This time last week, drum and bass heavyweights Chase & Status dropped their latest project, 2 Ruff Vol.1, which was met with rave reviews across the board. Here at The Standard, we awarded the mixtape (note: not an album) four stars, writing: ‘These overpowering songs belong somewhere dark, with your personal space invaded, where they sound nasty but nice.’
The 10-song project rounds off a huge year for the duo – they’re now entering their eighth week in the UK Top 10 with their hit single Baddadan, meanwhile two of their other tracks, Liquor & Cigarettes and Disconnect (feat. Becky Hill), are cemented firmly in the Top 40 for the foreseeable.
‘We almost made [the singles] to not do well commercially. They’re really raw. No music really, no chords and pianos, just hardcore stuff. So it’s a lovely surprise,’ Will Kennard (Status) tells me. ‘The lesson we keep learning is that you never know what’s going to happen, and if you try to do one thing it often won’t end up like that. Just have fun making music. Do something completely bonkers.’
2 Ruff Vol.1 takes its name from its raw feel. ‘Ruff’ refers to being rough and ready, no frills attached. ‘It was the quickest album we’ve written’, says Kennard, ‘it took maximum a year to get it all finished. We wanted to steer away from the classic songwriting that we've done in the past and do something really unapologetic, really raw, really rough – hence the title.’
Returning to their honest, uncomplicated and uncommercialised roots is also the reason they hesitate to label it an album: ‘We didn’t want to call it an album because of that classical thing, like albums need songs, or singles, or radio, and you start thinking in a commercial sense. So we called it a mixtape,’ he explains.
After a mammoth 2023 – including a groundbreaking 16 week Ibiza residency – there’s a lot to look forward to in 2024. To begin with, they’ll be headlining major new rave venue Drumsheds come February. I wonder, with countless achievements already under their belts, is there anyone they haven’t yet worked with that is on their dream list? ‘We’ve been loving what’s been coming out of the UK Rap scene. For me, one artist I’d love to do something with is Dave. He’s an iconic name in British music. He has so much depth to him as an artist, doing something with him – but slightly different to what he’s done before – could be magical.’
In the meantime, Kennard hopes soon to spend a Friday night as many Londonders do, at the pub with friends. ‘Weekends we’re usually working. I realised I haven’t been to the pub with mates for over a year. Our weekends just disappear. My ideal Friday night would just be going to a local pub with some friends and not going to a club. It’s such a wicked vibe around London Fields where I live. It’s such a sick area but I never ever hang out there.’ Chase & Status’ Will Kennard curates this week’s Friday night playlist. Listen to it in full here.
Cassö x RAYE x D-Block Europe - Prada
‘I heard this on the radio when it first came out and I had to quickly go and listen to it again because I didn’t know what I’d just heard. It’s a very clever, visionary record. It’s basically a trance record and I love seeing artists taking a leap of faith and putting themselves into a new genre. When they get it right, nothing else sounds like it.’
Flowdan, Lil Baby, & Skrillex - Pepper
‘We’re forever fans of Skrillex and how he’s managed to pioneer an entire genre of music. Flowdan too, he was already smashing it before we did Baddadan. He’s not a young artist, he’s been around so to see him come back and have this second wind is wicked as well.’
Bou and Chase & Status - Baddadan ft. IRAH, Flowdan, Trigga, Takura
‘The reaction is still just brilliant when we play this. It was a really fun record to make. There’s lots of parts to it but they all slotted together really well. We made it so quickly and believe it or not I’m still not bored of it.’
Chase & Status, Hedex, ArrDee - Liquor & Cigarettes
‘It’s been wicked performing this. ArrDee has come out with us a few times and performed it. He was coming to shows of ours as a fan before we did this so we knew he was kind of open to it. We love that he did something different and it’s been really great for him and us.’
Mr Williamz - Dance Haffi Nice (ft. Shy FX & Ms. Dynamite)
‘Shy [FX] is like family to us. Shy is the best at doing reggae drum & bass, Ms. Dynamite is a legend as well and Mr Williamz is the sickest artist. There’s no way you can’t not like that record. It's an absolute certainty to get a party going.’