Millions Like Us… One in a million more like.
Few acts have traversed the art of multi-genre, tempo-flexing with such successful consistency as this Bristol-based duo. We’ve uploaded two tracks from their recent Luminary EP in the past few weeks so we took the opportunity to call them up and analyse the development of their distinctive muscular sound via their UKF uploads.
“It’s one of those things you think about when you start out… Keeping your sound as your move from tune to tune,” ponders Ian, one half of the duo. “But I guess we’ve developed it naturally as we’ve jumped around different genres and tempos.”
It turns out their playful name came about through an old indie band Ian and his partner-in-grime used to play in. Roots that, while millions of miles away from the speaker meltdowns we know and love them for, play an influential role in their studio approach today.
“Me and Ian were making drum & bass on the side anyway,” explains Tom. “When the old band stopped we jumped on this full time. It was quite a pivotal moment in our career! We’ve both done degrees in guitar and bass guitar. Our musical knowledge has definitely played a part in our sound. It makes it difficult though as we have so many ideas! One thing we always want to have, though, is a melodic element and keep it as musical as possible.”
While this musical, melodic sound is currently sitting sweetly at 130BPM, it began at the more conventional 140 way back in late 2010 / early 2011. Which is where our Millions Like Us timeline begins.
Loick Essien – Stuttering (Millions Like Us Remix)
Ian: This is our third ever remix. We’d done a remix of a band called Hurts then a band called Morning Parade. Then this arrived. Can’t believe it’s been three years!
Tom: Time flies! It seems our UKF relationship has been quite strong for some time! Dubstep was continuing to blow up with every single track back then, and we were so inspired by it. Looking back we were only really getting our heads around our synths. I think we’d approach this a bit differently if the same parts came through now.
SOFI & Millions Like Us – Broken Souvenirs
Tom: This came out on Mau5trap which was definitely the biggest label we’d released with at the time. It seemed to take forever to come together with the video and everything, but we were so pleased when it finally landed. There’s a bit of guitar in this one which is actually Ian doing a bit of slaying!
Ian: We’ve recorded guitar on a lot of tracks but most of the time by the time we’ve finished it, it’s not recognisable as guitar!
Eddie K & Millions Like Us – Black Widow (Ft Hollie G)
Tom: This was a lot of fun to make. We’d been friends with Eddie for a long time and it was one of the first tracks we made when we moved to Bristol. Getting Hollie G on vocals was a real bonus, too. Lots of great memories on this one.
Ian: The idea of this was to start with an arpeggiated intro that would morph into that main synthesised sound. We were really happy with how it came out. It’s been one of our biggest tracks in terms of people supporting our music and getting in touch. Up until this point we’d had a bit of DJ support but this one enjoyed hype from everyone we sent it to.
Tom: All the big guys in dubstep were on it. It was the most obvious club tunes we’d made at that point.
Foamo – Sherlock (Millions Like Us Remix)
Ian: This is one of my favourites. You can hear our sound morphing here; less noisy in-your-face sounds and more of a skippy, garagey breakbeaty thing. We’d been playing around with bits of trap at the time so you might hear some trap elements but the skippy, switched up snares was an experiment which we decided to keep.
Tom: We’d got a bit bored of doing things at 140 so this was us experimenting again!
Ian: We were deep into the skippy garagey stuff and we’d written this big intro but didn’t want a blatantly big drop. It was an interesting challenge… And it was received really well!
Behind You VIP
Tom: The original ended up being really well supported. Skrillex had been playing it a lot and a lot of people had heard it. So we thought we’d do a nice free 140 VIP to keep things fresh and give something to fans of our earlier sound. This is it!
Tom: We wanted to include some trap elements in this because we were really feeling trap at the time. But we didn’t want to just do a straight up trap track which ignored the other elements and ideas we’d been developing.
Ian: Trap is an interesting genre. There are some really interesting elements to it – especially in terms of production techniques – but you need to find the right tracks. All Trap Music also shared this, which was great to get attention from a completely different audience.
Tom: We actually sent it to Skream, too, and he played it on Radio 1 which was also really cool.
Tom: This has been through so many different versions! We’ve loved and hated it so many times. It’s actually been a nightmare. But it was well worth it – so many people have given us cool feedback on it.
Ian: It started off quite trappy and had a full MC verse on it at one point. It’s gone through so many different versions. We’re happy we took the vocal off because the bassline speaks for itself!
Time’s Up (Ft Redders)
Ian: It’s got that skippy drum and bass snare thing that we love. It takes a long time to get those intricate sounds to sound like that! We also love that distorted bass sound too.
Tom: This is the third track we’ve worked on with Redders. He’s great to work with. Eddie K introduced us to him a few years back . He’s got a very distinctive tone. He smashed it on this! We’re hoping to get more tracks done with him in the future. Check out the stuff he’s doing with Sam Binga too – really cool.
Ian: The track was pretty much down before Redders came on it but we changed a lot of it to make sure his vocal cuts through. Making a noisy track for vocalists is a really interesting challenge.
Millions Like Us – Luminary EP is out now on Inspected: http://insp.ec/LuminaryEP