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Chase and Status are ready to rock Reading Festival
As 2011’s second biggest-selling British band, Chase and Status don’t mind playing second fiddle to Mick Jagger. Tim Hughes learns more...
AS achievements come, they don’t get much bigger than headlining the Glastonbury Festival.
It would also be, it is safe to say, a nerve-wracking experience. So imagine doing it head-to-head with the world’s biggest band? But that’s exactly the double-edged sword presented to drum and bass duo Chase and Status who took top billing on the Other Stage while The Rolling Stones made their festival debut a few hundred yards behind them.
“It was great,” says Saul Milton – aka Chase. “It was the most incredible moment of our career.”
Saul met fellow Londoner Status (real name Will Kennard) while the two were studying in Manchester. Dropping out of uni to concentrate on music, they became hot properties in the still niche world of bass-heavy electronic music.
Playing together since 2003 and releasing their first real Chase and Status single and album in 2008, they went from underground heroes to dance darlings, taking their brand of electronic music out of the clubs and into the mainstream, fame failing to dent their appeal among the famously fickle clubland cognescenti.
“Status and I are very different,” says Saul. “But when it comes to making music we are very much on the same page. We have a rule that we don’t compromise. If we don’t like something, it’s gone.
“We have done nothing we don’t both like. If it’s good, we love it. If it does well, that’s great. If it doesn’t, well that’s still great.”
That they went from relative unknowns to topping the bill at the planet’s most famous music festival in just five years is remarkable. And while you may struggle to name a single song, they are among the most successful artists of recent years. Their double-platinum second album No More Idols (featuring Maverick Sabre, Delilah, Liam Bailey) has sold more than 600,000 copies in the UK alone. Its single tracks, including the top 10 hit End Credits (featuring Plan B), shifted two million copies, making them the country’s second biggest-selling band in 2011, behind Coldplay. They have gone on to scoop awards and play to huge crowds everywhere from Europe to Australia. Heck, they even won over the hard rockers of grungy metal fest Download. Now Saul, Will and bandmates MC Rage & Andy Gangadeen are back with their third long-player, Brand New Machine. The album is due out in October, and sees their list of collaborations, which already features the likes of Plan B, Cee Lo Green and Tinie Tempah, grow ever longer.
Saul lets none of this go to his head though and admits to enjoying the simple pleasures of life.
“I’ve just left the studio and am watching my puppy run around,” he tells me during a break in recording.
The pup is Cookie, an old English sheepdog. “He’s going to be massive,” says Saul. “But I’m getting older and I always feel better after walking the dog.”
So what have been the highlights of his career so far? “There have been so many great moments,” he says. “Hearing our first tune on the radio and getting our first signing. But headlining the Other Stage at Glastonbury was the best live moment. My first reaction when I was told, was ‘that’s great, but why not headline the Pyramid Stage?’ I couldn’t believe it when I found out it was The Rolling Stones.”
Were they worried they might fail to attract a crowd with such competition? “We weren’t concerned,” he says. “There’s no contest. They are the Rolling Stones and they’ve been going for 50 years. We are big fans. But we are blessed to have a strong fan base and we had a full crowd. “There was a bit of hype about our bands clashing, but we didn’t think about it. We were just doing a job.”
The highlight for many was their performance of Blind Faith, featuring a spot from soul singer Liam Bailey.
This Saturday they top their best summer yet with a set at another gathering better known for guitar bands: Reading Festival.
“Reading is completely different,” he says. “It’s a rockier kind of crowd. For us to be on the same stage as bands like White Lies is exciting. It’s nothing new to us though. Our shows are always incredibly high energy.
“The last time we played there was one of the best sets we’ve ever done. This time we’ve got some new music for the guys there, It’s going to be huge and we are looking forward to it.”
LIVE Chase, pictured right, and Status play Reading Festival, Little John’s Farm, on Saturday. Tickets have sold out.
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