Chase & Status - drum'n'bass producers, hell-raising live act, DJs, songwriters and studio pairing, Saul "Chase" Milton and Will "Status" Kennard - are a band with a hefty reputation. Having turned heads in 2008 with their first album, More Than Alot, the duo played weekend-defining shows at Glastonbury and Bestival and sold out huge headline tours in 2010. They also remixed tracks by Jay Z, The Prodigy and guitar doom-mongers, White Lies.
"The first album was a mishmash of styles and singers," says Saul. "We loved the fact that there was a lot of different tracks on there. No More Idols is the same and we're buzzing off it."
The nuts and bolts of this sonically spilt personality can be located in the band's formative years. Having met in London in 1999 via mutual friends, the duo bonded through a love of jungle breakbeats, garage and the UK dance scene. By 2004, Chase & Status had begun laying a blueprint for club domination, first as DJs and then as artists in their own right.
The Big Time came calling in 2006 when Chase And Status signed with Andy C's RAM label. The results were immediate: Come Back - a track from The Druids EP - received heavy rotation on Radio One. Further acclaim arrived when Will and Saul began work on their debut album, More Than Alot. The vocals of emerging hop hop singer songwriter, Plan B and rapper Kano were drafted in to add memorable pop hooks to their hard-edged sound.
"We met Plan B after doing a remix of his stuff," says Will. "And we worked really well together - the single, Pieces sounded huge. Kano's track, Against All Odds was a real hip hop number and that opened us up to a mainstream audience. More Than Alot became a real slow burner of an album throughout 2009."
Chase & Status were soon drawing admiring glances from impressive quarters. They scooped a Q Award in the Best Video category and opened their own label, MTA, where they signed hotly tipped duo Nero. A year on from the release of their debut, they were drafted in to produce and co-write part of Rihanna's fourth album, Rated R in 2009.
While Rated R scaled the charts, Chase & Status turned their efforts to improving their muscular live sound, which incorporated guitars, synths, MCs onstage and introduced the industry legend Andy Gangadeen on drums. It worked. They quickly became one of the most hotly talked about acts on the live scene and were asked to headline some of the world’s biggest festivals including headlining the dance stage at Glastonbury 2010. Then they shifted sights to the follow-up to More Than Alot. At first their personal studio work proved tricky. Having manipulated the glitzy pop harmonies of a mainstream artist, Will and Saul initially struggled to find the recording groove that informed their first album.
Featuring a team sheet that lists Dizzee Rascal, White Lies, Tinie Tempah and long term studio collaborator Plan B, No More Idols bolts old skool rave bleeps (Blind Faith) to quaking drum'n'bass beats and punkish riffs. Free download, Hypest Hype, one of their many singles to be A-Listed at Radio 1, saw DJ Fearne Cotton claim its clattering beats and waspish guitars had "scared" her into liking the band. Elsewhere, Brixton Briefcase features the album's only non-British contributor, Cee Lo Green.
"We've always loved him," says Saul. "He's got an amazing voice, but the album showcases other amazing new talent like Maverick Sabre, Tempa T, Liam Bailey and Claire Maguire. Basically we got to work with everyone we love. There was a lot of stress and a lot of paranoia along the way, but now we can't wait to send the tunes out there for other people to hear. We can't wait for No More Idols to hit."