DG Exclusive – Interview with Brighton’s Bright Young Future Bass Stars: DrDr. (Interview)


I first came across DrDr quite by chance. I used to go this site called Mighnightxdrive. They had posted a track last year called Addicted, and I was pretty well hooked after that. It was rare to hear such a soulful voice with the perfect blend of restrained bass heavy beats. Sure there was an undeniable garage presence but there was also traces of house in there too. With a plethora of new material on the way, DrDr are not going away anytime soon, in fact 2013 may be the year they blow up large. They are certainly one to watch out for. DrDr are based in Brighton, and comprised of 2 producers , Chris Campbell and Joe Woods and vocalist Donna Cursons. Donna took time out to answer some questions from DG.

Let’s start with the obvious, how did you come up with the name?
I would love to say that our name is a reference to Robert Palmer‘s ‘I’ve got a bad case for loving you’ but unfortunately its a lot more simple than that. We had written a song and were looking for a name to call ourselves, at the same time our mates had told us a knock knock joke. And we thought could we call ourselves KnockKnock? Or maybe something a bit cooler.. DrDr.

How did you all come to meet? How long have you been playing together? Did you guys gel right away?
Me and Joe have been writing music together for many years and were in a band together before called Bassface. We then moved to the beautiful Brighton and met Chris. Through the miscommunication of our friends me and Chris ended up crashing at the same house and from the love of good music we formed DrDr. We wrote our first track ‘Wrong’ and learned how to work with each other. Its great to have found two wicked producers that are some of my closest friends to make music with, it makes the whole process a lot easier.

Are all of you from Brighton? I was there many years ago, had lots of fun at some of those seaside clubs. There seemed to be a strong art/music movement there, did that play a role in your development as artists?
None of us are actually from Brighton, but I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else (especially when the sun comes out!). Musically its brilliant, although we tend to gig a lot in London our Brighton shows are always huge and have a great atmosphere. With all the music festivals that are about and every venue having live music its a fantastic town for musicians to live in and has influenced us immensely.

I read somewhere that you got into singing because all of your other efforts disturbed your neighbors, That’s very considerate of you! Are any of you guys formally trained, or are you all self-taught musicians?
Originally I used to play Drums- I lived in the middle of nowhere so it was never a problem until we had neighbours! We all have musical backgrounds, Joe is fully qualified Bass Player and Chris is qualified Guitar player. Both studied at BIMM so gained a lot of experience throughout their courses. I however have only had maybe 2 singing lessons, I have mostly taught myself and picked up tricks along the way. Whenever I hear a vocalist that I’m inspired by I try to mimic what they are doing to expand my vocals.. Seems to have worked so far!


What are your musical inspirations?
If you looked at our Itunes playlists you might be surprised the vast genres we listen to. Anything from Ben Harper to Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Since we started DrDr our influences have been a bit more tuned into the genre we play out. Sbtrkt have been an huge inspiration, they brought something new to music and expanded our way of thinking. Burial, Jamie XX, Rustie and many more have been among the artists to influence the way we write music.

You’ve done quite a few covers and re-mixes, how did you get the original artists on board, did you contact them or vice versa?

The latest cover we did of Kissy Sell out and Machines Don’t Care ‘Ready for the world’. Was started when Kissy came to us asking for a cover, it was great to have such a renowned artist interested in us. Before our covers have always been because of an loop that sounds like the original and we have decided to run with it!! It’s great fun putting our own stamp on a track that’s already brilliant!!

What’s your methodology in composing your music, do you come with lyrics first, or a melody. How much planning goes into
developing a new track, or is it more a spontaneous/organic process?

We spend a lot of time together and because of that a lot of our tracks can be quite spontaneous. I’ve always found the more comfortable you are with your band the easier the music flows. It usually starts with one of the boys coming up with an 8 bar loop in which I find a vocal hook to go with it. After then it’s all about long nights and the boys working on the perfect bassline or beat that will make the track. Melody is always first for me.. Then come the lyrics.

You’ve been described as future bass, with a sound that incorporates elements of garage, soul and house. Is that what you’d label yourself? Do you think you’re part of a growing sound or do you just see yourselves as doing your own thing?
Like I said we’ve had some pretty big influences from some huge artists and from that different genres have crept into our music. Garage will always be a big part of it but as far as we are concerned our tracks have to compromise two things- you’ve gotta be able to dance and when we’ve done we wanna share it to anyone who will listen .

What are you guys currently planning as far as live performances? I hear your touring the UK, any plans for mainland Europe or N.America?
Our live performance has always been about bringing our live band background into dance music. We plan to bring more instruments to make the whole experience much more visual. It will all slowly come together but at the moment we use live vocals, ve20 boss delay, 2 macs, keyboard, a drum pad and an MPC. That’s enough at the moment!! We have been talking to a booking agent in America so hopefully be over there this year and will be hitting a few more cities in the UK including Manchester in June.

When is the next album coming out? Can you tell us anything about it?
The next EP will be out in the summer around July. It’s a much more dance floor EP. We have been dancing around to it the last couple of weeks and played a few tracks out at our latest gig which went down really well. It’s a bit different to No Compromise but still very DrDr. Until then we plan to gig as much as possible and will be releasing a few more collabs and covers before the next EP. So watch out!!

You may also want to check out:
DrDr’s “Ready For The World” Cover :: Available Now on Itunes
DG Exclusive :: Let Fury Have The Hour :: Interview with Director Antonino D’Ambrosio
DG EXCLUSIVE ::: Interview with Joseph DeMough :: Author of “Better If You Don’t Come Back”.

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