Snakehips interview: "All My Friends is about years of bad nights out in London"

We called up Ollie to find out more about the unlikely story behind the track and how they plan to follow up such a monster of a song...

It seems almost silly to consider it now, but just three months ago, it was unclear whether Snakehips' All My Friends was going to be a hit.

Fast-forward to right now and the track - originally released in October last year - has taken on a life of its own and is now officially a Top 5 hit in the UK

All My Friends is the latest effort from the production duo, comprising of 25 year-old Londoners James Carter and Ollie Lee. And since forming after a chance meeting in Hong Kong, they've experimented with sounds ranging from disco-infused soul to electronic R&B.

We called up Ollie to find out more about the unlikely story behind the track and how they plan to follow up such a monster of a song...

Hello Ollie! Congratulations on the success of All My Friends. It’s taken a couple of months to reach the UK Top 5; were you always confident it would be a hit?

Thanks man! I’ll be honest, we weren’t really sure how the song would go down. Compared to what we’ve done before, it’s quite a bit different. We thought it had the potential to be big, but actually hearing it on the radio and seeing it enter the charts is all a bit crazy when it happens in real life. Obviously we’re really happy it’s done this well.

It’s obvious what the song is about, but is there a specific story behind it?

It’s not about one specific story, I suppose it’s really just about years of bad nights out… living in London!

The track is proving really popular, but people are still trying to work out who Snakehips actually are. Can you fill us in?

Me and James have been doing this for about three years - we first put some remixes out in 2012. We met completely randomly when we were both out in Hong Kong separately. Basically we shared loads of interests and had a go at making some music together! Things only got serious when we noticed people were actually listening to it.

And how did you go from that to Tinashe and Chance The Rapper featuring on a track?

I have no idea to be honest with you. We made the beat to the song last year and we really wanted Tinashe and Chance on the song. Honestly, they were our first choices for the track – they were two relatively new acts at the time and we both loved what they were doing. We just sent them the song and they both said they liked it. We couldn’t believe that they’d even heard of us. I still can’t believe it all worked out actually. The whole thing is sort of ridiculous...

Especially considering your music is all released through your own label Hoffman West…

We sort of revealed who we were about a year ago but I think a lot of people still don’t know who we are, or that there’s even two of us! It’s cool for us because from a music point of view, it’s good to have got where we did before this song purely based on the music. We sold out a tour and a couple of shows in America and it was purely based on the music – no-one really knew who we were. That all said, it’s important to put your face out there these days, so we’ll keep at that.

Sound-wise, your music – in the nicest possible way – is all over the place. Will we be hearing more of your songs in the style of All My Friends now it’s been a big success?

It’s true - we’ve done so many different kinds of tracks. There is something that pulls them all together, I'm just not quite sure what that is yet! I always think of songs in terms of BPM, but when we made this track – which has a throwback R&B sound we’ve been playing with a lot over the years – it sounds more like our older stuff. Just before this, we were doing a lot of upbeat disco stuff. We basically just make whatever we feel like making - the next single will probably be completely different again.

You’ve sampled a few vintage R&B/soul tracks in the past; is there a specific album in that genre for you that you’d call a classic?

There’s definitely an art to finding good samples. We’ve made a load of tracks with different samples in them – the key is to find a great one. It’s hard to pick one album, but probably all the old Wu-Tang albums for me. Wu-Tang forever and 36 Chambers are the albums I used to listen to religiously – they’ve got a lot of sampling on them.

Finally, will you be roping in a guest singer(s) for future releases and where do you go from Tinashe and Chance The Rapper?

I’ve got no idea! We’ve got some new things going on that I can’t talk about yet. We are working with so many people, but it’s all about who suits the music and who we work well with. We both really want to work with Usher. We need to make that happen. Next single!

Snakehips' All My Friends ft Tinashe & Chance The Rapper is out now.

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