My Chase & Status interview in Metro today

This video is epic. Tempa T is the henchest hypeman in the world.

Anyways onto the matter at hand - I've got lots of respect for Chase & Status. I first remember writing about Chase & Status five or six years ago when they collaborated with Gappy Ranks on Duppyman. It was clear then, that they had the X-factor when it came to crafting epic, banging d&b.

Early last year I interviewed Will and Saul for a piece in the Independent on how d&b is revitalizing itself with producers such as Chase & Status and Commix broadening the sonic well it draws from. And I popped back to their Southbank studio two weeks ago to chat to them about mosh pits, working with Rihanna and spotting new talent. You can read it on the Metro website here, or peruse it here.

And don't forget, Hypest Hype, out today is available as a free, yes gratis, download from Chase and Status website. You can find a link at the bottom of this piece.

Chase & Status: Marking their own territory
Chase & Status, the production duo of the moment, spill the beans on working with Rihanna and how they get the crowds pumped up at their gigs.

Saul ‘Chase’ Milton and Will ‘Status’ Kennard break off from opening bags of Fred Perry freebies to give Metro a guided tour of their upgraded studio. When we were there early last year, it was a smart, functional room in pop mogul Pete Waterman’s warren of studios in the iconic County Hall adjacent to the London Eye.

Now Chase & Status have enough space for two rooms of neatly arranged kit, a vocal booth, a private cinema and a chill-out area with a Street Fighter arcade machine and a growing collection of awards, including their recently scooped Q Best Video gong (for End Credits). So far, so pimp.

The improved set-up isn’t excessive for a duo who, in two years, have gone from drum’*’bass heroes to daytime radio regulars and Top Ten artists. Debut LP More Than Alot (2008) took their crackling arrangements of beats and bass beyond clubland to America’s rap and pop A-list: Snoop Dogg reworked Chase & Status’s Bollywood-dubstep monster Eastern Jam and before long they were producing Rihanna’s Rated R (2009) album.

This year, however, has been focused on developing Chase & Status as artists in their own right – they’ve toured relentlessly and written sophomore album No More Idols (out on January 31). Like More Than Alot, it’s a celebration of rising home-grown talent, including indie rockers White Lies, ferocious grime MC Tempa T, Plan B protégé Maverick Sabre, soulster Liam Bailey and emerging singer/songwriter Clare Maguire.

‘British music is the most exciting and fast-moving in the world. We set trends here and the new album is a big nod to Britain and how strong our music is scene is,’ says gregarious 29-year-old Milton. The laid-back Kennard, reclining on the sofa, observes: ‘It’s about spotting talent that has something different and these artists have something unique. They’re young, hungry and want to prove themselves. That’s when you get great material.’

The artists on No More Idols will hope to enjoy similar success to More Than Alot guests Plan B (who has two Top Three singles) and Digga (who, under the name McLean, was Top Ten in March). Do Milton and Kennard take pride in the British urban scene conquering the mainstream?

‘It’s great to see and be involved – the industry is no longer scared to support British urban talent and doesn’t rely on the US to take over the charts, which is what used to happen,’ says Milton. ‘The Americans have been keen to get us involved with working on Rihanna’s album, Snoop was on stage with Tinie Tempah at Glastonbury, and John Legend is on the Magnetic Man album. There’s a real coming together of worlds.’

There are two high-profile guests on the new album: one is Dizzee Rascal, whose jagged, fevered flow on the brutal track Heavy exhilarates; the other is Cee Lo Green. However, they seem slightly apologetic that an American should feature, even if Green is a man of the moment (‘He’s talking about London,’ reasons Milton, ‘and using London slang’).

Kennard and Milton’s club background means their transition to the live arena – Chase & Status live is breathless, replete with a rolling cast of vocalists, furious drumming, mesmerising projections – and rowdy crowd antics has not been without surprises. The video for supercharged new single Hypest Hype (out Monday), starring Tempa T parading his rippling torso as he works the audience into a foaming frenzy, hints at the madness.

‘At first we thought moshing at our gigs was strange but now it happens at our DJ gigs too,’ says Kennard. ‘It’s standard now – if there’s no moshing or people punching each other in the face, we think it hasn’t been a decent gig,’ jokes Milton. ‘The new thing at our gigs stems from The Prodigy gig we did at Milton Keynes Bowl in the summer. ‘Plan B split the crowd of 65,000 in two halves and on the drop of the bassline charged each other. I looked at Will with a look of horror and carried on playing the guitar.’

It’s these kinds of reactions that have encouraged Kennard and Milton to weave guitars and a rock feel into their high-octane, bruising sound. ‘It’s been inspired by our shows: we’ve kept the energy of dance production but layered a few guitars,’ says Kennard. ‘Also, we’re aware in Britain that everyone’s going for a synth and trance sound so we thought, let’s do something different.’

‘The great thing is we can do dubstep, hip hop, drum’n’bass, rock, pop – we were vibing to pop in the studio with Rihanna. If our friends saw us, they’d be ripping us to shreds,’ laughs Milton. ‘There’s no strict format or BPM: we have the ability and confidence to turn our hands to whatever we want to do.’

A free download of Hypest Hype is available on Monday via www.chaseandstatus.co.uk

No More Idols (Mercury) is out on January 31.