When everyone from Beyoncé to Pete Tong loves your record, you know you’ve stumbled upon music’s Holy Grail: the credible club crossover cut.
This elusive accolade escapes most careers but the mysterious 99 Souls – arguably the hottest newcomers to the house world – have struck gold with their very first release. The duo catapulted onto the scene at the end of 2014 and took their 100% self-promoted debut “The Girl Is Mine” to number 1 on the BBC Radio 1 Dance Chart and number 1 on Shazam in towns and cities across the UK. “It started off as a promotional track to get our name out there,” explains Jo. “We wanted to switch the samples up; flip the lyric to ‘Girl’ and combine two songs to create a whole new narrative.”
Still independent, the secretive UK upstarts licensed their single “The Girl Is Mine” to Sony and are currently in the studio steadfastly working on new material. In between gigging, working on their follow up and recording with Brandy, they’ve found time to churn out some of the best received remixes of the year, including Snakehips featuring Tinashe and Chance the Rapper “All My Friends” and Blonde’s “All Cried Out”. With their first records simultaneously racking up airplay from Annie Mac, Pete Tong and Danny Howard as well as some of the biggest DJ/producers on the planet including Afrojack, Martin Solveig, Oliver Heldens and Laidback Luke, there seems to be no telling what will happen next.
With heavy live commitments in 2015 including Creamfields, Lovebox, Bestival, Reading and Leeds and a string of key Ibiza dates, it’s easy to wonder how they’ll find the time to complete an entire project. However the ambitious pair has set their sight on creating a classic album which touches on topics seldom explored in club music. Citing Bob Marley, Bob Dylan and Kanye West as some of their biggest song-writing inspirations – “we both love acoustic music – and we want to connect with people” – 99 Souls plan to combine live instrumentation and unforgettable guest vocalists with introspective lyrics and social commentary. “I grew up on hip hop and got into house music at Uni. From my mid teens I went to d ‘n’ b nights and later on house and dubstep” says Soul. “Who’s our ultimate dance music act? I don’t know if we have one: we’re trying to do something that hasn’t been done before. We’re making an epic soul meets gospel meets 2016 house album where every song means something. We just want to make a classic, timeless album!”