Photography: Sophie Harbinson
If you follow Keeno you’re likely to know exactly who the hell Becca Jane Grey is.
Vocalist on last year’s heavily rotated soully roller Light Cascading, one of the highlights on his album All The Shimmering Things, she’s swiftly becoming a regular partner-in-vibes for a growing number of D&B deepsmiths including Logistics, Macca & Loz Contreras, Dexcell, Bert H, Mr Joseph and Phaction.
Flexing a distinctive dulcet range from the smoky, introspection of These Days (with Bert H) to the more cosmically minded soul of Finding You (with Dexcell), you get the feeling that Becca is only just warming up. Having quit a career in fashion to study and work in music, she’s invested everything into her future in drum & bass. And with tracks with the likes InsideInfo, Hybrid Minds and Philth on the horizon, it’s paying off.
You’ve heard her voice, now get to know the soul behind it…
You quit a career in fashion to make this happen, right?
Yeah I worked in fashion making sample/prototype womenswear for M&S. I did love it for a long time and I thought that was my career. It was a unique role of that type in the company and I felt really responsible. But then the shine wore off. I always wanted to do music and I knew deep down that was what I was meant to be pursuing and I got really jaded with the fashion industry. My boyfriend at the time was a drum & bass producer. He’d heard me sing, encouraged me to write songs and I eventually enrolled in music uni. The rest was history.
So he’d just heard you singing around the house?
Yeah totally. I’d always written songs in my head but never sat down and thought about it properly. The encouragement helped. And when I did it, it kinda fell out and I thought ‘oh, maybe I’m okay at this?’
So what were the next steps after that?
So I made a few tracks with my boyfriend at the time. He was instrumental in getting me into this mindset, but we never actually made any drum & bass tracks. I did my first D&B tracks with Mr Joseph and they were my first D&B collabs. He was so cool to work with and learn from. The tracks came about really quickly and they were great to showcase to other D&B producers who I wanted to work with.
You’ve covered a strong range of sounds based in the more soulful, liquid vibe but you can hear the versatility in your style. Would that be fair to say?
I love liquid and that is the style that I first felt very natural on. I grew up to a wide range of soul and R&B so that style made sense. But I also listen to a lot of metal and grunge, I still listen to Tool all the time, so there’s an urge in me to do something heavier and darker. There’s space in my world for both for sure. I wouldn’t forsake liquid for it but I’d love to do more. That’s why I’m doing a track with InsideInfo.
Well that’s out later this year hopefully and I’m also working with Chords, BCee, Logistics, Bert H who’s kinda my partner in D&B crime. I’ve got a track with Lakeway and two with Philth, too. He’s my favourite fellow ginger in drum & bass.
Ours too. So it feels like you’ve never regretted switching careers. Or have there been moments?
I do love what I do and I’ve worked with some incredibly talented people and drum & bass is one big family, believe the stories, but there was a moment when I started at music uni and I realised just how little experience I’d had. I was surrounded by some insanely talented singers and it humbled me because I didn’t really have any experience or training. It wasn’t regret so much as ’holy shit, this is tough!’ As a result I took the degree incredibly seriously; I couldn’t fuck it up, I’d given up a job to do it. That was properly in at the deep end, but I grew a lot through it.
Amazing. Do you have any plans to grow things live?
Yeah I’m doing a show with Macca in August and I’m hoping to do more. My favourite live experiences so far were actually part of my degree when I formed a seven piece D&B band. We gigged for quite a while and I loved it.
You formed a live D&B band?
Yeah with some of my university mates. They didn’t really know loads about drum & bass so I made them playlists and sat down with them and went through the styles. They were really receptive to it, which was so cool. They were up for learning a whole new genre.
You turned them all into junglists!
Yeah! The drummer was into it but the rest of the band were new to it. It was such a cool experience.
Give me some other cool experiences…
I had this really nice message from someone fairly recently actually. I’d had a shit day at work and then was tagged on Instagram by a girl who made a timelapse video of her doing yoga to Light Cascading She explained how she’d interpreted the lyrics to being about being your own best friend and your own worse enemy all at the same time, but she wouldn’t have it any other way. That blew my little dome. How something I wrote can inspire someone else and give me a fresh perspective. The best bit in the video – she just lets loose and dances to the song. It’s lovely to know you’ve made that connection.
Liquid Drum and Bass has been a constant in my life since I was about 17. I can’t count the amount of incredible nights out, day festivals, weekend festivals, house parties, bbqs, long drives and emotional break downs that it has been part of. There’s something about it and I can’t really put my finger on it, but when a liquid song gets me, it really gets me. This is Light Cascading by @keenodnb (vocals by @beccajanegrey). I had the pleasure of seeing him play on Friday and eeek, my little heart broke. As I drunkenly told him in the smoking area, this song resonates with me hugely. For me, it’s always been internal battle of being your best friend and your worst enemy all at the same time and this song pretty much sums it up. It’s been a tough road, I drive myself absolutely crazy at points but you know, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Tear jerker. 🤦 Oh also, it’s great to dance to. 💃🕺
Any other cool moments of connection?
I did a tune with Centrik called Seraphic which was about an ex boyfriend who passed away. I had people message me saying it meant a lot to them. People have said they’ve cried over a track I did with Bert H called These Days as well. I don’t want to make anyone cry, but if you know you’re writing with real emotion and meaning and heart and it translates to people then that’s a very special thing to have been part of. It means a lot to me. You’ve spoken to someone through something. It’s weird but amazing. It means no one is alone.
Whose lyrics do that for you?
Dermot Kennedy inspires me massively, he’s got incredibly heartfelt lyrics and I feel I gather new meanings the more I listen to his music. Hiatus Kaiyote’s singer Nai Palm also touches me. Her descriptions of love and weird parts of the heart which you’d never think to describe in such a way, she’s got great depth which inspires me.
For a while it felt like lyrics in drum & bass were very generic and hyping the dance or being pretty clichéd. Do you agree. And if so can you feel that changing?
We’re surrounded by legends like Riya, Jenna G and Charli Brix who have always written incredible lyrics! And while there have been a lot of clichés and generic stuff in the scene, we’ve all been guilty of writing like that sometimes – it’s relatable. But there’s always new talent on the scene, which means new perspectives. I mean, love’s been written about for so long, you’d think you could run out of ways to describe it but there are a million ways to write about it and there will always be someone who understands things the way you translate that. That’s such a beautiful thing we have as humans, don’t you think?