Jack Beats have a plan. That plan involves taking the very best, most spectacularly effective pieces from a vast array of different musical genres and blending them together into an irrepressible force that detonates on contact. When you lay it out like that it all seems quite simple really, doesn’t it?
“It’s all in the influences,” says Niall Dailly, the Scottish half of the band. “There’s always room for a drum n bass breakbeat, or an old rave riff, or a vintage house sample.”
“It might be a hip hop loop, some unlikely, twisted up dubstep bassline or a more minimal techno feel,” says the other half of the band, Ben Geffin. “All these ideas are fed into what we do in the studio. And suddenly…”
“Suddenly it sort of works!” laughs Niall. “We just love hybrid music. So now we’re making our own brand of hybrid music and shaking it all up a bit.”
Niall and Ben describe the release of their mini albums as a “summing up” of everything they’ve experienced to this point. “They’re a showcase of everything that we’ve got going on,” says Niall. “We’ve really got the bit between our teeth here. We’re always trying to be original and do something different. That’s the hip hop side of us; because in that culture, if you weren’t being original, if you were biting other people’s ideas, you’d be out of a job.”
Through their six singles and a string of monstrous remixes for the likes of Skream, Beyoncé, Aloe Blacc, Big Boi, Florence & The Machine and La Roux they have formed a relationship with an increasingly hungry audience.
“We’re in a world of our own,” Ben says. “We’ve always made music that’s quite forward-thinking and different. So much so that, sometimes, we’re not sure whether anyone else is even into it. There’s a bit of fortune-telling going on in what we do, but we both have patience, we never release anything until we know it’s absolutely right.”
For Niall and Ben the joy in music is in the idea and its execution. They’re relentlessly moving forward and they’re intent on bringing us all with them.
“There’s nothing more satisfying than when we’ve done something that we think might go over everyone’s heads and six months later everyone loves it! It gives you more confidence in the weirdness of your ideas…”
It’s that weirdness of ideas that has propelled Niall and Ben since they put out their first Jack Beats track in 2007. They’re both multiple award winning DJs; in a previous life Niall was DJ Plus One from Scratch Perverts while Ben was a founder member of The Mixologists. Serious turntablists, the pair inhabited a world where endless hours were spent practising scratch routines.
“But we would mainly talk about music, get drunk and go to clubs,” admits Ben. “It’s such a nerdy boys’ thing, it becomes your whole world.”
“I was going pretty insane by the time I finished,” laughs Niall. “I found that I wanted to be in my studio more than practising. After winning the DMC title in 2001 I decided to buy some kit and start making music.”
The pair ended up working together on a Dirty South hip-hop track called ‘Fame And Money’ and that is where Jack Beats really began. “I was a straight up raver at mid 90′s raves for years, and me and Niall both religously went to Movement in the jungle days,” says Ben. “We both used to go together to shit like Plastic People back in the early 2000′s with the beginnings of dubstep…sublow grime days with 100 peeps in there.” However, both were in to bass music too and began making it with the new sound emerging from producers like Dave Taylor AKA Switch.
Grime and dubstep and rave and bass music were all developing rapidly and Niall and Ben started to create their own music that drew on them all. Their ideas were honed in years spent DJing together in clubs, after-parties and raves and by 2007 they had forged a unique style that exploded with the release of their mix of AC Slater’s ‘Jack Got Jacked.’
It was the American crowd that initially picked-up on the guys, with US blogs going crazy for the unique style they heard on Jack Beats’ mix of Jack Got Jacked. “‘Jack Got Jacked’ was the first time we chopped everything all up and dropped straight into a huge bass line,” smiles Niall. “That sound became synonymous with us – that was how we do our shit.”
“That was when everyone turned their heads towards us,” says Ben. “And it got blogged about like crazy. And we did that tune in about two days, which is weird, because we take about two weeks on each tune now…”
The follow up, ‘Project Bassline,’ tore up the Miami Winter Dance Music Conference then the ‘U.F.O’ EP secured Jack Beats’ reputation, defining the fantastically multi-stranded sound that’s all over their music. Those early releases also drove a huge demand for their out of control DJ sets and ever since 2008 the pair have been touring the States with artists like A-Trak and Diplo. Their American status has led them to collaborating with Skrillex, 12th Planet and Example on tracks for the forthcoming Jack Beats mini albums.
Over the course of the two mini albums, recent single ‘End Of Love’ features a Leonard Cohen sample that the man himself approved, while Example appears sounding quite unlike he ever has done before on the track ‘War.’ Ben points to the brilliant ‘Revolution’ – taken from the second mini album – as a piece that embodies the sentiment of their music. “It has this hyperactive, hard electronic edge, but it’s really melodic. And it goes off!”
“For me it’s all about ‘Hooligans’,” says Niall. “That’s a big club tune with a wicked intro – we love a big intro! That’s a pure hands-in-the-air rave moment…”
The title track of the first mini album, ‘Careless,’ seems to be taking Jack Beats in another direction again.
“Definitely,” smiles Ben. “The music’s developing really quickly and it’s getting very hard. These days, wherever we’re playing in the world, kids just want it to slam. Wherever we play, whatever place we’re playing, it could be a club for 100 people or festival with 10,000 people, the tracks that get the biggest reactions are the ones that are just slamming. Pure bangers!”
“It’s exciting when music goes into a period like this,” Niall says. “It’s so different with so many new things happening and influences start to pan out in interesting ways.”
Ultimately, Jack Beats have got a mass of ambitions, the main one being to get their music to as many people as possible.
“If a year ago someone had said our music would come out on a major label across the world I’d have fallen over laughing,” says Niall. “We began life as an underground crew making tunes for Sunday night hardcore clubbers. Suddenly it gets to this level ands it’s shocking, but we’ve been around enough to know that we’re here on the merit of what we’ve done. We’re not trying to be something we’re not.”
And that is the key to Jack Beats, that’s why their plan works. They are making exactly the music they want to make and the world is coming to them.
“It’s exciting because we’re already way past where we thought we would ever get,” says Ben. “And we’ve got here by staying true to the people we’ve always been.”
“We’re still striving,” laughs Niall. “Still looking for the next goal to achieve.”