Ex-Arctic Monkeys man, Andy Nicholson has teamed up with Jamie Shields to create the bass heavy, electronic and hip-hop production duo, Sticky Blood.
After finding success for collaborations as a production pair since 2014, Sticky Blood are stepping out on their own (sort of) to bring you their debut EP. Made up of ex-Arctic Monkeys bassist, Andy Nicholson and Jamie Shield, the twosome first came together as component of Clubs & Spades alongside Sheffield’s Matic Mouth and Shinobi. Since then, they’ve stepped apart to work together as producers and have barely been left a minute spare to work on their own projects.
Their EP, I.D. is due for release this Friday 14th August and although it’s their first attempt branching out on their own, they’ve still brought friends Ajay Carter, Snowy and Hekky along for the ride. They’re using UK hip-hop beats with styled electronics and a favour for heavy bass, there’s even a well-timed nod to grime on I.D. We talked to the pair about their crossover from bands to bass, completing their debut and their next moves with their own label, Card Gang.
How did you two come to work together as part of Clubs & Spades? What was the aim behind that project?
We started working together on the Clubs & Spades project as we were introduced by the 2 MC’s Matic & Shinobi. We wanted to make good UK Hip Hop music, it’s a genre close to the pair of us.
Andy, you were previously part of Arctic Monkeys, in terms of creating music, how easy was it to move from a group to a duo, and in such a different direction?
I (Andy) found it really easy as there isn’t 4 opinions but only 2, in Sticky Blood, which makes everything much more manageable. I’ve always loved hip hop, reggae and electronic music so it wasn’t hard at all to move over and I never really stopped listening to this type of music.
Have there been many transferrable skills, so to speak, switching up genres?
Yeah loads. We still play all the instruments and I still play bass on most things or guitar. Jamie also comes from a band background so we are both used to and really into playing as much music ourselves as possible whether that’s drums, guitars, bass, keys and even programming.
What made you decide to begin your musical career as a pair doing mostly collaborative work, at what point did you decide you needed to focus on your own music?
We do a lot of producing for other people and don’t have much time for our own, so as soon as we do have some time for ourselves we like to do stuff that in the opposite direction of what we have been doing for other people. We like to use all the sounds we never get to use and lots of outboard synths and sounds.
Your first EP is set to come out, can you tell us about the writing and recording process? When did it all start to come together? Do you have a favourite track?
This EP came together really quickly then slowed down when it came time to mix and get the final 5% done. That is always the hardest part and people don’t really get that extra 5% done. That’s what sets a lot of music part from the rest it’s actually finishing the music rather than just saying it’s finished. As for a favourite track I’d say mine is always changing, I really like “Professional” and the vibe is great but I really like the energy in I.D.
How did you come to work with all of your vocalists?
Hekky is a good friend of ours and we have been working with him for a while he is really talented and definitely not there on merit, if we didn’t know him at all we would want to work with him. AJay Carter was introduced to us by our manger and is young and willing to work and try new things, I still pinch myself he is only 16. Snowy, who is also only 18, was introduced to us by the Red Bull crew, as he is based in Nottingham which isn’t too far away either, it meant we could spend more time together in the studio.
And you’re releasing it on your own label Card Gang, you’re setting yourself up with a musical empire! What are your plans with the label?
Our plans are just to create a way for us to release our own music and other people’s music that we feel the world should hear. It’s brilliant that setting up a label in today’s market is a much easier concept than maybe 5 or 10 years ago.
Charlie Sloth said you’d got him ‘a little bit gassed’ – amazing, how has the reception been to your work so far? What are you hoping to achieve with the EP, win more fans or find more artists to work with?
This EP is being received really well a lot better than we had expected. We are under no illusion that we are perceived as new artists and we have a lot of ground to break. With our debut EP, we want to let the world know we exist so that’s to both artists and music lovers.
What’s the perfect place and time to listen to your music?
I’m not sure these 3 are so different but I would definitely say it’s night time music.
Grime is having an incredible moment right now and you’re crossing over into that sound. Have you got any suggestions for us to keep an eye out for?
Yeah there’s a few from producers to artists, there’s a guy from Nottingham called Lenkemz who is really cool and makes some mad music. He’s a person we trust to mix our music every now and then but his music is mental in the best way possible. There is a MC called Coco, he’s from Sheffield but moved to London to find his fortune LOL, he is really talented. Then there are the people we work with, like Hekky and Ajay and a rapper Called Rogan Rillz who is the Rillz.