The Qemists | Artist | Dark DnB


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The Qemists are, in many ways, something of a Qonundrum. They’re rock fans seduced by the dancefloor, dance fans equally happy playing live instruments or building tracks on the computer, Drum & Bass aficionados who believe their hurtling breakbeats sound best under muscular metallic riffs. Their debut album, 2009’s Join The Q, balanced Junglist-Metal monsters like ‘Stompbox’ and ‘S.W.A.G.’, with wall-shaking Dancehall boomers like ‘Dem Na Like Me’, with a diverse guest-list including ex-Faith No More frontman Mike Patton, Grime legend Wiley and Drum & Bass chanteuse Jenna G.

Pumped as loud as your Hi-Fi will allow, or booming through the PA at one of their live shows, The Qemists fusion of genres make glorious sense. Having already won a fevered following across the globe for their ballistic dance music, they return with Spirit In The System, a second album that’s bolder and broader than its predecessor, their next evolutionary step in their fusion of Rock, Drum & Bass and everything else that they love.

The story begins a decade or so ago, in a barn on the rural outskirts of Brighton, where school-kids Liam Black, Dan Arnold and Leon Harris began making music together, as an escape from the mind-numbing boredom of their sleepy village. Even then, their work ethic was fearsome, meeting up to rehearse three nights a week, and all day Sunday. Drawing initial inspiration from the brawny Rock groups of the day –Soundgarden and Nirvana, RATM and the Chili Peppers – they kept their ears open and listened without prejudice. When they weren’t rehearsing in the studio or out at gigs, you could find them at raves, or losing themselves at Drum n Bass nights, and finding the same energy and dynamism that they loved in Rock music alive in Dance tracks.

Soon they were spending their days studying music production and technology and building Trip Hop and Drum & Bass tracks on the computer, and their nights and weekends rehearsing in the studio. A slew of lead singers filtered through the ranks, until the boys decided it was best to remain as a trio, and to begin fusing their electronic ideas with their work as a live group. “We thought, fuck the politics of being ‘a band’,” remembers Dan. “We could be producers, we could be the band, we could play any kind of music we wanted to, and people would just have to accept that.”
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