Delta Heavy are the most exciting duo to hit dancefloors since Chase & Status and Nero, although if anything their music is even harder and heavier, darker and more multi-textured. Having conquered the clubs, however, their newer tracks are becoming more song-oriented, pointing towards a debut album that will surely be hailed as one of the year’s best, designed to satisfy bass-heads and traditional music-heads alike.
Simon James and Ben Hall - met at Nottingham University in 2003 they zeroed in on the city’s drum & bass scene spearheaded by nights such as Detonate and clubs such as Stealth.
After several years of hard graft, their debut release appeared on Viper’s acclaimed Acts Of Mad Men compilation in June 2009. They had a cut on the Harry Brown soundtrack, followed by the anthemic Abort in June 2010, which received widespread recognition from the underground as well as support from the mainstream. They signed to drum & bass mogul Andy C’s Ram, label home of Chase & Status and Sub Focus, establishing themselves as credible newcomers with Space Time/Take The Stairs. The former was nominated as Best Track at the 2010 Drum&BassArena Awards while earning Si and Ben nominations for Best Producer and Best Newcomer DJ.
They remixed Example, Avicii, Chase & Status ft. Tinie Tempah, Rita Ora and Nero, making Delta Heavy ones to seriously watch. Their next release, Overkill/Hold Me, confirmed their reputation as bass innovators, mixing extreme electronic noise with low-end frequencies while acknowledging the need for a commercial imperative. The video to Hold Me received over a million views in a little over a week and daytime radio plays from Sara Cox as well as specialist spins from Skream & Benga, Mistajam & Kissy Sell Out.
They spent the rest of 2011 DJing around the world, from Australia to USA and Canada, and releasing a splendid EP’s worth of music in 2012’s Down The Rabbit Hole.
“We’ve gone for quality over quantity,” says Si, citing as an example the year’s gap between the release of their Empire single and 2014’s brutally energising Apollo EP.
Of the many Delta Heavy releases, he nominates Space Time as a highlight, as well as Hold Me, Get By and Empire. He also rates highly their remix of Nero’s Must Be The Feeling, which has had nearly seven million views on YouTube, and over 100,000 downloads on SoundCloud. “It was so different to anything we’ve done, and it really struck a chord with people, especially in America,” remarks Si of the Nero refit.
Delta Heavy - influenced as much by UK drum & bass as the recent explosion of dance music in the US - have truly international appeal. In fact, they recently submitted a track for inclusion on a Rihanna album and have already played to 20,000-capacity crowds in the States. But Si and Ben’s dream is for Delta Heavy to eventually make the transition from purveyors of club bangers to architects of a more song-based sonic assault.
We’ve definitely been known as one of the heavier hitters of the game,” admits Si. “Now we’re going to expand on what we do. Our debut album will hopefully make that happen.”