It's been a whirlwind last couple of years for Drum & Bass duo Sigma which has have seen them reach number one in the chart's as well as embark on a sold out live tour earlier in the year. As the pair prepare to hit the road again this month which will see them playing a number of dates across the country as well as a headline slot at the Metropolis & UKF Warehouse Project, we caught up with Cameron from Sigma to talk about their transformation into a live act, the early days in Leeds, working in record shops, their debut album, upcoming tour and more.
Hi Cameron, how are you doing?
I'm good thanks.
How have you been managing your rise over the last years to becoming one of the biggest electronic acts in the UK?
It's been a bit of a journey, we started out producing records in our bedrooms, one of our studios was even in a shed in the garden. It's just all about perseverance really, you get a lot of people telling you that you can't do it and you won't be able to make it, but we just stuck with it and refused to be told no, we did things for ourselves like forming are own record label and luckily we stuck gold with Nobody To Love and we haven't stopped from there.
Knowing you have already achieved a number one record in multiple countries with Nobody To Love, has this had any effect on how you will produce records moving forward?
Obviously with having a number one record you realise that you are appealing to a slightly different market than we were before. We have always been using vocals in our tracks, when we first started out we were using acacpelas but now we have the opportunity to work with high caliber of artists and we are lucky enough to have worked with some really talented people.
The early days of Sigma began while you were at university in Leeds. What was it that inspired yourself and Joe to start making music together?
Well Leeds was just a great place to meet people who were into drum and bass at that time. Joe would come into Tribe Records where I worked and we would just chat about drum & bass and I'd try to flog him some dodgy white label releases, also he used to DJ at some of the nights that I was putting on at that time and we both sort of realised we were into the same kind of music. He studied a course at university about music production so he started producing first and helped me out set up a studio and we went from there really.
What sort of records were you listening to and buying at this point?
The kind of things like Hold Your Colour by Pendulum as well as a lot of the Renegade Hardware stuff. I guess the records were a bit darker than the kind of things we are writing at the minute but I think we were just into a bit more moody drum and bass back then.
Where there any particular Drum & Bass nights in Leeds that you were fond of or attended regularly while you were living in Leeds?
SubDub was wicked, it was one of those events back then where you'd worry about your ears if you were stood next to the speakers for too long, the sub would pretty much make you s**t your pants, it was incredible! We used to also go to a night called Event Horizon and that was ran by a guy who is now our agent which we took over the running of. We also put a few other nights on over freshers as well as some label nights which featured the likes of DJ Marky.
How do you feel about the current state of the Drum and Bass scene in the UK, is there anyone you'd tip to have similar success that you have had in the near future?
We are in a complete other circle now to the old drum and bass scene that we were in, we don't really know how the scene is right now which is a bit sad and a weird situation as it's the scene we come from. One person who is doing quite well though is DJ Limited, he's going to be releasing a few things on our label, but yeah he has a really good variety with the tracks he is producing.
More recently, have there been any line ups for any events that have impressed you or featured and DJ's or artist that you would recommend going to see?
We did a lot of the Amnesia gigs (pictured below) in the summer which give us the opportunity to check out some of the other people that are playing. For me personally I quite enjoy the Jack Ü's sets also the Major Lazer sets, they have to be one of the most energetic live sets we have seen in a while.
Your sold out tour earlier in the year seen you incorporate a live set into your show. Can you tell us a little about your set up?
With the live set we obviously have a lot more people involved, we have a drumer, Joe and Myself on the keys and samples and then we have Two Fingers and Justice who are our MCs. It's basically playing all of tracks as well as some of them on the album that haven't been released yet, its just a lot of fun being able to play all the records you have made as a live performance.
How does this compared to your DJ sets?
Well I come from a DJ background, im not going to say I prefer it, it's just a slightly different thing. I love DJing because if you are playing to a certain type of crowd you can cater it for them whereas if you are playing live and a tune is flopping it's not as though you can just pull it up and play another one. It's great fun though because it's all our own stuff and to be able to fill an hour set with our own material is just wicked.
You are back on tour across the UK soon, are you expecting a wild or calm one?
It's going to be mental, back to back dates are always crazy so it's just going to be a matter of trying to stay as sane as possible because we will be having a tour bus and doing a lot of traveling but it will be a lot of fun, especially as we will have a good crew of people around us which makes it a lot more enjoyable. We have a few other guest such as Majestic who are playing a few of the dates with us, as well as a few surprise guests who will be appearing at the London show.
Are there any particular dates or cities you are looking forward to?
I'm looking forward to all of the dates but I love going to Ireland, so Dublin should be a lot of fun, Edinburgh also, I love the cities more than anything but all the dates should be really fun. You can't beat coming home to London also, it just has a great vibe, also Norwich was one of the fastest to sell out so that will be one to look forward to, should be wicked!
How are you feeling about the prospect of headlining the UKF and Metropolis' WHP later on this month alongside the likes of Sub Focus and Katie B?
It's always a good vibe in there, it has a proper warehouse feeling which is great as we don't get the opportunity to play in venues like that so much these days. Last time we played there it was a DJ set and it was great so really looking forward to playing there again.
Your debut album is being released this coming December, how will it compare to the EP?
Compared with the EPs the album will be a bit more commercial, with the EPs we were bringing out, one side would be a bit more radio friendly and the other would be best suited to being played in a club. With the album we have tried to keep this style going, we have a few tracks that feature a bit more song writing and then others that are club bangers that we have been playing in our sets over the last couple of years.
Can we expect anymore new singles to be released from the album?
Yeah, we are currently finishing off one tune at the moment that has a pretty big feature, when it's out I think we are going to release it with something else. Also we'd like to release a club track or something like that as we have had a lot of chart stuff recently which has been amazing but we would quite like to bring it back to the Drum & Bass roots at some point, so it's definitely something we are going to look into.
Finally, what plans do you have for next year once you have finished your UK tour and the album has been released?
I think we will probably just go on holiday and have a break! But I think we are also going to crack on with album two straight away, we don't want to to do what some artists do where they take a massive break which can make you a bit lost in the studio and is a bit dangerous. We will probably have a little break and then get right back in the studio. Non stop man.
Check out Sigma's upcoming UK dates below now. Tickets for all dates are available now.
Sigma UK Dates
Rainbow Venues Birmingham - Saturday 27th February
SWX Bristol (DJ Set) - Saturday 27th Feb
O2 Ritz Manchester - Thursday 31st March
O2 Academy Brixton - Saturday 2nd April
Interview by Elliot Ryder
Photos courtesy of Sigma & Displace Audio