Music interview: Deuce & Charger

Deuce & Charger.
Deuce & Charger.
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Leeds electronic trio Deuce & Charger have spent the past year working with other city-based artists on a string of singles.

Their thirst for collaboration shows no sign of abating, with a fourth track now ready for release. Its title, Tear Down The Barricades might imply a universal call to arms yet, according to D&C’s Pete Bott, the band were aiming for something with a more complex and personal message.

“We’ve done stuff in the past that had a bit of a social commentary angle to it but we’re not Rage Against the Machine,” he says.

“On this one we wanted to do something which was more personal. A lot of people reach for a universal message; sometimes it’s better to write something which is personal in the hope that other people will connect with that message.”

Bott likes the fact that the lyric is “open to interpretation”. They invited Leeds singer Zola Marcelle to sing the chorus hook. “She’s amazing,” says Bott. “Although she normally writes her own stuff she connected with the chorus message of the song. She was saying when she read the lyric and heard the demo what ‘tear down the barricades’ mean to her which was slightly different to what I thought when I wrote it.

“For her barricades can be personal and mental rather than physical, you don’t think you can achieve what you want to achieve. For her life was about confounding expectations and breaking through.”

The verses were written by the rappers MC Sanity, Weezy Jefferson and Dialect. “It was interesting,” says Bott. “We had no idea what to expect when we gave it to them.”

Yet when 20-year-old Birmingham-based MC Sanity, a favourite of BBC Radio 1 Xtra, returned her contribution Bott admits it was “one of the most exciting moments in our brief existence of what we are doing, that verse absolutely smashed it, the lyrics are fantastic, she connected with the message in a slightly different way, mentioning social injustice, people being held back from achieving what they might because of inequalities”.

Leeds rapper Weezy Jefferson, who D&C previously worked with on the single Stop The Sky From Falling, added a “very poetic” lyric with “lots of metaphor”.

Dialect is the son of city singer The Reverend Chunky Butt Funky, who sang on D&C’s last release, Wild and Free. “Here’s got a slower delivery but he’s got real presence on the mic,” says Bott. As a young father determined to “do things on his own terms and still progress”, he offered another perspective. “His verse is absolutely mental in a great way,” says Bott. “It goes back to the original grime style, lots of atmosphere and energy and ad libs.”

Tear Down TheBarricades premiered on Alan Raw’s show, BBC Introducing West Yorkshire, and is out now. “There was a political angle to an extent,” Bott says of the release date. “With the General Election and the May Day riots it’s a time when political tensions can be quite high. There’s a lot of rhetoric and excited opinions.

“It was important for us to have a track out at that time which is about self-determination, people taking out what they want from life, working with other people to achieve that in a harmonious kind of way, seeing what positive things can be achieved when you work together.”

For more information visit http://www.deuceandcharger.com/

Jesca Hoop at Brudenell Social Club, Leeds. Picture: Gary Brightbart

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