After years of writing and producing for other acts, R&B duo Dante Jones and Drew Love got sick of the conventions, and decided to team up for their own material as THEY. Taking inspiration from Nirvana, Vampire Weekend and Timbaland, they’ve coined their own genre – ‘Grunge & B’.
You’ve produced and written for artists including Chris Brown and Kelly Clarkson – how different is it working on your own debut album?
Love: “It’s a very different process. It gives us the space to take a lot more risks. Trying to cater to someone else can really put you in a box and I don’t believe that’s where the magic happens. We wanted to start making things different, which didn’t follow on those conventional musical lines.”
You’ve known each other for a long time. What were you like as kids?
Jones: “We were both troublemakers. We didn’t really listen to authority and didn’t like to follow orders. We spent a lot of time getting suspended or in the principal’s office, but I think that’s what led us to be so different musically. We don’t like to listen to people telling us to make music this way or that way – we just don’t like to listen to anybody.”
How does your love for Nirvana and indie music bleed into what you make?
Jones: “With Nirvana, I think there are a lot of parallels in the way that we structure songs and the catchy melodies. Indie has always been a huge influence for me. It’s just a scene that I can always rely on to give me inspiration – I still use Vampire Weekend’s latest album as a sonic point of reference.”
Dante, not long ago you tweeted: “Our idols are ageing, this generation is hungry for visionaries.” Are you the visionaries that music needs right now?
Jones: “I could never refer to myself as a visionary. I’m just trying to use my gifts in the best way I can and trying to work on music that I know I can be proud of. Only time will tell what titles we deserve.”
Debut album ‘Nü Religion: HYENA’ is out February 24