1883 Magazine

One Bit are not your traditional musicians. Although the duo are multi-instrumentalists their joy lies in blending with their talent with other artists which has resulted in hit singles such as ‘My Way’ for which they joined forces with Noah Cyrus.

More recently they celebrated the release of ‘Between You and Me’ with Louisa Johnson. We decided to catch up with the pair to find out who their dream collaboration would be with and to discuss their career so far.

First of all, how do you both originally know one another and what made you decide to start creating music together?

Joe: We met in Liverpool, we went to L.I.P.A which is a Paul McCartney artsy-type uni and we were on the same course. Basically we started doing a few bits and bobs when we began living together in second year.

Jonty: 3rd year wasn’t it?

Joe: yeah we started working together and realised that a load of what I was good at was what Jonty needed help with. A lot of things I needed help with Jonty was great at. It made sense to team together.

Having studied in Liverpool do you feel that it is still the cultural hub for music in the UK?

Joe: We very quickly realised that we had to move to London, or close to London. Just because so much of the industry runs out of here, just getting involved and stuck in you’ve got to be down this way. We have an insanely huge fondness for Liverpool, there’s something about it whenever you do get back there you feel like home. There is a banging music scene up there, it’s with a slightly heavy heart that we left and a lot of people that we know are starting to go back up there.

Jonty: It’s an amazing uni because the amount of people that we have run into since leaving who now work in London – all areas of the industry who all came from the same uni. It’s quite nice to have that initial connection.

Do you both have different artists which you’re influenced by, or are your playlists near-identical?

Joe: I guess in the early days it was pretty different. I used to love heavy metal! People used to know me as ’The System of a Down Guy’. I used to have a lightening bolt guitar with spikes on it and long hair. I think pretty soon after that I had a love of pop music alongside heavy metal so I’ve always been very versatile.

Jonty: I came in with a slightly different approach, I came in through the singer-songwriter route and didn’t really know what I was going to get into. I got quite heavily into electronic music, started writing some dub step and then fell into where we are now. Slightly more obvious progression for me. I think now because we spend so much more time together we are mainly listening to things where people come in and play to us through collaborations. It’s quite fun being surrounded by so many musical taste makers.

Is that where the appeal in collaborating with other artists lies for you?

Joe: It was something we read ’on average there are 4 writers on every hit song.’ It’s that thing where more ideas you have in the room the better. Having four minds on one thing is often better than the one. It just means you can do things so much quicker, having a bunch of people you can bounce ideas of makes the process painless and quick. You get to meet loads of cool people as well.

Jonty: Music can be quite a lonely craft as well, people see the running around in the limelight on stage but they don’t see the years sat in a windowless room making music. So working with friends is pretty good!

You seem pretty close with Louisa in your YouTube Challenges, were you friends with her before collaborating on ’Between You and Me’?

Jonty: Very briefly before, we were working on a different track and that was the session where we asked her ’have you heard this? We would love you to get on it’ and she loved it from the off!

Joe: When we wrote the track, we knew that Louisa would be great to sing on this.

Jonty: It was completely coincidental that we had a session with her after writing the song.

Joe: She’s absolutely great! So easy to get along with and the three of us get to spend a lot of time running around doing silly things now.

Which one of you is the most competitive with the challenges?

Joe: Jonty is the most competitive, one hundred per cent!

Jonty: We have just done a game where we have to pick up balls but we’re wrapped in double-sided sticky tape! It hurt...

Who would your dream collaboration be with?

Joe: Maybe Post Malone would be very cool, his voice is just awesome.

Jonty: There’s no one quite like him as well, he’s so melodic...he’s just really sick. There’s a lot of character in his voice. When you hear him you’re like ’ah, I know who that is!’ straight away.

Joe: The voice is the most expressive instrument.

Hopefully he’ll see this article and get in touch.

Joe: I’ll wait for the email!

Is the idea behind your remixes to pay homage to the original artists?

Joe: We are incredibly picky about what we work on, it has to be something we really love. There’s always a thought with us with the remixes is holding what the original idea true. We normally keep a big wedge of the song in which I guess in some instances isn’t to come in and change the track completely -it’s trying to keep the song as it can be but put a new spin on it.

Jonty: It’s meeting in the middle, a mix between what they’ve done and what we’ve done. It’s very much if we were to have written it, what would we do? It’s such a different thing than starting from scratch. It’s the other way around to writing a One Bit track because we start from nothing and then we start building up the track, start writing vocals over the top but fundamentally we come into the room with a blank piece of paper that everyone is staring at.

So do you also approach writing for other artists differently than you do for yourselves?

Joe: We like to mix it up, so if someone is coming in who is more piano based then we will normally start with a piano, see how that works. Some people prefer to start with a beat.

Jonty: Some people will want to sit for an hour and a half with a concept about their feelings whereas some people will want to write a whole song before they even think about lyrics.

The last time we saw you both was at the launch party for 1883’s Royalty issue for which you were DJ’ing. Do you plan your sets out down to every song, or do you go with vibe of the party?

Joe: I think it’s kind of dangerous to do that but we definitely have an idea of what we’re doing. We will pre-prep a bunch of songs for every event but as soon as we find out what the vibe is then we will pick a big playlist. Normally 150-200 tracks. We like to have options but I think the point of being a DJ is to read people. There will be sometimes you play the same track in front of different groups of people, one would go mental for it and the other just...won’t.

Jonty: You can’t just abuse people with music they don’t want to listen to. We’re trying to add a lot more individual personality into it.

We saw on Twitter that Superdry gave you free run of their store, how would you describe each other’s styles?

A colourful, artistic smart meets casual - we like to call it ‘smasual’. Mostly Joe’s a bit more smart - Jonty’s a bit more casual, but together it balances each other out

Finally, what do you hope to have achieved by the end of the year?

Joe: I know what my targets are but we are so overly ambitious! I think our sights are set very high so if this is put down in your article and we don’t achieve that... I would love it if we could get a chart position with ’Between You and Me.’

Jonty: And have the next single ready! We have a bunch of ideas of where we want to go. This is very much starting point for us.

’Between You and Me’ with Louisa is out now. For the latest on One Bit visit www.facebook.com/OneBitMusic

Interview by Nicky Lee-Delisle

Photography Ferran Verges 

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