If you’ve been following Document One over the past year, you may have noticed something slightly different about their music.
Since releasing their self-titled debut album on Shogun Audio in 2019, the heavyweight drum and bass duo have followed up with a string of singles and a collaborative project with Levela in the form of ‘Heat Beams’.
The one difference - the home for their recent music has shifted from Shogun to Elevate Records. There’s a reason for it, and the duo’s latest project on the label is the pinnacle of it.
Introducing Coordinates – probably the most honest body of work Document One have ever made. Split into two five track EPs, Coordinates is all about carefree music for the dancefloor. The bread and butter of what Document One should be (but at times hasn’t been), and a realisation that will see the duo work closely with Elevate in the future.
With Part 1 of the Coordinates EP out now on Elevate Records, we thought it would be a good time to catch up with Joe from Document One to get the rundown on Coordinates and their switch across to Elevate.
The first single from Coordinates has landed. What can you reveal about the project?
So it’s been a couple of years since we released our debut album on Shogun, and myself and Matt have been loosely working towards album two ever since. We had an idea of how we wanted it to sound and look, but after chatting to Elevate, we decided it would be best to release a two part EP. It still feels like an album to Matt and I as we wrote it with all ten tracks in mind.
Has it been an enjoyable experience?
It’s probably the most fun project I’ve ever done as a musician in terms of writing. It doesn’t have that weird pressure, which comes with album writing. You can’t have a second album flop with this as it’s not a second album.
Having two EPs allows you to gauge the crowd reaction along the way too.
Totally. The five tracks on the second EP are still taking shape, so once Coordinates is out there will be a period when we can digest things and swap out tracks. It’s almost like writing an album with the opportunity to edit it as you go along. It’s very cool.
We particularly like the collabs on the EP. There are some serious vocal talents!
That was one of the big things for us. We wanted to have amazing vocalists on this EP and the next one. A Little Sound, Duskee and Rider Shafique are three vocalists we’ve included include on Coordinates. It’s a weird feeling though, as we weren’t in the same studio with any of them. It was all done remotely because of Covid. In some ways, it created its own concept for the EP as there are five tracks stemming from five different locations, hence the name Coordinates.
That must have been a strange experience, especially as you’re so used to travelling around.
It was the first time in years we were in one place and not travelling. We’ve spent the last decade of our lives touring, and it hadn’t stopped until the pandemic. But suddenly, we’d stopped touring and were remotely working with people across the UK. It made us think about the way the music is travelling all over the country while we stay still. We’ve used the coordinates of where we were when writing the EP as an element within the artwork. It’s nice the concept came to us naturally. As you can probably tell by our self-titled debut album, we’re not the best at conceptual ideas… Haha! But this project flowed naturally.
We’re not saying anything… It’s quite fitting because, despite being stuck at home, you were able to create a sense of connection with people in the scene through the collaborations.
For sure. The EP idea was born out of Covid and everyone being stuck at home unable to see each other. While the last couple of years have been shit for many, this EP has been a cool development to come out of it for us. Especially in D&B and dance music, a lot of positives have come from a negative situation.
Definitely. Being able to hone the Document One sound with Elevate seems to have been a huge positive for you.
It’s interesting. When we created our debut album, the music we were writing had taken on a much more jazzy and deep sound, and that’s why we released it on Shogun. But stylistically, we were in the middle of Shogun and Elevate. With that album, we tried to show all of our sides and musicality. In the context of Document One, it was the most diverse our sound has been, but it came at a time when we didn’t 100% know what our sound was. Coordinates is a project truly representing us though. It’s a release taking it back to the basics of what we enjoy doing as a duo – making carefree music. It’s the bread and butter of what Document One should be.
We got that impression from your recent releases on Elevate. You can hear how much the transition from Shogun has benefited your sound.
Absolutely. I don’t want to say anything that reflects badly on Shogun, as we absolutely love the label and we feel so lucky to have released music with them, but there was definitely a part of us writing music to fit Shogun’s sound as opposed to writing music without care. It has been quite a freeing experience, which I think the Shogun/Elevate team realised we needed, as our sound sits better with Elevate.
The process of understanding what makes you tick musically is important, and the label teams could see that.
Definitely. After our last EP on Shogun, we were on a Zoom call with Friction and he was the one who suggested putting our next release out on Elevate. He told us our sound suits the label better. It was a big thing that came out so casually… So we released Heat Beams with Levela, then we put out This Time with Dynamite, and it was just amazing. It feels right. This Coordinates EP reflects that. It’s just fun. Go dance to it in a club. Yes, there are some vocalists talking about meaningful subjects, but the whole package is one to make you dance.
That has always been in your nature. If we were to roll back the years as far as your dubstep days, then that was all about creating music people could express themselves to.
That’s how Document One started – and still continues to be. It’s not a serious project. You’ve got people like Noisia and Mefjus who are music scientists for the dancefloor, and then you’ve got others like Pola & Bryson, GLXY and Monrroe whose musicality is off the scale. Then there’s Document One where we’ve tried to do a little bit of both. But really, our music is about getting people on the dancefloor to enjoy themselves. It’s been like that since the dubstep days and it’s exactly the same now. The Document One sound is dancefloor-orientated fun music. We’re not trying to display what we’re capable of with our releases, we’re just trying to make music that people can resonate with and enjoy.
It’s crazy to hear how much you downplay your ability. It shows how modest you are towards the Document One project.
Jokes… That’s just how I feel. Matt thinks everything we make is sick though, haha!
Good! So looking ahead then, are you going to keep exploring this path you’ve started with Elevate?
Yeah. We’re in such a good place at the moment where everything feels right. We’ve enjoyed every second on Elevate, and Shogun. We feel a lot of freedom right now. You listen to Deadline and Friction putting liquid tunes out on the label and it shows us there is a lot of scope. Naturally, our centre point is perfectly aligned with Elevate, and that’s the realisation we had a couple of years ago. I’ve got the Elevate tattoo and we’re in it for the long haul!