Hard to believe it’s been six years since the Brookes Brothers released their first album on Fresh and Adam F’s Breakbeat Kaos label. With the first single from their long-awaited sophomore album, Orange Lane, having already hit the streets, melodic jungle, liquid, and jump up fans have been salivating over the impending full-length release. In true Viper style, the label will be teasing multiple singles over the course of the next couple of months, with the full LP not due out until late October.
Still, there’s no denying that with collaborators like ShockOne and Danny Byrd alongside guest vocalists ranging from ShezAr, Bossman Birdie, Charlotte Haining, and Pierre Da Silva, the 13-track album is set to drop a proper dose of the Brookes Brothers’ signature funk and soul-driven drum & bass on the masses.
While the brothers (yes, they are truly brothers!) have been unflinching in their love of soul, R&B and melodic, pitched-up drum & bass from the very beginning right up to their most recent hit, “Movin’ On,” Bassrush thought it best to grill the Brookes boys on their sound, how they like to work together and whether or not there’s lots of sibling battles in the studio in this exclusive Q&A.
The full Orange Lane LP hits the streets on October 20 so lock in your pre-order of this future masterpiece here and keep your eyes and ears peeled for more singles to surface in the coming weeks.
Your style has always tended towards the melodic side of things, especially soul and R&B. What inspired you about these kinds of melodies and why do you think they’re well suited to drum & bass?
We come from a background of listening to a lot of soul/R&B and we are huge fans of those genres so they have formed the backbone of much of our sound.
You put a lot of different beat formats to your songs as well. Even though they’re melodic, they run the gamut of liquid, jump up, jungle, amens, et cetera. How do you choose what kind of beat structure will fit a song, or does it go the other way around? Do you come up with a beat first or does the melody drive the beat?
We tend to do the drums after we’ve come up with a musical idea, very rarely we’ll start with a beat. We go through lots of different ideas for the drum track and figure out what works best for each tune. Sometimes it’ll be an old break layered up and other times it will be a load of single-hits combined together. We like to try and get the drums to wrap round the music.
How do you generally work together? Do you both work on all parts of the song or is one of you the beat man and the other the melody person?
We both like to work on all the elements. We have different strengths but we’re best when we’re putting our heads together!
On “Movin’ On,” you’ve got a sort of jump up/amen crossover and it’s very upbeat even though the vocals are quite emotive. How did you put those two elements together?
We thought it was a cool combo, and does something a little different from the usual D&B vocal track. It’s kind of a homage to the 90’s R&B sound mashed up with a jungle sound and a dubby bassline. The ideas come together very naturally and we normally write them in one or two sessions and then it takes a while to get the thing finished and sounding just how we want. We’ll redo as many parts as we have to.
Speaking of different, the tune definitely pushes the structural boundaries of the song format more than the conventional ABA/pop style. Was this on purpose?
We don’t have any rules really; we like to mix and mash styles without paying much attention to general custom—sometimes conventional arrangements work perfectly but we don’t restrict ourselves to anything in particular.
Talk about the vocalists on this track. Was it just one vocalist pitched down for parts of the chorus? Do you have vocalists you normally work with or was this someone new?
We recorded the vocals in our studio in London, layered them up a couple of times with different singers to get the effect on the chorus, and then it took a load of processing to get it right. It was a tough vocal to nail. Those classic R&B mics like the Sony C-800 are so bright and hard to emulate, but they’re about £10k so we tried our best with what we had!
The new LP is a ways off still, but can you give us any teasers on what’s to come before it’s full release?
We have a single called “Flashing Lights” out next month featuring SheZar and Bossman Birdie. There will be another single called “Waiting Right Here” featuring Charlotte Haining in October and then the LP will be released around then.
Any touring coming up?
We have a UK album tour alongside some fellow Viper OGs and then we hit Australia/New Zealand for an album tour in October.
Any collabs or other releases in the works?
We will be releasing regular music throughout the next 12 months. We already have new music that we are super excited about. There is a remix for “Kamille” featuring Avelino about to drop soon and a couple more remixes in the pipeline.
What’s one thing each of you can do that the other one thinks is totally weird or annoying (since you’re brothers)?
We generally get along really well but recently we have had to make a ‘No Looking at Phones’ rule in the studio.