Over the last few years, few music groups have made a splash like British electronic duo Snakehips. Transforming from a couple of guys who enjoyed making remixes to one of the top names found at electronic festivals all over the world, Oliver Lee and James Carter have made quite the name for themselves and watched their stock grow with each released track. Of course, crossing over into the mainstream and developing a diehard fan base is a lot easier when you work with Grammy winners and nominees like Chance the Rapper and Anderson .Paak on many tunes.
“It’s been great to get to a position where we can work with some of our favorite artists,” Lee says. “Each time we put something out, it just opens up new opportunities and such. To be able to get in a room with people like Chance the Rapper, Anderson .Paak, or Tinashe, it’s been really cool.”
Since bursting into the limelight with “All My Friends” in late 2015, eyes and ears have turned to Snakehips about releasing a full-length album. To this point, the duo has a pair of short EPs (2015’s Forever, Pt. II and 2016’s All My Friends) to their name, but fans are still waiting on what figures to be a groundbreaking debut record. Given that artists like MØ and Zayn have been featured on some of Snakehips’ singles since their last EP, many people can’t help but wonder what could be in store when that first album finally drops.
“We’re working on [the debut album] right now,” Lee says. “We’ve got a number of different vibes on it already. I’d say there’s a good bit of R&B and chill stuff on there, but we never really want to do the same thing twice. There’s a bunch of stuff that’s classic Snake Hips, but also a lot of newer things. It all just depends on the people we work with, so it’s real exciting to be working on that.”
But while new electronic groups and hitmakers seem to be appearing in bunches, it’s the old school R&B sounds of Snakehips that have helped catapult them ahead of many of their peers. Rather than trying to sound the most futuristic or produced, the pair of DJs are more likely to channel something you might’ve heard on BET a decade or two ago. For Lee, the fusion of electronic music with hip-hop and R&B is something he’s always been interested in.
“Personally, when I started making beats, I was just really into old school hip-hop and R&B music,” Lee says. “I think the first thing I would do for fun would be to take a hip-hop or R&B sample and put drums over it. It’s always had this kind of front and back vibe to it. Just from working on them, there are only so many things that you can do, so that was always at the core of what we were doing. Then it just kind of progressed from there.”
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As Snakehips winds their way around the world, they’ll be stopping at major festivals everywhere from Mexico to Australia in the coming months. But before they head out overseas, you’ll get a chance to catch them (somewhat) locally by heading down to San Diego for CRSSD this weekend. For the artists, getting to play on beaches and other exotic locations around the world is one of the biggest perks to their rapid rise.
“It’s been so incredible and so much fun,” Lee says of hitting festivals like CRSSD. “We’re so fortunate to be able to do what we do and DJ in such crazy places while meeting awesome people. It’s been a real cool thing for sure.”
Beyond touring the world and eventually releasing that first full-length album, the guys of Snakehips aren’t quite sure what the future holds for them or electronic music as a whole. While some folks have pointed to their seamless blend of genres as the future of electronica, there’s really no telling where the genre could go in the years to come.
“Electronic music has gotten so diverse, and I have no idea where it’s going to go next,” Lee says. “There’s so much different stuff going on right now, it’s literally everything that you can think of and more.”