With a UK Live tour now under their belt and a debut show headlining London’s 02 Academy following the release of their debut album ‘Life’, it’s an exciting time for Drum N’ Bass duo Sigma. Frances Shillito caught up with Joe to find out more about the recent tour, the madness around their whirlwind success and much more…
Hello Joe! How are you both doing? Did you have a good weekend?
Hello! Yeah good thanks, fairly chilled, first weekend in a while where I didn’t have to do much which is nice!
You’ve recently just completed the 4 dates of your 2016 ‘Life’ UK Live tour, covering Norwich, Manchester, Nottingham and your debut headlining London’s 02 Academy, all of which were sold out! How did they all go? What was the energy like on stage and from the crowd?
It’s always an amazing experience doing a live show, it was a lot of fun. The energy from the crowd is always pretty intense which is what we try and bring to our show really. If you listen to the album I’m sure you you will hear the high energy which we try and translate to the audience which along with the band works quite well!
Your debut album ‘Life’ features collaborations with huge names such as Rita Ora, Ella Eyre, Ella Henderson, Maverick Sabre, Paloma Faith, Labyrinth to name but a few! Did any of these acts feature as guest vocalists on stage during the tour?
At the London show Shakka came out. None of the mega big acts did, they usually do but unfortunately for that week they were all pretty busy doing their own projects and I think that can be the issue when you pitch big vocals sometimes and your artists are so big they have bigger schedules themselves so sometimes getting them to come out often can’t work due to schedules.
With all of the above names featured on your debut album plus incredible reviews from the all major newspapers and magazines placing you as ‘Album of the week’ on more than one occasion, it’s safe to say 2016 has been insane for you both so far. Back in university where you first met and started playing together did you ever imagine or foresee such huge success? You guys have sold over 2 million singles with 5 hit records + 2 platinum awards to date! Huge congratulations to you both.
We never really expected it or anything to come from what we were doing, and obviously in that respect y’know any kind of success you have is a bonus as essentially you are just doing what you love and the success is kind of a by product of that I guess. So yeah from my perspective, even when I was at uni I just knew that all I wanted to do was be a record producer, so it was almost like there wasn’t any second option for me. You know people have backup plans, I never had a plan B because it didn’t matter how much money I made, it was just what I wanted to do.
Tell me more about how you met...I believe it was at university whilst balancing the ever so popular mixture amongst students of raving and studying! Is that correct? What brought you guys together and sparked your friendship?
It was the music really. I had been producing tracks probably a year or so before I met Cam and Cam had a lot of enthusiasm for wanting to get involved into learning and how to produce. He lived literally just around the corner from me and I used to see him out at nights where we started speaking about production etc… so he called me up one night and said he wanted to get a computer so I basically took him down to PC World, selected a spec computer for him and just loaded him up with all the plug ins etc etc...I think just the passion for producing and the energy we got from working with each other was essentially what kind of made us work together on a long term basis.
It seems both your passions have been there right from the start and you spent many a sleepless night together making music regardless of your day jobs. Is it true you guys would meet up everyday after work and play through the night and then head straight back to work again?
Yeah, not so much for me….fortunately for me, I was earning money doing DJ work teaching kids, so my hours weren’t quite as intense y’know, it wasn’t a 9-5 so I could do a couple of hours everyday which worked a lot better for me trying to pursue a career as a producer but Cam used to work for a company in Harrow sorting out flights and travel for the likes of Grooverider, Pendulum and Chase & Status.. My studio was the main studio and he lived 60 miles away so he would come up after work and then would end up leaving around 4 - 5 in the morning and go straight to work after about an hours sleep which is pretty intense...can’t really see that happening these days!
Annie Mac has been a massive fan of yours from the start showing huge support and genuine enthusiasm from the start. Infact, I do believe it was Annie who gave your track to Nick Grimshaw to play on the breakfast show which resulted in you guys going to No.1 in 15 countries! What an incredible name to have as such a fan with such world changing results! How does it feel to have that support and excitement in your life from such a big name? Do you chat to Annie often?
It kind of all felt a bit surreal at the time. We had been quite good friends with a lot of people for the past 10 years who had had quite big success, so I mean obviously as amazing and exciting as it was, it kind of didn’t feel maybe as crazy as it should have done as we had seen other people do that before us. You obviously had the success of Chase n’ Status, Rudimental etc and all of those guys who were smashing it as well so yeah it wasn’t such a shock to the system but obviously it was a very exciting time. We don’t speak to Annie that often... when we are at festivals etc and she’s out and about we will obviously have a chat with her and a catch up. She’s obviously very busy as well so it’s one of those scenarios where you can have little catch ups when you see each other.
You have played main stages of festivals such as Glastonbury, Bestival, Reading + Leeds, V, T in The Park, Creamfields, SW4 and beyond!....That’s an incredible amount under the belt. Any plans festival wise this year?
Yeah we are doing tonnes, UK festival wise we are doing Wireless, Reading + Leeds, Parklife and bunch more that will be up on our website soon and we have just announced 3 dates at Amnesia and Ibiza Rocks.
Tell me about your live setup...You guys report to have a stunning live proposition, capable of rocking huge festival crowds. What does the production involve?
We have 3 singers who are amazing and who are all really good individually in their own rights and have their own style. Then we have our hosts and we bring out Majestic quite a lot who is really good at hyping the crowd. We have live drums, live guitar, and then us two are playing keyboards and triggering samples etc..a lot going on!
And finally to end us off...what has been your ‘this is it’ moment for you since the beginning? The real ‘we’ve made it’ moment that will stay with you forever?
I think because there has been so many in the past years, it’s quite hard to just pick one. I think obviously getting two number 1 singles in the UK is a massive achievement and actually a 3rd itunes number 1 as well. So that was pretty immense! Then performing live on the main stage at Glastonbury with Paloma was fantastic. Getting nominated for two brit awards was also a moment we thought we would never ever achieve. Performing on a lot of TV shows! We opened the BAFTA’s and we also did The X Factor just before christmas and Top of the pops - twice!
Keep up to date with Sigma!
Sigma Music Highlights!