Positive Vibes: Total Science

Positive Vibes: Total Science

Interview: Damian B

Positive Vibes: Tunes that fire you directly to the heart of Planet Buzzing, regardless of how annoying your day is. There are millions available, depending on taste and situation, but we reckon Total Science’s See Your Face EP on Shogun Audio is definitely a sure-fire candidate as a prize ‘smile inducer’ for all D&B fans.

To highlight this release, and to find out more, we caught up with Quiff and Paul to see how their year’s been, what goes on deep in the Total Science laboratory and, of course, what their ultimate Positive Vibes tunes are. Read on…

How’s it going in 2013? You guys are as busy as ever, what’s been motivating you and keeping you alive this year?

2013 has been a good year so far. We’ve finally got our first EP for Shogun done. We’re really pleased with it. We’ve also just come back from a month tour of North America which was unbelievably good! Music is a key part of our motivation and this year there has been a lot of great tunes about in all sorts of genres. We do feel that D&B producers have been upping their game again and a lot of older D&B artists who had been quiet for a while have been getting back on it again which is great to see!

Do you feel as energised as, say 10 years back?

It’s a daily operation for us. We still love the music as much then as we did back then, it’s gone throughout various stages and styles during that period… Some of which we wish it hadn’t haha! Apart from due to getting older and the real life situations that are thrown into the equation we’re feeling turbo charged right now! The scene has split up but there is still that loyal core who understand the roots and vibe of the true meaning of the music. That is what gets us out of bed and to the machines every day!

The See Your Face EP shows a lot of variation… From pure filth to deeper, vocal material. Where did the vocals come from and how did they come about? 

Quiff had the keys arranged in a different loop to start with. The loop caught my imagination so I chopped it up and starting playing with it over a beat. Riya has been a good friend for years and we wanted her to sing on it so she came down to my studio where we sat down and went few some lyric and melody ideas together.

We came up with “See your face” in reference to my mum who had passed away two years ago. We then decided to go down a lighter path with the vocals as the music was taking it that way. Riya had just been through a breakup and was thinking if she was either going to see their face again or not. After Quiff caught a vibe he sang the hook in a different style into his iPhone and sent it to Riya the tune evolved into the final product.

Suspicious has been around for so long in so many guises we can’t actually remember where the idea originated from, just one afternoon we thought that would sound great with a garage style rhythm, and it did. We have so many ideas going on at any one time it’s hard to remember how what and why!

I love a bit of Total Studio Science so can you give me some in depth thoughts about what you guys do in the studio? For example, the break on my favourite track on the EP Just Want You…

I don’t hear enough of this vibe. Do you guys look for samples and breaks same as ever?

To be honest we just fiddle around most of the time with samples and sounds. We spend a lot of time sampling and resampling synths and samples until they meet our requirements. As for the break in Just Want You, the process started about two years ago on another track. We originally started it with S.P.Y but we scraped the track. Quiff has put in a lot of hours in on the beat so we just kept it for the right time. Paul used it in another idea but it was lacking something, then luckily we discovered the Universal Audio UADs, particularly the Fatso plug in. Between the two of us, and some serious man hours of fiddling, we came up with the beat in that form.

In an age where people use VSTs and copy stuff off youtube, you must have knowledge not just honed from hours of studio time but seeing what works live, without parallel. So what are some things that you have learned over the years that you’d share with us re production?

For us it comes down to personal preference. As you mentioned YouTube, it’s great as you can now learn anything you need to know… But who wants to sound like the next man? It’s been done! We have always tried to personalise our sound; when a track is done we have another listen and give it that little bit more. Long hours and a belief in your own sound are essential. It might not be the flavour of the month today but so many times we have made tracks out the box or thought what the hell is that!?!?

The next thing you know it’s signed to Metalheadz or Hospital. Our only advice is be yourself, do it as you see fit and wait for the others to catch up.

Shogun is known for some pretty insane parties… how did it come to pass that you released the ep thru them?

We have known & been friends with Friction since he was a teenager and working on a little magazine. Over the years we have released his tracks on our label, as for this EP we were happy with the way Shogun handled the Gangsta 12″ we did with S.P.Y and the Feel Me tune we did for Evolution Volume 3. We had a few conversations… And not to mention the fact that Shogun is a seriously good label… We decided it was a good move for us!

There is a liberal use of Reece here on Hush Ya Mouth and I feel it is a tune built for the sturdier of clubs: where do you most enjoy smashing it, live? What venues?

It is a very angry tune which definitely gives it an edge in the clubs! It sounded great on the Fabric system in July and most of the USA dates especially San Fran!

Is there something that you’ve done that you really regret on the road or hinted at? Please tell us all details!

We are not ones for regrets. But over the years we have got into some hilarious messy scrapes, people always ask us this but  let’s just say it’s been a journey of discovery that continues to this day. Those who have been part of it all know… And I think that’s the way it should stay!

Do you have a great WTF YouTube moment?

How Animals Eat Their Food had us pissing ourselves…

Or any of the David Brent Microsoft stuff.

Finally, can I ask you for three spectacular Positive Vibes tunes? Tunes of any genre that are going to motivate you and perk you up better than any caffeine injection or intimate encounter…

D-living – Why

This reminds us of the early days – 92-94 – when we would go to the Paradise Club in Islington to hear Randall, Groove and Micky Finn. Just the energy of those days, it was all so fresh and new. You knew it was the start of something special. And here we are 2013… We were right!

Gangstarr – You Know My Steez

We love Premo and Guru (RIP). This is just a classic Gangstarr production; there are so many classics, but the beats and stabs on this will never fail to hit the spot.

Men Without Hats – Safety Dance

This is just great… What more can we say?


see your faceTotal Science – See Your Face is out now on Shogun Audio
Listen and download



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.


Observing the world, exercising the free spirit within. Talking about me, talking about you, and everything in between. Snapping things, objects, ...



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