The Qemists are, in many ways, something of a Qonundrum. They’re rock kids seduced by the dancefloor, dance kids equally happy playing live instruments or building tracks on the computer, drum & bass aficionados who believe their hurtling breakbeats sound best under muscular metallic riffs.
On paper, such a sound clash seems like a train wreck in the making. However, pumped as loud as your speakers will allow, or booming through the PA at one of their live shows, The Qemists make glorious sense. Their fearless genre-mashing has already garnered them a sizeable following across the globe, scoring a number one album in Japan and playing to audiences of over half a million people in Poland.
The band are now primed and ready to unleash their latest album, Warrior Sound, which binds their respective influences & styles together naturally into one progressively cohesive and solid sound. In short, The Qemists have arrived.
The Qemists’ story begins a decade or so ago, in a barn on the rural outskirts of Brighton, where schoolkids Liam Black, Dan Arnold and Leon Harris began making music together, as an escape from the mind-numbing boredom of their sleepy village. Even then, their work ethic was fearsome, meeting up to rehearse as frequently as possible. Drawing initial inspiration from the rock groups of the day – Soundgarden, Nirvana, RATM and the Chili Peppers – they kept their ears open and listened without prejudice. When they weren’t rehearsing in the studio or out at gigs, you would find them losing themselves at drum & bass nights, finding the same energy and dynamism that they loved in rock music alive in jungle tracks.
Their debut album, 2009’s Join The Q, juggled junglist metal monsters like Stompbox, gonzoid techno throbbers like S.W.A.G., and wall-shaking dancehall boomers like Dem Na Like Me with a diverse guest-list including ex-Faith No More frontman Mike Patton & grime legend Wiley. Join The Q and it’s follow up Spirit In The System received support and rave reviews from the likes of Annie Nightingale, Mistajam, Annie Mac, Kerrang! and Clash, with Zane Lowe declaring them “the future of music”.
Fast forward to November 2015 and the long-awaited third album Warrior Sound is just finished. The Qemists are now a band of five brothers: Dan Arnold, Bruno Balanta, Liam Black, Leon Harris and newest addition, singer Olly Simmons seen by the rest of the group as the missing component who has helped turn them into a real live tour de force. Proof of this is the band’s latest nomination as Best Live Act at this year’s Bass Music Awards, which follows recent tours with the likes of Korn and Enter Shikari, as well as stand-out performances at Download, Breakout and Butserfest.