» News and Features » Hybrid Minds Interview: “It’s definitely my favourite song we’ve ever made”
Hybrid Minds Interview: “It’s definitely my favourite song we’ve ever made”
Ahead of the release of their new single “If Love Could’ve Saved You” ft Venbee, we caught up with Matt from Hybrid Minds to chat about the single, the 2023 festival season, and what's new with the liquid DnB icons
Last updated: 7th Sep 2023
Titans of the liquid contingent of the Drum and Bass scene, and back again with a brand new single, Hybrid Minds - aka Producers/DJs Josh White and Matt Lowe - are true genre definers.
Operating independently and boldly pursuing their unique musical vision, they have built a dedicated following. Having previously sold out Printworks in 2020 and Brixton Academy in 2021, the duo continued to astound the music industry by selling out their headline Wembley Arena show in 2022.
Now, with their new single “If Love Could’ve Saved You” (featuring Venbee) released today, we caught up with Matt Lowe from the DnB duo to chat all about the inspiration and creation of the new track, their 2023 festival season, their Love of New Zealand, as well as all things Hybrid Minds. Have a scroll down and read what Matt had to say below!
Hiya Matt, so, let's start with why we are here, you guys have got a new single coming out next week with VENBEE “‘If Love Could Have Saved You’”, what can you tell us about the track and the making of it?
“So, it's written by Charlotte Haining and performed by Venbee, and it's actually quite a deep song, as unfortunately, Charlotte's brother Matt passed away due to suicide, and it's written about him.
“We were fortunate enough that they sent it over wanting us to do the production side of things, and me and Josh instantly fell in love with it. They just sent a piano and a top line and yeah just loved it instantly. It's rare that I hear a record and just loop it over and over.
“We started playing it at sets very recently and it's just been getting such a crazy response. Way more so than anything we've ever done.
“So it's quite new for us because usually, we expect things to move much slower, even some of our biggest tracks have taken a few years to gain a bit of momentum. But this was one of those tracks where it was just instant.
“We still get inbox messages from people every day. People shouting at us to release the record. It started to turn from you know, oh I love that record, to please release soon, to right, you're milking it now, to just get it out there. So yeah, that's coming out very soon, thank God, because I think if we delayed it any longer, people would start to get very angry.
“So yeah, the track, it's like I say, very personal, and also feels very relatable to a lot of people. It's definitely our most personal track, and I think that's why it’s resonating.”
The song and official video (above) were done in memory of Matt Carter, Charlotte's Brother. The artists and record label, Room Two have partnered with the charity Joe’s Buddy Line, to help raise awareness of young people’s mental health.
Donate - HERE / Get Help - HERE / TEXT the word "joesbuddy" to 85258 to have a conversation with a trained volunteer day or night.
Now I’ve listened to the track and it's absolutely massive, this really ethereal build-up and such a massive catharsis in the drop, has this energy been felt when you’ve played the track live?
“Yeah, it definitely has. It was really difficult because you're working with a piano-led track, and energy and pianos are quite a different balance to achieve; it's hard to get that energy in something that's so light.
‘But I think Venbee really nailed it with the delivery on her vocals. Me and Josh love her. She has a lot of raw emotion in her voice, and she just pelts it out on the chorus.
“Obviously, we've built the production around that to try and facilitate her voice, having a bit more energy in the drums and things, and having the bass nice and warm; it all hits really nice.
“You know, it starts off quite ambient and chilled out and then it sort of just slaps you with like a ball of energy. It's definitely my favourite song we've ever made.”
Yeah, those spaced-out pianos and synth, and the liquidy drums, it almost feels like the track was ready-made for you guys and your style, did you get that feeling when you heard it?
“Yeah, I did. But this can be a problem we have with operating the way that things are now. In the whole major label world nowadays, you'll get sent an idea and your working on someone's idea.
“Me and Josh have never really been used to that, we make everything ourselves.
‘Whereas with this, I could hear us in it straight away, and I really need to hear that sort of thing if I want to work on something. With this one, I literally made it in my head as I listened to it.
“It was pretty much in a good position within a few days and I always feel the best tracks are never forced, and they just sort of happen organically. We obviously spent much longer on the whole polishing of it, it's been months and months and months, until maybe two weeks ago when the final layers of polish were added, but yeah with how good it was, it was pretty much there within two days.”
Image: Hybrid Minds on Facebook
You guys love getting a female vocalist on your tracks, I mean the sound just lends itself to the liquid vibe you guys are the pioneers of, how do you guys go about choosing who to get on vocals on your tracks? And what’s your process for working with vocalists?
“So in the early days for us, it was obviously harder to get people to wanna work with you as you're not really established. So our process was always to just dig into people performing covers on YouTube or amateur singers on SoundCloud, and through that process, we found some real gems who we still work with today.
“We're not really about tacking a big name onto a track just for the sake of it. I'd rather work with someone who's got no followers whatsoever and for them to just be really good.
“I think there's just so much talent in the world that it's silly to not approach it like that.”
Yeah, it’s a great policy, and when you're unearthing such gems, I feel like they will put so much more passion into that than someone recording three different tracks that week.
“Yeah, I think there's a fine line between people doing it for passion and then for some people it just becoming a job where you’re churning out top lines.
“But we're very lucky to have worked with so many different, super-talented vocalists.
“We've been working a lot recently with Dan Fable, who does more indie stuff, and also Grace Grundy. Me and Josh, we've always leaned heavily towards the indie vibes in general. We've always wanted to bring that into drum and bass because there wasn't really anything like it.”
Image: Hybrid Minds on Facebook
Yeah, that indie vibe really does shine through on your tracks, I’ve seen in other interviews that when you first got hooked on electronic music you were listening to a lot of Indie music, and Hip-Hop too, how big an influence on your music nowadays were the artists you listened to back then?
“Oh, massively so. I mean, don't get me wrong, there were so many drum and bass influences. Especially early liquid and people like Calibur and Alex Perez, both of who we were massive, massive fans of.
“But it was Josh really that got me into the whole indie side when I was leaning into the heavier stuff.
“He just introduced me to like a lot of good music. The indie stuff especially was something he brought to me and I really liked it, and it just really translates well to drum and bass.
“I was just really into what he was into, and there was still some shared sort of interests, especially on the Hip-Hop side we’re both massive, massive Hip-Hop fans. If I could, I'd love to just be a Hip-Hop producer just because I love it so much. One of these producers that just produces for other people and, you know, not as we're doing now for ourselves, just because I love the music so much.
“But yeah, all of that music, it's definitely had a massive influence on us, and now it's like the Calibre, the Hip-Hop, the Indie, it's all sort of like melded together into what we are today.”
Are there any more contemporary artists that incite such inspiration too?
“More recent ones would be people like Bicep and Jamie XX. But Electronic music at the minute is just so strong, there's just so much going on in different areas.
“I'm a huge Fred Again fan, like massively. That's literally all that's on my Spotify when I'm, going to the gym. I just love listening to him, he just makes such raw, emotive music.”
Whilst artists in other spaces to your own are great for inspiration, I’d also like to touch on the lesser-known acts in your scene at the minute that you think are killing it right now, or that you will always book?
“There's one especially that comes to mind at the minute that me and Josh are huge fans of, and that’s Justin Hawks.
“He's from America, and he's just so good. It's not soft Drum and Bass, It sort of reminds me of a Camo & Krooked vibe. He's releasing a lot with UKF and I just think he's such a hidden gem I really hope that he gets the recognition he deserves.
“There are also so many people we're into from the heavier stuff too. People like Edlan, for instance, I was listening to this morning. He just releases predominantly liquidity, I think. I also love the Integral label run by Artificial Intelligence. There's also Dawn Wall and people like that.
“But you know, There's just a lot of really, really good music from people that aren't necessarily huge or well known, and I just think they're all great.”
Image: Maraka Rose McLean on Facebook
We’re well into this year's festival season now, how’s it going for you guys? has there been a standout set or moment for you so far this year?
“I think the one that comes to mind would be playing Arcadia at Glastonbury, for sure. It was a surreal experience going up on top of that. You look out the front, and it's thousands of people and every angle, you know, left, right behind, it's just a wave of people.
“It was a bit overwhelming, to be honest. Just to be playing there to that many people, and everyone was going nuts because it was one of the final sets of the festival.
“It was a life highlight. It was in the top three sets I think we’ve ever done.”
I’ve always thought Arcadia would be a special place to play, the pictures from the crowd view always look immense, but that artist's view must be something else entirely.
“Yeah, you sort of prepare yourself for it, you've got a perception in your head of what it's gonna be, but nothing can actually prepare you. It's like nothing I've ever seen in my life. I'd love to just do that stage every year if I'm honest.”
Image: Worried About Henry on Facebook
You have also been out in Ibiza, how's it been out there this year?
“There are talks about next year, with us having more of a hand in the residency and doing a lot more shows. So that would be interesting. Plus, it does seem that compared to last year, it has definitely grown in terms of how many people are there at Eden.
“You can see that there's a scope for Drum and Bass to be much bigger out there. It's already grown significantly and there's definitely a market there for it. it just needs a bit of love put into it and a bit of time, and it will get there in the end.”
Yeah, these Worried About Henry shows seem to be absolutely flying, and whilst obviously Ibiza is mostly known for its House and Techno, to see tickets to these shows selling as they are, can only give you hope for the future of DnB on the island, no?
“I can't lie, I was sceptical the first year we did it because, as you say, it's such a house-dominated island. But all the shows were great the first year. The second year, I thought it was going to be the same, but there have been considerably more people there this year.
“There's definitely scope for it to be even bigger, so we're just going to keep on pushing that and hopefully, we can grow it to be massive out there.
“Everyone’s on the same page too, and there are so many great people out there doing that same show like Sub Focus and Andy C. So it can only mean good things for the future.”
You guys tour all over the globe, but you seem to have had quite the connection with New Zealand over the past few years, they seem to be massive on their drum and bass out there, whats it like playing those gigs and hearing people on the other side of the world resonate so strongly with your music?
“Yeah, New Zealand is a weird one. I think because it's so small and condensed out there, Drum and Bass is borderline their pop music. So it's an experience that I never get in the UK, cause it's very different.
“Out there, even if you just put the radio on and it's Drum and Bass and they go really hard out there in terms of partying. Maybe a bit too hard for my old brain, but we try and go there once a year just because, aside from the music, it's just a beautiful place.
“We were fortunate enough to go and do a tour there when everyone was in lockdown in the UK. We had to do the 2 weeks quarantine, which was tough, but then I also really just didn't want to post on social media because I knew that people in the UK were still locked away and I felt awful posting anything remotely positive that we were doing.
“It was a mad experience just being able to be free and in such an incredible place with such an amazing music scene.”
Did you get the chance to go on George FM whilst you were out there? We absolutely love their spin-the-wheel mixes on socials, and they just seem like awesome guys.
"Yeah, I love them all.
"I think pretty much every time we've gone to tour out there, we've gone into the breakfast show and it's always woken me up. I think we played something like, how hybrid are your minds?
"But yeah, those guys are awesome. I think New Zealand and Australia, they're really on our wavelength in terms of humour. You know, because we're quite sarcastic in England, aren't we, and that doesn't go over their head there. They're probably more sarcastic than us.
"So I just love their humour and their energy. They're just really nice people. You go over there in an airport, it's a nice experience just because everyone's so chilled and relaxed.
"I just love the place. I don't think you'll find anyone that doesn't like New Zealand."
Now, to finish off, I’m sorry for you to have to find this out here, but your next festival set has been reduced to just three tracks, and there's nothing you can do about it. What are you playing and why?
“I think I'd have to play our track ‘Touch’ because I don't even want to think what would happen if we didn't play that. There would be a lot of hate mail haha.
“‘Birdie - Wings, New Logic Remix’, just because I think we’ve played that at every single set that we've ever done in our life, just because it's such a perfect end to a set.
“And then, I think we'd have to play ‘If Love Could Have Saved You’ with Venbee, just because, you know, that's what's next, so we've got to be playing that as much as possible.
“Now, if you ask me what I'd want to play if I had a choice... It'd be a very different list.
“It'd probably just be pure bangers, wall-to-wall bangers because I find those a lot of fun. But you've got expectations to manage though, don't you? I'd have a great time, but our inbox wouldn't haha.”
If you want to catch Hybrid Minds live this year and beyond, check out their artist page to find tickets to all their events on Skiddle, by clicking, or tapping - HERE
Check out our What's On Guide to discover even more rowdy raves and sweaty gigs taking place over the coming weeks and months. For festivals, lifestyle events and more, head on over to our Things To Do page or be inspired by the event selections on our Inspire Me page.