Robin Andrews & Chris Edwards (AKA Conduct) came together in 2009 and instantly began collaborating on a range of projects, from drawings to music to cinematography. They soon began DJing together across the UK and Conduct was formed as an outlet for their combined creative works.
While it’s common for Drum & Bass producers to concentrate on dance-floor impact, Conduct‘s primary focus is the evocation of an emotional response in the listener, creating a body of work that lasts far beyond the club.
Following their critically acclaimed 2016 debut album, Borderlands, which was nominated for ‘Best Album’ in DJ Mag’s annual awards, Conduct’s highly-anticipated second major work, Oma, is set to drop on 13 October via Blu Mar Ten Music.
Oma is an immense piece of work, taking its sonic cues from Borderlands while expanding them into far wilder territories. Skittering rhythms, rock solid basses, angelic vocals and heartbreaking instrumentation are guaranteed to make Oma one of the most notable drum and bass albums of 2017.
We sat down with the talented duo to know more about the album, their influences, their take on drum & bass and more.
Sagar – ‘Borderlands’ was one of genre defining albums from last year and to pull off another album in such a short span is a huge feat. What are your thoughts on the album?
Chris Edwards – Thank you! I absolutely love it. I feel it really shows what are as Conduct on a more personal level. I love Borderlands as well but I feel Oma is definitely a step forward for us.
Robin Andrews – Yeah it’s a huge leap forwards for us, far more mature writing, far more developed ideas and far better production. I couldn’t be happier and I really hope it comes across for anyone who listens. It’s been a really scary process, the music’s so personal to us but the feedback’s been fantastic so far.
Sagar – Yet again, the most striking feature about the album is the prominent use of instrumentation not usually associated with drum & bass. Tell us more about the re-invigoration ‘Oma’ went through?
Robin Andrews & Chris Edwards – We are really keen to incorporate a cross section of different sounds from around the world – we’re particularly fascinated with the instrumentation and rhythms found in more tribal cultues. Borderlands only really alluded to this, but we’ve really tried to make Oma shout that out. It’s a solid body of work, from Takai, through Matriarch and Oma, they’re all part of a whole, intended to be listened to together. We’re really proud of that, and hope it comes across.
Sagar – We noticed that there are only two collaborations in the album. Was this a conscious decision to explore your sounds further or was it something that just happened along the way whilst producing the album?
Chris Edwards – It kind of just happened that way really. We wanted to create our second album quickly after finishing Borderlands. We started to experiment with Robin’s vocals and writing our own lyrics for this project, which makes it all the more personal.
We will be doing a lot more work with the fantastic Georgia May, whose stunning vocals are on Water & Oil.
Sagar – Why ‘Oma’?
Chris Edwards – Its rare to find a word that fits so well in context to so many different things in both our lives over the past year.
In Maori it means to Flee or Escape, which we both had to do recently in different ways. It’s also German for Grandmother.
I got into a dark place emotionally after my grand parents both died a few month apart from each other last year. I tried to escape my thoughts with drugs. The track Shards references that struggle heavily too.
Sagar – You guys have given a completely different view to how fans perceive 170 BPM stuff. What is the motivating factor or the inspiration you seek while making music?
Robin Andrews & Chris Edwards – We really just want to invoke -something- more in the listener. It’s not just dancefloor music, it barely is dancefloor music at all. It’s barely drum and bass any more to be honest. It’s more cinematic, more story-telling. There’s a tale, a scene or a message to every one of these tracks. We try to conjure images and yeah, just something more.
Sagar – Drum & bass at the moment is bigger than ever and we have a seen a decade of relentless innovation. What are your thoughts on the influence drum & bass has had lately?
Chris Edwards – I’m not gonna lie, I don’t understand all of it – but It’s great to see the genre get a new crowd involved in it. And seeing fellow producer mates, who have been working super hard for years, getting the recognition they deserve is fantastic.
Robin Andrews – It’s a really cool genre to be involved with. Like you say, it’s innovative, there’s always new and young producers coming through with insane abilities. I don’t see that much elsewhere. I’d love to see it get more notoriety though, there’s so much trash out there getting far more recognition!
Sagar – How influential have Blu Mar Ten been in your journey so far?
Chris Edwards – Chris Marigold is a certified G. He taught us so much during Borderlands, and we have put everything we now know into Oma.
We presented him with all the tracks that we had been working on since Borderlands, thinking that we would have to whittle them down into an album. Instead, he liked them so much we were able to release it all as the body of work we mentioned before.
Robin Andrews – We honestly wouldn’t sound anything like we sound now if it wasn’t for his influence. The music we first presented Chris with was really run-of the mill drum & bass, he brought out such a desire for experimentation & individualism that really helped form what we do now.
Sagar – Your favourite track from the album?
Chris Edwards – That’s too difficult so I’m going to say a different one to our last interview. Today I’m going with Overprint. It’s the oldest track off the release, we finished writing it before Borderlands had come out. It’s held the test of time very well.
Robin Andrews – The one I’ve found myself listening to most is The Rain, It Come. That one bangs really hard. Rick’s vocal on that is nuts.
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