Wondering why so many tune IDs seem to lead back to the mysterious CLIQUES lately…?
Or why Barry from EastEnders keeps showing up in your feed…?
Well, hopefully some of this can be cleared up today as we hear from CLIQUES, D&B’s latest anonymous anomily.
Their identity remains unknown, and the production levels suggest serious past tenure in the game behind the gold masks; but right now no one knows if they’re genuinely new to the game or just an exceptionally well kept secret.
Here’s what we do know…
CLIQUES began by releasing their increasingly popular CLIQUES Got Dubs series, quickly gaining momentum, remixing and collaborating with some huge names across the drum & bass scene. From sweet and silky liquid tracks like Heaven, through to annihilators like Scorpions – their tunes are engineered for the dancefloor but come in all varieties. Sing along and throw up your gun-fingers.
It feels like a bit of an overnight success for them, as they only began building their name through the second-half of 2020 – but who are they?
Digging through their very active Instagram, you’ll find recent posts of three figures dressed in all black, often accompanied by EastEnders’ Barry Evans – who seems to be heavily involved with the project. This stokes more questions than answers.
Hoping to reveal a few secrets, or at least find out what CLIQUES are all about, UKF reached out to the anonymous group for an interview.
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You’ve been floating around on Instagram since July 2020. Take us through the journey; what was the original mission and how far have you come?
We created CLIQUES in the early part of the first lockdown and our mission is to produce the best drum & bass we can and not be pigeonholed into one sound. On any given week, we could be working with a string section on a liquid tune or making a banger that will melt heads. Since putting our first tune out in September 2020, we have gone from 14 followers on Instagram to over 5000, and have 22 tunes to our name.
We have a deep love for D&B and we take our music seriously. But we’ll do our utmost to not just follow trends for the sake of it – whether it’s musically or from a social media perspective. There are too many pictures of DJs in front of graffitied walls looking moody – we are here to make big tunes, have a laugh, and do whatever we feel like.
Why is it important for you to remain anonymous?
Because we like to take celebrities hostage and make them perform CLIQUES music for our socials. We have stood next to ravers on dancefloors as our tunes have dropped and watched whole raves pop off and no one knows it’s us – including the DJ. We will continue to evolve, CLIQUES’ story has only just begun.
Are you inspired by any of the past incognito operators? – for example, Richie Brains or The Anxients?
Nothing but love, but we aren’t really paying attention to what people have done before.
Has there been any guesses as to who you are?
We get random names thrown at us constantly in Instagram messages including some of the biggest in the scene. It’s nice to know people think highly of us.
What’s the meaning behind the name CLIQUES?
The dictionary definition of the word cliques is, “A small group of people that don’t allow others in easily.’ But for us, CLIQUES is about creating something authentic that people will want to be involved in. Renegade art is at the core of CLIQUES and we want to make people feel entertained.
Can you speak about your background in music a little bit without giving too much away? Memories of raving, certain eras, or key moments that made you realise you want to make drum & bass.
We have seen, felt, and experienced some of the biggest moments in drum & bass. It’s in our roots as ravers, producers and DJs.
The promotions are hilarious and your socials are riddled with memes, but the music is no joke. What’s your goal when you sit down in the studio?
Our goals shift depending on what we are writing. When we are in ‘dub club mode’ the idea is not to dwell on the production, it’s to bootleg a pop song and turn it into a banger for the DJs. When we make a liquid track we are aiming for a timeless sound which is deeply musical. Then there are the vocal songs, which are more about connecting an emotion to an idea.
After that its straight up face-melters and dancefloor bangers. Drum & bass is such a wide genre, that we want to explore all it has to offer. As the world moves faster and faster towards wanting to consume things instantly, we want to make music and art that creates a legacy. We stay true to ourselves, take risks, and constantly push to improve our productions and contribute as much we can towards drum & bass.
At all times we make music that we want, and if it misses the mark but we truly believe in it, that’s all that matters. Eventually people that really get our sound will gravitate towards us. We stay true to ourselves and keep pushing. Consistency is everything.
Your remix of London Elektricity’s The Prescription is Love is fantastic and really shows off your range as producers. How did that tune come about?
Tony became aware of us through our CLIQUES Got Dubs series, which we have been releasing on our label, Cliques Collective Audio, since October 2020. Each EP release features a liquid tune where we have tried to push our own boundaries by creating music with a lot of live instrumentation – including string sections, horns, guitars and organs.
Heaven (from CLIQUES Got Dubs 2) and Best Kind Of Love (from CLIQUES Got Dubs 3) really popped off and Tony supported both of them. When he contacted us about remixing The Prescription Is Love we jumped at the chance, and are really happy with how it turned out. Getting a Hospital release within one year of releasing tunes as CLIQUES was a major buzz and we hope it gives other producers out there the motivation to aim high and believe in what they’re doing.
Speaking of releases, the label and catalogue is starting to look beefy with dubs, remixes, and collaborations – is there plans to sign more talent to Cliques Collective Audio?
Not presently, but we are building a network of upcoming producers and DJs, and when the time is right we will do something epic.
The artwork is distinctive, both on releases and across social media – what’s the inspiration behind it all? Or what does it represent?
Most of all we wanted artwork which you can instantly recognise as us, and to keep our brand cohesive. Within each artwork there is a meaning whether it’s a song lyric, memory or clue to who we are. It’s like piecing together a CLIQUES jigsaw and we will continue to build on it.
The face of Cliques currently appears to be Barry from Eastenders. Is he a bit of a D&B head then?
Yes. We took him hostage, he’s ours now. He loves D&B.
Your Instagram proclaims ‘no DJ sets until 2022’ – so what’s the plan for playing out next year? Will the identity remain hidden?
More to be revealed on this but trust us when we say it’s going to be special. We want to create dance floor moments that will stay with people forever and entertain the audience in our style.
Looking forward to that. What else is coming up for you?
We have done a remix of Paper Dragons featuring the amazing Ruth Royal on vocals, a tune coming on The Prototypes’ label Get Hype, an early stage EP that we are aiming to sign to Hospital, and CLIQUES Got Dubs Vol 5 is underway. We also have a wicked merch range dropping soon and we will be talking about this on our socials. Operation relentless never stops.
So much in the pipeline! Is there anything else you wanted to fill us in on?
Just a statement from Barry..
“No matter what CLIQUES say, it’s me behind the music. You can believe what you want, but it’s me Barry Enders aka Brappy Evans creating these bangers and I am an anthem making machine. No stopping until I’ve made a classic. The end.”
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