The Invaderz: Talking Headz
Nasty bass and loads of distortion… can’t really go wrong can you?
A name soooo synonymous – it’s almost a trademark in itself – with invention, gritty soul, dancefloor detonation, infectious groove (and downright filth, let’s be straight), The Invaderz have sauntered in and readied a fab, debut album in the form of New Found Dialect, out soon on Commercial Suicide.
Let’s step back for a mo and ask them about the roots of the legendary outfit… and eventually ask about that cover image. Surely the most ‘jungle’ for some time?
Darrell: I met Matt around 20 years ago while I was working for Jumpstart Distribution selling D&B and Jungle, and Matt was sending demos to a local studio around the corner from where I lived where I was helping out with A&R. I’d heard the demos and was really impressed so I asked Matt if he wanted to work together.
Right, onto the album… ‘Soul Glow’ and its big Swerve vibe, ‘Feel The Same’ & ‘Getting So’ from the album feels like a great triple intro to the way you guys flow in general, would that be fair to say?
Leo: Those tunes definitely represent an important aspect of the ‘typical Invaderz sound’, combining melodic elements, chords and samples into a framework of hard drums and bass aimed at the dance floor. The good thing with the album is that we’ve been able to show that we also work across a range of different styles alongside that.
Darrell: Yeah, I think those tracks are all different: ‘Soul Glow’ is a harp back to the Metalheadz style we done early 2000s while ‘Getting So’ is probably a traditional Invaderz track with musical intro and big bass and hard beats.
I think ‘Feel The Same’ is a more modern era type of track: this ‘power liquid’ genre, which I find hilarious as a sub genre label but I think it kinda fits. It’s not really something we explored much before.
Power wha? Moving on, Marky pops up here on ‘Love Vibrations’, I always felt an instant connection to what you guys do and the Brazil vibe, is that true?
Leo: Darrell and Marky have been friends for years, and we’d been meaning to work together on some tracks for ages, having previously remixed tunes for each other’s labels, for example ‘The Wizard’ and ‘So Low’. When we finally all met up last year it clicked really easily, on a musical and personal level, and we finished 3 tracks in about a week: ‘Love Vibrations’ and a 12 which came out on Commercial Suicide in 2013.
It’s easy to work when the vibe is positive and fun like it is with Marky, we’re definitely looking forward to more sessions soon!
Darrell: And we’ll almost definitely be featuring on Markys album!
‘Dream is Over’: love the bittersweet title yet baddass vibe on this.
Darrell: Simple Invaderz style two step roller: we were thinking dancefloor! Keep it funky, bouncy, and easy to nod your head to.
Wasn’t really any great high concept: just something people can dance to! Ultimately this is a dance music genre and we can do the more serious stuff as we have shown in the past, but sometimes you just want people to have fun and let their hair down and get into the groove of a track!
You guys get nasty on the ‘Bonesaw’ too.
Darrell: This is also a vintage Invaderz formula that we love: deep strings at the intro, and then big drop. Really influenced by Dillinja and Lemon D. A style of D&B that has slowly started to disappear over the years but we really miss it.
Nasty bass and loads of distortion… can’t really go wrong can you?
So overall what influenced the album over time, what made it come together… was it a series of sessions over time?
We had wanted to do an album for years, to have a chance to properly showcase the different aspects of our production style – we’ve never just stuck to writing one type of track, and a proper album – as opposed to a random collection of tunes – automatically demands a variety of styles, so it seemed to fit.
Also, we’ve found over the years that our tracks often seem to go under the radar for some reason, which is probably partly our fault for not releasing enough music ha ha, but also probably down to the fact that, as I said, we write tracks in a lot of different styles, so maybe it’s hard for people to pin down what it is we’re about. By gathering all those styles together in one place on the album, hopefully the identity of the Invaderz sound will become clearer.
So we’d been collating tracks for a while anyway, but the album really came together properly when Tom said he wanted to release it! Then we had a deadline and a goal to aim for.
We all felt really positive about Commercial Suicide, and confident that it was the perfect match for us, and we all respect the fact that Tom was willing to take a risk on us after we’d been quiet for a while.
What’s something you have learned as producers over time? I ask as you guys are basically timeless: it’s evergreen music.
Leo: We’ve always prided ourselves on writing tracks that we think are good, and not worried too much about what’s fashionable. It’s a waste of time getting sucked into following trends when producing tracks, you just end up chasing your tail and losing your own identity.
Trying to replicate someone else’s style always ends up with a weak copy of something that already exists. I know which one I’d rather listen to…
Obviously it’s important to ‘fit in’ to an extent, because it’s dance music and the tracks aren’t heard in isolation, but next to each other in the mix, so the production and the mix has to conform to a certain standard. But the challenge is to work within the framework and still do something that you think has musical value.
Darrell: Thank you, that’s a very big compliment because D&B has become so disposable it seems. For me, it’s about quality over quantity. We’ve written so many tracks that never see the light of day because we just don’t feel they’re good enough.
Also it’s never too late to learn something new. We are always asking questions from other producers and trying to get new production tips to make the tracks sound better. It’s very easy to get stuck in your formula for making tracks.
Where did the cover art come from? Pardon me for speaking out of turn but I hope that image is gonna be on posters all over the place?
Darrell: The image was something I saw on the internet whilst searching for ideas and inspiration for album art for this project. As soon as I saw it I had a really immediate visceral reaction to it. I just had that feeling. The other guys and Klute loved it when they saw it so we all knew it was what we wanted!
Back to Klute and CS, how did the linkup occur?
Darrell: I’ve been friends with Klute for years. We have had releases on Commercial Suicide in the past as well as remixes, so it was easy to feel comfortable on the label. Klute is someone who has built a label on the policy of releasing music he thinks is good and music he believes in, which doesn’t always follow the current trends but to the more keen ear I think it makes a huge statement about where his role lies within this scene.
And it’s easy to do a huge project like an album when the label trusts in what you’re doing and gives you the freedom to express yourselves clearly without rules and guidelines.
Darrell: First off got to give a big thanks to Klute for making this project happen. And then thanks to the people that have supported us since 99/2000! Also, all the DJs who play our tracks: there are some DJs who play our music consistently and keep us in the play loop. Can’t thank them enough.