Prior to their UK tour supporting Lostprophets, Josh from ‘Rocksteppers’ Modestep took some time to chat to The Edge about his life in a crossover dubstep act and what people should expect from his bands debut album, Evolution Theory.
Firstly, you have a new album on the way, how is it going?
Well we’ve just finished it really. We’re really happy with it; it’s a lot different to the singles that we have released as of yet. The album features a huge variety of influences rather than just dubstep, it’s a lot more musical than that.
As a band who would you say are your main influences?
A huge variety of people really. You’ve got you’re standard influences such as Stevie Wonder and Aphex Twin, but then we’ve also taken a lot from acts such as Noisa, Aeman Tobin and Donnie Jazz. There’s even a bit of a Gospel influence, I like my gospel.
Can we expect any gospel on the new album?
Unfortunately not, maybe a little bit on the lyrical side of things but I don’t think we have the sort of power to get a choir together yet, wouldn’t it be great though?
You’re supporting Lostprophets during their current tour of the UK, are they a band that you greatly respect, have they influenced you at all?
Too be honest, they haven’t influenced us at all. I’d go as far as too say I’ve been quite unaware of them as of late. It will be interesting to see how supporting them will go seeing as we are two bands that attract two entirely different audiences. It will be great to put on a completely different show to the headline acts, hopefully people will see it this way as well.
Were you surprised by the success of your singles ‘Sunlight’ and ‘Too The Stars’ in the UK Charts?
Yeah I guess. We released ‘Sunlight’ off our own backs with no label, it’s a catchy song that always had the potential to do well in the charts, but it was never really our intention. We thought it was perhaps a little too hard to do well in the charts and it would, at best, be a success in clubs, but it seemed to do well.
How come there’s been such a long gap between the singles and the album release?
I think we were trying to introduce ourselves really. We’ve got another single out on the 30th April which is different to the other singles so by the time the album comes out, people will have been introduced to and understand us in terms of the genre, before the album comes out.
Yeah we’ll always play the smaller venues. We’ve played festivals and they are brilliant, last year we played Pukkelpop and it was fantastic, unfortunately there was the disaster though. I don’t know if we would ideally want to be headlining but I think that our music sort of lends itself to bigger venues. This year we’ve been offered a headline slot at a festival, I’m not sure if we’re allowed to say which one, so watch this space!
With dubstep being a massive force in the music industry at the moment, do you worry that it will become less popular as time advances? Or do you see it as something that is constantly evolving?
Yeah, the thing is dubstep isn’t what it was 6 months ago. When people refer to it as a ‘genre’, I feel that it’s the wrong word; I see it more as a production technique. In Modestep we’re not DJ’s anyway, we are more instrumentalists, so the whole dubstep thing isn’t completely relevant to us, it’s just an aspect of our music.
Your music has been termed ‘Rockstep’ as of late, do you agree with this label?
If that’s what people want to call it then that’s cool, I suppose it makes sense [laughs]. The problem with defining your music like that is that it can pigeonhole people’s expectations of you. For example, it isn’t like we actively decided to blend genres in our music, it was just a result of the huge variety of musical styles that we are interested in and have influenced out music.
What are your plans after the album release? Are you looking forward to touring?
Yeah, we’ll be writing a bit more but we’re going to be doing a massive tour around the world so it’s going to be pretty hectic. It’s really hard work being on tour, like we’re always rushing around from place to place and the schedules are incredibly tight. It’s great fun though and I wouldn’t change it for anything, we like to party most nights so obviously we don’t get a lot of sleep when that’s combined with the travel, it’s fantastic but exhausting.
Who would your ideal collaboration be with?
There’s the obvious ones like Stevie Wonder but that pretty unrealistic to be honest. I suppose a more realistic one would be Cee-Lo Green I guess, but that’s still a longshot. We really like the idea of collaborating with the young underground producers that aren’t as traditionally well known.
What would you be if you weren’t in Modestep, or the music industry at all?
Ah I’d definitely be a graphic designer, that’s what I was doing before I started making music.
What album would you say everyone should listen to before they die?
It’s got to be Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd, I must have listened to that album thousands of times.
Finally, what is a ‘Modestep’?
A step that modes? No, we were originally called Mode but when I put it onto YouTube Modestep came up so I just thought ‘we’ll stick with that’ and people seemed to think it was OK.