I first came across Cliques and their Cliques Collective Audio label whilst watching the excellent DNB TALKS videos that TC has been posting on his YouTube channel (and if you’re not all over that one yet, you really should be, but that’s for another article).
Intrigued by the fact that they’d paid for a remix with a solid gold coin, and absolutely hooked on the TC remix videos for a track from their excellent Cliques Got Dubs Vol 2, I dug a little deeper.
What I found was a wall of mystery. With no obvious clue as to their true identity, but with three EPs of some of the best quality drum & bass music I’ve heard in quite some time in their wake, I went on a mission to track them down. Here is the result.
What is the idea behind the Cliques? What’s the key intention?
“Our intention is to release the best possible music we can create and make sure we take what we do seriously, but don’t take ourselves too seriously. Cliques was created in lockdown and our mentality is that we are going to do what we want creatively and not get known for one style. On a day to day basis there’s as much chance of us working with a live string orchestra to create liquid bangers as there is of us going in on techy shoe-throwing monsters. We made a decision at the start of Cliques that we would create our own label (Cliques Collective Audio -CCA) and whilst it’s no doubt the longer road to getting recognised by the masses, we want to know that we can move quickly and do what we want in terms of marketing, promo and whatever else.
Retaining control of a large amount of our music means we have been able to release 12 official tunes and four edits since September 2020 and that pace means we need our own outlet in Cliques Collective Audio. We buzz off knowing that when people hear a tune they love and search for us, they are going to find a rapidly growing back catalogue of tunes to work through.
We are also building great relationships with some of the bigger labels in the scene and will be putting out bangers on their imprints soon. Jim at Ram was unreal in the support and feedback he gave us, especially in the early stages of our productions, and a main label release with them is one of our goals for this year. Tony London Elektricity at Hospital has also given us huge support on our recent tune Best Kind Of Love. That was a major buzz for us and we have something very exciting in the works there as well.
The band image is slick with great artwork. Is there a link between the art and the artists?
“Yes, everything you see from CLIQUES now and in the future in terms of music, art, clothing and videos are created by us. We keep it contained to a close circle.”
All three volumes have a wide variety of styles contained within them. Can you elaborate on that? What’s the policy?
“There is no policy, we make want we want and get excited by throwing people off guard with different styles. We have a deep love for all sub-genres that sit within D&B and if we make a tune and it bangs it’s going out no matter the style or if it fits with current trends that are popping or not.”
The main thing to be taken from the releases put out so far is the quality of the music. There is absolutely no denying that the material is very well executed and has a polished sound. Can you give us any info on production techniques or artist history?
“Let’s just say we have war stories and in terms of production or artist history we have spent many hours honing our skills and for the moment we are going to let the music do the talking.”
What are your plans for the label and the collective going forward?
“Make bangers, keeping on levelling up, have fun and keep people on their toes with all the elements of our creative output. We have worked with some insanely talented vocalists recently including Celph Titled, Goldfinger, Sammie Hall, Tiffany Red and Marianna Ray and want to continue to make tunes that will ignite dancefloors worldwide. We also have a remix package coming out soon featuring TC, Mozey, Kleu, Dan Aux, Nightshift & Benny Page, Prfct Mandem and more, which we are majorly hyped for!
Renegade art 24/7.”
Encompassing a broad variety of styles and with an emphasis on top-end production, you’d be playing yourself if you didn’t stick Cliques and their label Cliques Collective Audio on your radar. This is a posse to keep a close eye on.