What’s On teams up with Hype to interview Sigma in Dubai ahead of their show at Warehouse Dubai, Level 41, Media One, Media City. Get ticket information.

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The last four years have seen English drum ‘n’ bass duo Sigma slowly creep into the charts, and in April they finally hit the top spot with Nobody To Love, a rework of Kanye West’s Bound 2.

“No, it wasn’t planned,” exclaim the pair made up of Cameron Edwards and Joe Lenzie. “We just made the track to give away as a free download on our website.”

Listen to it and it’s not hard to see why the track gave the lads their first No.1 in the UK. Like all of their output, it’s built on a rinsing bed of rolling drums and is laden down with summery vocals, cheery, feel-good rave pianos and has tons of sing-along, head banging potential in the mould of previously chart topping acts like Rudimental.

Say the pair on hitting the top spot for the first time: “We’ve always been busy DJing and producing, but the size of the audiences have increased now, which is a great thing. But there’s no additional pressure from our end really; we love making music and if it has chart success, then that’s a bonus in our opinion. We’ll never pander to anyone. If other people like or dislike it, that’s up to them.”

Cameron and Joe first met at university in Leeds where they were studying. The city has a notoriously good drum ‘n’ bass scene. In fact, the now much championed house and bass head Midland first got into electronic music as a drum ‘n’ bass DJ in Leeds. “Cameron promoted parties and I DJed so that’s how we came together,” recalls Joe. “We’ve been mates for years now, and we have a mutual love for studio lurking and DJing, so it really was a no brainer for us.”

When it comes to studio work (the fruits of which are mostly released on 3Beat Records now since signing with the label in 2013, though before that drum ‘n’ bass major Hospital also put out their wares), the duo has a close working relationship. “We both work on everything we do. We have two individual studios we work from, and always come together on stuff to work on the best ideas. We have a wide variety of influences, too, and we like everything from very hard stuff to musical, hands-in-the-air moments to organic sounding jungle. I think that comes across in the diversity of our production.”

They’re not wrong, with tracks like Rudeboy featuring Doctor, Lassitude alongside DJ Fresh and Nexus/Back To Front covering all those different niches in equally ribcage rattling style. On top of these great originals and collaborations, the pair has also remixed everyone from Ellie Goulding to Eric Prydz and from Groove Armada to Skepta and Sway.

It seems to be the aforementioned switch to the 3Beat label that really propelled this pair to the big time, though. “They are a great team to work with and have a fantastic outlook,” says Joe. “They supported us at a time when the larger independent drum ‘n’ bass labels didn’t. It’s nice to have a group of people around you that believe in your ability.”

It’s the success of these recent tracks that have seen Sigma become more and more in demand around the world, and a move to the English capital post university sure played a part in that. “It was important for us to move to London to make the contacts we needed to work within the drum ‘n’ bass scene as the majority of the record labels are based there,” reasons Joe.

Soon after the move, Sigma began touring internationally and now, in 2014, they have completed tours of the UK, Europe, Australasia and the USA, as well as being the supporting act for DJ Fresh on his first live UK tour and playing some dates alongside brostep megastar Rusko, aka fellow former Leeds student Christopher Mercer.

“The UK get the more jungle influenced stuff,” says Joe about crowd reactions around the world. “Whereas in Europe they seem to be more into the trancier end of stuff. A lot of the time in the USA, the kids don’t quite get the tempo as they are coming from a dubstep background. In fact, we’ve been asked on a few occasions ‘What is this fast dubstep?’ that we’ve
been playing.”

Whilst not all audiences may be ready for the rolling onslaught of riddim from these guys, Dubai – an unlikely drum ‘n’ bass outpost for a few years now – most certainly will. And the lads can’t wait to make their maiden voyage to play at Warehouse Dubai on Thursday. “We’re excited to see what it’s all about,” says Joe.

Before signing off, he also revealed some big news. “We’re working on an artist album at the moment, and more collaborations with some amazing vocalists. But there’s nothing more we can say at this stage.”

As long as Joe and Cameron keep serving up the musical goods, no-one will complain about Sigma’s secrecy.

August 28
Warehouse Dubai, Level 41, Media One Hotel, Dubai Media City. Dhs100 in advance, Dhs120 on the door. Metro: Nakheel

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