Influenced by Garage, Grime, House and Hip Hop with a love for chopped samples and subtle basslines, brothers Phaze One and Blacksta as Star One have collaborated with the likes of Toddla T who singled the duo out ‘as one of the most exciting producers to emerge in 2011.’ Remixing for artists as diverse as Jamie Woon and BBC1’s much-loved Rastamouse, Star One are already turning the right heads in a very short space of time and with their debut release this June, 2012 is proving to be no different.
'Respect’ has a lot of garage vibes and skewed vocal samples that reflect the current UK funky sound that is being championed by acts such as Disclosure and SBTRKT. Have you taken any influence from this “Nu-Garage” trend?
The 'Nu Garage' trend is a strange one - a lot of it is just the same as the old school garage! I think you take influence from whatever you listen to, whether you know it or not. SBTRKTS album was on repeat for alot of last summer and we made the first version of Respect in August, so we probably did take some influence even though we haven't thought about it before! We love what Disclosure are doing at the moment as well. Their growth in the last six months has been phenomenal, their chords always feel so warm! But as much as we take influence from artists we're also trying to develop our own sound.
Whilst ‘Respect’ champions a more pop tinged sound, it’s the ‘Punch In The Face’ remix and B-side, ‘Swag 3.5,’ that have a heavier dance-floor focus. Would you say you were out of your comfort zone when making more ‘radio friendly’ productions?
Hard question that! We make a wide range of music, from hip hop to rnb to drum and bass. Some bits are more commercial than others. When we did 'Respect' we knew it had that kind of pop appeal to it which is one of the reasons we put it out. Some people have negative connotations around 'pop' music, thinking you are selling out etc, but I think 'Respect' is a nice balance between sticking with our production style while also being able to appeal to a wider audience. The way that Huw Stephens played the track on his show amongst tunes which were mainly indie based kind of shows that. But I'd say we're comfortable making 'radio' along with our more underground stuff - we have some gritty grime tunes as well as some pretty cheesy 'hands in the air' stuff!
Sarah Lille’s vocals are featured heavily on ‘Respect.’ How did Star One and Lille come together for the single?
We went to the same school as Sarah and have been recording with her for years! We've got dozens of tracks with her, she features on 2 of the tracks (Bagz and O Maria) from the Star One EP we put out last year and no doubt we will be back in the studio with her soon if she doesn’t get signed and forget about us! When we made Respect we all kind of knew that this would be the first track which we were really going to push as it was probably the most original whist having a very likeable appeal.
You’ve been getting a lot of attention from Radio 1 DJs such as Toddla T and DJ Target. How does it feel to have such respected DJs championing your sound? Are there any Roll Deep or Toddla collaborations on the horizon?
We actually already have a collab with Toddla! It's called the Power Riddim and it's another track from The Star One EP. We made it last year at the Red Bull Studios as part of a project called the Red Bull Mixtape. It's a kind of UK Funky stomper which is one of the favourite tracks we have done but didn't really receive too much attention! Video for the track if you want it! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fl5dcH_i8oU DJ Target has been the main supporter of Respect and for that we are eternally grateful. When we first heard the track get played on Radio 1 it was a real good feeling, its cliche to say but it was a dream come true! We actually haven't even met him to say Thank You yet but we will definitely be buying him a drink when we do!
You got a lot of attention remixing artists. Your Rastamouse remix in particular got a lot of attention. Do you prefer creating original content rather than remixing?
The Rastamouse remix was the first thing we ever did together. We made the track really quickly as a joke so it was mad to see how it blew up - within a few days it had 20,000 + hits and got played on Radio 1! To be honest we don't even like the track that much! The amount of remixes we did last year was a deliberate attempt to get our name heard. One of the worst things about the music industry is thatI not many people like listening to music from unknown artists no matter how good it is. The difference in hits between our remixes and our original material is staggering - We've had over half a million hits on our remixes compared to around 10,000 on our original stuff. Hopefully we can close that gap by the end of the year as we're really excited about our forthcoming releases.
Did you have solo careers before creating Star One? What influenced the decision to come together as a duo?
Yeah we did - we both have been involved in music for a while. Joe has been a producer and rapper forming the 'Blacksta Productions' collective whilst I (Adam) was (and still am!) a DJ under the name Phaze One in a DJ crew called Murkage Cartel. The decision to come together was natural because we're brothers but the main thing for me (Phaze) was knowing that the biggest DJs on the circuit weren't actually the best DJs, they were just the most successful producers. Knowing that spurred me to start producing and enlist the help of my brother who has been producing for almost a decade!
What’s next for Star One?
There is a lot more to come - we're trying to do as much as possible at the moment. We're just finishing up our next release which is going to be a two sided collaboration with singer - songwriter Juliette Ashby - People should be able to start hearing that early July. We also have an EP with Manchester rapper Faro who featured on the Star One EP which we're really excited about. We also have a few other tracks we want to release before the year is out plus a couple of big name remixes as well!