Riley & Durrant
Research and Development album review
Andi Durrant and Nick Riley are justifiably well known for their excellent shows on Galaxy FM as well as their hectic DJing schedule and outstanding remixes.
Research and Development is their debut album. Here's what the guys say about it:
When was the album conceived?
Nick: Probably about 2 years ago - we'd got stuck in a musical rut - churning out loads of remixes and tracks to a set formula - they sounded ok but we could do it in our sleep and there was nothing challenging or exciting going on so we decided to take stock, stop putting anything out and start again with something that would keep us awake at night. We moved our studio out of the city, disconnected the Internet and spent over a year writing, collaborating and learning from different musicians and producers about things we hadn't tried before.
When did work start on it?
Nick: We started recording it Jan 06, and we'd got a rough copy finished by last summer, but as the title suggest we went back and did it over and over until we were happy with it.
Andi: The label (Newstate) really made us get the best out of it, and kept us going back to get it right
Where was it recorded?
Nick: We did the bulk of the writing and recording was done in our studio just outside of Leeds, with a couple of the collaborations being done in Sheffield and Lincoln.
Where did you find Gina Dootson and Ben Renwick? (Great vocals by the way)
Andi: Thanks - I'll let them know. We stumbled across Gina on the net - searching for somebody to provide some vocals for some demos we'd got. We were on a musician / band type forum asking for people, and came across Gina's stuff. We found out she'd already done an electronic track with Thrillseekers, so we asked Steve (Thrillseekers) if he's mind us poaching her.. We ended up doing 5 tracks together for the album and we're still writing stuff for the next project. She's from a totally different background of folk and guitar, so we learnt a lot from each other. Ben's in a band called The Outbreaks from Sheffield, and he was recommended to us for "My Enemy" by Paul Maddox (from Spektre) while we were collaborating on another album track.
How many tracks did you write/record to get to the final 12?
Andi: I reckon there's about 6 that never made it to the final version. We were very conscious that an album shouldn't just a be a collection of tracks that nobody would put out, so you stick them all together on one CD and call it an "album". It's hard to just bin stuff sometimes, especially if you've spent weeks working on it, but if it's not working you just have to press delete.
Who wrote what on the album? i.e.: did you split it between lyrics and music or did you both do both?
Nick: Pretty much all the production and engineering is done by Andi and myself, apart from the 2 collaborations with Hauswerks and Paul Maddox where we all worked together on the tracks. "My Enemy" was written by Andi while he was drunk and polished up in the studio the next day before we got Ben in to replace Andi's terrible guide vocal. With the tracks that Gina's on, some were top lines she'd already got and was trying out at her gigs, and some she started from scratch over our demos.
How much will it cost when it goes on sale to the public?
Andi: Not totally sure to be honest - I think the CD will be about £8-9 and you should be able to download the whole thing from ITunes for £7.99.
Are you already working on the next one?
Nick: Not quite - the summer's always busy with gigs, festivals and Ibiza so we're going to get this out first, do some live sets to promote it, and then look at getting back down to business in the autumn.. We definitely want to carry on making albums rather than one-off singles though.
I'd describe it as trance, would you?
Andi: No. There's a couple of really melodic tracks on there that you could definitely call trance, but hopefully when people listen to it they'll hear the same sort of mixed-up cross-genre stuff we play in our DJ sets.. it's starts off quite electronic and dirty before getting more warm and vocal.. then tough towards the end. There's elements of folk, chill, tech, trance, house, rock and acoustic in there, so I wouldn't be able to say quite what it is.
What/who influences you when it comes to making new music?
Nick: Nobody and everybody - we're into everything from early Oakenfold trance to the current Swedish house stuff, along with pop, rock and indie.
Andi: Through our Galaxy radio shows we get to hear and play a huge variety of music, from drum and bass straight out of a young producers bedroom, to big budget pop albums, so that's probably why we don't like to stick to one thing when we're making our own stuff.
Anything else I need to know?
Andi: Don't think so - if we've missed anything out I'm sure it'll be on the myspace - you can listen to some tracks on there to.. myspace.com/rileyanddurrant. You can also listen to our Nu Breed show on the Galaxy Network Thurs 11pm, and my other shows on Friday nights and the Warmup on Saturdays from 5pm.
As for me; I think without doubt it is the best artist album I've heard this year. it has one killer track after another and incredible vocal performances from Gina Dootson and Ben Renwick.
The time and care given to writing and production are evident on every track and there is no sense in which you feel that anything has been included as a filler.
For me the outstanding tracks on the album are Hollow, Aurora, Dead of the Night and My Enemy and I suspect we'll be hearing much more of these tracks in clubs up and down the country in the months to come.
In my opinion every DJ who aspires to make their own album should listen to Research and Development first to see how it's done.
I urge you to buy it as soon as you can.
2 Experiment No.1
3 Hollow (with Gina Dootson)
5 Dead of Night (with Gina Dootson)
6 Interlude: Monday Blues
7 Tear Down the Walls (with Gina Dootson & Paul Maddox)
8 Experiment No.2 (with Hauserks)
9 Rock School
19My Enemy (feat Ben Renwick)
11 Magnificent Love (feat Gina Dootson)
Released on New state Music catalogue number: cd9017