Brighton boys Kleu have been making a name for themselves in the drum and bass scene over the past couple of years.
A string of high-profile bootlegs, plus releases on tastemaker labels such as DnB Allstars, Shimon’s AudioPorn imprint, Jungle Cakes & Rene LaVice’s Device, have elevated them from relative unknowns to the forefront of emerging D&B talent in what seems like a relatively short time.
We caught up with them to get an exKLEUsive interview…
Firstly congratulations on your Spotify Wrapped figures! An increase in listeners of almost 2500% is a pretty mind blowing feat!! You must be really pleased with that?
It’s amazing, we knew we’re going in the right direction, but seeing that just blew us away
Let’s get back to basics, tell us, who are Kleu? How did the 2 of you meet and what are your musical backgrounds?
Jr Red: We’re David (Jr Red) and Kirk (DJ Arcane), I’ve been MCing for a very long time. First, around the South Coast and then, after joining the Urban Agency in 2007, all over the world. Mostly with DJ Aphrodite, but also with quite a few other big name DJs.
Both being from Brighton we linked up originally so that I could put a vocal down on a track that Kirk had made (it was terrible BTW). As we worked so well together we decided to team up. The track actually got a revamp in 2019 and was the title track of our Big Time E.P. on Mollie Collin’s Right Good Records.
Arcane: I’ve had decks since I was a kid and have been DJing in clubs since 2009. DJing started off as a bit of fun but soon turned into a more serious occupation when I started to gain residencies around Brighton and London at events such as RK Bass, Jungle Mania, Breakin Science, Pure Science and WAH
How does the dynamic work between the 2 of you in the studio? Is one of you the engineer & the other the ideas man?
The process is literally split 50/50 between us. We learned production together, we started from scratch. I think part of the reason we work together so well is that we have similar tastes and a vision for what we want to create
You’ve had a prolific year of releases in 2020. I’m counting 13 releases over the past 12 months! I’m guessing you guys must be in the studio constantly to have notched up that much music?
From the start we agreed that we’d approach production as a 9-5 job. We committed fully, giving up our previous jobs to concentrate on music 100%. Literally do or die. So we spend Monday to Friday in the studio making tunes. We also have our own separate set ups at home so it’s not uncommon work for us to get projects started as and when
Do you have a tip for up & coming artists trying to improve their production skills?
YouTube tutorials are very valuable resource and learn where elements should sit in the mix
2020 has been a strange year for the music industry. Has your work rate in the studio been linked to being locked indoors?
We actually made less during lockdown as we were socially distanced for the first few months. After the first lockdown, it didn’t really effect our workflow
It must have been frustrating to have made all this music & not been able to get out and play it in clubs?
That’s something we try to put to the back of our minds, that’s a rabbit hole we don’t want to go down! It is shit though isn’t it?
Testing Out Music
You have a radio show on Flex FM with my mate Richie Weaver. Have you been using that show as a platform to get the feedback on your tracks that you’ve not been able to get from the clubs?
Yes definitely (Big up Richie Weaver!). We’ve also done a few livestreams over the year which is also good for feedback. We’re very happy with how our tracks are being received
Have you managed to play any socially distant events? How were they?
We’ve played some local gigs for Jungle Mania and Worried About Henry in Brighton (Big up the Volks Kru!). We also played Jungle Mania at The Oval Space in London. It’s obviously not the same as before, but just to be out listening to loud music and seeing familiar faces again is priceless
Brighton has always been a hub for creative people, especially music makers. Norman Cook, Friction, The Prototypes are just 3 names that spring to mind without having to think about it. Is there something in the sea water down there?
I think Brighton just attracts creative types. It has a very open-minded vibe to it that makes it easier to be different, which I think, in turn, breeds originality
You’ve recently collaborated with Something Something for your single on Device, and worked on a track with Mollie Collins for her album. Any other hot collabs in the pipeline?
We’ve got another track with Something Something on the way (it’s a banger), a track with Deekline & The Dub Pistols (absolute heater), a massive collab with René LaVice (proper cat-swinger) and a few more that we’re keeping under wraps for now (lock up your nans ?)
Finally what’s next for Kleu? I’m guessing it’s onwards & upwards?
We’re going to keep on chipping away and hopefully, when this pandemic is over, get out and show the ravers what we’ve been working on over the last year. Badabing-Badaboom!