Out this week: DRS returns with his first EP since his Mid Mic Crisis album – I Will, featuring beats from Calibre, Patife and Utah Jazz.
We say return but he didn’t actually go away – last year was yet another vintage for the Manchester MC as he, LSB and Tyler Dayley followed up The View with the equally stirring Missing You, he featured on Children Of Zeus’s Still Standing, which was flipped into an award winning slice of soulful D&B by Lenzman. DRS picked up some serious gold himself last year, too… Grabbing both Best Vocalist and Best MC at the Drum&BassArena Awards.
This year is looking set to be another gold one as the man born Delroy Pottinger as I Will kickstarts another year of major collaborations, shows, artistic development and even more positive vibe spreading than usual. Who knows? There might be an album…. That’s not confirmed at all, but as you’ll read below, he’s already scrapped one because he didn’t feel it passed his personal test.
Find out more, plus five other cool things we learnt about him…
Last year’s massive Missing You came on LSB’s album as it was too personal for DRS to release himself…
“Missing You was a beat from Luke LSB and it was going to be a DRS solo track, but it ended up on Luke’s album because it was too emotional for me to handle. It was about my mate Salford John who passed away. I didn’t feel right putting it out myself, so it’s good that Luke could put it on his album. It just felt funny, you know? Too personal. But at the same time I wanted the world to hear it and celebrate his life. I’m glad people liked it and taken positive things from it. That’s the only important thing.”
The first track DRS ever sang on was Broke’n’£nglish – Tryin’
“It must have been around 2006 and Chimpo sent me the beat. I was writing away and could really picture a singer on it. So, I put words down for them and just sang the lines for a demo – just so Chimpo got an idea of the hook. I sent it to him and said ‘ignore me doing it, imagine a good Manchester singer doing it instead’ and he told me no. He said it sounded sick as it was. He mixed it all nice and it was the biggest track Broke’n’£nglish had at that time. I started to understand the power of vocals then… We’d been rapping till the cows came home, this came along and the whole thing went up a level. As I’ve got older my belief in my ability has grown and I feel a lot more comfortable to sing and try things out of the box. It’s nice to push myself in different ways and convey different emotions. Creatively singing is the best thing I’ve done.”
The connection with D&B legend Patife came about through a communal Brazilian studio session…
“I was in Brazil on a little tour and I said on the mic, in a club in Sao Paulo, that I had a day off the next day and I wanted as many people to bring beats to the studio and we’ll get on some shit. I ended up recording 10 tracks. L Side, Nitri, Alibi and a few others more. Patife couldn’t make it that day but he was aware of the invitation so he sent me a beat later and told me how he wanted it to sound and what vibe it should be on. I listened to the beats and came back with something straight away. Alongside Calibre, he’s one of the only people in 20 years to actually brief me like that – most people like what I do and take what I give them. To have a brief like that was really interesting. I had the TV on mute in the studio and the news and shit was going on – I switched it off, that line came up and it wrote itself.”
It takes him 3 seconds to know whether he’ll work on a track or not…
“I’m a vibes man. I know within a few seconds if it’s a beat for me or not. I know a lot of guys will pull their hair out and really hammer an idea but that technique isn’t for me. It’s all about the feeling that the track invokes. I know my range and I know what works. When I hear something I know fits I start to flow straight away… Some of it fresh bars, some of it from my notebook on my phone. That’s just how it works for me.”
He’s just scrapped a whole album!
“The EP is an island between albums… I had an album finished and I chose to rip it apart and take these tracks out of it for the EP. I’ve got a much better idea and concept now. The album I scrapped as was as good as the other albums. Maybe even better. But because I’ve seen what I can personally achieve and realised how I’m changing as a person, I know I’m getting better. To round off a trilogy of albums it has to be better. It has to be the best. I don’t want a ‘good enough’ album.”
He’s a massive hippie at the end of the day.
“I’m a positive vibe-spreading, skateboarding hippie to be honest. The more the world becomes darker and untrustworthy, the more I want to put out positivity. If it inspires one person to have a better day then I’ve done my job. It’s not easy out there but we have to remember we have hope. The old bigots and fascists are on their last legs – they will die eventually and our generation and our children will have time to shine. People are out marching every day right now. However long it takes for the old world thinkers and criminals to survive, we’ll keep fighting. They’re trying to divide us but we have to stick together.”