What Came Before

What Came Before

On 2019’s RTRN II JUNGLE, bass music icons Chase & Status got reflective and plowed the formative ’90s jungle scene for inspiration, with tracks featuring ragga and jungle OGs including General Levy and Cutty Ranks. What Came Before sees the London duo go even further back. “It’s all in the title with this album,” says Saul “Chase” Milton. “It’s taking us to a place before we made our first tune, before we went to our first rave, and before we heard jungle. What was it that got us into wanting to do this in the first place?” With hardcore and rave influences at its forefront, What Came Before knowingly nods to dance music icons including The Prodigy, Orbital, and 2 Bad Mice—but there’s also echoes of grunge and early hip-hop as the pair dig deep into the early influences that made them. Typically, though, there are bold looks to the future with features from drill MC Unknown T—who lends his vocals to the raucous riddim of “Run Up”—and BackRoad Gee (guesting) on the searing “When It Rains.” Here, Milton guides us through the album, track by track. “Don’t Be Scared” (feat. Takura) “We originally wrote this around 2010, during the [second album] No More Idols sessions. It was the same time we wrote ‘No Problem’ with [Zimbabwean vocalist and songwriter] Takura, and he wrote and recorded the incredible vocals for this too. Then, for the next 10 years, we tried turning it into loads of different tunes, and this time we got it just right. It’s a really minimal track, and a lot of the melody’s born in the percussion, but then we’ve got an acid line in there giving it a hardcore reference and a few dubstep elements too. We’ve been playing it out and the reaction it gets is incredible.” “Go” “This track is a real nod to The Prodigy, who are probably our biggest influence. If they hadn’t existed, we probably wouldn’t be making music, and playing their Warrior’s Dance show at Milton Keynes Bowl in [2010] was a real moment for us. That was career-changing and showed us what we could potentially do as a live act. It’s a recurring theme on this album, but it’s always important to recognize and celebrate your influences.” “Censor” (feat. Popcaan & Irah) “Originally, we sent a dancehall tune we had written to Popcaan, and he really loved it. He came into the studio in East London, where we had a wicked evening and he recorded vocals for this. Then we flipped it into this deep, dark, driving drum ’n’ bass tune. It’s pretty magical hearing Popcaan on a drum ’n’ bass track, and there’s this really nice back-and-forth between him and Irah, who’s pretty much a full-time member now.” “Mixed Emotions” “We started playing this out and realized almost instantly that it could be a big track for us. It’s quite ’90s-influenced and has a ravey, hands-in-the-air, euphoric feel to it. The vocal by Clemmie Douglas has a bit of a hardcore flavor, and we’ve combined that with classic Chase & Status driving and emotive production. Clemmie absolutely killed the vocal and really encapsulated the era we’re trying to recreate.” “Over and Done” (feat. Pip Millett) “Pip is one of our favorite new artists. She’s from Manchester, and we’ve always had an affinity with the city, as we lived there for six years. We did a bunch of tunes with Pip in one day, and I was surprised but ecstatic that she picked this beat out. It was so effortless and loads of D’n’B DJs we’ve sent the album out to have been playing this one loads.” “Run Up” (feat. Unknown T) “We’ve always been big fans of UK rap, grime, and drill, and love Unknown T. The tone of his voice is just amazing. We’ve been making a lot of drill beats recently, and there’s really innovative and exciting things you can do with that tempo. We recorded this vocal over a drill beat, as I think you always get the best out of people if you work in their comfort zone, and then we’ve flipped it into a 140 BPM, hardcore, jungle beat afterwards.” “5am” “It’s about being in the rave at 5 am, maybe slightly inebriated, and just enjoying that euphoric release. It’s a real nod to people like Moving Shadow and 2 Bad Mice—some of the original hardcore producers. It really does transport you somewhere else.” “Headtop” (feat. Irah) “Irah shows his versatility here. Usually, his vocals are quite hard and aggressive, but here he switches it with a really beautiful, sweet, and euphoric topline. And he spits in the track as well, so you get to see all sides of him. It’s one of the slower tracks on the album, with a real late-night vibe.” “When it Rains” (feat. BackRoad Gee) “I think it was December 2020 when myself and Will were talking and said we really need to work with BackRoad Gee. He’d just done that amazing track ‘My Family’ with Pa Salieu, and he’d done a great Ghetts collab too. I went to DM him on Twitter and by coincidence, he’d already DM’d us that day! It felt like fate and, two days later, we were in the studio. We must have made about 67 versions of this to get it right, but it’s so good to hear BackRoad Gee bringing his energy to a drum ’n’ bass track.” “Hold Your Ground” (feat. Ethan Holt) “Ethan is a very talented student at East London Arts and Music—a school Will helped found. He came into the studio, put down this beautifully emotive song, and it was really incredible to see someone so young create something so powerful, in what could have been quite a pressurized environment for him. It’s got an early Chase & Status feel and could be on No More Idols.” “Blazer” (feat. Irah) “There’s a big nod to our dancehall influences on this. Irah is doing what he does best—deep, dark MCing—but then there’s a really beautiful topline from him too. We called it ‘Blazer,’ as we were conjuring up this imagery of an MC at the front of a sound clash, dressed to the nines and just owning the crowd.” “Consciousness” “LTJ Bukem and Marcus Intalex were both huge influences on us, and this track references their sounds. You can hear it in the jazziness and deepness of it. We lost Marcus a few years ago, sadly, and it was really devastating for the scene. He was such a beautiful guy, and his whole vibe was incredible. LTJ Bukem was just groundbreaking when he broke through in the ’90s, and you can hear his influence here too.” “Forgive Dark” “This is another instrumental that’s dark, deep, and feels like the perfect way to finish the album. It feels like we’ve brought the sound up to date with the sounds and sonics at this point and caps the album off perfectly.”

Select a country or region

Africa, Middle East, and India

Asia Pacific


Latin America and the Caribbean

The United States and Canada