Future Vision: Deadline

Future Vision welcomes Deadline, a young London duo carving a powerful dancefloor-charged liquid sound on labels such as Elevate and Pilot. They’ll be joining us online with the likes of Winslow, Dilemma, The Caracal Project and more TBA at 7pm, December 31.

Usually when we are coming to the end of a year we are full of anticipation counting down the days until Christmas, but this year it’s fair to say everyone is instead counting down the days until 2020 is officially over… We’re nearly there, people. Hold tight.

This is definitely a feeling drum and bass duo Deadline have, but at the same time 2020 has been such a positive year for the London pair. Highly regarded as an act at the heart of the next gen D&B talent sweeping through the genre, Deadline have just had their breakout year. One where they’ve been able to officially put their stamp on the D&B scene.

Whether it’s releasing on Elevate and Pilot Records, or self-releasing on their own imprint, Deadline’s ability to craft feel good liquid/dancefloor infusions has been turning heads across the scene since they unleashed Dominoes with Charlotte Haining – a tune racking up more than one million Spotify streams in a matter of months…

It’s the kind of progress summing up just how beneficial this strange year has been for the rising D&B stars who are finally getting the opportunities they deserve. As one of the acts performing on UKF’S Future Vision – our immersive house party live stream NYE celebration rounding off the year with sets from some wicked next gen D&B talent – we caught up with Deadline to learn more about a duo we are going to be hearing a lot from in 2021.

We’ve nearly made it to the end of 2020… How are you guys feeling about the year?

Pete: It has been tough for us in many ways, like it has been for everyone. For a large part of the year we’ve had to adapt to writing tunes despite not being in the same place. But there has been an amazing amount positives for Deadline. It was a bit daunting at the start because we had these grand plans for our first single – Dominoes with Charlotte Haining – then Covid hit the week the tune came out…

Ollie: It was pretty gutting because Hybrid Minds were due to play Dominoes during their Printworks live show, and we were like – oh my this is going to be amazing… But then it didn’t happen. None the less, we‘ve tried to be as productive as possible during the year and write lots of music.

Pete: We’ve also learnt new production techniques. Had things been normal then we may not have had the opportunity to improve our writing. In a way, I’m glad we’ve had the time to progress as artists.

For next gen artists like yourselves, it has been a good year musically as there have been lots of opportunities to breakthrough.

Pete: Especially when it comes to live streaming. Artists like Something Something have absolutely smashed getting themselves out there. For lots of newcomer artists 2020 has been a great time for exposure. Even in the Drum&BassArena Awards, a lot of the names you saw on there were surely helped by their activity this year.

2020 seems to be the year you’ve really broken through as artists.

Pete: Definitely. We’ve been releasing for a couple of years now, but it was at the end of last year when Ollie and I got together and said we really wanted to make a go of it. The first track that came out of that pep talk was the instrumental for Dominoes. Having a shared vision made the difference for us. I’m glad you think it has been a breakthrough year because that was always what we hoped 2020 would be.

Ollie: We were in Brighton the weekend we started putting the Dominoes instrumental together, and when Charlotte came back saying she was going to sing the top line on it we were like – wow… From then the motivation really kicked in to crack on and write as much as possible.

It sounds like Dominoes was the defining moment of your year?

Pete: I think we’d both be lying if we didn’t say it was. When Charlotte said she was up for getting involved it was the first time we felt like we could go for it as Deadline. Seeing how it performed and getting premiered on UKF was so encouraging. Even in the midst of the pandemic, it was such a special moment. We mentioned not being able to see it performed at Printworks, but we did get to see it performed live by Charlotte as part of a Hybrid Minds’ set at 02 Academy Leeds in February. We were at the side of the stage feeling gobsmacked. It was an unreal moment.

Ollie: That tune has done so much for us. It has led to amazing things.

Pete: After Dominoes we weren’t sure we’d ever be able to write anything close… But all we could do was try and find inspiration for the next release, and working with incredible vocalists has helped us find it. We really enjoy working with vocalists. Having a strong vocal on a track can completely transform it.

Definitely! Looking at your recent releases, I do get the impression you’ve now found the Deadline sound. A more liquid one that still retains a dancefloor feel.

Pete: That’s definitely what we going for! I do feel like there is this middle ground between liquid and dancefloor where a lot of our favourite tracks stem from – particularly the late noughties and the years following. We’ve always wanted to bring this influence into our music.

Ollie: We used to be big into RAM a while ago – especially the more energetic liquid tracks from the likes of Chase & Status, Loadstar and Frankee . Maybe you can hear those influences in our music. It was their uplifting liquid/dancefloor style that inspired us.

It’s great because it often takes artists years to get to a stage where they’re happy with their sound, but for you it seems to have been quite instantaneous.

Ollie: It’s definitely good we’ve got that sound to us, but I almost don’t want to call it our defined sound yet. We’ve got loads of material behind the scenes that is quite different. The uplifting liquid/dancefloor style was the one we listened to when we wrote our previous releases, and it has become an ident of our music so far, but there are other sounds on the way…

Pete: For sure. Dreamer is probably the first curveball out of all the singles we’ve released this year. Obviously it’s too early to say, but as we move into 2021 it definitely won’t be the last one.

I like the mystery… Considering you guys only sprung onto the scene a few years ago, you’ve had a pretty meteoric rise.

Pete: It has been an interesting journey! We met in 2014 at Outlook Festival watching DJ Zinc. It’s funny because we probably wouldn’t have kept in contact if it wasn’t for us randomly bumping into each other a week after the festival… Following the festival, we would regularly meet up and mix for hours straight.

What was it like trying to initially get the Deadline project off the ground?

Pete: We were trying to get bookings but found it tough because we hadn’t released any music. So we started our own events company, Arcane Events, which we’ve now stopped post Covid. But it grew quite rapidly. Within two or three years we were booking idols of ours like Sub Focus. We were putting together all these great shows, but no one was coming to see us… So we decided to knuckle down and make some tunes, in the hope that people would stick around for our warm up sets, haha!

Shogun Audio seem to have been a good platform for you to develop as a duo, especially considering Pete’s close ties as label manager .

Pete: For sure. Working at a label certainly taught us both a lot in terms of how to market ourselves as artists and promote music. We had our first release on Shogun about two years ago, while Dominoes and Buttons were released on Elevate. Having Friction as a close contact A&Ring our music was invaluable for us. We’re very grateful for everything him and the label team have helped us with over the years.

It’s interesting to see you self-released your most recent tracks. How come you took that route?

Pete: We wanted to experience what it was like to self-release music and to run a full release campaign ourselves. Releasing Wake Up Call and Dreamer on our own imprint gave us the opportunity to learn the process a bit better. It was the next step in our own development. We even did all the artwork ourselves.

Ollie: And by no means does it mean we’re not going to release on any more labels. We’ve got loads of stuff! It was just an experience we wanted to try.

That’s wicked. So looking ahead, you’re going to be playing UKF’s Future Vision stream on NYE. Not the celebration you’re used to, but a good alternative?

Ollie: Definitely. We’ve been looking through all the tracks we’ve accumulated through lockdown, and with NYE in mind we’ve picked loads that we haven’t had chance to play out yet. All those big tunes of 2020 that I’m sure we would’ve smashed in the clubs if they were open. We’ve also gone back and picked out some gems we consider to be classics influencing where our music has come from.

Pete: We’ve definitely kept NYE vibes in mind – in the hope that everyone locked into the stream can feel positive and look forward to the year ahead with some hope.

And what is your hope for 2021?

Pete: If we can even build on what we’ve started this year then that will be enough for us. We’ve just finished a remix and have another one to work on over Christmas. Both will be coming out in the first half of the year. As far as our own music goes, there are quite a few bits in the works, which we feel really strongly about.

Ollie: I hope when clubs come back we’ve got a load of new artists getting booked on line-ups. It will be good to experience them playing out live for the first time.

That first event back is going to be magical!

Pete: Definitely. I’ve read a lot of books about the summer of ’89, and I don’t know if I’m jinxing it, but given the global circumstances it feels like we can expect something like that next year. The sooner we can get back to events the better!

The sooner we can enjoy Future Vision, the better. Join Deadline and seven more awesome new-generation acts on UKF, December 31, 8pm GMT. 

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