Ant TC1, listened to it all and thought hard about how we wanted to present it. Ant was really helpful, he had his own ideas and steered it the way it’s gone which was really helpful… We’d been staring at these songs for nigh on a year, so his fresh ears gave a whole new perspective. So after that we edited the songs down a bit more and considered how we’d do the interludes. We wanted the same momentum you get from a mix without it being a mix if you know what I mean.”

For sure. What was the most challenging track for you on the album?

Survival: “Give It Away was quite a challenge as it was something totally different for both us. It’s a different tempo and we had no preconceptions about where it was going to go and how it would end sounding. The interludes were an interesting challenge too. Obviously when you’re writing a D&B track you have a certain framework or idea in mind but these are totally freestyle. Walking around Lewisham Market was mad, just walking around recording everything going on.”

Cool. Love the title, by the way. Any story behind it?

Silent Witness: “It’s to signify landing back in the D&B scene after a hiatus. I thought it sounded good, basically…”

How does it feel, the week before the release of your debut album? Is it scary? Is it exciting? Is it a bit of a no man’s land waiting for everything to happen?

Silent Witness: “It’s exciting! There’s a lot of anticipation about whether people will buy it, bottom line. I’m looking forward to touring it and playing it to people who want to hear it. I wouldn’t call it a no man’s land. More eager anticipation!”


The wait is over. Download In The From Wild Now!


Drum&BassArena Editor: Dave Jenkins has documented beats for over 15 years working with the likes of UKF, Mixmag, DJ Mag, iDJ, Bandcamp, Resident Advisor, Radio 1 Xtra and many more.