Since combining their talents in 2013, Sheffield production duo Sticky Blood have worked with the likes of Terri Walker, Hekky [‘Getaway‘] and Tom Prior. Back in August, the pair dropped their project I.D and received attention from Wonderland, The Source and Clash. Last month, Sticky Blood teamed up with Red Bull Studios to record their new EP Blood is Stickier then Water and L Ø S T C U L T U R E caught up with Andy Nicholson and Jamie Shield to discuss the new EP, their future plans and why Jamie wont be jumping out of any planes…
We last spoke to you guys ahead of the release of your previous project I.D which dropped in August. What have you been up to since then and are you surprised by the response I.D has had?
Jamie: The response was good and more than we expected so it got the balling and set us up nicely for what we wanted to do [the EP recorded at Red Bull Studios]. Since dropping I.D, we have been thinking of what we’re going to do next along with bringing through some of the artists we’ve worked with whilst focusing on our own releases. It may not look like we’ve done much, but there’s a lot going on behind the scenes.
Andy: We’ve been working with people we’ve worked with for a few years and keeping the ball rolling in order to progress and get better.
Hailing from Sheffield, you have always been ones to support local talent. Who do you think is next to come through the scene in Sheffield?
Andy: I’d say Coco hasn’t made it yet but he’s definitely on the right way. Ajay Carter [who featured on ‘I.D.‘] has got a lot going for him and were starting to do some more intense work with him
Jamie: Shin, who we’ve finished an A side/B side for is definitely got good music coming. Shin is one of the leaders of grime in Sheffield and artists like Coco look up to him so it’s a great time for him to drop some new music.
Andy: Yeah Shin, who started on grime, is coming back and we’re working on a few singles with him and there gonna drop periodically.
Jamie: With Coco, he’s at a really good place and most people in his position would assume they’ve already made it but Coco knows what he’s doing and that the hard work is yet to come.
As well as your music, your visuals are always on point and seem to display emotion and feelings perfectly. How much do you have to do with that process?
Andy: All of it, we create the artwork and are very much hands on in the creative process. As much as we want to leave it to other people, we find it too hard. Whenever a new release comes round, we start to have the conversation about videos and artwork and we’re like “this again!” With every release, it’s like the rebirth of a new project and ideas which we love. Me and Jamie are big fans of delivering an overall project and it’s about the video, music and artwork all following a certain theme.
Jamie: To be the type of artists were trying to be; we have to try and be savvy about this kind of stuff and allow yourself to indulge in parts outside of music. It’s basically more ways to express yourself and if you have creative control over that, that’s great.
Andy: I would love to say to someone “you can deal with that” [videos, artwork etc.] but we know we’d never be able to let it go. For the latest one [Blood is Stickier than Water], the artwork needed to represent the project and relate back. So the triangles on the artwork are related to alchemist symbols – one representing blood and one representing water. Then the symbols were in blood on a water background of two circles – because there are two of us. It means we can talk about the artwork instead of just saying it’s a photo. But the photo for the latest EP came from a photo I took of the sea in Tenerife – fun fact.
Are there any videos you’re particularly proud of?
Andy: It always changes. For me, the last video is always my favourite because I haven’t seen it so many times. I think ‘Balance’ for me because even though it may not be as well executed as we would have hoped, the whole concept of the video worked well with the track.
Jamie: I work the other way and like the latest video before we start making it because as we’re doing it, I feel overwhelmed by the process and too close to it. So with that thinking, I like the oldest ones because they’re the furthest away and can see it more for what it is.
Andy: Sometimes the thought of the video is better than how it turns out. We do try and be realistic and think about what is achievable with each video. Like we’re not going to have someone jumping out of a plane and aerial views with helicopters – yet anyway.
Jamie: I’m not jumping out of a plane.
As many may know, you are both members of Clubs and Spades who also released new music during the summer [‘Clearer Coast‘], what’s going on with that and can we expect to anything from Clubs and Spades soon?
Andy: I don’t think that there is anything coming soon but I wouldn’t say never. It’s one of them things where everyone is working on their own things – we’re working together as Sticky Blood plus we’re both doing our own music. Shin has doing his grime music and started up a radio station in Sheffield
Jamie: Clubs & Spades was like the parent project and the conceiver of everything else. We’ve kept the label CGM [Card Gang Music] and everything is an elaboration on that. Marcus [Matic] is a big part of the label as well as doing his own thing as well. It’s our responsibility as independent artists to support Shin, not restrict him. We could slog away at Clubs & Spades all the time or we could work off positive energy and support all of our individual projects.
Andy: Clubs & Spades was always something that was enjoyable and something that we do when we’re having a laugh. When it started getting all about “plans” and un-enjoyable, we knew it was good to branch off and do our own things.
Jamie: Music will probably pop up from us again and it will be unexpected.
You are set to release a new EP tomorrow entitled Blood is Stickier than Water including the likes of Hekky, Tom Prior, Terri Walker, Coco and Snowy. What was the process behind making this disc and what can people expect?
Andy: In terms of process, we knew were coming to Red Bull Studios in London and we had 5 days so we thought instead of being in the room and making music with people which would take time, we would work with the vocalists and get their vocals down. We made about 30 ideas, some were 2 minutes long and some were 15 seconds long. We then took that list and began to categorise them into the artists we knew were coming and played them the list so they could pick their favourite. Once we had all the vocals, we took them back to our studio and finished it and made it a track we were happy to put out. Apart from Tom [Prior] who wrote a song to some piano chords we put together in the studio and then we took the acapella and put it on a completely different track.
Jamie: For what to expect, it depends where people are coming from. If people have listening to the last EP, they can probably expect a bit of change but carries on in terms of sound and similar soundscape. Expect a bit of growth and experimentation and that will be something we carry on for the next few projects.
Andy: It’s a bit of everything – it’s like listening a Mistajam show rather than a Pete Tong dance show. You’re not just gonna hear dance, there is variety and something for everyone.
Ever year, Sheffield holds the Tramlines festival which have previously hosted the likes of Public Enemy and yourselves have been involved with many times. Why do you think it has been successful and have you been asked about the ‘Outlines’ festival which is being put on by the same people?
Jamie: It’s always there. It’s like the only thing that closely resembles and can compete with other festivals in the season. If you’re from the area and you hear Tramlines, you like the fact that it’s the city. We haven’t been asked about Outlines but I’m more “indoorsy” anyway.
Andy: If nothing else, it gets people out and about. My parents always go and watch stuff and you have people who may not find the right venue but there will be a perfect night out for them. They should have called “Inlines” and held roller skate tournaments!
Talking of your latest EP, you have been recording it at the RedBull Studios in London who have hosted the likes of Skepta, Little Simz and Novelist, what has that experience been like and how does it differ from your usual recording experience?
Andy: I definitely think there was an element of pressure because we knew we only had a day with people and it made us focus. Our studio definitely doesn’t look like theirs either.
Jamie: We wanted to utilise things that we can utilise where we are so the right people, environment and equipment were essential. We brought our own synths and stuff but we didn’t really need them.
Andy: They were our comfort blankets! A lot came out of it though and we learnt a lot and we got really good at table tennis as well.
After working with such a talented list of artists, who would be one person [each] that you would like to work on a track with and why?
Andy: I like Maverick Sabres’ voice and it would be good to do a song with him. I think Bugzy Malone is sick. I’m trying to keep it realistic and not say Kanye [West] or Dr Dre.
Jamie: Loyle Carner
Andy: Yes, Loyle Carner. I heard him on Annie Mac’s show and texted his name round to everybody so they could listen. We went on his Soundcloud and listened to his tracks, he’s sick.
Heading in 2016, what do you have planned next for Sticky Blood?
Jamie: I think we’re going to take it one track at a time and see what happens with each release, we’re not looking to put a bulk of work out. We want tracks that we can play live as well as a lot of our back catalogue doesn’t quite have that up-tempo vibe.
Andy: Progressing, working with as many people as we can.
Grab your copy of Blood is Stickier than Water here