The Count & Sinden have been doing rather well of late.
The club / house duo have not only just released a single with Mystery Jets, ‘After Dark’, garnering an awful lot of radio play, they’ve also just released their debut album, ‘Mega Mega Mega’, through Domino.
Here, Joe O’Sullivan has a chat with one half of the two-piece, Graeme Sinden.
Your collaboration with Mystery Jets is gaining popularity and commercial airplay. How did that come about? Were you previously fans of the band?
We met them about three years ago around Notting Hill carnival time. By stroke of luck, Kai from the band ended up being literally two doors away from The Count’s place. It took us a few years until we were able to record the track but straight away we became really good friends. It was a very natural collaboration.
Do you often listen to other styles of music outside of your own usual remit? If so, what songs or albums have got you excited recently?
All the time. I’m constantly listening to new albums - I try and go through as much new music as possible. Typically I will be listening to a wide range of styles. Right now I’m really enjoying the Bun B album ‘Trill OG’. I’m a big rap music fan, especially Southern stuff. UGK are one of my favourite groups and this album is solid.
Dance music seems to have been having something of a resurgence within the past two years, particularly with the emerging popularity of dubstep and the increasingly popularity of drum & bass. Do you find this is an exciting time to be working?
Yeah I think it’s a good time for dance music at the moment. It’s dominating the pop charts right now and especially in rap and RnB music it’s prominence is really felt. I think the UK and Europe has always embraced dance music but now further afield it’s really accepted now. America is catching up fast to the sounds. It’s a lot easier to play this music compared to five years ago.
Is the resurgence generally a good thing for dance, drawing in more fans and musicians, or do you think there are negative effects too - these new artists can’t all be doing it well?
It is a positive thing. I don’t see dance music’s rise as being a detriment to other styles of music. It’s true that not everybody is doing well but that’s what keeps the quality high. Competition keeps you on your toes and makes you up your game especially now there are so many ‘DJs and producers’ out there.
Arguably your most well known track, ‘Beeper’, isn’t on your debut album, ‘Mega Mega Mega’. Why is that?
We felt that this track is from a different wave of tracks we were doing. Some would say it’s a bit bold to leave it out but we’ve come quite far now and whilst we are proud of that track, the sounds on the album is quite different. We’ve also matured a bit as producers and the new material is a bit more polished.
The album is really eclectic - no two tracks sound the same. Most of your audience would presumably be of an age where the internet has given them a wider range of tastes musically. Was this a conscious decision on your part, either to appeal to them or to keep things interesting for yourselves?
We didn’t really make a conscious decision about this, we just made a record that we felt interested us. It’s true though that having access to music faster means that our audience understands the references but we want the album to be enjoyed on face value without necessarily knowing all these things. Entertainment is the most important, we don’t want to be snobby about stuff.
You have been putting out 12 inch singles for a few years now - how did you find making ‘Mega Mega Mega’? Traditionally, dance artists seem to struggle with ‘the album’: issues with the flow of the record etc. One criticism levelled at Skreams new record is that it doesn’t hold the urgency or vitality in this format. Is this a worry for you?
Yeah we were aware of this pitfall. I think dance producers, when they are sequencing a record, tend to oversee this. We were looking back on our favourite dance albums and checking back to see what it is about them appealed to us. It’s important that the album had a mix of club moments but also some interesting tempo and mood changes too. We don’t want to get lost in the same groove.
You had a lot of label interest but you signed to Domino, primarily known as an indie label (Arctic Monkeys, Franz Ferdinand, Test Icicles etc). What was it about them that got you to sign?
Domino made a big impact on us when we were growing up. The Count and myself are big on guitar bands so we knew about the labels heritage when we signed with them. The big appeal was that we would be on an independent who would leave us to make the record that we wanted to make. They trusted us and we got on with it. Also being able to commission remixes and have control over our artwork is really important.
Have you considered playing live with a band instead of DJ sets a la Chase & Status? Your music has that big, punchy feel to it - C&S’s live shows have been riotous. Yours could be the same…
I think everything in time. Dance acts don’t always make the transition to ‘live’ so successfully. If we were to go all out live we would have to be confident that we could pull it off. The best way to approach it is to move towards these things gradually. Also being able to have the budget is a big factor in this.
And finally: is the Count & Sinden your primary focus for the foreseeable future?
Yeah The Count & Sinden project has done really well for us. It’s taken off in a way we didn’t expect. Whilst we have other projects going on, it’s this that we are investing in the most and we’re having fun doing it!
The Count & Sinden have been doing rather well of late.