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The Story Behind The Song: Bar 9 & PhaseOne – Why They Need Us

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Bar 9 collaborations are rarer than Peruvian gospel techno tracks…

Besides the still-massive Droid with Datsik, UK bass stalwarts Bar 9 have never really collaborated with other artists. This is partly down to the fact they’re already locked tightly into a ‘two-heads-better’ mindset, but also because their schedule wouldn’t allow it…

“It’s true,” admits Ollie whose dream collaborations include the likes of Michael Jackson, Hendrix, Dre and Pharrell. “We’ve always been too busy with our own stuff and had a lot on that if we start collaborating then we’d have even more tunes to get round to finishing!”

Their hyper-lean collabo repertoire makes Bar 9 & PhaseOne – Why They Need Us pretty special from the get-go, then. Add the fact that the tune SLAPS on a major level and that it’s helped highlight the skills of rising Australian artist PhaseOne and you’ve got something pretty special…

That epic intro, the lightning switches between 4/4 and halfstep, those thundering drum rolls… That awesome sample. There’s some serious box-ticking going on here. And it turns out we can thank PhaseOne’s manager Alex Tate for making it happen…

Tour manager for Bar 9 on a recent trip down under, he did the math, put 9 and One together, booked a day in Ministry Of Sound Australia’s studios and scored 10 out of 10.

With Ollie Bar 9 repping on the ground with PhaseOne and Martin Bar 9 repping over the wires back home, it’s an interesting combination of factors. We called each one up to see how it all added up…

I knew it needed to be a romper so I put a lot of emphasis on the heavy side…

The Story Behind The Song Part 1: PhaseOne

“It was a bit like ‘okay! I need to make an impression here!’ So I spent a day getting things together because I didn’t want to go in empty handed. I knew it needed to be a romper so I put a lot of emphasis on the heavy side, maybe a little more than I would otherwise. I started with the build up and the drop and worked from there. Before we even got the studio I sent him a clip and he came back straight away saying he was down.

Even though he was into it, I was a little nervous! Mainly because of Bar 9’s status and also because I’ve never met him before in my life. But within five minutes I knew it was very cool and chilled and lot of fun to do.”

The Story Behind The Song Part 2: Ollie Bar 9

“When Graeme (PhaseOne) sent us the ideas he was bringing to the studio I knew the collaboration was going to work well. I knew we had something really solid and fun to work on before we got there.

We only had one day in the studio, but it wasn’t like we had to have it finished by the end of the day. We did more than we thought we would. We were pretty much there. I played out the rough version while on tour so I could see how it works and knew we only had a few little tweaks before it was done.

There wasn’t much passing back and forth before it was finished. I came back to the UK and made some changes. I sent it to Graeme to make some changes then Martin made a few tweaks and that was it.

The biggest change was the sample. The original sample wasn’t particularly good compared to what we have now. It was about computer stuff. It nowhere near as dramatic as the V For Vendetta sample that’s now on the track. It was actually Alex the tour manager who found that…”

The Story Behind The Song: Martin Bar 9

“Alex’s contribution of the sample really was the final piece in the puzzle. It fits so well with the dystopian feeling of the track; it’s dark and ominous and the sample helped it all come together.

To be honest, the studio time was to really solidify the concept and structure of the track… But they ended up doing pretty much all of the work. Afterwards it was just a case of tweaking it and passing it around… The hard work was done by the guys on the day.

It think it’s funny he was nervous before Ollie arrived. In my experience that can actually be a great creative driver. It can also be a huge cause for the most painful writer’s block you’ve every experienced! In this case, Graeme’s nerves culminated in a sick tune!

Did I feel I missed out not being there? Maybe a little because the track is great and would’ve been a lot of fun to be there in the studio. But…. Too many cooks spoil the broth; if me and Ollie are there arguing over types of snares or compression on a kick or something irrelevant at that creative stage then it would have hindered the process. So my absence gave the track freedom. It was a product of that particular time. Plus I was back home finishing off an EP!”