Josh (Subdivision) and Luke (Precision) slid into the scene last year with the subtlety of a bullet train, bringing with them music that’s just as sleek as it is explosively fast paced. The pair had done the rounds previously under their respective aliases, but Koherent brings them together under a newly furnished veneer of professionalism and minimalist creativity that sits perfectly in-line with D&B’s new wave of production talent.
That new wave, consisting of artists such as Deadline, Data 3 and GLXY, is arguably the most exciting force in D&B at the moment. We’re being treated to freshly concocted sounds of varying styles from fresh-faced talent on an almost weekly basis now and Koherent told me they see themselves as “wanting to be part of it”, a feat which they’ve certainly accomplished.
Their debut single Minimal Clap & Night Cycles on SGN:LTD was the first chapter in Koherent’s attempt to “to cement our name in the scene as well and get our name known for doing something a particular way and for making certain types of music”, a mission statement which reflects their new-comer status whilst displaying their determination to make Koherent exactly what they want it to be.
Despite that determination, Josh & Luke have an air of haphazard nonchalance whilst they describe coming up with the name Koherent in a pub or how they started the formidable UGH off of their forthcoming Dispatch EP as a joke. It’s testament to how far the two have come in such a short space of time. Last month’s feature on Med School’s New Blood compilation and an exceptionally good incoming EP on Dispatch Recordings display that most of all however, so I caught up with them to discuss those releases, the origins of Koherent and where they think they might end up.
So, tell us the story of how Koherent came about…
Josh: I was working at a company called Samplephonics in Leeds and a guy who turned out to be Luke rung us to ask about placements, so I just passed him onto my boss. Then the next day I spoke to a guy called Precision on the D&B forum who was asking for feedback on a track. I listened to it and thought it was a sick tune, I hit him up on Soundcloud and after a bit of discussion it came out that I’d spoken to him on the phone the day before.
Luke: I saw on his Soundcloud that he was from Leeds and so I asked him what the music scene was like because I was moving there for placement.
Josh: There was just a moment in the conversation where we both just went ‘oh my god’ and realized who the other person was – it was crazy.
When was this?
Josh: Last year.
What had you released prior to becoming Koherent?
Luke: We had a joint EP on Soul Trader as Precision and Subdivision before then.
Josh: That was the release that made us think ‘ok this is working pretty well’.
Did it come together quite naturally in the studio?
Luke: It did, yeah. When I moved to Leeds permanently Josh and I met up, made some tunes and sent them over to Pete, who works for Shogun. They basically took an interest in Minimal Clap and when we realised the kind of success we were getting from that, we decided to come up with a name and Shogun recommended we did that as well.
What’s it like working with Friction and the Shogun Crew?
Josh: Amazing man. Really weird as well, when we got the email back from Friction about Night Cycles he sent us emojis and my inner fanboy was doing backflips.
Luke: He literally sent ‘dem shuffles’ with the ‘perfect’ hand emoji.
Josh: We were just like ‘what the hell?’ Then, once Night Cycles was done and the single idea was there, we just needed to make a name because we were still Subdivision and Precision at that point.
Luke: Yeah, we kept sending names to Shogun and it got to the point where we’d lost the plot so much and I don’t know where this came from, but Jah came up as a possible name, we sent it to Shogun and literally their entire office was pissing themselves.
Josh: Friction was apparently creasing for absolutely ages about that. I think we came up with Koherent after that, but we didn’t really like the name for some reason which sounds stupid but when you’re doing that sort of thing it’s really hard to know. We just sat in this pub, which is now known to us as the legendary pub visit because we were there for about ten hours – we already had Koherent at the start and by the end we were just like ‘let’s stick with Koherent.
Luke: But what’s amazing about working with SGD:LTD as it’s obviously a wicked label – I was listening to their music years ago, it’s just brilliant. Guys like Alix Perez and Spectrasoul did their early releases on there as well, so to be kind of alongside that and for them to put so much trust in our debut releases is just an amazing feeling.
That’s wicked. Let’s talk about your recent and upcoming releases – a track on Med School’s New Blood’ album & an EP on Dispatch?
Luke: Yeah, so we’ve got a tune called Low Key which came out on Med School for their New Blood compilation. That tune started when I was in the shower and I just started humming it. We actually didn’t think we were going to get the Med School release, we had like four days or something to write it.
Josh: It was a week tops, yeah.
Luke: We kind of decided that we weren’t going to do it and then I just had the idea in the shower, got on the computer and it just popped out.
Sick. Depth Charge on Dispatch then, how did those tracks come about and how did you build a relationship with Ant TC1 and the crew?
Josh: Yeah, so we’d finished three of the tracks on it before we sent it to Dispatch. The first one was Depth Charge, which was originally a Subdivision track I made about a year before we both started working on it.
Luke: I really liked the bass, I thought it was sick, but you hadn’t done many heavy tunes had you?
Josh: No not at all, but that was the one which went on the Ninja Ninja Subdivision mix and a lot of people messaged me asking what it was, I still get messages now even though it’s coming out quite soon. Luke basically just remixed it.
Luke: Essentially yeah, so we kept it as a Koherent tune.
Josh: That was the track around which we decided to create the EP because we thought it was quite strong.
Very strong. Tell us about UGH because I absolutely love that track.
Luke: Well what can we say. That started as a laugh, we weren’t really getting many ideas together and nothing was really happening, so we thought we’d make a jump up tune as a joke.
Josh: We shared a Facebook video with the barebones of the tune and were like right, let’s just get some exposure and have a laugh and it somehow became this big thing.
Luke: Everyone wanted it! We were getting messages from Jay Ill Truth and loads others asking for it.
Josh: We literally started it half an hour before and I was just thinking ‘cmon, we can’t finish this, we can’t be serious’.
Luke: It was just outrageous. That tune was a nightmare because it’s so minimal and in a weird way, it went through about four intros before it ended up being the way it is. Honestly, it was the second hardest tune we’ve ever had to do.
So…..the future. I want to know, in terms of labels, are you guys looking to sign exclusively or are you going to shop around?
Luke: I don’t even know if we can speak about this, it’s a grey area where we don’t know what we’re allowed to say.
Josh: [laughs]. Yeah….
The fact that you can’t tell me anything suggests you’re leaning towards an exclusive signing…
Luke: I think we are aiming for an exclusive signing.
Josh: Yeah definitely. We’ve obviously got some releases coming up soon, but they’ve taken a long time. The Dispatch stuff was made in May last year, so nearly a year ago, and we’ve basically spent that time since collating loads and loads of material, with the aim to pitch it as ideas to certain people.
Which labels would you love to get your stuff out on?
Luke: Well Shogun is obviously a great one, we’ve enjoyed working with them. Aside from Shogun, Critical is definitely a label I’d like to release on.
Josh: Exit would be the other one for me.
Luke: Exit definitely. 1985 as well – even starting up our own label to release on eventually would be cool.
Josh: Yeah, we’re a long way off that. We’re still very early days, so to have Shogun place their faith in us so early on means that we’re super focused on that side of things. We’re still sending stuff to Friction and the office all the time.
So, we can expect more music on Shogun from you guys?
Josh: Well we would absolutely love to! Let’s see what the future brings.
It seems like you guys are in a bit of a honeymoon phase, where you’ve got some exposure via Shogun and you’ve got releases incoming on Med School and Dispatch, so you’re just dialling in what you want from the next couple of years and making the music to go with it.
Luke: That’s exactly what’s happening yeah.
Josh: That’s it yeah. We’ve got some really cool stuff coming up that we can’t talk too much about, but what you’ve just said is where we’re at right now.
Luke: We’re trying to cement our name in the scene as well and get our name known for doing something a particular way and making certain types of music.
Is it going better than expected?
Luke: A thousand times yes. We’re still a little bit shocked at where we are and a lot of the people we talk to or liaise with are people who, if you rewound to two years ago, I wouldn’t have thought I’d speak to for another ten years.
Josh: We played a set in Manchester and people were coming up to us and asking for photos afterwards – it was crazy! We’re quite careful to make sure we take stock of what we’ve done and it’s going great, but we’re quite reserved about it really.
Haha wicked. That about covers it, is there anything you guys wanted to talk about which I haven’t given you the opportunity to mention?
Josh: We want to give a shout out to our new producer buddies.
Luke: Yeah and other up and comers who we think are going to kill it this year.
Luke: The Revaux boys who are doing really well and have some big things in the pipeline, Aperio, Ill Truth, Sustance, Phaction, Constrict and Deadline. Big ups to all of those guys, they’re going to have a cracking 2018.
Josh: Yeah, the only other thing we could say as well is we’ve got a collab coming up with some guys we’re really feeling at the minute, Data 3.
Luke: Then we’ve got a feature on a Flexout EP.
Josh: There’s the collab with Constrict on the Dispatch EP, we’ve got a collab with GLXY coming and there’s also a collab featuring Charli Brix in the works too. Oh and we’re also making a tune with Ill Truth as well.
It sounds like you guys are collaborating with all the right people; small but in your niche.
Josh: We’re hoping to be part of this new wave of producers that are coming through at the moment.
Luke: Which do feel like is 100% a thing, there’s definitely a wave of producers all rising up together at the moment and we want to be part of it.